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織田 信長
おだ のぶなが
Oda Nobunaga
1534 - 1582

Appearances: Sengoku Musou (1,2), Sengoku BASARA (1,2)

Oda Nobunaga was born Oda Kipposhi, the second son of 織田信秀 Oda Nobuhide, the minor daimyo of the small 尾張 Owari province, He was a very stalwart and brave man, whose many battles were against the 松平 Matsudaira (later to be named as the Tokugawa) and Imagawa families of neighboring provinces. The Imagawa were a very noble family who was centered at a Suruga, while the Matsudaira of Mikawa were very minor much like the Oda.

During the 1540s, the main powers vying for control on the Owari-Mikawa-Totomi border were none other than Oda Nobuhide, Matsudaira Hirotada, and Imagawa Yoshimoto. For the past several years, the Matsudaira had slowly started to become influenced by the powerful Imagawa clan, so they both naturally supported one on another. The two allies marched as far west as the Owari border, where Oda Nobuhide was ready and waiting. The three armies met at the small field of 小豆坂 Azukizaka, where the Oda would take the day. In 1548, Nobuhide attempted to gain support from the Matsudaira by trying to lure a certain Matsudaira Tadamoto to his side. However the ploy was revealed and Tadamoto was killed en route to Nobuhide. To make up for this failure, Nobuhide charged the Matsudaira's main castle, Okazaki. Though the Imagawa assisted the Matsudaira, Matsudaira Hirotada was forced to give up his young son 竹千代 Takechiyo (the future Tokugawa Ieyasu) as a hostage for the Imagawa. However, Nobuhide intercepted the young boy and used it as his trump card. As luck would have it, the Imagawa and Matsudaira called the bluff. At the end of 1548, the Oda and Imagawa met on the battlefield, where the Oda lost. Nobuhide died the following year, leaving the Oda clan and Owari separated.

The Imagawa wasted no time in taking advantage of Nobuhide's death. A siege at Anjo castle, where Nobunaga's elder brother was holed up. Unless Nobunaga gave up the young Takechiyo, his brother would be forced to commit suicide. Having no other option, Nobunaga sent Takechiyo to the Imagawa and the siege was put to a halt. By 1551, Nobunaga had become the leader of his Oda faction and his only enemies were the Iwakura Oda and the Imagawa. By this time, Nobunaga was early into his adult years. He stood around 5'5'' tall with a scarce beard and a strong prescence around him. He was a strong speaker and all together rude at times. In some records, his attitude is what cause the suicide of a certain 平手清秀 Hirate Kiyohide. Kiyohide committed suicide and left a letter begging for Nobunaga to change his ways. Years later, Nobunaga would build the Seisyu-ji temple in honor for his loyal vassal.

By 1558, Nobunaga had secured all of Owari and even defeated the Saito clan to the north. His only enemy now was the deadly, powerful Imagawa clan. Yoshimoto was a shrewd politician and his vast amount of able retainers made his army something to be feared. In 1560, Yoshimoto gathered up around 25,000 troops from Totomi, Suruga, and Mikawa in a mad push for the capital. Any who did not submit to the Imagawa clan would be crushed and wiped out all together. Yoshimoto ordered 松平元康 Matsudaira Motoyasu (The grown-up Takechiyo) to attack the Marume fort. In the meanwhile, the Imagawa marched into Owari and attacked Washizu castle. Fortunately, the retainers were able to send word to Nobunaga about the attack and plans for what course of action the Oda should take went underway. Though they were divided, Nobunaga took the side of fighting, and gathered enough Ashigaru and Samurai to give him a larger force. Though his men were outnumbered at least ten to one by the colossal Imagawa army, Nobunaga was still calm before the oncoming battle.

The Imagawa army set up camp after the fall of Washizu at the Dengakuhazama gorge. Yoshimoto was said to have set up his headquarters at the base of a giant oak tree, and enjoyed Sake and dances while viewing the heads of the fallen Oda soldiers. Nobunaga went as far as the Narumi Imagawa fort and this was where his tactical mind went to work. He had flags set up around the hills of Narumi, as to give the impression to the Imagawa that the Oda were stationed around the hills. In the meanwhile, Nobunaga moved his troops around the hills to a nearby one overlooking Yoshimoto's camp. At this point, luck went into play. A giant summer rainstorm, of which the area was known for, struck the gorge. Taking this as the perfect sign, Nobunaga gave the order for a charge. Yoshimoto's camp was dumbstruck as the flowing Oda troops made swept up the Imagawa. Yoshimoto was killed by a group of Yari (spear) samurai and his head taken. The Imagawa were left without a trace of morale and fled back to Suruga. The Matsudaira made haste and returned to Mikawa, free from Yoshimoto's influence.

By 1567, Nobunaga had destroyed the Imagawa and wiped out any Saito threat. The following year, Nobunaga moved his fort to the newly captured 稲葉山 Inabayama castle and renamed it as 岐阜 Gifu. Receiving praise from the Emperor, Nobunaga also set up strong ties with the Matsudaira and the Takeda of Kai. Though the Azai were somewhat uneasy with Nobunaga's rapid movement into Mino, he quickly made peace with them by giving the current lord Azai Nagamasa his sister, O-Ichi, as a wife. The plan was all set. Nobunaga's ambition had begun.

The arrival of Ashikaga Yoshiaki gave Nobunaga even more power. Yoshiaki was the brother of the late Shogun 足利義輝 Ashikaga Yoshiteru and asked for Nobunaga to assist him in making his way to the capitol. Nobunaga jumped at the offer and set out for Kyoto in 1568. Nobunaga would become displease with the Shogunate eventually and declined several high-ranking political titles.

In the early 1570s, Nobunaga's aim for ruling the land was closer to becoming a reality. He had all of central Japan under his sphere of influence and was dealing with his enemies (The 一向一揆 Ikko-Ikki warrior monks, to name specifics) quite easily. His first real test of power and authority came in 1570. After accusing Asakura Yoshikage for dis-loyalty to the Shogun and Emperor, Nobunaga marched his troops (With the help of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the former Matsudaira Motoyasu) into Echizen and declared war on the 朝倉 Asakura. Much to the dismay of Nobunaga, however, Azai Nagamasa, Nobunaga's brother in law, broke his alliance to the Oda and supported his long time allies the Asakura. After some small struggles and battles with the Azai-Asakura, Nobunaga and Ieyasu met the two at the river field of Anegawa in July of 1570. The Azai-Asakura were defeated at Anegawa, yes, but the struggle for power had just begun. The Azai and Asakura continued to attack Nobunaga's troops to the north, while the hordes of Monk forces plagued the Oda's central area. There were also rumors that the current Shogun was plotting against his former patron as well. In 1571, however, Nobunaga cut all ties the shogun had with other daimyo and left him sitting in his Kyoto palace with not a thread of authority.

Nobunaga, under threat from dozens of clans and warriors in the anti-Oda alliance, lashed out in late 1571. Nobunaga's forces surrounded 比叡山 Mt. Hiei and launched a genocide, proceeding to slaughter every monk, women, and child. Nobunaga had the whole mountain side burned and the Mt. Hiei sect was destroyed. From this misdeed, Nobunaga gained his infamous title of 第六天魔王 Dairokuten Ma-ou (Sixth Sky Devil King). Responding to this, the Takeda marched into Tokugawa lands and threatened Ieyasu. Making a wise decision, Nobunaga sent some of his troops to help support Ieyasu, though ultimately this would prove fatal as the Tokugawa were nearly wiped out at Mikatagahara.

The death of Takeda Shingen halted the Takeda advance significantly. However, 武田勝頼 Takeda Katsuyori, Shingen's heir, picked up where his father left off and intended to bring back the glory of the Takeda. In May of 1575, he pushed his way to Nagashino castle in Totomi. Nobunaga hesitated at first to help the small Tokugawa, but he made yet another wise decision and went to Nagashino. The combined force of the Oda-Tokugawa alliance was more than 38,000 men plus 3,000 rifle troops. In on June 28th, Katsuyori had failed to order a retreat and instead ordered a full on charge against the Oda-Tokugawa men. However, this charged was doomed to fail. The 10,000 Takeda Calvary had to go through unfavorable terrain, wooden barriers which Nobunaga had erected earlier, and thousands of rifle units. Using a system of continuous fire, the rifle units wiped out the majority of Katsuyori's charge, while the Oda Ashigaru rushed the field and butchered any Calvary who remained. The Takeda were wiped out, and Katsuyori got away while some of the greatest Takeda generals were slaughtered. This was one of the most significant battles in Nobunaga's life, and the worst for the Takeda.

In the last years of his life, Nobunaga had nearly united all of Honshu but the northern region of Oushuu and western region of Chugoku. His only enemies now were the remaining Monk factions, the Uesugi to the north, and Mouri to the west. Though he would lose to the Uesugi at Tedorigawa, Kenshin passed away shortly after leaving only one direction for Nobunaga to focus on. While Nobunaga would deal with the Ikko in central Honshu, which he would wipe out in 1580, he sent out some of his ablest generals to start the conquering of the west. Having ordered Akechi Mitsuhide to secure Tamba and Hashiba (Later Toyotomi) Hideyoshi to control Harima, Nobunaga's dream was even closer at hand. By 1582, he had destroyed the remaining Takeda and Hideyoshi was on his way to the Mouri homelands. Nobunaga was now on the seat of power, sans for one threat not even Nobunaga could have guessed.

Nobunaga was known for his cruel ways, which didn't stop short of his enemies. He was noted to have been very harsh to his vassals as well, most notably Akechi Mitsuhide. Nobunaga was said to have publicly mocked Mitsuhide for his bald head and was angered at Mitsuhide's skill in poetry. Though if theses were the reasons that would lead to Mitsuhide's rebellion, it is still unknown. After securing Tamba, instead of marching to Hideyoshi's aid per Nobunaga's order, Mitsuhide ordered for a turn around. His target: Honnouji, Nobunaga's place of residence in Kyoto. On the morning of June 21st, 1582, Nobunaga awoke to the sounds of gun shots and the sight of the purple bellflower, Mitsuhide's crest. Nobunaga's fate was sealed. He would perish in the flames of the burning Honnouji, and his eldest son killed. The man known as Nobunaga perished with his dreams on that one day.