Oda Nobunaga (織田信長)

Nobunaga ODA was a busho (Japanese military commander), daimyo (Japanese territorial lord) during the Sengoku period (period of warring states) and a statesman who lived from the Sengoku period to the Azuchi-Momoyama period and he had a great influence on future generations.

He made an effort to create order out of the chaos in politics where there was no unified authority, he promoted new ways of thinking and culture without being bound by the common sense and authority of those days and instead attempted to instill intelligence with both rationality and coolness. After showing an overall direction, his project was interrupted by the betrayal of Mitsuhide AKECHI, one of his senior vassals, and this forced him to commit suicide. However, Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, who actually succeeded his government, made progress in the unification of the whole country based upon the foundation established by Nobunaga, and he finally achieved it. Therefore, he was a statesman positioned as one of the founders of the project to build early-modern times of Japan succeeded by Hideyoshi and accomplished by Ieyasu TOKUGAWA.


He was born as the second or third son of Nobuhide ODA who was the lord of the Furuwatari-jo Castle in Owari Province.

It seems that Nobunaga was raised as the legitimate son, and he became the lord of Nagoya-jo Castle during his childhood.

In 1551 he succeeded the head of the family after his father's sudden death, but faced a succession dispute with his younger brother Nobuyuki (Nobukatsu) ODA. After he won in this dispute, he defeated his enemy's forces one after another and unified Owari Province.

In 1560 he defeated Yoshimoto IMAGAWA who had an extremely larger military force than Nobunaga at the Battle of Okehazama, which made his name famous all over the country. In 1567 he subverted the Saito clan in the Mino Province and went to Kyoto under Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA during the following year. He made Yoshiaki seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians"). But their relationship became gradually worse, Nobunaga exiled Yoshiaki in 1573. The siege around Nobunaga including the Takeda clan, the Asakura clan, the Enryaku-ji Temple and the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple were built. However, he defeated the Azai clan and the Asakura clan at the Battle of Anegawa in 1570. In 1571, he pushed through the fire attack against Enryaku-ji Temple and burnt off Mt. Hiei as a whole. In 1575, he won a major victory against Katsuyori TAKEDA at the Battle of Nagashino. After that, he moved the unification of Japan forward and implemented policies such as Rakuichi-rakuza (Free markets and open guilds) and land survey (the Oda government).


On July 3, 1534, he was born as the second son of Nobuhide ODA, daimyo during the Sengoku period in Owari Province at Shobata-jo Castle (or Nagoya-jo Castle in another theory). His childhood name was Kipposhi. In addition, 'Oda Danjonojo family' which Nobunaga came from was the Oda Yamato no Kami family who was assigned to the Shugodai (deputy of Shugo, provincial constable) of the south four counties (Kaito, Kaisei, Aichi and Chita Counties) by the Shiba clan who was shugo daimyo (shugo, which were Japanese provincial military governors, that became daimyo, which were Japanese feudal lords) in the Owari Province, that is, the branch family of Kiyosu Oda family and the lord of Furuwatari-jo Castle as same as its senior vassal, i.e., one of the three magistrates of Kiyosu.

Since his mother Dota-gozen was the lawful wife of Nobuhide, he became the lord of Nagoya-jo Castle at the age of two. He had often shown strange behavior from childhood to boyhood, so that he was called the fool in Owari by the people around him. There is a famous episode that he was interested in a tanegashima gun that was introduced to Japan. In addition, he played with young people in town like common people without regard to social status.

When he was still a young heir, he had often shown daring performances which astonished his father Nobuhide, for example, he put the town on fire near the Kiyosu-jo Castle which was controlled by his master 'the Oda Yamato no Kami family' with which the Oda clan superficially had kept the position as a vassal and subconsciously strained relations, with a few mounted warriors. In addition, when he was young, he led a life with Takechiyo MATSUDAIRA (later Ieyasu TOKUGAWA) who was sent to the Oda clan by the betrayal of Yasumitsu TODA, who was kachu (family-related communities existing during the late Muromachi and the Azuchi-Momoyama periods) of the Matsudaira clan, on the way to the territory of the Imagawa clan as a hostage. Later they formed a strong alliance.

In 1546 he celebrated his attainment of manhood at Furuwatari-jo Castle and identified himself as ODA Kazusa no suke (Assistant Governor of Kazusa Province) Nobunaga. In 1548 after he made peace with Dosan SAITO, daimyo of the Mino Province during the Sengoku period, who was fighting with his father Nobuhide, he got married with the daughter of Dosan, Nohime, for political reasons. There was an episode about Nobunaga meeting Dosan at the Shotoku-ji Temple (in Nagoya City) in 1549 (or 1553 in another theory), Dosan judged the ability of Nobunaga who had been called a fool.

In 1551 his father Nobuhide died and he succeeded the head of the family. He threw incense powder at the altar at his funeral.

In 1553, Masahide HIRATE who was the tutor of Nobunaga committed suicide. It is said that he died because of remonstration against Nobunaga's eccentric behavior or because of a feud between his son Goroemon and Nobunaga. Nobunaga was in great sorrow and had the Seishu-ji Temple built with Takugen Osho (high priest) kaisan (a founder of temple as the first chief priest) in order to mourn him.

From the succession dispute to the unification of Owari Province

In those days, in Owari Province, the power of the Shiba clan, who were shugo daimyo, declined and Nobutomo ODA, who was the head of 'the Oda Yamato no Kami family,' the shugodai of the south four counties of the Owari Province, and the head of the lord of the Kiyosu-jo Castle, grasped the real power. However, Nobunaga's father Nobuhide spread the control in the mid-western area of Owari Province with his excellent wisdom and courage, although he was merely one of three magistrates who served Nobutomo. When Nobunaga succeeded the head of the family after Nobuhide's death, Nobutomo opposed Nobunaga by supporting the succession to the position of family head by Nobuyuki (Nobukatsu) ODA, a younger brother of Nobunaga, and planned to murder Nobunaga. However, Yoshimune SHIBA, the Shugo (provincial constable) who was forced to be a puppet by Nobutomo, informed the plan to Nobunaga. Nobutomo got mad with this and killed Yoshimune when his legitimate son Yoshikane SHIBA went to kawagari (a kind of fishing) with his troops.

Therefore, when Yoshikane escaped to Nobunaga's side, Nobunaga killed Nobutomo as a rebel who killed his master Yoshimune in cooperation with his uncle Nobumitsu ODA, the lord of Moriyama-jo Castle (in the Owari Province). In this way, 'the Oda Yamato no Kami family' was subverted. Nobunaga moved the base from Nagoya-jo Castle to Kiyosu-jo Castle and controlled the shugosho (provincial administration) of the Owari Province. Nobunaga who was from a branch family of the Oda clan became the head of the Oda clan both in name and in reality. His uncle Nobumitsu also died, but the reason is unknown.

On May 1556, his wife's father Dosan SAITO was defeated and killed in battle by his son Yoshitatsu SAITO. It is said that Nobunaga sent reinforcements to Dosan, but that they did not make it in time.

In such a situation, senior vassals who doubted the ability of Nobunaga as head of the family, such as Hidesada HAYASHI, Michitomo HAYASHI, and Katsuie SHIBATA, tried to get rid of Nobunaga and help Nobunaga's younger brother Nobukatsu become the head, who was known to be smart. On the other hand, Nobunaga was supported by Yoshinari MORI, Morishige SAKUMA, Nobumori SAKUMA, and so on, and both groups were in conflict.

The Nobukatsu's group considered Dosan's death as a good chance and raised an army against Nobunaga on October 7 during the same year, but it was defeated (the Battle of Inou). After that, Nobunaga besieged Suemori-jo Castle where Nobukatsu stayed, but pardoned Nobukatsu, Katsuie, and others by mediation of his mother Dota-gozen. However, in 1557 Nobukatsu planned a rebellion again. At this time, Katsuie SHIBATA, who had been on Nobunaga's side after the Battle of Inou, informed him and Nobunaga who noticed the plan asked Nobukatsu to come to the Kiyosu-jo castle telling him a lie that he became sick, and killed him.

In addition, Nobunaga worked together with Nobukiyo ODA from the same family, who was the Inuyama Castellan, to defeat Nobutaka ODA from 'the Oda Isenokami family' (Iwakura Oda family), the longtime foe of his former master 'the Oda Yamatonokami family,' Soke (the head family or house) of the Oda family, shugodai of the north four counties of Owari Province (Niwa, Haguri, Nakashima and Kasugai counties) and the Iwakura Castellan (the Battle of Ukino), and exiled him. When Nobunaga noticed that Yoshikane SHIBA, whom he helped become shugo, planned to exile Nobunaga with the Ishibashi clan of the Shiba family and the Kira clan, a branch family of the Ashikaga clan as well as the Shiba clan, he exiled Yoshikane.

In this way, Nobunaga established hegemony in Owari Province until 1559. On March, he went to Kyoto with about eighty vassals and met Shogun Yoshiteru ASHIKAGA.

From the Battle of Okehazama to the Kiyosu alliance

On June the following year, 1560, after he unified Owari Province, Yoshimoto IMAGAWA invaded Owari Province. The army of Yoshimoto who ruled Suruga, Totomi, and Mikawa Provinces was so large, it was said that there were 20,000 or 40,000 warriors. The Oda army fought against this, but its total military force was 5,000. The Imagawa army got control of the fortress of the Oda army one after another by placing the Mikawa army, led by Motoyasu MATSUDAIRA (later Ieyasu TOKUGAWA) as the Mikawa Province spearhead.

Although Nobunaga kept quiet, he departed for the front wearing his armor on June 22, 1560 after dancing "Atsumori" (Kowaka-mai - story-telling with a simple dance). At first, he worshipped at Atsuta-jingu Shrine. After that, he began to fight with 4,000 troops from the fortress of the Zensho-ji Temple. He suddenly attacked the Imagawa army and killed Yoshimoto. The Imagawa army, losing it's supreme commander, escaped to its home Suruga Province (the Battle of Okehazama).

After the Battle of Okehazama, the Imagawa clan rapidly declined. This led to an alliance of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA (around this time, he changed his name from Motoyasu MATSUDAIRA) in the Mikawa Province and gained independence from the control of the Imagawa clan. In those days, Nobunaga fought against the Saito clan in order to conquer Mino Province and Ieyasu needed to counter Shingen TAKEDA in Kai Province, Ujizane IMAGAWA in Suruga Province, and so on. Therefore, they had a common interest. They made an alliance in 1562 and reinforced their rear (Kiyosu alliance).

The capture of Mino Province

After the death of Dosan SAITO, the relationship between Nobunaga and the Saito clan of Mino Province got worse. During the Battle of Okehazama, the battle between them went back and forth. However, after Yoshitatsu SAITO suddenly died in 1561 and his legitimate son Tatsuoki SAITO succeeded the head of the family, kachu of the Saito clan began to split. Nobunaga who had the advantage in the battle over the Saito clan made an alliance with Nagamasa AZAI of Kita-Omi Province in 1564, which strengthened their warning against the Saito clan. At this time, Nobunaga had his sister Oichi no kata married.

In 1566 he took many castles in Mino Province by fighting and strategies. In addition, he made allies of the Three in West Mino (Ittetsu INABA, Naomoto UJIIE, and Morinari ANDO). In 1567 Nobunaga finally routed Tatsuoki SAITO to Nagashima-cho, Ise Province (Mie Prefecture) and gained Mino Province. In this way Nobunaga became daimyo of the two provinces of Owari and Mino at the age thirty-three. At this time, he changed the place name of Inokuchi to Gifu.

In addition, he used the red seal of "Tenka-fubu" (a slogan that means that the samurai govern the whole world) around this time, he began to aim at unifying the whole country.

On the other hand, Nobunaga started attacking Ise Province as of 1565, and fought various clans like Tomonori KITABATAKE.

Going to Kyoto

Around this time in Kyoto in 1565, Miyoshi sanninshu (three chief retainers of the Miyoshi clan, Nagayuki MIYOSHI, Masayasu MIYOSHI and Tomomichi IWANARI), influential people in the Miyoshi clan who had power in the Kinai region (the five capital provinces surrounding the ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto), and Hisahide MATSUNAGA all collaborated in the murder of the thirteenth seii taishogun, Yoshiteru ASHIKAGA, who had been in increasing conflict with the Miyoshi clan due to his goal of restoring power to the Muromachi bakufu, and installed his cousin Yoshihide ASHIKAGA as the fourteenth shogun to serve as their puppet (Eiroku Incident).

Hisahide and others also planned to murder Yoshiteru's younger brother, Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA. However, Yoshiaki escaped from Kyoto supported by Shogun's retainers such as Yusai HOSOKAWA and Koremasa WADA and stayed at the place of Yoshikage ASAKURA in the Echizen Province. However, since Yoshikage did not show any movement to hunt down and kill the Miyoshi clan, Yoshiaki approached Nobunaga in Mino Province in August 1568. Nobunaga accepted Yoshiaki's request to hunt down and kill the Miyoshi clan.

On the other hand, Nobunaga made an alliance with Shingen TAKEDA in the Kai Province bordering Mino Province by having his adopted daughter (Fujin TOYAMA) marry with Shingen's fourth son Katsuyori TAKEDA. But Fujin TOYAMA died early just after she delivered Nobukatsu TAKEDA. For this reason, Nobunaga reinforced the relationship with neighboring powers through alliances such as aiming to marry his legitimate son Nobutada with Shingen's sixth daughter Shinshoni and taking a stance to keep friendship.

Then in October, he began to go to Kyoto working respectfully for Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA as the fifteenth Shogun as the legitimate reason for Tenka-fubu. Yoshikata ROKKAKU and his son Yoshiharu ROKKAKU in Minami Omi Province who opposed come under attack of the Oda army, and the Kannonji-jo Castle fell (Battle of Kannonji-jo Castle). Yoshikata and Yoshiharu ROKKAKU escaped to the Iga Province and continued guerrilla warfare after that. However, it is rumored that the main branch of the Rokkaku clan remained separate and Yoshihide ROKKAKU and Yoshisato ROKKAKU of the main branch were guarded by Nobunaga. After Nobunaga went to Kyoto, Yoshitsugu MIYOSHI, Hisahide MATSUNAGA, and others who had controlled the central government knew the power of Nobunaga and served him. Most of the other people on the side of miyoshi sanninshu escaped to Awa Province. Katsumasa IKEDA, the only person who resisted Nobunaga, also surrendered to him. In this way, the government of Miyoshi and Matsunaga that had controlled central politics since Nagayoshi MIYOSHI collapsed because of Nobunaga's lightning joraku (going to Kyoto). Alternatively, the Oda government that enthroned Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA as the fifteenth Shogun was established. It is said that at the time, Nobunaga was asked to become vice-Shogun by Yoshiaki, but he refused because he had already given up the Ashikaga Shogun family.

On January 1569, waiting for a chance when the main force of the Oda army led by Nobunaga returns to Mino Province, ronin shu (masterless samurai)like miyoshi sanninshu and Tatsuoki SAITO conspired to attack Honkoku-ji Temple at Rokujo-dori, the palace of Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA (the Battle of Rokujo). However, it is said that Nobunaga showed the mobility to get there for reinforcements in just two days despite heavy snow.

The armies of Miyoshi and Saito were defeated before Nobunaga arrived because of the reinforcements of Nagamasa AZAI and Katsumasa IKEDA and the hard fighting of Mitsuhide AKECHI.

On February 5, Nobunaga raised an army and together with the Miyoshi army attacked Harukage IRIE at Takatsuki-jo Castle. Although Harukage surrendered, Nobunaga did not allow his second betrayal and put him to death. Nobunaga had Koremasa WADA enter Takatsuki-jo Castle along with three people of Katsumasa IKEDA who was shugo, the Itami clan and Koremasa ruled Settsu Province (three Settsu Shugo). On the same day, Nobunaga required Sakai to pay 22,000 million kan (unit of volume, approx.3.75 kg) in war funds and to yield his allegiance to him. The egoshu (wealthy merchants who led self-governing organizations in cities during the Muromachi period) of Sakai resisted against this, depending on Miyoshi sanninshu. However, they were forced to serve Nobunaga after sanninshu was defeated by the Oda army.

The invasion of Ise Province was in the final stage. In 1568 Nobunaga had Tomomori KANBE surrendered and sent his third son Nobutaka ODA to become an adopted son of the Kanbe clan. In the following year, 1569, he also had Tomonori KITABATAKE, Ise Kokushi (an officer of Ise Province), surrender, and sent his second son Nobukatsu ODA to become an adopted son of the Kitabatake clan. Later, Tomonori was confined and the Kitabatake family was killed. In this way Nobunaga expanded power in the Kinai region.

The first anti-Nobunaga network

In 1569, Nobunaga promulgated the 'Denchu on okite' (regulations for the shogunal residence) which consisted of nine articles and later an additional seven articles, in order to regulate the power of Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA as Shogun; Nobunaga forced Yoshiaki to accept these regulations. However, this led to a decisive conflict between Yoshiaki and Nobunaga.

On June 1570, in order to subjugate Yoshikage ASAKURA in Echizen Province, who had ignored Nobunaga's order to go to Kyoto several times, Nobunaga abandoned the alliance with the Azai clan and began his march into Echizen Province with the army of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, a sworn ally. Although the Oda and Tokugawa allied forces captured various castles of the Asakura clan one after another, when they advanced to Kanegasaki they were attacked from behind by the Azai clan who was their sworn ally in Kita-Omi Province. This pincer attack pushed the Oda and Tokugawa allied forces into a corner, but they could escape to Kyoto partly because of the rear guards such as Katsumasa IKEDA, Mitsuhide AKECHI, Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI and Ieyasu TOKUGAWA (the Battle of Kanagasaki). It is said that when Nobunaga returned to Kyoto only about ten vassals followed him.

This made the conflict between Shogun Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA and Nobunaga militant. Yoshiaki sent gonaisho (a letter issued with the signature of the shogun) to various provinces in order to defeat Nobunaga, and formed 'the anti-Nobunaga network' with Yoshikage ASAKURA, Nagamasa AZAI, Shingen TAKEDA, Terumoto MORI, Miyoshi sanninshu and temples such as the Enryaku-ji Temple on Mt. Hiei, and the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple.

However, on July 1570 Nobunaga faced off against the Azai and Asakura allied forces at the side of the Ane-gawa River in Omi Province with the Tokugawa army in order to defeat Nagamasa AZAI. The Oda and Tokugawa allied forces faced an uphill battle, for example, thirteen blocks of the fifteen blocks were broken by Kazumasa ISONO who was the spearhead of the Azai army, but they won (the Battle of Anegawa).

On September 1570, Nobunaga left for the front in order to fight Miyoshi sanninshu who raised an army in Settsu Province, but he faced an uphill battle partly because of the reinforcements of the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple (the Battle of Noda-jo Castle and Fukushima-jo Castle). In addition, while the main unit of the Oda army fought in Settsu Province, 30,000 allied forces including Nagamasa AZAI, Yoshikage ASAKURA and the Enryaku-ji Temple that recovered the troops, invaded Sakamoto (Otsu City) in Omi Province. The Oda army lost a senior vassal, Yoshinari MORI, and Nobunaga's younger brother, Nobuharu ODA, during the retreat. In this situation, Nobunaga quickly returned to Omi Province from the Settsu, leading the main unit before dawn on November 1. The Azai and Asakura allied forces were surprised and resisted barricading themselves on Mt. Hiei. Then, Nobunaga faced off against the Azai and Asakura allied forces at Usayama-jo Castle in Omi Province (Siege of Shiga). However, shortly, the people of Ise Nagashima Ikko Ikki (an uprising of Ikko sect followers in Nagashima, Ise Province) rose in revolt, ordered by Kennyo, the hoshu (high priest) of Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple, which forced Nobunaga's brother Nobuoki ODA to be killed in the battle. Nobunaga who with his back to the wall reported to Emperor OGIMACHI and received an Imperial order, by which he could make peace with the Azai and Asakura clans on January 18, 1571. According to "Mikawa Monogatari" (Tales from Mikawa) written by Tadataka OKUBO, Nobunaga even said to Yoshikage as follows.
I do not care if the Asakura clan unifies the whole country.'
I do not hope for it again.'

On September 1571, Nobunaga set fire to Enryaku-ji Temple on Mt. Hiei which continued to resist after several evacuations or neutrality advisories (the fire attack against Mt. Hiei).

On August 1572, Nobunaga had his legitimate son Kimyomaru (later Nobutada ODA) join the battle for the first time. Around this time, the Oda army repeatedly fought a little war against the Azai and Asakura allied forces. However, the Oda army had an advantage in tactics, and some busho of the Asakura army such as Yoshitsugu MAEBA, Nagashige TOMITA and 戸田与次 surrendered to Nobunaga in September.

In November, Shingen TAKEDA in Kai Province who accepted the requirement to dispatch troops by Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA finally raised an army to go to Kyoto with. The total military force of the Takeda army was 30,000. This large military force began to invade Higashi (east) Mino Province, the territory of the Oda clan and Totomi and Mikawa Provinces, the territories of Tokugawa (the strategy to conquer the west). The Oda and Tokugawa allied forces resisted against this.

However, at Iwamura-jo Castle in Higashi Mino Province attacked by Nobutomo AKIYAMA, a busho of the Takeda army, Kageto TOYAMA, the castellan, died of disease. Otsuya no kata, Kageto's widow, (Nobunaga's aunt) resisted by adopting Nobunaga's fifth son Bomaru (later Katsunaga ODA) as a son and placing him as the castellan. But Nobutomo AKIYAMA asked Otsuya no kata to marry him as a tactic. Otsuya no kata surrendered the castle to the enemy by getting married with Nobutomo. Bomaru was sent to Kai Province as a hostage and most of Higashi Mino Province came to be ruled by the Takeda clan.

In addition, in the territory of the Tokugawa clan, the Tokugawa army lost big against the Takeda army in the Battle of Hitokotozaka. Moreover, the Futamata-jo Castle, the cornerstone of Totomi Province, surrendered to the enemy, and as a result, the war became worse (the Battle of Futamata-jo Castle). Against this situation, Nobunaga sent 3,000 reinforcement including Nobumori SAKUMA and Hirohide HIRATE to Ieyasu. But the Oda and Tokugawa allied forces lost big against the Takeda army at the Battle of Mikatagahara on January 1574. Some busho such as Hirohide were killed in the battle.

In 1573 the Takeda army invaded Mikawa Province from Totomi Province and captured Noda-jo Castle (Mikawa Province) in March (the Battle of Noda-jo Castle). In addition, in response to Shingen's going to Kyoto, Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA raised an army with Yoshitsugu MIYOSHI, Hisahide MATSUNAGA and so on. Nobunaga faced off against enemies both in the east and the west and his back was to the wall again, so he made peace with Yoshiaki by getting an Imperial order from Emperor Ogimachi on May 16. On May 23, Shingen TAKEDA suddenly died. As a result, the Takeda army returned to Kai Province.

The collapse of the anti-Nobunaga network

After the death of Shingen TAKEDA, Nobunaga reorganized his army. In August, he defeated Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA who was barricaded at Nijo-jo Castle or Makishima-jo Castle and exiled him from Kyoto. This was the end of the Muromachi bakufu. In addition, on September 4, he reported to the Imperial Court to change the era name from Genki to Tensho and had this implemented.

In September 1573, he ordered Yusai HOSOKAWA to subjugate Tomomichi IWANARI who was one of the Miyoshi sanninshu barricaded at the Yodo kojo Castle (the Second Battle of Yodokojo). In the same month, Nobunaga marched to Echizen Province leading 30,000 troops. Nobunaga defeated the Asakura army in the Battle of Tonezaka Slope, and Yoshikage ASAKURA committed suicide. In October, he captured Odani-jo Castle and Hisamasa AZAI and his son Nagamasa committed suicide. He killed Onodono (Agogoryonin), the mother of Nagamasa, after cutting off her fingers, one each day. In addition, Oichi no kata who married Nagamasa and some others escaped before the fall of the castle and they were taken in by Nobunaga.

In October 29, Nobunaga marched to Nagashima-cho of Ise Province (Mie Prefecture) leading 30,000 troops which mainly consisted of the troops of Owari, Mino, and Ise Provinces. The Oda army captured enemy castles around Nagashima one after another for about half a month with the good showing of Kazumasu TAKIGAWA. However, because of the hard resistance with the uprising of the Ikko sect followers, Nobunaga who disliked extended battle began to withdraw on November 29. When the Ikko sect army began to pursue his withdrawal, the Oda army faced a tough battle and Michimasa HAYASHI was killed.

In December, Yoshitsugu MIYOSHI in the Kawachi Province rose a revolt following Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA. Nobunaga sent the troops with commanded by Nobumori SAKUMA to the Kawachi Province. However, the Wakae Three, the chief retainers of Yoshitsugu, and others were afraid of Nobunaga's power and betrayed him, so Yoshitsugu committed suicide on December 20, and this was the end of the Miyoshi clan. On January 28, 1574, Hisahide MATSUNAGA in Yamato Province surrendered Tamonyama-jo Castle to Nobunaga.

Nagashima Ikko Ikki (uprising of the Ikko sect followers in Nagashima)

On February 1574, jizamurai (local samurai) and the followers of Hongan-ji Temple rose in revolt in Echizen Province the territory of the Oda clan after the capturing the Asakura clan. The shugodai Yoshitsugu MAEBA (Nagatoshi KATSURADA) was killed at Ichijodani. Responding to that, Katsuyori TAKEDA in Kai Province invaded Higashi Mino Province. Although Nobunaga tried to attack with Nobutada, Akechi-jo Castle in Higashi Mino Province fell before Nobunaga's reinforcements arrived, and Nobunaga withdrew, avoiding the encounter with Takeda's army.

During April, Nobunaga went to Kyoto and was conferred Jusanmi Sangi (councilor in the Junior Third Rank).

During July Nobunaga completely besieged Nagashima-cho in Ise Province (Mie Prefecture) with an amphibian operation leading 30,000 soldiers and brought a way of siege warfare. The army of Ikko Ikki showed artful tactics and many busho from the Oda family, such as Nobuhiro ODA, Nobunaga's older brother by a concubine, were killed. However, in September, the army of Ikko Ikki suffered a shortage of food and about 1,000 soldiers were killed when Otorii-jo Castle fell from being heavily attack by the Oda army. In this way, the Oda army had gradually taken advantage of the war situation.

On October 23, the followers of Nagashima-jo Castle who were out of food surrendered and asked Nobunaga to leave for Osaka by ship. Nobunaga agreed to this. However, Nobunaga's brothers Nobuoki and Nobuhiro were killed, and he attacked the followers on ships and they were captured, partly because they were slow in leaving. A part of the army of Ikko Ikki got angry about this and attacked the Oda army, and Nobunaga's younger brother Hidenari ODA and others were killed.

In addition, Nobunaga besieged the followers of Nagashima who barricaded themselves in Nakae-jo and Yanagashima-jo Castles, and killed them. It is said that at this time 20,000 followers of Ikko Ikki were killed by the Oda army. In this battle Nobunaga succeeded in suppressing an insurrection of Nagashima followers.

The battle of Nagashino and the invasion of Echizen Province

In May 1575, Katsuyori TAKEDA attacked Nagashino-jo Castle, the residence of Sadamasa OKUDAIRA, leading 15,000 troops, in order to kill him who betrayed the Takeda clan and became a vassal of the Tokugawa clan after the death of Shingen., i.e., Katsuyori's father. However, because the Okudaira army fought well, the Takeda army took time to capture Nagashino-jo Castle. In the meantime, Nobunaga left for the front leading a large number troops, 30,000 from Gifu on June 30, and joined 8,000 troops of the Tokugawa army at Noda in Mikawa Province on July 5.

The Oda and Tokugawa allied forces increased to 38,000 troops set up an encampment at Shitaragahara on July 6. And on July 9, the battle between the Oda and Tokugawa allied forces and the army of Takeda began (the Battle of Nagashino). In this battle Nobunaga adopted a fusillade using about 1,000 matchlock guns (according to "Shinchoko-ki" - Biography of Nobunaga ODA) and won a landslide victory against the Takeda army.

Sadamasa OKUDAIRA who guarded Nagashino-jo Castle from the large army of Takeda in this battle was given Henki (a portion of the name of a person in high rank, which is given to a retainer to show subordination) from Nobunaga and he changed his name to Nobumasa.

During the previous year, followers of the Hongan-ji Temple killed Yoshitsugu MAEBA assigned to the shugodai of Echizen Province by Nobunaga, but they became divided internally. The followers punished jizamurai like Nagashige TOMITA who cooperated in the murder of Nagatoshi KATSURADA on February 1575, and began to govern Echizen Province as a country held by Ikki. Then, Raisho SHIMOTSUMA was dispatched as shugodai by the order of Kennyo. However, since the governance of Raisho SHIMOTSUMA was disarray more so than that of the former lord Nagatoshi KATSURADA, the followers of Ikki became internally divided. Nobunaga saw this as a good chance and marched to Echizen Province on September just after the battle of Nagashino.

The followers of Ikki who were already internally divided could not intercept them. It has been said that 12,250 followers in the Echizen and Kaga Provinces such as Raisho SHIMOTSUMA and Kagetake ASAKURA were killed by the Oda army.

This way, Echizen Province became Oda territory again and Nobunaga gave eight counties of Echizen to Katsuie SHIBATA. It is said that Nobunaga gave the rules of the governance for the northern province.

The second anti-Nobunaga network

On December 16, 1575 Nobunaga was conferred as Gon Dainagon (provisional major counselor) and Ukone no daisho (Major Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards) on December 19.

On January 9, Nobunaga passed over the head of the Oda family and gave territories like Mino and Owari Provinces to his legitimate son Nobutada, and then retired. However, Nobunaga continuously held onto the position to implement governance and military affairs of the Oda clan.

In February 1576, Nobunaga began building Azuchi-jo Castle at the lakeside of Lake Biwa under his direction. The Azuchi-jo Castle was completed as a great-flamboyant castle with five layers and seven stories in 1579. It is said that in the inside of tenshu (main keep or tower of a castle) was a fukinuke (stairwell).
A missionary of the Society of Jesus sent a letter to his home country which showed his surprise that 'Such a gorgeous castle has never been seen in Europe.'
Nobunaga passed Gifu-jo Castle to Nobutada and moved to the Azuchi-jo Castle after it was completed. Nobunaga started to unify the whole country based at this castle.

On February 1576, Hideharu HATANO in Tanba Province, who had a friendship with Nobunaga, rose in revolt. In addition, as the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple also raised an army again, the anti-Nobunaga movement gained strength again. On the other hand, Nobunaga dispatched 30,000 troops commanded by Mitsuhide AKECHI, Murashige ARAKI, and Naomasa HANIWA, to Osaka on May. But they lost big and more than 1,000 soldiers including Naomasa were killed in the battle.

The Oda army in Osaka was stuck by a vigorous attack of the Hongan-ji Temple army and they barricaded themselves in the Tennoji Fort. But the Hongan-ji Temple army besieged the Oda army at Tennoji. Nobunaga entered Wakae-jo Castle on June 11th and announced their mobilization orders, but only about 3,000 soldiers gathered. However, in the early morning on June 13, Nobunaga led those 3,000 troops at the front-line and attacked the 15,000 strong Hongan-ji Temple army that had besieged the Tennoji Fort. Although it was such a hard battle and Nobunaga himself was injured, the Oda army's morale was raised by Nobunaga's appearance at the front-line and they defeated the Hongan-ji Temple army (the Battle of Tennoji Fort).

After that, the Oda army besieged Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple with an amphibian operation and starvation tactics. However, on August 17, about 800 ships of the Mori navy appeared to assist the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple army and defeated the Oda navy, and the Mori army brought provisions and ammunition to the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple army (the first battle of Kizukawaguchi).

Around this time, the relationship between Kenshin UESUGI in Echigo Province and Nobunaga worsened and Kenshin made peace with the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple in 1576. He abandoned the alliance with Nobunaga and clearly showed his opposition against Nobunaga. Having Kenshin as a leader, Terumoto MORI, the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple, Hideharu HATANO, Ikko adherents of Saiga in Kishu (the present Wakayama Prefecture) and others colluded to oppose Nobunaga.

On the other hand, Nobunaga left for the front leading a large army to suppress Ikko adherents of Saiga in Kishu in February 1577. However, it is said that he had Magoichi SAIKA, the head of Ikko adherents of Saiga, surrender on April, partly owing to the assistance of the Mori navy from the rear and the invasion of the Noto Province by the Uesugi army (it is said that it was a nominal surrender without submitting a hostage). He made a nominal reconciliation in this way and withdrew from Kii Province.

Additionally, around this time, Katsuie SHIBATA of the Oda army implemented the fire attack over the Tedori-gawa River in Kaga Province at the battle line in the Hokuriku region.

Hisahide MATSUNAGA in the Yamato Province betrayed Nobunaga and raised an army. Nobunaga dispatched a large military force commanded by Nobutada ODA to Shigisan-jo Castle and killed Hisahide in November (the Battle of Shigisan-jo Castle). In November when Nobunaga killed Hisahide, Sadamasa NAITO, at Kameyama-jo Castle in Tanba Province who resisted Nobunaga, died of disease. The Oda army did not miss this chance and captured various castles in Tanba Province such as Kameyama-jo Castle, Momi-jo Castle, and Sasayama-jo Castle. On April 29, 1578, Kenshin UESUGI suddenly died. Since Kenshin had no child and suddenly died without deciding a successor, his adopted son Kagekatsu UESUGI and Kagetora UESUGI began a succession race (Otate War). In the meantime, the Oda army captured the Noto and Kaga Provinces, Uesugi's territories. In this way, the death of Kenshin led to the collapse of the anti-Nobunaga network again.

The army corps of Oda in various regions

Hokuriku region: The army corps of Katsuie SHIBATA

Nakasen region: The army corps of Nobutada ODA (the army corps of Kazumasu TAKIGAWA)

Kinai region: The army corps of Mitsuhide AKECHI

Chugoku region: The army corps of Hideyoshi HASHIBA

Shikoku region: The army corps of Nagahide NIWA and Nobutaka ODA (formed in 1582)

Against the Hongan-ji Temple: The army corps of Nobumori SAKUMA

Against Tokaido region: Ieyasu TOKUGAWA

During the Tensho era, the Oda clan had military and financial powers to fight in various places at the same time. Nobunaga gave his busho followers land as large as the territory of a daimyo and allowed them to govern freely and capture surrounding areas.

He deployed the following busho: Katsuie SHIBATA, Toshiie MAEDA, Narimasa SASA, and others against Kagekatsu UESUGI who succeeded the head of the Uesugi family through a family feud after the death of Kenshin UESUGI; his legitimate son Nobutada, Kazumasu TAKIGAWA, Nagayoshi MORI and others against Katsuyori TAKEDA; Mitsuhide AKECHI, Yusai HOSOKAWA and others against Hideharu HATANO (the battle of Kuroi-jo Castle); Hideyoshi HASHIBA against Terumoto MORI and Nobumori SAKUMA against the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple.

The Oda army had taken advantage in the battle with the Uesugi clan after Kenshin's death, and it captured Noto and the Kaga Provinces and prepared to invade Ecchu Province as well.

On April 1578, Nagaharu BESSHO in Harima Province rose in revolt (the Battle of Miki). In addition, the Mori army hardly resisted and captured Kozuki-jo Castle in August the same year, and the revived Amako armies, like Shikanosuke YAMANAKA, was defeated (the Battle of the Kozuki-jo Castle). In November, Murashige ARAKI in Settsu Province betrayed Nobunaga by barricading himself in Arioka-jo Castle (the Battle of Arioka-jo Castle) and resisted Nobunaga by cooperating with Hongan-ji Temple. On the other hand, Kiyohide NAKAGAWA, Murashige's yoriki (police sergeant), and the lord of the Higashi Settsu Province, and Ukon TAKAYAMA surrendered to Nobunaga.

On April 17 in the same year, Nobunaga invented the armored warship and defeated the Mori navy with six armored warships (the Second Battle of Kizugawaguchi). In this way, the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple and Murashige ARAKI were isolated without getting any help from the Mori army, and this time the Oda army had the advantage. In summer of 1579, Nobunaga made Hideharu HATANO surrender and then executed him. After Murashige escaped, abandoning his wife and children in October during the same year, Arioka-jo Castle fell and most of the Araki family were executed. Next, after Naoie UKITA in Bizen Province who had been on the Mori side yielded allegiance to Nobunaga in November, the advantage and disadvantage of the Oda army and the Mori army completely reversed. In January 1580, Nagaharu BESSHO committed Seppuku (suicide by disembowelment) and the Miki-jo Castle surrendered. In May the same year, the Hongan-ji Temple army also made peace with the Oda army on the conditions which advantageous for the Oda army by Imperial order of Emperor Ogimachi, and withdrew from Osaka. During the same year, Nobunaga captured Harima and Tajima Provinces as well. In 1581 he captured Inaba Province in the fall of Tottori-jo Castle by starvation tactics and Awaji Province in the fall of Iwaya-jo Castle.

In 1579 Nobukatsu ODA, who became angry with Kokujin (local samurai) in Iga Province because he was interrupted while having a castle built in Ise Province, and invaded Iga Province, but lost big. Nobunaga scolded Nobukatsu hardily and his feelings of hostility towards Kokujin of Iga Province increased (Tensho Iga War of Iga school). Then in 1581 he captured Iga Province with 60,000 troops commanded by Nobukatsu. Iga Province became the territory of the Oda clan (Tensho Iga War of Iga school).

In 1579 Nobunaga ordered Nobuyasu MATSUDAIRA, the legitimate son of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, and his mother Tsukiyama-dono to commit Seppuku. The reasons for this were the twelve immoral acts of Nobuyasu and Tsukiyama-dono's betrayal made against the Takeda clan. The vassals of the Tokugawa clan hardly discussed this, separated into two camps, one to follow Nobunaga and the other to oppose Nobunaga. However, as a result, Ieyasu had Nobuyasu commit Seppuku and killed Tsukiyama-dono - there is a rumor about this. (Refer to the incident of the committing suicide of Nobuyasu in the article of Nobuyasu MATSUDAIRA for details).

In September 1580, Nobunaga sent a letter of chastisement to Nobumori SAKUMA, a hereditary senior vassal, and his legitimate son Masakatsu SAKUMA, and exiled them because of their failure at the battle of Hongan-ji Temple. In addition, he exiled Hidesada HAYASHI and Morinari ANDO who were old senior vassals by bringing up the former attempt of betrayal or the betrayal of their family to the enemy.

The punitive expedition of the Takeda clan

In 1581 Nobunaga was at the height of power. On April 11, he staged a spectacular demonstration at the umaba (a horse-riding grounds) in the east of the dairi (Imperial Palace) in Kyoto. This is what was called the great military parade in Kyoto, demonstrating the military power of the Oda army corps such as Nagahide NIWA as well as Nobunaga.

Emperor Ogimachi was invited to this parade.

In June in the same year, the Oda army marched into Ecchu Province taking advantage of the opportunity when Nagachika KAWADA, a busho of the Uesugi clan, suddenly died, and came to control almost all of Ecchu Province. On May 6, it captured Takatenjin-jo Castle and tracked down the Takeda clan. In Kishu, Saigato became internally divided and there was conflict between Magoichi SUZUKI, who supported Nobunaga and Heiji DOBASHI who were against Nobunaga and their power decreased.

In the same year, Temple on Mt. Koya showed anti-Nobunaga movements such as hiding the remnants of Murashige ARAKI and engaging in secret communications with Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA. In contrast, Nobunaga sent more than ten messengers in order to resolve the dispute peacefully, but Temple on Mt. Koya killed all the messengers. Nobunaga got mad about this and captured hundreds of Koya hijiri (ascetics of Temple on Mt. Koya) in the Oda territories and ordered the daimyo in Kawachi and Yamato Provinces to besiege Mt. Koya.

On March 5, 1582, Yoshimasa KISO, husband of the daughter of Shingen TAKEDA, betrayed Nobunaga and accepted this. On March 7, Nobunaga announced large-scale mobilization orders against the Takeda clan to Nobutada. Then, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA of Suruga Province, Ujinao HOJO of Sagami Province, Nagachika KANAMORI of Hida Province and Nobutada of the Kiso region began capturing the Takeda territory. It is said that the numbers in these allied forces totaled over 100,000. On the other hand, the garrison force of Ina-jo Castle of the Takeda army pushed out the castle commander Nobuuji SHIMOJO and surrendered to the Oda army. In addition, Nobumine OGASAWARA, the lord of Matsuo-jo Castle in Shinano Province, Nobushige YODA, lord of Tanaka-jo Castle and Nobukimi ANAYAMA, lord of Ejiri-jo Castle in the Suruga Province, and others, surrendered to the allied forces one after another. The Takeda army was defeated without any organized resistance.

Nobunaga left for the front for the punitive expedition of the Takeda clan on April 10, and Nobutada occupied Kofu on the same day. On April 13, Nobutada killed Katsuyori TAKEDA and his son Nobukatsu in the fields east of Kai Province, and this was the end of the Takeda clan.
It is said that after the destruction of the Takeda clan, Nobunaga ordered the 'Killing of the whole family which served Takeda clan even if they showed obedience,' which was called 'the hunt for the Takeda clan.'

After the destruction of the Takeda clan, Nobunaga gave Suruga Province to Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, Kozuke Province to Kazumasu TAKIGAWA, Kai Province to Hidetaka KAWAJIRI, Kitashinano Province to Nagayoshi MORI, and Minamishinano Province to Hideyori MORI, in order to watch Ujinao HOJO. At the same time, he remained thoroughly committed to peace diplomacy in the same way he was against Shingen and Kenshin, and kept the alliance.

Honnoji Incident

In summer of 1582, Nobunaga prepared to dispatch the army corps of his third son Nobutaka KANBE and a senior vassal Nagahide NIWA in order to capture Motochika CHOSOKABE in the Shikoku region.

On June 15 the same year, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA visited Azuchi-jo Castle in order to give thanks for the addition of Suruga Province and to celebrate the victory of the punitive expedition against the Takeda clan. At that time Nobunaga ordered Mitsuhide AKECHI to entertain him. Mitsuhide had fully entertained Ieyasu from the 15th to 17th.

While entertaining Ieyasu, Nobunaga was asked to dispatch reinforcements by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI who was engaged in attacking Bicchu Takamatsu-jo Castle.
This was because 'the Mori clan showed movements to go to assist Takamatsu-jo Castle with a large army.'

Nobunaga stopped entertaining Mitsuhide and ordered him to help Hideyoshi. According to the common story spread later after the Edo period by "Akechi Gunki" (biography of Mitsuhide AKECHI) and others, Nobunaga was not satisfied with Mitsuhide's entertaining and ordered a pageboy Naritoshi MORI to slap the head of Mitsuhide.

On June 29, Nobunaga went to Kyoto to prepare for dispatching troops to the Chugoku region and he stayed at Honno-ji Temple (in Kyoto) after that. However, the Akechi army, ordered to help Hideyoshi, suddenly marched to Kyoto and attacked Honno-ji Temple on July 1. It is said that considering the strong loyalty to Nobunaga by his followers, Mitsuhide hid that the target of the attack was Nobunaga and only a few followers declared loyalty to Mitsuhide. Nobunaga led only about 100 soldiers, but it is said that he fought with a spear by himself at first. It is said that, however, he could not continue to fight against the overwhelming majority composing the Akechi army, went back to his room, set fire to himself and committed suicide in the burning fire. He died at the age of 49 according to the traditional Japanese system (actually forty-eight years old at his death).
(Honno-ji Incident)

Although Hidemitsu AKECHI, husband of the daughter of Mitsuhide, searched for the corpse of Nobunaga, he could not find it. Therefore, there is a theory that he secretly escaped and committed suicide in another place. On the other hand, there is another theory that he was secretly buried by priests and followers who admired Nobunaga. In addition, there was a black man named Yasuke who had followed Nobunaga until Nobunaga's death. Yasuke was captured by Mitsuhide, but later forgiven. His fate after that is unknown.

In the excavation and research of the site after the Honno-ji Temple in 2007, an old moat site and a large amount of burnt roof tiles considered to be from the same period as the Honno-ji Incident, were discovered. This shows the possibility that it was equipped as a fortress and was prepared for a rebellion, and the research is being continued still now.


It is said that the following Senryu (comic haiku) by Oda shows his character: 'If hototogisu (the little cuckoo) does not sing, kill it.'
However, this was not the Senryu that he read by himself, but one recorded in "Kasshiyawa," The Essays of the lord of the Hirado Domain, Kiyoshi MATSUURA (Seizan MATSURA) as anonymous Senryu in those days (Hototogisu Senryu). In addition, this Senryu continues as 'Bring it to toriya (restaurant),' which criticizes Shogun with a backbone in the Edo period compared to the busho of the Sengoku Period. That Senryu seemed to praise Nobunaga's determination and backbone to discern the life and death of his own and others, rather than the character of Nobunaga.

According to "Shinchoko-ki," he had the skulls of Hisamasa AZAI, and his son Nagamasa AZAI and Yoshikage ASAKURA covered with gold leaf and showed them only at the reception of 'Oumamawari (horse guards) after the people of other provinces left.'
This episode turned out to be a story about him having his vassals drink from a skull as a cup, but this was fiction written by a novelist and it was not actually done. Hakudami (a lacquered skull covered with gold) shows respect for the dead.

Luis FROIS described the personal profile of Nobunaga as follows.
He is tall and thin with a few hige (whiskers).'
His voice is high-pitched, and he always likes to practice martial arts and he is rude.'
He likes justice and mercy, and he is arrogant and respects honor.'
He is a man of decision and is good at tactics, but he does not keep to regulations and merely follows the opinions of followers.'
He was obsessively respected by people.'
He does not drink.'
He merely denigrates himself, looked down on almost all daimyo except himself, and speaks about them as if they were his followers.'
He has the ability to understand and judge clearly, disregarded idols such as Shinto and Buddhist deities and does not believe in fortune-telling.'
Although he is regarded to follow the Hokke sect, he clearly declared that there is no creator of the universe, no immortality of the soul and no world of the afterlife.'
His project is complete and he is at the height of fame.'
He dislikes circumlocution when talking with others.'

It is known that he put a high value on reputation and made effort to insist on the justice of his fighting as can be seen from the diaries written by kuge (court noble) in Kyoto and so on.

The works are called severe by some people

The evaluations of Nobunaga's work differ greatly depending on the time and the person who interprets it. His strong actions taken in defiance of older authorities has since been often criticized right up until today.
Therefore, some people describe him as 'a cruel revolutionist.'
However, it is necessary to consider that such blames might have been manipulated by Hideyoshi and Ieyasu who unified the whole country after Nobunaga's death. Actually, these two assigned the descendants of the Oda clan as successors in spite of indignity, which shows his great influence even after death.

Hakuseki ARAI explains that as follows because religious power at the time ignored the significance of religion integrated with worldly power and the corruption of priests.
Although he was cruel, he had removed the evil of priests for a long time.'
This should be considered as one of his contributions.'

There is an episode where Nobunaga got mad when chabozu (tea-server) bungled a ceremony. Although chabozu cowered behind a shelf scared at his anger, Nobunaga killed him with a sword. It is said that the sword was named 'heshikirihasebe' because it could cut so cleanly.

On June 19, 1570, a master of the gun named Zenjubo SUGITANI attempted to murder Nobunaga, but he failed. In 1573 Zenjubo was arrested. Nobunaga had the body of Zenjubo buried alive up to his head and ordered his head to be cut off with a blunt bamboo saw to inflict upon him great pain for a long duration, to torture him to death. In addition, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA also ordered this done to his vassal named Yashiro OGA. It was introduced as one of the ultimate penalties during the Edo period in Kujigata-osadamegaki (the law of Edo bakufu) (nokogiribiki - punishment by sawing off the head).

In December 1573, Ekei ANKOKUJI, a vassal of the Mori clan dispatched to Nobunaga by Terumoto MORI to negotiate for Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA's return to Kyoto, sent the following letter to his home country.
I think that Nobunaga's prosperity will not continue for three to five years.'
He will probably become kuge or something like that next year.'
After that, he will fail greatly.'
Hideyoshi is really something.'

In 1578, Nobunaga arrested 1,383 Koya hijiri in the kinai region and killed them. It is said that this was because some of them passed themselves as Koya hijiri and spied and Nobunaga had trouble with them.

On January 20, 1579, he crucified 122 women and children of the family and retainers of Murashige ARAKI at Nanamatsu near Amagasaki, and had them shot by gunfire one after another and also killed them by spears and long swords. In addition, he had 388 women and 124 men pushed into four houses and burnt to death with piles of straw around them.
They bent backward like fish and moved up and down like a wave.'
It was like blazing inferno and they suffered fire and jumped up.'

On May 12, 1582, Nobunaga left Azuchi-jo Castle to worship on Chikubushima Island in Lake Biwa. The waiting women thought that Nobunaga would not come back on that day because Chikubushima Island was far from Azuchi-jo Castle, so they left the castle to worship at Kuwanomi-dera Temple or went shopping in town near the castle. However, Nobunaga, returned within that day. Nobunaga who learned of the waiting women's outing became mad and killed all of them without any regard to their ages after tying them up in a row. It is said that the patriarch of the Kuwanomi-dera Temple who pleaded to spare their lives was also killed by Nobunaga in the same way. However, the Kuwanomi-dera Temple considers that he was not actually killed because a record remains of the patriarch who was said to have been killed at the time even after Honnoji Incident. In addition, although there is a description of their 'punishment' in the literature, there is no record to show that the waiting women were also killed. Some people say that they were not killed because there was a way of punishing when arrested by tying them in a row in those days.

Most of the actions Nobunaga implemented against enemy were not extraordinary cruel in those days. Some of the methods and executions were implemented by other daimyo such as Ieyasu TOKUGAWA. For example, Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI executed more than 200 women by transfixing children with a spear and crucifying women as an example to the Mori clan near the borders of the Bizen, Mimasaka and Harima Provinces in 1577 (according to a letter of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI as of January 22 in the next year), and Shingen TAKEDA, Kenshin UESUGI and other daimyo sold enemy as slaves (according to the diaries of missionaries in those days such as Luis SOTELO) and put enemy women up for auction (the Battle of Otaihara), which was not so unique. In this way, it is necessary to evaluate their actions considering situations at that time and the differences in the concept of morality.


The portrait held at the Choko-ji Temple in the Toyoda City, Aichi Prefecture is said to be that of Nobunaga, and the seated statue held by Hikami-cho, Hyogo Prefecture is said to be that of Nobunaga.

In addition, it is said that the realistic portrait was painted by an artist who came from Europe, but it was destroyed by fire at the time in an air raid on the main land of Japan. According to the existing photograph, he was characterized by thick masculine eyebrows, big sharp eyes, high bridge of the nose, a compressed mouth, long sharp shape, masculine mustache and so on. However, this portrait has no historical evidence to back it up and it is also said that it was painted at the time of a public commendation project of 'loyal subjects' during the Meiji period. According to a record, he was a good-looking like a woman when he was young. He was about 170 cm tall (see notes) and seemed to have such a high-pitched voice and there was an episode explaining that his voice could be heard from 500 m away.


He formed friendships with anybody in any social class including common people. Actually, he danced with common people and wiped their sweat, or appeared in front of common people when he directed construction. Judging from his behavior that he put lights everywhere in Azuchi-jo Castle to allow people in the town near the castle enjoy the Obon festival (a Festival of the Dead or Buddhist All Souls' Day), he seemed to love festivals.

Since he reformed the financial conditions of the noble class including the Imperial Court since he went to Kyoto, he also had a deep relationship with kuge. It seems that he got along especially well with Sakihisa KONOE partly because of their common hobbies although they were hostile towards each other at first.

He also had homosexual relationships as well as other busho during the Sengoku period in those days. It is said that he had homosexual relationships with many chigo (a page) such as Toshiie MAEDA, Hidemasa HORI and Naritoshi MORI who was later known by the name of Ranmaru MORI. In addition, he had few concubines relative to his strong power, but they delivered many children.

Interest in nanban (Spain and Portugal)

Nobunaga favored imported articles, and for example, he wore a velvet cape and western hat in "the great military parade in Kyoto" which he held inviting Emperor Ogimachi. It is said that he wore western amour when he went to the battle fields in his later years. He was interested in a back man who was a servant of Alessandro VALIGNANO, given to him. He named him Yasuke and made him his vassal.

It is said that he understood the meaning of the articles presented by the Society of Jesus such as a world globe, a clock and maps (In those days Japanese did not know that this world was a round object and nobody could understand the explanation about the world being a globe at the time it was presented, but Nobunaga said that 'It makes sense' and understood it). He was a man of a curious nature and had used matchlock guns even when they had not been so popular. Although he was famous for an unique character, Luis FROIS seemed to see him as a normal man in daily life. He presented a painting on a folding screen of Azuchi-jo Castle to Pope Gregorius XIII, but it is said that it actually arrived in 1585 which was after Nobunaga's death. In addition, this painting on a folding screen was lost.

The interest in culture

He liked Igo (a board game of capturing territory) (it is said that the word "meijin" (master) originated from Nobunaga) and Kowaka-mai and disliked sarugaku (form of theatre popular in Japan during the eleventh to fourteenth centuries).
It is said that he loved the following part of Kowaka-mai "Atsumori" and often danced, which reveals his view of life;
Life is merely fifty years.'
Looking at things under heaven, everything is nothing but dream, an illusion.'
No living thing once born can avoid death.'

He loved Sumo (Japanese-style wrestling) very much and often held a large joranzumo (sumo match held in front of the Emperor) in the Azuchi-jo Castle and so on. In addition, it is said that Nobunaga's vassals and common people participated in Sumo matches without regard to the social class. In addition, he had hobbies related to physical training and martial art training such as swimming, falconry, Japanese horse-back archery, techniques and the art of Japanese archery.

When Yoshitsugu MIYOSHI died in action, a famous cook of the Miyoshi family named Tsubouchi was captured by the Oda family.
At the time Nobunaga promised him that 'If you cook well I will forgive your sin and hire you as a cook.'
After Nobunaga ate the dishes which Tsubouchi cooked, he was going to execute him because 'It was sloppy.'
But Tsubouchi asked Nobunaga to give him one more chance. It is said that Nobunaga said that 'the second dish was very good,' and hired him as a cook.
Later, Tsubouchi said, 'You should have served the second dish the first time.'
Then, he said, 'I just cooked a sophisticated dish in Kyoto style at first, and cooked a strong-tasting dish in country style next, which meant that Nobunaga was merely a countryman.'


It means that 'Ame (天) no Shita (下), Bu (武) wo Shi (布) ku' in kun-yomi (Japanese reading of character).
It had often been interpreted as 'Unifying the whole country with military power,' but from recent research, it is often understood as 'Controlling the whole country by a military government.'
As mentioned above, Nobunaga used this sign since he changed the name of Inokuchi to Gifu after the capture of Mino Province.

Religious policy

He officially followed the Hokke sect. However, judging from the policies for Ikko Ikki and the Enryaku-ji Temple, the usage of stone statue of Jizo and gravestones for the stone wall of the Azuchi-jo Castle, and descriptions by Luis FROIS, he seemed to be a materialist, criticize the autocratic manners of priests at the time, praise the Christian missionaries and doubted the existence of Shinto and Buddhist deities and the immortality of the soul. However, attention should be paid to the fact that most of the historical materials showing Nobunaga's severe attitude against Buddhist were described by the Society of Jesus which opposed Buddhism. In addition, there is research that points out that the historical view that Nobunaga attempted to destroy Ikko Ikki was spread by the Honganji Buddhist Sect during the Edo period.

On the other hand, he used the pictures which subjects originating from Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism for ceiling and wall paintings at the Tenshu of the Azuchi-jo Castle, and he did not ban the religious activities of the Jodo Shinshu sect (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism) and Enryaku-ji Temple.

It is also said that he placed a big stone named "Brahma Mountain" (梵山) in place of him as shintai (an object of worship housed in a Shinto shrine and believed to contain the spirit of a deity) and forced vassals and people in the territory to worship it ("Frois's History of Japan" written by Luis FROIS). While this self-deification is supported affirmatively by many theories from the viewpoint of his relationship with the Imperial Court and the idea of invading the continent, there are also many negative theories. In addition, since Frois described this after Nobunaga's death and there is no description in historical materials of the first grade except those of Frois, some research doubts the reliability of Frois's description itself.

Imperial Court policy

There are the two theories on the relationship between Nobunaga and the Imperial Court, a theory of rivalry and another theory of reconciliation. The relationship between Emperor Ogimachi, a representative of the Imperial Court, and Nobunaga is a big issue determining the character of the Oda government, which has been actively discussed since 1970s. After the 1990s, Akira IMATANI published "Nobunaga and the Emperor" in which Emperor Ogimachi was described as the strongest rival of Nobunaga. Sakujin KIRINO, Kyoko TACHIBANA and others set up 'A theory which considers the Imperial Court as the mastermind' of Honno-ji Incident based upon empirical research. In this way, it has been actively debated, combined with research on the real truth about the Honnoji Incident.

However, partly because of incomplete historical materials, the events between Nobunaga and the Imperial Court can be interpreted differently.

Katsuhiro TANIGUCHI classified the researchers who insist on any of the following theories.

A theory of rivalry: Koki AKITA, Naohiro ASAO, Toru IKE, Akira IMATANI, Takahiro OKUNO, Kyoko TACHIBANA, Hisashi FUJIKI and Tatsuo FUJITA
A theory of reconciliation: Sakujin KIRINO, Katsuhiro TANIGUCHI, Masanobu HASHIMOTO, Shin HORI, Seichiro MIKI, Hirofumi YAMAMOTO and Osamu WAKITA
Points of the arguments and both theories are described below.

The issue of abdicating the throne of Emperor Ogimachi

In January 1574 (December 1573 by the old lunar calendar), Nobunaga told Emperor to abdicate the throne, and the Emperor was pleased to accept this. However, since it was at the end of the year, abdication of the throne was not implemented and as a result, it was not implemented before Nobunaga's death.

A theory of rivalry': Asao, Imatani, Okuno, Fujiki and so on

Nobunaga not only gave money to the Imperial Court, but also intervened, so he opposed the Emperor who did not obey him.

A particular theory

The emperor rejected that Nobunaga would gain power to control the Emperor and Shogun by implementing abdication of the throne to the Imperial Prince Sanehito and the appointment to Shogun to Yoshihiro ASHIKAGA (a child of Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA) at the same time: insisted by Asao.

A theory of reconciliation': Taniguchi, Hashimoto, Hori, Wakita and so on

Although the Emperor desired to abdicate the throne, it was not realized because of the economic condition of Nobunaga

So far, the Imperial Court had not condoned the abdication of the Emperor because of financial reasons. Abdication of the Emperor could be possible after securing Nobunaga's financial support. In other words, even if the Emperor's side desired abdication, it was impossible unless Nobunaga agreed. Soon after the great military parade in Kyoto in 1581, the wish to abdicate the throne was conveyed to Nobunaga from Emperor Ogimachi. In "Oyu-dono no ue no nikki," which was internal information of the Imperial Court, there was a description as 'It is very happy occasion' that the date of abdicating of the throne was determined to be May 7 of the same year. However, in the record of May 13 of "Kanemi Kyoki" (The Diary of Kanemi) there is a description that the abdication was reversed and stopped.

The great military parade in Kyoto in 1581

Evaluation of 'the military parade' held by Nobunaga in 1581.

A theory of rivalry: Asao, Imatani, Tachibana, Fujiki and so on

It was a demonstration of the power of the Oda army and pressure against the Imperial Court.

Particular theories

It was pressure against the Emperor who hardly accepted abdicating of the throne: insisted by Asao, Imatani and so on.

It was pressure to recommend and assign Sadaijin (minister of the left): Tachibana

A theory of reconciliation': Taniguchi, Hashimoto, Hori, Wakita, and so on

Emperor Ogimachi was delighted by the good treatment from the Nobunaga side during the great military parade in Kyoto, sent a letter to Nobunaga presenting clothes and gave an award to Nobutada as well. In addition, kuge such as Sakihisa KONOE, the former chief advisor to the Emperor, also attended the military parade. Therefore, he did not aim to intimidate the Imperial Court, but had a political agenda to demonstrate the recovery of peace in Kyoto and show respect for the Imperial Court by treating the Emperor very well.

Particular theories

It aimed to uplift morale of the kachu of the Oda family and demonstrate the conquest of the Kinai region to the whole country: Hashimoto.

In order to remove the somber atmosphere of the Imperial Court accompanied by the death of Fusako MADENOKOJI, mother of Imperial Prince Sanehito, Nobunaga restaged a large Sagicho (ritual bonfire of New Year's decorations) held at Azuchi-jo Castle, requested by the Imperial Court: Hori.

Nobunaga and his government post

Although Nobunaga used the title Kazusa no suke by himself when he stayed in Owari Province, he did not receive any government post directly from the Imperial Court. This was in contrast to his father Nobuhide who received government posts such as Bingo no kami (provincial governor of Bingo) and Mikawa no kami (governor of Mikawa Province) from donations to the Imperial Court. After he defeated Yoshimoto IMAGAWA, he used the title of Owari no Kami.

Even after he went to Kyoto under Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA, he accepted comparatively lower government posts such as Danjo shochu (an assistant President of the Board of Censors) and Danjo daihitsu (senior assistant President of the Board of Censors). However, after the exile of Shogun Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA, Nobunaga's government post rose rapidly. Only in the three years after he was assigned to Sangi (councilor) in 1574, he was promoted to Junii (Junior Second Rank) Udaijin (minister of the right). This was the first time for a samurai family to be assigned to Udaijin after MINAMOTO no Sanetomo. There were only four persons, TAIRA no Kiyomori, Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA, Yoshimochi ASHIKAGA, and Yoshinori ASHIKAGA, who attained such a high post before him. However, after he resigned Udaijin and Ukone no daisho (Major Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards) on April 1578, he did not receive any government post and remained Sani (courtier without post).

After that, Nobunaga's appointment twice became a problem. The second time, on June 1582, Haretoyo KAJUJI who was buke tenso (liaison officer between the imperial court and the military government) and Sadakatsu MURAI who was Kyoto shoshidai (The Kyoto deputy) discussed Nobunaga's appointment. At this time, all offers were considered that Nobunaga be appointed to any post among seii taishogun, Daijo-daijin (Grand minister of state) and chief adviser to the Emperor. There are two theories on who offered that appointment, the Imperial Court or Nobunaga. The Sanshoku suinin mondai (the question of the three alternative positions). This is an important issue from the viewpoint of Nobunaga's attitude towards the Imperial Court. However, since the Honnoji Incident occurred before Nobunaga's official response, it is not sure what kind of idea Nobunaga had.

A theory of conflict': Akita, Asao, Imatani, Fujiki and so on

The fact that Nobunaga did not respond clearly shows his attitude was to separate from or suppress the Imperial Court.

Particular theories

It was because he tried to incorporate the emperor into his power structure: Akita.

It was because he tried to achieve release from the structure of the Imperial Court by standing outside of the government post system: Asao.

It was because he requested the appointment of a government post in return for the abdication of the emperor: Imatani.

A theory of reconciliation': supported by Taniguchi, Hashimoto, Hori, Wakita, and so on

He did not show an attitude to separate from the Imperial Court.

Particular theories

Since Nobunaga was assigned to Ukone no daisho against Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA, he did not need a government post: Taniguchi.

It was because he wanted to be released from court etiquette: Wakita.

It was because he required Nobutada's appointment: Hori and Taniguchi.

He unofficially accepted the assignment to Daijo-daijin: Hashimoto and Wakita.

As for the Sanshoku suinin mondai, the viewpoint that the Imperial Court led this issue in both theories was influential, but Kyoko TACHIBANA proposed a new theory that it was led by Nobunaga's will, and as a result, it led to a dispute. In addition, it was also thought that Nobunaga could not answer because he did not have time since the conditions were suggested just before the Honnoji Incident.

The petition for an official rank by Nobunaga

Not many Nobunaga 's vassals were officially conferred to a court rank or appointed to an office, and most of them were given ranks like Jugoi such as Shuri no suke (assistant officer of the Office of Palace Repairs) and Chikuzen no kami (governor of Chikuzen Province). In addition, among his family members, his legitimate son Nobutada was promoted to Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) Konoe no chujo (middle captain of the palace guards), but the government posts of others were not so high. On the other hand, he made petitioned for an official rank for the confederal daimyo and for his vassals such as Ieyasu TOKUGAWA and Yoshishige SATAKE.

Commercial policy

He gave Shuinjo (shogunate license to trade) of rakuichi-rakuza (free markets and open guilds) to merchants and traders, and abolished unnecessary sekisho (checking station) to activate the economy and distribution. In addition, he established control over territories through land surveys, had vassals move to the town near the castle, and organized a regular army. However, he did not abolish all za (a trade association) (if he were to do this, the distribution system, at that time, would be paralyzed). Therefore, he implemented rakuza where it could be possible, while he utilized za in cities like Kyoto where za had the power.

Personnel policy

He emphasized merit-based personnel systems. While he adopted Tokichiro KINOSHITA (Hideyoshi HASHIBA) who was a son of a foot soldier, Mitsuhide AKECHI who was ronin (masterless samurai), Kazumasu TAKIGAWA who was considered to have been ninja (professional spy in feudal Japan highly trained in stealth and secrecy) and so on, he exiled hereditary senior vassals such as Nobumori SAKUMA and Hidesada HAYASHI. Although Sakuma and Hayashi made contributions to some extent, they were inferior to other hereditary senior vassals such as Katsuie SHIBATA who contributed much as a commander of the Hokuriku district army. Some people say that Nobunaga accomplished housecleaning as a punishment against Sakuma and Hayashi who insisted on getting more rights and interest than deserved by their contributions. However, he sent a letter of chastisement of nineteen articles to Nobumori SAKUMA, which, in its essence, forced him to choose retiring or achieving a feat for his life, so that it did not request an exile with no mercy. This letter of chastisement and the return of Toshiie MAEDA show that Nobunaga had a policy to forgive a vassal if he made a bigger contribution than his failure.

It can be considered that the purge of hereditary vassals such as Nobumori SAKUMA and Hidesada HAYASHI and Morinari ANDO aimed to reorganize the territories of vassals and increase direct control of Oda family territories.

He utilized Japanese tea ceremony popular in those days for political purposes such as the control of vassals. For example, he gave "famous tea utensils" which had the same value as a province, as Onsho (reward grants) in stead of territory or money. The issue of Onsho (reward grants) and the increase of territory had been more or less a big problem for any daimyo. However, it can be said that Nobunaga solved this problem very well. There is an episode about Kazumasu TAKIGAWA achieving distinguished war service with the capture of Kai Province and he required Nobunaga to give him a tea utensil named Jukokonasu as Onsho, but that he was disappointed to receive only the title of Kanto Kanrei (A shogunal deputy for the Kanto region) and the additional territory of Kozuke Province.

Nobunaga accepted foreign soldiers who came with missionaries and adopted them as his own soldiers.

It is said that he was strict in his personnel affairs. However, he sometimes showed human kindness, for example, when he knew that Hideyoshi HASHIBA was cool against his lawful wife Kodaiin who hadn't had children, he called Hideyoshi, scolded him severely and sent a letter of encouragement to her. In addition, although he exiled Nobumori and Nobuhide SAKUMA, he allowed Nobuhide's return after Nobumori's death. It is not sure this was because he judged that Nobuhide expressed remorse, but he seemed to mind the movement of the Sakuma family.

He had no strategist or counselor as a close adviser and only adopted secretaries such as Hidemasa HORI and Naritoshi (Ranmaru) MORI who were necessary for accomplishing his order.
(Although Shigeharu TAKENAKA and Josui KURODA were Nobunaga's vassals, they were actually Hideyoshi's vassals.)
(It is commonly thought that Josui daringly chose Hideyoshi in spite of admitting the ability of Nobunaga because he could not get an opportunity to show his ability as a strategist under Nobunaga.)
It is rare that such a successive person did not have such human resources. This was because Nobunaga himself did not favor obeying other people's opinions. It is said that this was one of the reasons that people surrounding him could not understand Nobunaga's intention and obey him. However, it is also thought that this was necessary in order to implement radical reforms in the troubled times. In addition, since there had been no post of strategist in Japan (it is a post in the system in China), it is not true that in the after ages Shigeharu TAKENAKA was a strategist.

Although betrayal was common during the Sengoku period, most of the vassals who betrayed Nobunaga were those who served him after he went to Kyoto. Few vassals who had served Nobunaga since he had been the lord of Owari and Mino Provinces betrayed him.

In 1580 Nobunaga exiled Hidesada HAYASHI because of the former sin, but he did not accuse Katsuie SHIBATA who committed the same sin. In addition, Nobunaga gave Katsuie the largest territory among the vassals of the Oda family, that is, the eight counties of 750,000 koku (approximately 135 million liters of crop yield) in Echizen Province, and the position of the head of chief retainers of the Oda family. Moreover, he recognized the ability of Hisahide MATSUNAGA and twice accepted his surrender. In this way, if a vassal was efficient, Nobunaga allowed his sin and gave him an important post.


He usually used rather cautious strategies, specifically, he decreased enemy's power by enough preparation and fought with more soldiers than the enemy had. He did not often use such tactics to attack suddenly and defeat a large army with just a few soldiers as in the battle of Okehazama. Especially against Shingen TAKEDA and Kenshin UESUGI who Nobunaga watched out for, he did not aggressively dispatch troops and he responded carefully. Also, Shingen and Kenshin did not fight with Nobunaga independently and they cooperated with surrounding daimyo when fighting. However, he sometimes did fight with a few soldiers as mentioned below. He took a flexible approach, for example, judging the time to fight before reinforcements came.

Although it is thought that he often ordered a massacre, it was only in the battle with the temples when he actually destroyed them without accepting their surrender. He accepted the surrender of a part of the enemy in some battles such as with the subjugation of Takeda and the second Tensho Iga War. In the battle of the temples, he never used military power first and offered reconciliation or proposed to be neutral based on Buddhism. However, the temple side rejected or broke the agreement. Nobunaga destroyed the enemy in the battle of Nagashima, Echizen, and others, but he accepted reconciliation with its commander at the Hongan-ji Temple led by Kennyo several times. In addition, his letter to Ieyasu at the Battle of Takatenjin-jo Castle shows that he often used it as tactics to threaten enemies or making the capture of the enemy easier.

It is said that he had a military prowess as a warrior. Not only in the Battle of Okehazama but also in the Battle of Ichijodani Castle and the Battle of Tennoji Temple Fort with the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple, he fought bravely in the front-line although he was the commander. It was rare that a daimyo himself fought at the front-line.

He had good mobility, for example, in the Battle of Rokujo he trekked the long distance in two days (in spite of heavy snow) which usually needed three days. When the Azai and Asakura allied forces approached Kyoto while Nobunaga fought at Settsu Province, he also returned to Kyoto and guarded it.

Domestic administration

Although Nobunaga was severe against enemy daimyo, Ikki-shu and his followers, he showed his ability in unspectacular domestic administration and was able to grasp the people's heart. Nobunaga implemented good government all his life in most of his territories such as Owari and Mino Provinces. It is said that Nobunaga won at the Battle of Okehazama because of the support of his people. It is also said that the people in Kyoto destroyed in several wars welcomed Nobunaga's strict governance. There is an episode about when Nobunaga saw a foot soldier from the Oda army hassle women on a road, he killed that soldier himself because he broke the peace in Kyoto. In addition, this is supported by the fact that only a few kokujin followed Mitsuhide AKECHI after Honnoji Incident.

It is often said that Rakuichi-rakuza was introduced by Nobunaga for the first time. Actually, however, it was done by Sadayori ROKKAKU (the father of Yoshikata ROKKAKU who was killed by Nobunaga), daimyo of the south of the Omi Province during the Sengoku Period, for the first time. However, it can be said that Nobunaga implemented visionary domestic administration such as a large-scale Rakuichi-rakuza and the intention in the development of commerce which emphasized a distribution system around Lake Biwa (the commercial policy emphasizing a distribution system began to be highly valued from the latter part of the Edo period, and nengu (land tax) had been emphasized.).

He also implemented public work projects, for example, he had roads constructed and trees planted in each 3.927 km (Ichirizuka - a milestone between "Ri"s, about 3.927 km) as a guide board. This was effective to increase the speed of marching and activate commerce by making it easier for traffic from various places, combined with the abolishment of sekisho (checking station) (In other provinces, it was not implemented because it also had the demerit that the speed of enemy's marching also became faster).

Nobunaga implemented various policies to stabilize social and economic infrastructure such as the integration of units by sealing a brand or Kao (written seal mark) on the masu (a measure) which Nobunaga admitted officially, and the declaration of the ordinance of selection of coins to use good-quality coins instead of bad-quality.

Evaluation of later ages

During the Edo period, Nobunaga was known by Nobunagaki (The Record of Nobunaga) written by Hoan OZE. But compared to Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI who was familiar amongst the common people by Ehon Taiko Ki or others, Nobunaga was not so highly valued amongst common people. After the Meiji period, Nobunaga's contributions such as the revival of goryosho (the Imperial or shogunate's estate) led to evaluation as an imperialist, and the Meiji government ordered built a shrine which enshrined Nobunaga ODA in 1869. In 1870 Nobutoshi ODA, governor of the Tendo Domain (present Tendo City, Yamagata Prefecture) had shrines of Nobunaga ODA built in the residence of Tokyo and Mt. Maizuru in the domain. At this time, the shrines enshrining Nobunaga were given shago (shrine's name) of Takeoda-sha Shrine, later Kenkunsha Shrine by Jingikan (department of worship). After that, the Kenkun-jinja Shrine in Tokyo moved to the top of Mt. Funaoka in Kyoto in 1880. In 1917, he was raised to Shoichii (Senior First Rank) after his death.

After the war, Nobunaga's political contributions were appreciated and his image as a reformer was strengthened. In addition, there are many fictional stories based on the image of 'an atheist' or 'a destroyer' derived from the fire attacks against Mt. Hiei, the behavior to see himself as a god and a description that '(Nobunaga) described himself as an evil spirit in a letter,' by the development of the research of Frois's History of Japan written by Luis FROIS.


The Oda clan identified itself as the Taira clan or the Fujiwara clan, but it can be thought that it was a descendant of the Inbe clan, an ancient Gozoku (local ruling family), judging from the relationship with Tsurugi-jinja Shrine at Oda, Echizen-cho, Nyu-gun, Fukui Prefecture. It built a base in Echizen Province and extended its power to Owari Province. The Oda clan and the Asakura clan had been rivals from ancient times. Nobusada ODA became the castellan of Furuwatari-jo Castle, and Nobuhide, the father of Nobunaga, achieved equal power against the main branch family who was in charge of Shugodai.

Grave and mausoleum

His grave and mausoleum are located as follows.

Official mausoleum of Nobunaga': Honno-ji Temple in Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto City

It consists of a stone pagoda Hokyointo and the mausoleum in irimoya style (building with a half-hipped roof). There is a grave in the Honno-ji Temple which was rebuilt in another place after it was burnt down during the Honnoji Incident.

Mausoleum of Lord Nobunaga ODA': The Rendaisan Amida-ji Temple on the Teramachi Street in Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City.

Stone monument. It is said that Seigyoku, the chief priest in those days, happened to meet where a follower cremated Nobunaga's dead body just after the Honnoji Incident and buried the cremains at the temple with the cremains of Nobutada which he attained later. Since he was asked to submit the cremains by Hideyoshi, this episode is highly reliable.

The grave of Nobunaga ODA': Oku no in (inner sanctuary) of Koyasan Temple

It is gorinto (a gravestone composed of five pieces piled up one upon another). It had been forgotten after the Meiji period, but was discovered in 1970.

Soken-in Temple, which is tatchu (sub-temples on the site of main temple) of the Daitoku-ji Temple in Kita Ward, Kyoto City.

It is gorinto. It is said that Hideyoshi had that temple built during the first anniversary of Nobunaga's death and that since the dead body could not be found, Hideyoshi had two wooden statues carved, cremated one, and placed the other at the Soken-in Temple.
The name of temple originated from Nobunaga's Kaimyo (posthumous Buddhist names) '総見院殿贈大相国一品泰巌居士.'

Mausoleum of Lord Nobunaga ODA': The site of Nino-maru of the Azuchi-jo Temple

The mausoleum of the separated ashes of Lord Nobunaga ODA': The Takaokasan Zuiryu-ji Temple in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture

The Hokyointo stone pagoda.

The mausoleum of Nobunaga ODA and his son': The Shingosan Sofuku-ji Temple in Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture

Stone monument. Historic site designated by the city. It is said that Onabe no kata (Lady Onabe), a Nobunaga concubine, presented his belongings and placed his ihai (ancestral tablets).

The memorial tower of Nobunaga and Nobutada ODA': The Hongen-in Temple in the Nanshu-ji Temple in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture

Kenkun-jinja Shrine': The Kita Ward, Kyoto City

Bekkaku-Kanpeisha (a special government shrine). This was moved by Nobutoshi ODA from his residence to the mountainside of Mt. Funaoka, but was relocated to the present place in 1910.

Kenkun-jinja Shrine' (in the Tendo City): The Tendo City, Yamagata Prefecture

Kensha (prefectural shrine - of prefectures other than Kyoto and Osaka). In 1884 it was relocated from top of the mountain to the mountainside making it easier to worship.

Kenkun-jinja Shrine' (sessha -auxiliary shrine, dedicated to a deity closely related to that of the main shrine): the Kashimori-jinja Shrine in Wakamiya-cho, Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture

The God of the Market Place of Rakuichi-rakuza which was held by Nobunaga ODA at Misono was enshrined on the sacred tree of the Kashimori-jinja Shrine. During the Meiji period, Kenkun-jinja Shrine was transferred to the precincts of a shrine.

The old castle site of Kiyosu in Kiyosu City, Aichi Prefecture

There is a shoshi (small shrine) in Shinmei tsukuri (style of shrine architecture based on that of Ise-jingu Shrine) which enshrines Nobunaga.

The bell of the Nanban-dera Temple': located at Shunko-in Temple, a tatchu temple of Rinzai sect Daihonzan (head temple) Myoshin-ji Temple in Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City
The Nanban-dera Temple was a Christian church which Nobunaga had built in Kyoto.

In addition, there are memorial towers and Kenkun-jinja Shrines in various places.

The Tensho-ji Temple
After the Battle of Yamasaki, Hideyoshi attempted to have a temple built at Mt. Funaoka, which was north of Kyoto, in order to mourn the passing of Nobunaga, and was given a jigo (literally, "temple name," which is the title given to a Buddhist temple) of the Tensho-ji Temple from the Imperial Court. However, Kokei HOAN who was responsible for construction was exiled in 1588 because of Hideyoshi's anger so, it was not built. Later, Mt. Funaoka was selected as the place for Kenkun-jinja Shrine.


Kubi-zuka (burial mound for heads) where it is said that Nobunaga's head was buried: The Nishiyama Honmon-ji Temple in Shibakawa-cho, Shizuoka Prefecture

It is said that Muneyasu HARA (Shima no kami (Governor of Shima Province) Hara), the father of the eighteenth chief priest Nichijun brought the heads of his father Taneshige HARA and his older brother Kiyoyasu HARA (Magohachiro HARA) who were killed in the Honnoji Incident and the head of Nobunaga ordered by Sansa HONINBO to the Honmon-ji Temple and planted a holy tree and buried them in Kubi-zuka.

Events and festivals

Gifu Nobunaga Festival

Oda Nobunaga Summit' Conference (a conference held by cites and towns that have or emphasize a deep relationship with Nobunaga ODA)

[Original Japanese]