Joined: 04 May 2006
Location: Washington (the one with all the politicians)
|Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:59 pm Post subject: Mr. Fujimoto, I deeply apologize.
|So, I'm back in Japan(last week, fly back on the weekend to home) and have spent the last three weeks working on my reading skills again at Yamasa. Because this time I'm taking private lessons, I chose to read books and newspaper articles. We made it all the way through Fujimoto Masayuki's "Nagashino no Tatakai: Nobunaga no Shouin, Katsuyori no Haiin" (藤本正行、長篠の戦い：信長の勝因、勝頼の敗因), Published by Yosensha in 2010.
Now, to be fair to me, a large part of the book was Fujimoto correcting misperceptions about what he had written before. Since he certainly wasn't writing that for MY benefit (he directly addresses the criticism of Kirino Sakujin in particular), but from reading other of his work and what was written about it in English, apparently it was pretty commonly misunderstood.
To whit: Fujimoto is commonly known as the lead proponent of the "Nobunaga only had 1000 guns at Nagashino" camp. In fact, it's his work that led to that interpretation becoming commonly known, and that such leading Western historians as Thomas Conlan and Paul Varley have mentioned it, if not embraced it, in their work that addresses Nagashino.
In my own research, this personally has been one of the hardest stances to understand. The idea, as filtered through Varley, etc., was that one of the reasons the whole "3000 guns firing in rotational volley" couldn't have happened was that Nobunaga didn't have 3000 guns present at the battle. This assertion, at least in Fujimoto's original work, is based on his reading of the Shinchokoki (信長公記) by Ota Gyuuichi, present at the battle and who served as a sort of secretary to Nobunaga. Since the most reliable copies (written in Gyuuichi's own hand) of the work only mention 1000 guns, the idea went, only 1000 guns were present. This is contrasted with the popularlized but less reliable account in Oze Hoan's Shinchoki which clearly states 3000 guns fired in rotation, and is used to disprove that notion.
I had read bits and pieces of Fujimoto's book in doing my own research, but "knowing" that he believed 1000 guns only were present, I read through pretty much to understand his reasoning in that, based on the interpretation of the Shinchokoki, etc. In other words, I failed to read the entire book. Therefore, this made no sense to me--and as anyone who's listened to the podcasts or read my work knows, I spend a significant amount of time demonstrating that for a 30,000 person army of the time to only have 1,000 guns is a RIDICULOUSLY low number, and that 4,500 or more is probably more accurate, based on contemporary percentages seen in the Oda army.
Well, it's amazing what happens when you read the whole book. The chapter I read, Fujimoto specifically is talking about the 1000 mentioned by Gyuuichi that were selected on the spot to fall under 5 Bugyo, or officers, out of his horse guards. Like me, it appears that most people read his earlier work and understood him to be saying that only these guns were present at the battlefield, with another 500 detached to support Sakai Tadatsugu's attack on Tobigasuyama. However, in a LATER chapter that I had not read, Fujimoto spends a significant amount of time disputing that impression.
He categorically states that he NEVER wrote that those were the ONLY guns present at the battle, just that they were the only ones mentioned. He does a very credible job of explaining that they were reorganized into a group (or 5 groups of around 200, each under one of these officers) as a special measure for the battle (臨機編成). The majority of these came out of Nobunaga's personal troops, with a few coming from subordinates who were not present at Nagashino but sent troops. Of course, if their commander is not at the battle, a commander has to be named to take charge of these contingents, and so Ban Naomasa was put in charge of the gun troops sent from the Hosokawa, etc.
Fujimoto then goes on to state that OF COURSE all the other subordinates who were there at Nagashino, like Takigawa Kazumasa, Hideyoshi, etc., all had their own gun troops as well. Also, the Tokugawa would have had THEIR own troops. He (rightly) argues that there's no way we can know for a fact how many gun troops were there, just that we can accept it would have been "several thousand." Which I take to mean that my estimates of 4500 might be accepted by Fujimoto as an accurate estimate.
He also has some other great information and arguments, and while I STILL feel he relies WAY WAY WAY too much on Gyuuichi as the font of all Nobunaga information, many of his arguments as to why the the notion of 3000 gunners in 1000 person lines rotating to mow down the Takeda is baloney match my own analysis, from the way that guns were commonly employed to the difficulties of getting any sort of organized firing on that scale, etc. There are several places where his argument for a particular point is "well, Gyuuichi said so", which while it MAY be true, isn't any sort of proof in my mind without further analysis, so I was frustrated with that on occasion.
But overall, I realize after reading his book that I (and many others, apparently) had sold Fujimoto Masayuki short in his analysis of Nagashino. While we still disagree on the tactical emplacement of the troops and how things actually occurred**, we're a lot closer on our views of the whole "military revolution" nonsense and the "rotating volley fire" than I had thought. I partially blame the misinterpretation of others, but since I've had this book in my possession for 2 years and just now finally read the whole thing, I can't fully blame anyone for my negligence.
The point is, for a while now here and in my work I've been criticizing Fujimoto Masayuki, and the main point of contention I had with him is based on this misunderstanding. While I don't fully agree with him on everything, he certainly has done a good job in this book of explaining why I and others misunderstood him, and makes a good argument that rather than dismiss, I heartily endorse (mostly).
**(especially the Sakai raid, which Fujimoto claims was done in order to get Katsuyori to attack; this is impossible because a. the Sakai raid arrived at Tobigasuyama two hours at least after fighting started at Shitaragahara, meaning Katsuyori was already moving, and b. the Sakai raid's success wouldn't force Katsuyori to attack to Shitaragahara, because that would put him in between two enemy forces; Katsuyori (or ANYONE) would have retreated to set up a defensive position or taken the castle and tried to defend there. The idea that he'd suddenly go "oh, okay, there's an enemy force there that took half my positions, let me ignore it and go attack the Oda force at Shitaragahara, with this force in my rear" is ludicrous).
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