Oda Nobunaga was one of Japan’s most polarizing and powerful ‘Daimyos’ (feudal lords) in the late 16th century. He came from the Owari province. He replaced his father and consolidated his dominance by removing all rivals, including his own uncle and brother. To accomplish his expansionist goals, he formed agreements with his neighbors and propped up puppet kings. To overcome his opponents who were numerically superior to him, he used deception and surprise tactics. To revolutionize the way conflicts were waged in Japan, he included the use of long pikes, weapons, and castles. He established a specialized warrior class system with rankings based solely on fighting abilities. Nobunaga was also a capable administrator who successfully transitioned Japan’s economy from one based on agriculture to one based on manufacturing. To assist trade and movement of his soldiers, he erected fortress towns connected by roadways. He implemented land reforms that valued land based on its productivity rather than its size. He established a free market system that eliminated monopolies and encouraged healthy competition. He was particularly interested in art and culture, and erected imposing monuments to demonstrate his supremacy. Though he is known for his harshness, he is credited with uniting a significant chunk of Japan and forever changing the island nation’s history.
Childhood and Adolescence
Oda Nobunaga was born on June 23, 1534, in Japan’s Owari region. Kipposhi was his given name as a child. Oda Nobuhide, his father, was a warlord and the chief of the Oda clan, with vast property holdings in Owari region. He was his father’s eldest legal son and his mother’s second son, Tsuchida Gozen. He has 11 brothers and two sisters in total.
He was recognized as a child for his strange behavior and was given the nickname ‘Owari no Outsuke,’ which translates to ‘The Big Fool of Owari.’ Despite the fact that his father was a clan leader, he was caught playing on the streets at an early age and developed an interest in ‘tanegashima’ (matchlock) guns.
When Nobunaga’s father died unexpectedly in 1551, he is said to have acted out by tossing ceremonial incense at the altar. People in Owari were convinced of his folly as a result of his actions, and they preferred his brother, Nobuyuki, as his father’s successor since he was well-mannered and soft-spoken in comparison to Nobunaga.
Hirate Masahide, Nobunaga’s master, was so embarrassed of him that he committed ‘Seppuku,’ a public suicide ceremony. This had a great influence on Nobunaga, who eventually calmed down.
Consolidation After Ascension to Power
Following Nobuhide’s death, there was a power struggle in Owari between numerous factions. To gain power, Nobunaga formed an alliance with his father’s younger brother, Nobumitsu, and assassinated his other uncle, Oda Nobutomo.
To prevent any invasions on Owari’s boundaries, he formed an alliance with various clans from his neighboring provinces. His brother, Nobuyuki, however, formed an alliance with his foes and revolted twice against him. His mother intervened and brought peace the first time, but by 1559, Nobunaga had slain his brother and destroyed all opposition within the province of Owari.
Nobunaga was a brilliant tactician. The men of Imagawa overpowered him by a factor of 20 in the battle of Okehazama. He did, however, defeat the attackers by fooling them about his own troops and location. He then struck from an unexpected direction with a small detachment, defeating the enemy and killing Imagawa. To enhance his position, he formed an alliance with his competitor clans.
When the king of his neighboring province, Mino, died abruptly in 1561, leaving his province in the hands of his weak son, Saito Tatsuoki, Nobunaga took advantage of the situation and persuaded the people of Mino to join him. He then launched an attack on the province, forcing Tatsuoki to flee.
He made his expansionist goals apparent by 1568. He went about constructing puppet rulers around him in order to obtain authority over a greater territory. He expelled the Miyoshi clan from Kyoto and appointed Yoshiaki as Shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate, but he limited Yoshiaki’s authority and utilized him to advance his conquests.
As he grew in power, he became increasingly cruel in order to achieve his goal of conquering all of Japan. In 1571, when the Enryaku-ji monastery stood in his way, he destroyed it to the dust, slaughtering monks, laity, women, and children with no remorse. Another example of his ruthlessness occurred after the siege of Nagashima, when he set fire to the enemy stronghold, murdering tens of thousands of helpless opponents.
He had broad swaths of Japan under his authority by 1574, and he had constructed a navy to extend his reach to the other islands. His opponents, on the other hand, grew in number as his realm grew. When his retinue was encircled and outmanned by his adversaries in 1582, he was forced to commit’seppuku’ to save his honour.
Oda Nobunaga was a divisive figure in Japanese history when he died. It’s a point of contention whether he was a hero who unified Japan or simply a power-hungry ruthless king. Whatever others may think, there was a method to his lunacy that altered Japan’s history forever.
Achievements of Oda
Nobunaga revolutionized Japanese warfare by combining the use of long pikes, weapons, and castles in long-term battles. He also established a specialized warrior class structure, with ranks based on combat aptitude. He was a good administrator as well as a terrific fighter. He established a system of land division based on the land’s produce rather than its area.
He shifted the economy away from agriculture and toward manufacture, with roads connecting castle towns to ease trade and the movement of his forces. He established the ‘Rakuichi Rakuza’ system, which was a free market that ended a few favored classes’ monopoly.
As he grew in authority, he became more interested in art and culture, and erected impressive monuments to demonstrate his dominance. One such example of extravagance is the Azuchi Castle on the shores of Lake Biwa.
In Japan’s hereditary titles, Oda Nobunaga has been bestowed the ‘Senior First Rank.’
Personal History and Legacy
He formed an alliance with his possible competitors through the marriage of his daughter to Shingen’s son and a similar tie between his sister and the first family of Omi Province, in addition to military conquests.
As a measure of political expediency, he married Nohime, the daughter of Saito Dosan. He did not have children with her, but did have offspring with his concubines, Kitsuno and Lady Saka. He had 12 sons and 13 daughters, with some of them being adopted.
Estimated Net Worth
Oda is one of the wealthiest politicians and one of the most well-known. Oda Nobunaga’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.
He used a personal seal that read ‘Tenka Fubu,’ which meant ‘All the globe by force of war,’ to signify his intention to conquer all of Japan. He was interested in European culture and fostered trade with neighboring Korea and China.
During his reign, he encouraged the development of Christian churches and the sending of Jesuit missionaries.
In numerous fiction works and video games, Nobunaga is depicted as a monster. In certain versions, he is also represented as an active hero.