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Tatsunoshi
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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Even with religious sects, Nobunaga was actually quite generous, endowing and funding many temples and shrines (although it seemed like he himself had little faith in any sort of religion-the Jesuit's story of 'Nobunaga the rock-god' notwithstanding). It was the ones that gave him problems politically (like the monks at Enryakuji when they sheltered the Asai and Ashikaga while Nobunaga was fighting them), or ones that insisted on being autonomous (with Jodo Shinshu being the prime culprit, although there were even Pure Land sects that Nobunaga supported) that found themselves on the wrong end of a teppo. One of the things that has always bothered me about Western scholarship was that it seemed to want to paint a picture of Nobunaga being the great supporter of Christianity in Japan and that he sought to eradicate Buddhism (especially early Western historical accounts-they've seemed to move past this argument now), when it was more of a case of Oda wanting to eradicate anyone who didn't 'respect his authori-tai'.

Getting back to the thread's first question (since I hadn't had time to post on it), I don't necessarily feel that Oda was the last of the old rulers or a bridge to Edo-that's just the way it looked when put into historical perspective after his death. I believe his plan was to impose a completely new type of rulership on the land. His refusal of traditional posts like vice-shogun (he likely could have even had himself made Shogun, if that's what he wanted), his desire to ignore the old system of localized economies and checkpoints, the embracing of the knowledge the Jesuits represented, and his policy of ignoring the traditional rights of other factions like the Buddhists and merchants in Settsu pointed towards his implementing something that would be much closer to being an absolute monarch (to borrow a concept from the study group on the Ashikaga) than anything seen before or after in Japan. Even the Tokugawa shogunate's 250 years of peace didn't see them exercising the type of control over the entire territory of Japan that seemed to be Oda's goal. Of course, we'll never know what kind of plan Nobunaga eventually had in mind for Japan since he was killed before finalizing it-but perhaps this was inevitable-if Akechi hadn't turned on him, it's likely someone else would have.
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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
Explain whether or not you think Nobunaga had a soft side, giving examples if possible. Also, was Nobunaga more than a conqueror? Was he also a fair and just administrator? Looking forward to your thoughts and opinions.


I don't doubt Nobunaga had a soft side. I think that is evident in many aspects of his life. The problem is he portrayed power and cruelty nearly at ever turn. So when he giving money to the impoverished Emperor and paying to rebuild his temples in 1565, he was also flaunting his motto "The realm, ruled by might." That's part of the deceptiveness of the man.

Nobunaga unquestionably had the gift of endearing himself to his retainers. As cruel as he was to his enemies he was kind to his own, and therefor loved, by the men who served him. Although its been mentioned here before that Nobunaga was something of a 'cheapskate', there are many examples of him giving above and beyond the normal lands and loot to his men after victorious battles.

The topic of Nobunaga's kindness reminded me of a story in 'A History of the Japanese People' written by Capt. F. Brinkley (1915).

Quote:
On the occasion of a dispute between two of his [Nobunaga's] vassals about the boundaries of a manor, the defeated litigant bribed one of Nobunaga's principal staff-officers to appeal for reversal of the judgment. This officer adduced reasons of a sufficiently specious character, but Nobunaga detected their fallacy and appeared about to take some precipitate action when he happened to observe the wrinkles which time had written on the supplicant's face. He recovered his sang-froid and contented himself with sending the officer from his presence... He forgave the guilty man in consideration of his advanced age.
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Okay, as promised, I’m going to tackle the issues of why Nobunaga has his younger brother killed, why he was brutal in dealing with some of the religious sects, as well as touch upon his treatment of Shogun Yoshiaki.

First, Nobunaga’s brother. Let’s remember folks, we are talking about the Sengoku period here. Morays and ethics were quite different then. What may seem grisly and unthinkable today was sometimes a necessity of survival. But what would drive someone to commit fratricide? Let’s take a closer look. When Nobunaga’s father, Nobuhide died in 1551, Owari province was divided between the Yamato no Kami branch based in Kiyosu and the Ise no Kami branch in Iwakura. The Yamato and the Ise branches were far from being kissing cousins and the two groups vied, often violently, for control of the province. Nobunaga’s family served the Yamato branch and was known as the Shobata Oda. Nobuhide made great strides in bringing the province closer to a state of relative unification under his stewardship, but in reality, the gains made in centralizing his powerbase were tenuous at best. Upon kicking the can, Nobuhide’s second son and successor, Nobunaga, would find his hold on power and continued mere existence would depend on how he handled threats from outside the Shobata Oda and within.

After the destruction of the Yamato no Kami branch in 1555, Nobunaga’s younger brother posed the biggest challenge, but first, Nobunaga would endure an attack on Kiyosu by his older brother in 1556. The two kissed and made up, but if being attacked by one ambitious brother wasn’t bad enough, the more aggressive younger brother, Nobuyuki, also tried to bump off Nobunaga in a revolt launched the same year. A mere year later, Shibata Katsuie was told that Nobuyuki was set to violently rise against Nobunaga again and reported this to Nobunaga. The intelligence appeared to be reliable and true to the maxim that I stated previously about “mess with me once, I can get over it, but mess with me twice…”, Nobunaga realized that the threat from his younger brother had to be neutralized once and for all. So, feigning illness, Nobunaga complained that his mother and younger brother weren’t showing the proper level of concern. After some prodding by Haha-ue sama (mother) to go visit his elder brother, Nobuyasu entered Kiyosu castle and was cut down by Nobunaga’s loyal retainers in the northern tower. Deceptive? Yes. Cold hearted? I wouldn’t really say so. Nobuyasu had already raised the sword of revolt against Nobunaga once and appeared to be ready to do it again. How much forgiveness can one expect a Sengoku daimyō to give a younger, ambitious and violent sibling who seems determined to usurp you? Nobunaga also needed to send a clear message to everyone that he was the undisputed leader of the Shobata Oda band and its newly conquered “Yamato no Kami” Oda lands, and the end clearly justified the means, again, from the Sengoku viewpoint. With Nobuyasu out of the way, this freed Nobunaga up to concentrate on completing the unification of Owari, which he did in 1559 after capturing Iwakura castle from the “Ise no Kami” Oda.

Religious Sects
Tatsunoshi did a mighty fine job of answering this, but I just want to add a few points. Since the end of the Heian period, it became pretty obvious that if one wanted to rule a province or the whole of Japan, the wanna-be ruler would need to have complete control over the three power groups in medieval Japan: the samurai, the court (meaning nobles) and the clergy. Enryakuji simply felt its own powerbase threatened by the rise of Nobunaga and refused to cooperate. Heck, they even aided and abetted both the Asakura and the Asai clans in their war with Nobunaga. So what is Nobunaga to do? These monks keep violently opposing him AND they are aiding two of his biggest pains in his neck! Enryakuji’s base on Mt. Hiei was in close proximity to Kyoto, which had become Nobunaga’s backyard, and a strong, hostile power in one’s backyard could not be tolerated. A clear and powerful message needed to be sent to the former Ashikaga home provinces that Nobunaga was not a man to be trifled with, and a powerful message was indeed sent that “illuminated” everybody to the strength of Nobunaga’s resolve. The burning of Mt Hiei was brutal, but considering the circumstances, was it out of line?

Let’s put it in a modern context that many of us can relate to via what we see on the news unfortunately all too often these past 5 years or so. If a group of religious zealots are holed up in a place of worship launching rocket propelled grenades at you, and everybody inside the place is a supporter of the firebrand cleric preaching that you and your guys are evil incarnate and should die, and they refuse offers of negotiation and continue to fire at you, what are you going to do? Remember, this place is a threat to you and the vision of peace and prosperity you have for the area. They are a destabilizing force. I’m willing to wager that the logical conclusion after a while is going to be take out the place and neutralize the threat—regardless if it is a place of worship or not. You’d want to send a message that would hopefully not be lost on other zealots and would be sympathizers. So, was Nobunaga out of line considering this train of thought AND considering the brutal norms of the Sengoku period? Maybe orders were issued with just a bit too much “extreme prejudice”, but the overall strategic thinking seems sound—again, considering the situation and the times.

Shogun Yoshiaki
Nobunaga reinstated Yoshiaki and then later exiled him. Some have said Nobunaga’s decision to bounce Yoshiaki out of Kyoto and bring about the end of the Muromachi Bakufu was cruel. Was it, really, considering what Yoshiaki was doing? I’ve already written a lot in this post, and frankly I am getting a little tired. Smile If someone wants to go into why Nobunaga may have been justified in dumping the shogun, go ahead! Please! Otherwise, I’ll try to get to it tomorrow night!
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Last edited by Obenjo Kusanosuke on Wed May 28, 2008 7:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I agree that Nobunaga is the bridge from the middle ages to edo japan as far as how he is seen in history now. I agree with Tatsunoshi that Nobunaga more than likely never set out to be a bridge of any sorts.

The thing that made Nobunaga stand out was that he wasn't overly concerned with how others saw him. It didn't really matter too much if people called him a fool because he was rude at his own fathers funeral. Nor did it bother him that he was thought of as a monster when he ordered the destruction of the temple/s at Mt. Hiei. These qualities are what formed his genius and later his military might.

Nobunaga embraced western culture for what it was, another item in his arsenal to achieve his goals. Not only did he understood the improtance of firearms in warfare, he understood how to expand on the current knowledge of their use and standardization. Most know about his alternating load/firing lines that were employed at Nagashino and other battles. One thing I rarely see mentioned is his standardization of shot size, instead of guns having differing sizes of shot, he made them all the same size so that more ammunition could be brought onto the battelfield and used by whomever thus making the whole process efficient rather than having each gunner carry his own unique shots with him. This also allowed for efficient mass production.

Japan during Nobunaga's time was realitively chaotic and it took more than political negotiations to bring people in line. Nobunaga was brutal, but the times called for it. In short, what makes Nobunaga great is that he thought outside the box (i hate to use this overly used term, but it fits oh so well here) and he had little regard for what anyone thought of him. This lack of social conscience enabled him to take progressive actions towards reunifying japan. I believe that given the times, it couldn't have been done any other way.
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Good post, Bug. Hard to find a point to contend! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
SicklyBug wrote:
The thing that made Nobunaga stand out was that he wasn't overly concerned with how others saw him. It didn't really matter too much if people called him a fool because he was rude at his own fathers funeral. Nor did it bother him that he was thought of as a monster when he ordered the destruction of the temple/s at Mt. Hiei. These qualities are what formed his genius and later his military might.


I don't think I disagree with what has been said, but it is still coming off, to me, that Nobunaga was a military genius, but not really a politician. That appears to have been his weak spot, because a politician cares much more about how people feel perceive them. Unless he wanted to be perceived as wild and unpredictable--I think he just didn't care, as was stated.

Regarding his model for authority, I've wondered if he wasn't going for Ashikaga Yoshimitsu's title. Not shogun, but 'Nihon Kokuo'. He wanted his rule to be absolute. I think there are parallels there with Taira Kiyomori, Minamoto Yoritomo, and Ashikaga Takauji--they just didn't quite have the same model to draw on and let themselves be more constrained by convention. A few of the Ashikaga shoguns (Yoshimitsu and, to some extent, Yoshinori) had destroyed many of the conventions of traditional power in Japan, which in many ways I see as creating the void that begins the power vacuum that causes the later turmoil of the Sengoku era.

As for him being hard or soft--I can't see him being too soft because he needed to be hard to do what he did. The issue comes down to when we judge him from a modern standpoint and people start to pick out whether he is 'good' or 'bad'. I don't think I've said or implied that he was a 'bad' man (except maybe to imply that he was a bad*bleep*ss). However, I don't think he lost sleep over using force to get his way, either.

I don't think Hideyoshi or Ieyasu lost much sleep over it, either, but I think they were both much more sensitive to the overall political climate and how they were viewed--I imagine Hideyoshi more than most because of his background.

-Josh
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
JLBadgley wrote:
I don't think I disagree with what has been said, but it is still coming off, to me, that Nobunaga was a military genius, but not really a politician. That appears to have been his weak spot, because a politician cares much more about how people feel perceive them. Unless he wanted to be perceived as wild and unpredictable--I think he just didn't care, as was stated.


Ahh, but I think Nobunaga did care. Hence this is why he was so careful to cultivate a strong link to the Ashikaga with the restoration of Yoshiaki and also with his skillful dealings with the imperial court. Also, Azuchi castle and the development of the town itself were tangible proof that showed Nobunaga cared how he was perceived.

I'll get to this later-- after work and after the other Yoshiaki issue--if nobody beats me to it. Laughing

This is turning into a great thread, guys! All of this is showing just how complex Nobunaga was and how hard it is to discern the real Nobunaga from the popular perceptions. Again, great post and thanks to all who are contributing or will soon be contributing. Wink
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Let’s remember folks, we are talking about the Sengoku period here. Morays and ethics were quite different then.


Actually, morays are pretty much the same now as they were then-"When you're swimming in the creek and an eel bites your cheek, at's a-moray".

Now, mores would be a different story.

(Sorry, couldn't resist).
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Shogun Yoshiaki If someone wants to go into why Nobunaga may have been justified in dumping the shogun, go ahead! Please! Otherwise, I’ll try to get to it tomorrow night!


The short version (since I'm also pressed for time) is that Yoshiaki was instrumental in helping to put together the various incarnations of the so-called 'Anti-Nobunaga Alliances', which at times consisted of the Takeda, Uesugi, Asai, Asakura, Enryakuji, Settsu merchants, Saiga mercenaries, the majority of Hongan-ji Jodo Shinshu, former Oda vassals (like the Araki), the Matsunaga, Mori, Miyoshi, and other factions I'm likely forgetting.

I guess that Yoshiaki didn't care for Nobunaga's remonstance (and my favorite Sengoku quote) that read in part "You seem avaricious of many things and appear not to care about injustice or your reputation. Consequently, even ordinary farmers of the soil call you the 'Evil Shogun'. I remember that Lord Fukoin (this being Ashikaga Yoshinori) was called this as well, but his was a special case. Why should people say such awful things behind Your Lordship's back? Perhaps now is the time to think about this."

It sure isn't like this wasn't a warning shot to Yoshiaki.
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Let’s remember folks, we are talking about the Sengoku period here. Morays and ethics were quite different then.


Actually, morays are pretty much the same now as they were then-"When you're swimming in the creek and an eel bites your cheek, at's a-moray".

Now, mores would be a different story.

(Sorry, couldn't resist).
Bang! You got me! Swoon Doh! Other than that, I thought I had written a pretty good post. Laughing

I'll go deeper into the Yoshiaki case tomorrow. I also plan to show that Nobunaga was indeed a skilled politician as he deftly used his affiliation with Yoshiaki as well as his new ties to the imperial court to legitimize the political side of his ambitions.
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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 5:29 am    Post subject: Nobunaga the Politician and that Pesky Yoshiaki (PART 1) Reply with quote
This two-part post will seek to show that Nobunaga was more than just a one dimensional military genius by discussing how he directed the elite ensemble of bakufu and court members needed to legitimize his bid for power and the ensuing conflict with Shogun Ashikaga Yoshiaki.

Nobunaga’s Entrance into the World of Muromachi Intrigue
After the 13th Ashikaga shogun, Yoshiteru, was forced to commit suicide by the usurping Miyoshi Yoshitsugu and Matsunaga Hisahide. Chaos soon ensued in the home territories (the provinces surrounding Kyoto). Shogun Yoshihide was powerless to stop it, as he was a puppet of the Miyoshi Triumvirs. In an attempt to restore order and prop up the bakufu, pleas were sent out to many of the Sengoku power daimyo to rally around Yoshiaki and help put an end to the troubles plaguing the home provinces. Nobunaga answered the call and with an army of about 60,000 men headed for Kyoto on September 27, 1568. After quickly brushing aside any military opposition, the Oda army seized control of Kyoto on behalf of Yoshiaki, who was given the title of Shogun by imperial decree on November 7 (Yoshihide died while trying to escape).

In a show of gratitude to his protector, Yoshiaki offered his “honored father” Nobunaga a choice of prestigious positions, the specially created position of vice-shogun, or that of deputy-shogun (kanrei). Nobunaga refused to accept either post and also refused Yoshiaki’s offer that he should choose one of the five home provinces and incorporate into his ever-growing fief. It is clear that Yoshiaki was trying to preserve Nobunaga’s loyalty by making him an important member of the bakufu and hence a key vassal. Being a vassal to a weak shogun whom he helped install in power was the last thing Nobunaga wanted. So what exactly did Nobunaga want and expect from his backing of the Muromachi Bakufu? I believe that Nobunaga wanted the legitimacy and prestige of being affiliated with, and being a favored benefactor of the Ashikaga Shogunate. Legitimacy was a powerful tool that Nobunaga needed as he began to centralize the military, political and economic forces needed to unify the tenka (meaning realm in this case—not just the home provinces!)

The Trouble with Yoshiaki
Nobunaga, in his role as protector of Yoshiaki and hence Kyoto, did much to gain the confidence of the local population in the five home provinces by quickly restoring law and order and creating an environment that was conducive and vital to the region’s economic recovery. For this, Yoshiaki was also grateful, as tax revenue once again began to flow into the empty shogunal coffers. It really could be said that it was the military might of Nobunaga that got Yoshiaki installed as shogun, and it was also Nobunaga that was keeping him in power and guaranteeing the cashflow one needed to live like a shogun and keep a government running! This setup led to a dual power structure that lasted from 1568-1571 and benefited both Nobunaga and Yoshiaki. During this time, Nobunaga’s honor and popularity grew, among both the commoners as well as Kyoto’s elite as he mastered the skills needed to sway public opinion and manipulate the circles of power. In other words, Nobunaga became something of statesman.

It was clear to everybody that Nobunaga had put Yoshiaki in power, and as Nobunaga was benefiting from the prestige of the shogunate, he was keen to ensure that Yoshiaki did nothing to tarnish it. For this reason, Nobunaga presented Yoshiaki with the 16 point “Regulations for Shogunal Residence” that basically outlined how the shogun and bakufu were to function. Yoshiaki signed this agreement, but it was a sign that his wings were clipped and Nobunaga was really the de-facto ruler calling the shots. While this may have been obvious to many, Yoshiaki was oblivious to this and over time, began to govern in a way that did start to tarnish the image of the shogunate. A year after issuing the “regulations”, Nobunaga followed up with a 5 point document called the “Capitulations” that aimed to ensure that Yoshiaki and his top advisors followed the moral highroad as defined in the “Regulations” and were nothing more than the addition of restrictions on what the shogunate couldn’t do without Nobunaga’s approval. Although he signed this, Yoshiaki wasn’t pleased. After all, wasn’t he supposed to be the ruler? Here lies the root of the problem. Nobunaga saw Yoshiaki’s leadership role as important, but more figurative or ceremonial, while the literal power rested in Nobunaga’s hands.

Although the dual power structure served both Nobunaga and Yoshiaki well, things began to fall apart as Yoshiaki sought to assert and free himself from his dependence on Nobunaga. The key indicator that things were reaching a boiling point was Nobunaga’s issuance of the famous “Remonstrance” in the fall of 1572 in response to Yoshiaki’s growing greed and declining public reputation. As Tatsunoshi already covered this, I’ll refrain from going into further detail about the nature of the document other than saying this was Nobunaga’s way of saying, “Yoshiaki, you’ve been way out of line and this is your last chance to come back into the fold. This is your final warning.” But apart from being greedy and doing some questionable things to amass even more personal wealth, what had Yoshiaki been doing to invoke Nobunaga’s fury?

In June 1572, Yoshiaki sent a letter to Takeda Shingen urging him to take whatever military action deemed necessary for the sake of peace”. What does this mean? Was this an endorsement of Shingen in regards to his conflicts with his neighboring daimyō? Hardly. This was almost like encouraging Shingen to send his armies into action against Nobunaga and his faithful ally, Tokugawa Ieyasu, whose lands bordered the Takeda domains. Since early 1572 it was no secret that Shingen was preparing an invasion of Tokugawa territory on his way to deal with Nobunaga before marching into Kyoto. If Yoshiaki’s support of the Takeda wasn’t bad enough, as Shingen marched westward, Yoshiaki ordered his forces to rise up against Nobunaga.

The timing couldn’t have been worse for Nobunaga as he was already engaged in fighting against the Ikkō Ikki, campaigning in Ōmi against the Asai and Asakura, and now he had deal with an armed rebellion from the pesky Yoshiaki. All this, as perhaps the most dangerous daimyō, leading Japan’s most dangerous army, was on the move westward. Thus as Ieyasu faced the Takeda onslaught, Nobunaga quickly moved against Yoshiaki, making quick work of the shogunal forces. Based on the reputation that most people have of Nobunaga, you’d think that Nobunaga would just simply kill Yoshiaki and be done with the whole mess. But no. After surrounding Yoshiaki, Nobunaga spent four days trying to resolve his impasse with Yoshiaki and save whatever was left of their working relationship. Nobunaga even offered one of his children as a hostage to Yoshiaki if he’d stop his silliness and come back to the fold. Yoshiaki was indeed silly as he refused to accept Nobunaga’s child as a hostage and this was really the final affront. Nobunaga then resulted to brute force and burnt northern Kyoto to the ground. Still, Yoshiaki wouldn’t surrender. Finally after imperial mediation, in order to spare Kyoto from more fighting and disaster, Yoshiaki agreed to terms and Nobunaga returned to Gifu to concentrate on the Takeda. But this wasn’t the last of Yoshiaki. No sooner than Nobunaga left, Yoshiaki began planning a second rebellion against Nobunaga which was launched in the summer of 1573. Unfortunate for Yoshiaki and unbeknownst to him at the time, the Takeda offensive petered out with the illness (or assassination?) and subsequent death of Shingen on May 13. Thus with the Takeda invasion blunted, Nobunaga was free to focus his attention on Yoshiaki’s forces which were utterly crushed. This time, however, Nobunaga had his fill of the pesky shogun and exiled him on August 15, bringing an end to the storied Muromachi Bakufu and reign of the Ashikaga shoguns.

Within 40 days of Yoshiaki’s downfall, Nobunaga was also victorious over the Asakura and Asai as well as had the heads of two other troublemakers, Miyoshi Yoshitsugu and Iwanari Tomomichi. Now flushed with battlefield success and a greatly diminished Takeda threat, Nobunaga felt confident to rule on his own.

But without the Ashikaga to lend authority to Nobunaga’s political rule, just where would Nobunaga find the political legitimacy he needed to help consolidate his rule? We’ll find out in the next post. Wink

(source used for this post: Japonius Tyrannus by Jeroen Lamers)
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Is there a point to doing part II of the above post? Is anybody interested? Based by how quiet this thread has gotten, I'm not sure... Confused
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I'd love to see something. Unfortunately, my schedule has just taken it out of me as of late.

-Josh
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I am really interested Razz Just feel quite inadequate to reply. (I don't have any biographies of Oda so I can't do my homework Sad ) But looking at Totman on Ieyasu I see that from 1561 Ieyasu had negotiated an agreement with Nobunaga to "press their ambitions at the expense of third parties not each other. A few years later Ieyasu married his son Nobuyasu (is this name unlucky or what?) to Oda's daughter Tokuhime. (with later disastrous results). What does Lamers have to say about the relationship between Nobunaga and Ieyasu?
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
Is there a point to doing part II of the above post? Is anybody interested? Based by how quiet this thread has gotten, I'm not sure...


I too am interested and would echo Heron's comments that the level of knowledge presented is beyond my knowledge of Nobunaga. I have limited resources to follow in your vein of thought (Several contemporary works that only skim the topic your touching on and a copy of the Nihon no Haku Gin from Diagostini about Nobunaga, that also is rather meek on the subject Shogun Ashikaga Yoshiaki).

It is very facinating though and I am sure many of us are both learning and quite intersted. Keep going!! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I also have to admit, I wasn't going to post anything until I saw Part 2, anyway. Since you left a 'too be continued...' I figured we would let you continue it (if you wanted discussion on it before then, I'd recommend saying something--but then answering the discussion would get in the way of Part 2).

-Josh
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:45 am    Post subject: Nobunaga the Politician (PART 2) Reply with quote
Thanks for the words of support! Very Happy The show now goes on!

Nobunaga, Nobility and the Imperial Court
Lamers, as well as many other historians, make the point that Nobunaga’s political success and dealings with the ruling elite in Kyoto were directly related to his luck on the battlefield. It is hard to disagree. In 1574-1575, with Nobunaga riding a wave of success after the banishment of Yoshiaki and victories over other rivals such as the Takeda, Asakura and Asai, Nobunaga was able to dominate the Imperial court and pretty much have his way. However, this was a two way street that gave Nobunaga the legitimacy he needed to help fill the “prestige vacuum” that was created by the downfall of the Muromachi Bakufu and in return, Nobunaga played the part of defender of the Imperial court. But even before 1574, the court had already started heaping praise and titles on Nobunaga, enhancing his reputation and standing among the rich and powerful as well as the commoners.

As mentioned previously, Kyoto and its environs had once again fallen into lawlessness. This was only natural as the flames of war were blazing a trail of destruction through the provinces as the Ashikaga shogunate crashed and burned amidst the Sengoku chaos. After talks about cooperation began with Yoshiaki, in 1566 Nobunaga presented the Imperial court with a prized horse, a rare sword and 30,000 coins—gifts that were very much appreciated by an impoverished emperor. Soon afterwards, Nobunaga began to use the court derived title of Owari no Kami (Governor of Owari) and then later the title of Danjō no Jō (Secretary of the Board of Censors). This last title didn’t have any real authority, but it did lend more prestige to Nobunaga. Lamers also mentions that when Mino fell in 1567, the Emperor sent Nobunaga a letter of congratulations, even calling him “generalissimo of all times”. If that didn’t give the upstart from Owari a rush of prestige and legitimacy, more was yet to come in 1574 when it looked as if Nobunaga would indeed be the undisputed master of the home provinces.

After vanquishing Yoshiaki and his other foes, Nobunaga joined the nobility when the court bestowed upon him the junior third rank and made him an imperial advisor (sangi) in April 1574. Lamers points out that one prominent historian, Hashimoto Masanobu, claims that Nobunaga’s promotion to the nobility was never officially registered until December 6, 1575 when Nobunaga received the title of Gondainagon (Major Counselor). A scant three days later, Nobunaga was promoted again, this time to Udaishō (Major Captain of the Headquarters of the Inner Palace Guards, Right Division). What is remarkable about these promotions is how fast Nobunaga got them, skipping many levels along the way. Hashimoto argues that in order to justify Nobunaga’s quick rise through the ranks, the court backdated the bestowment of the sangi rank to make it look like Nobunaga had a record of previous promotions. I personally find Hashimoto’s theory not only interesting, but very plausible based on the fact that Nobunaga was still signing documents with the [ i]Danjō no Jō[/i] title up through October 1575.

It is no surprise that Nobunaga received these court sanctioned titles in 1575 as he went on the offensive against the Ishiyama Honganji in Osaka, the Takeda under the new leadership of Katsuyori in the east and against the Hoganji’s Ikki allies in Echizen. Nobunaga needed authority and legitimacy to make it look as if he was favored by the court and the court also needed the support of their military champion, who was on one heck of a winning streak at the time. So, as Nobunaga took the fight to his enemies, he also took the opportunity to launch a charm offensive against the nobility. He not only cancelled their debts, making him very popular, but he also sponsored kickball (kemari) matches--one of the nobility’s favorite pastimes. All of this enhanced Nobunaga’s prestige and reputation, which received an additional boost when he married one of his adopted daughters to the court noble Nijō Akizane—the last member of the hereditary aristocracy to hold the title of Kampaku (Chancellor) before Hideyoshi took that title for himself. The man from Owari had indeed come a long way.

To again prove the point that Nobunaga’s relations with the Imperial court and hence its bestowing of its prestige legitimacy was directly related to the level of luck Nobunaga was having on the battlefield, one has to look no further than Nagashino. After soundly crushing Takeda Katsuyori’s forces there on June 29, 1575, the court threw a grand party to celebrate Nobunaga’s victory upon his re-entry into Kyoto on August 3. Why the big party? Nagashino was considered a resounding and resolute victory that many, including Nobunaga, thought would lead to greater peace and prosperity for Japan. After a kickball match, the Emperor poured a cup of sake for Nobunaga and handed it to him via a court lady. Although the cup was not personally handed to Nobunaga by the Emperor, this was a very important gesture as the honor associated with the action is immeasurably high. The emperor also wanted to raise Nobunaga’s rank, but Nobunaga refused the promotion for himself, instead letting the Emperor bestow honorable name changes for members of his inner circle which thus extended imperial authority and prestige to key members of Nobunaga’s band of vassals.

In the days that followed the celebration, both Nobunaga and the court engaged in a battle of gift giving and reciprocity that went on and on. While some scholars may see this as a footnote of interest, I see this as a crucial factor in helping ensure that the court and nobility stayed “loyal” to Nobunaga as his battlefield fortunes soured between 1576 and 1579 in confrontation with the second anti-Nobunaga coalition of the Ishiyama Honganji, the Mōri, and the Uesugi. As long as Nobunaga kept giving gifts of material items and money, the court and nobility kept providing the prestige and legitimacy that Nobunaga needed in those trying times.

Political Mastery Achieved
Once Nobunaga succeeded in finally defeating the warrior monks of the Ishiyama Honganji in 1580, he threw himself into planning the Kyoto Cavalcade. Simply stated, the Cavalcade was a formal celebration in honor of the victory over the hated Ishiyama Honganji. But on a closer look, it isn’t that hard to see that the Kyoto Cavalcade represented the zenith of Nobunaga’s political career. The Cavalcade was the party of all parties, and people were invited to come in their finest formal clothes to help not only celebrate, but also to acknowledge Nobunaga’s pre-eminent status in Japan’s military, political and social stratum. The Cavalcade took place on April 1, 1581 and was a military parade involving 130,000 participants that was unlike nothing ever seen before. The might of the Oda went on display for everyone to see, but it was done in a way that evoked the pomp and circumstance of a formal state event, incorporating not only Nobunaga’s vassal band, but also included nobles and key members of the old Ashikaga shogunate. One may ask why nobles and former bakufu members were allowed to parade in splendid armor alongside the Oda, and the reason and rationale behind this is really quite ingenious. By doing so, Nobunaga showed the world that he was not only incorporating these power elite into his personal polity but that they were a part of his polity! As this was such a landmark event, people wanted to join it. And as the elite certainly did not participate under duress, this played quite well into Nobunaga’s plans to permanently weld their aura of legitimacy and prestige to his cause. Eleven days after the parade, the court offered Nobunaga the high ranking post of sadaijin (Minister of the Left) a post that to many people’s surprise, Nobunaga accepted, but only after he had first negotiated the abdication of the ruling Emperor, Ōgimichi, in favor of the Crown Prince Sanehito. By this move, it looks as if Nobunaga also achieved mastery over the Imperial court, even if it did eventually find a way to postpone Ōgimichi’s abdication and Nobunaga’s appointment until 1582 once they realized the implications of Nobunaga’s move.

The Kyoto Cavalcade was indeed a masterful political stroke and in the words of Lamers, it “symbolized the maturation of the polity presided over by Nobunaga.” Hence, I believe it could be said that Nobunaga was not just Japan’s greatest warlord at the time, but he was also Japan’s greatest, and perhaps most gifted politician of his day.

Does anyone have a differing opinion? Does anyone still believe Nobunaga was a poor politician? If so, let’s discuss it.

Also, within the next couple of days, I will address specifically what Lamers had to say about the relationship between Nobunaga and Ieyasu. Heron asked a very interesting question!
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
In my opinion, while Nobunaga wasn’t without political skills, he certainly was no master politician. Most of his successes revolved around the Imperial court and the Shogunate, two factions that posed no real military threat to him. In these instances at least, Nobunaga realized that while they were no threat in and of themselves, they represented a galvanizing force that would turn others against him if he were being seen as mistreating them (which is why he was willing to give Yoshiaki so many chances, rather than smite him the first time he stepped out of line). In fact, another Sengoku daimyo who usually is not noted for his political skills did much the same thing-Uesugi Kenshin, who enjoyed an excellent relationship with the court and the Shogun (resulting in him being appointed Kanto Kanrei, although this also had to do with him providing shelter for his enemy, the former Kanrei, Uesugi Norimasa–itself a pretty smart political decision).
I think the real test of political alacrity during the Sengoku was not in how you dealt with those of little power, but how you dealt with your enemies-specifically, isolating them before battle was joined if you couldn’t deal with them peacefully. Rather than isolating his enemies through political means and alliances, Nobunaga was usually the one who found himself with a plethora of hostiles out to get him (a lot of which, of course, was also due to him being so successful). While in the end he did manage to juggle his enemies magnificently and prevent a coordinated assault, this was more due more to his military skills, the negotiating acumen of some of his key generals, and dumb luck (such as Takeda Shingen’s death and Uesugi Kenshin meeting with a ‘bad end’). When it came to giving concessions to enemies (or even allies) to garner their support, Nobunaga didn’t do so well. This is in contrast to Hideyoshi and even more so to Ieyasu, who seemed to be the perfect blend of diplomacy backed by might. Hideyoshi pulled off the seemingly impossible at times-like getting the Mori to sign a peace agreement while they were primed to defeat him in battle, allowing him to pack up and go after Akechi Mitsuhide.
Now, one area that hasn’t been talked much about is that Nobunaga did have a good amount of skill in at least one area of politics-running an economy. Many of his policies were innovative and far reaching, setting the stage for a national (or even international) economy rather than isolated regional ones.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Excellent post, Tatsunoshi!

I fully agree with you that Nobunaga was a superb administrator that knew how to encourage the growth of local economies, particularly in the urban commercial centers. I’d like to address this in a future post by focusing on Nobunaga’s relationship with the wealthy merchants of Sakai and then delve into how Nobunaga was spurring the economic development of the short-lived town of Azuchi before his unexpected death.

I also agree with you on the point that although the remnants of the Ashikaga Bakufu and the Imperial court posed no military threat to Nobunaga, it is absolutely true that both entities had an enormous amount of “soft” power that could be used to galvanize a diverse and motley lot into anti-Nobunaga coalitions or again, give Nobunaga what he wanted-- prestige and legitimacy. I think what I probably need to clarify is that Nobunaga masterfully used his political skills, undoubtedly backed by his military strength and battlefield successes, to extract this from both the Bakufu and Court. Even though they were without military power, maneuvering through the politics of camp and court was a formidable challenge. Late Muromachi Kyoto was a political minefield. Thus, I’d still argue that Nobunaga was one of the shrewder and most gifted politicians of his day.

Gauging the political acumen of a daimyō by how well he juggled threats via alliances, does tell us a thing or two, but in broad terms, when it came to Sengoku-era diplomacy, the word of a daimyō wasn’t worth a bucket of warm spittle! Alliances were meant to be broken, as this was the nature of this opportunistic period. This was exemplified by the fact that Nobunaga enjoyed fairly good, if not excellent, relations with both Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin. These cordial relationships lasted only as long as peace did, as first Shingen and then Kenshin went to war with the Oda. It should be noted that it was indeed Yoshiaki that encouraged Shingen to act against Nobunaga as part of the first anti-Oda coalition and then Kenshin in the second.

I do believe that during Nobunaga’s conflict with the Takeda, in the final drive to finish off Katsuyori in 1582, Hōjō Ujimasa contributed troops and agreed to be subservient to Nobunaga, from the perspective of the overall campaign strategy. I find it remarkable that the mighty Hōjō would do this, but then again, it could be argued as Lamers does, that since the Hōjō were allies of Tokugawa Ieyasu, they were by default drawn into a subservient relationship and alliance with Nobunaga. This is because Ieyasu was the junior partner in his relationship with the big Tenka Fubu. And if we are going to judge political acumen based on alliance management, what can we say about the special relationship that existed between Nobunaga and Ieyasu? After all, it was a long-term alliance that worked quite well and both men knew what to get out of it--both military and politically. Through thick and thin, the two men stuck together.

My next post will seek to answer Heron’s question about how Lamers describes the relationship between Ieyasu and Nobunaga.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
The speed in which you guys formulate your posts is incredible! (to be taken as a compliment). I jumped on to post a small reply to Tatsunoshi’s comment but Obenjo pretty much fleshed it all out. (And in greater detail.) The relationship between Nobunaga and Ieyasu is an important one and I look forward to the thoughts generated about this. I’ll add my thoughts on this now though they are limited. I fully hope you guys will build upon it and flesh it out as my knowledge is very much one of an overview.

Tokugawa was originally from the Matsudaira clan. One of Nobunaga’s core enemies were the Imagawa clan. Although there was a history of hostility between the Matsudaira and Oda clans, the Imagawa presented Ieyasu a much larger problem. So in 1561, Tokugawa who was 27 years old at the time according to birthdates obtained on the Wiki, joined his forces in the east with Oda’s forces in the center. The alliance also served as a wall of defense against Yoshiaki's meddling and Shingen’s forces. The key element as I understand it in the joining of forces between Oda and Tokugawa was the Battle of Anegawa. Again according to Wiki- (it might be accurate) -Pedia, Oda’s forces crushed the Azai with Tokugawas forces subsiquently defeating the Asakura (allies of the Azai clan). But again this being the Sengoku period, as Tatsunoshi point out, relationships were one of convenience and it appears that this was, at the time a convenient one for both men more then it was anything else.

The relationship at several key junctures seems to have been one of mutual benefit but also one that was strained to some extent. I would point to the battle of Mikatagahara (Mikata Plains) (1572) where Tokugawa lost the battle against the Takeda in part because of Oda’s lack of support although it should be noted that Tokugawa apparently committed a hasty plan for attack. This is unusual because Tokugawa is generally described as very patient and careful. At any rate, this further strained the relationship and seeing as Ieyasu had egg on his face, probably did more to create a “Master” and “Apprentice” relationship between the two. This is also important to note because Tokugawa clearly learned and studied both the victories and errors of Nobunaga and Hideyoshi to a point that he would be sure to not make during his reign.

The relationship of the two men from my point of view was one of mutual benefit totally representative of the era they lived in. I’m not knowledgeable enough on the subject to say if one man obtained more from the liaison then the other and so with that, I turn it back to you folks.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
And if we are going to judge political acumen based on alliance management, what can we say about the special relationship that existed between Nobunaga and Ieyasu?



I would say the endurance and success of it had far more to do with Ieyasu being a master politician than Nobunaga. And of course, they had their problems as well (as I'm sure we'll be getting to one point of contention in your next post). Ieyasu did know how to work the senior side of the partnership when the occassion demanded, such as implying to Nobunaga that without reinforcements from him at Mikata-ga-hara, the Tokugawa might have to look into allying with the Takeda (of course, the troops Nobunaga sent turned out to be virtually worthless, but still...).
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Breaking News! This is just in. It appears that the Ikkō Ikki do indeed surf! Here's the proof!


I promise, I will get my post on Nobunaga and Ieyasu's relationship up soon! I started writing it, but was afflicted by a severe case of writer's block a few lines into it! Mad Sad Thus, I had to resort to a little creative goofiness. Laughing
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Breaking News! This is just in. It appears that the Ikkō Ikki do indeed surf! Here's the proof!


I promise, I will get my post on Nobunaga and Ieyasu's relationship up soon! I started writing it, but was afflicted by a severe case of writer's block a few lines into it! Mad Sad Thus, I had to resort to a little creative goofiness. Laughing


Love the pic! It's my second favorite amongst your works of the day Wink .
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:33 am    Post subject: Nobunaga and Ieyasu: The Dynamics of a Sengoku Partnership Reply with quote
Nobunaga and Ieyasu: The Dynamics of a Sengoku Partnership Part I

We all know a thing or two about Nobunaga’s personality and some of his more nefarious actions. He was hot-tempered, often impulsive, cruel, demanding and was likely also a bit of a perfectionist. Maybe he wasn’t the “demon king” he is often portrayed as, but let’s face it, the Japanese version of Machiavelli’s “Prince” was probably not the most pleasant guy to be around.

Ieyasu, on the other hand, was as crafty as a fox and had a very good “strategic” mind combined with superb survival instincts—traits that served him well in the violent Sengoku period. Ieyasu also had a patient way of getting what he wanted via the skillful manipulation of time, place and people.

So what was the secret behind the longevity of the Oda-Tokugawa alliance which last more than twenty years? Was it that their differing personalities complemented each other and helped defuse violence before it could have a chance to manifest itself within the relationship? Was it that Nobunaga viewed Ieyasu as an equal not to be trifled with because of the burgeoning strength of Tokugawa’s mighty Mikawa war band? Did he need Ieyasu’s military power to guarantee the security of the Oda’s eastern border throughout the length of his career? Maybe, maybe not. This post will delve into the nature of the relationship between Nobunaga and Ieyasu and seek to explain just why this alliance did last for so long.

In the Beginning…
In 1560, Imagawa Yoshimoto declared his intent to march on Kyoto. Along the way, he’d figured that this would be the right time to take care of that brash, young upstart that was leading the Oda clan in the neighboring province of Owari. As a hostage to the Imagawa clan since the age of four, Ieyasu was really a captive vassal. This being the case, he was selected by Yoshimoto to lead the vanguard of the 25,000 strong Imagawa force and Owari would be the first stop on what was supposed to be Yoshimoto’s “Grand Tour de Force”. The Oda should have been an easy “gig” for the mighty Imagawa, but a funny thing happened on Yoshimoto’s way to the big show, and no, the taiko drummer didn’t die from an acute case of alcohol poisoning! Instead, as Yoshimoto and his main group rested at Okehazama, a numerically smaller force probably a little more than 3,000 troops led by Nobunaga audaciously ambushed the unsuspecting Imagawa, treating them to the Sengoku rendition of “shock and awe”. When the ding of battle subsided, Yoshimoto found that his head was without his body and Ieyasu was now a free man. The Oda were also now a serious force to contend with in central Japan.

As the Imagawa forces fled back to Suruga in disarray, Ieyasu, with his first taste of real freedom, decided to head home—not to Sumpu, but to the seat of the Matsudaira family—Okazaki castle in the province of Mikawa. (It should be noted that at this time, Ieyasu’s family name was still Matsudaira. He did not change his name to Tokugawa until 1567.) Nobunaga and Ieyasu’s forces skirmished against each other for about a year in the aftermath of the collapse of the Imagawa that started with Okehazama. But in early 1561 it was decided that peace was better to war and a non-aggression pact was signed. Nobunaga needed stability on his eastern flank so he could concentrate his efforts on subduing Mino province. Peace with the Oda also sounded sensible to Ieyasu, who realized that the political-military situation had suddenly become quite fluid. With the downfall of the Imagawa, on whom the Matsudaira had long-depended on as a counter-weight to Oda incursions, peace with Nobunaga was perhaps the only viable option. Besides, centralized authority in Mikawa had become dilapidated in the years following the death of his father and Ieyasu reasoned that his nascent military forces would best be used putting his own house in order and pacifying Mikawa.

Who was First Among "Equals?"
Sorting out Mino took Nobunaga six long years of campaigning. It also took Ieyasu five years to take care of business in Mikawa thanks to stubborn resistance from pockets of independent-minded Ikkō Ikki. Yet during their years of campaigning in the first half of the 1560s, Nobunaga and Ieyasu did keep in touch. A year following the signing of the Oda-Tokugawa non-aggression pact, in 1562, Ieyasu took a break from his campaigning in Mikawa to visit Nobunaga in Owari. Lamers points out a very important and obvious point that is represented by this action. The fact that Ieyasu went to Nobunaga to pay his respects shows exactly who the senior partner in this relationship was. Also, in 1563, to further strengthen their budding alliance, it was agreed that in four year’s time, Nobunaga’s daughter, Tokuhime, would marry Ieyasu’s eldest son, Nobuyasu, when both children reached the age of eight. (yes, eight!) Lamers mentions very openly that he doesn’t have enough evidence to prove it, but he suspects based on limited research, that it was the norm in the Sengoku period for the superior partner in an alliance to marry off its daughter to the son from the junior side. If true, this proves from an early stage, Nobunaga clearly was in the senior in his relationship with Ieyasu. But how did Nobunaga, as the senior, interact with his junior partner, Ieyasu?

The two got along well enough in the beginning, as they clearly needed peace on their mutual border while they both concentrated on their respective conquests in Mino and Mikawa. Lamers states that when Nobunaga decided to march into Kyoto to support Shogun Yoshiaki’s cause, there was a fundamental change in the nature of his relationship with Ieyasu. Does anyone want to take a guess as to what that change was? If not, I’ll get to it in a day or two, when I continue with this topic.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:30 am    Post subject: Re: Nobunaga and Ieyasu: The Dynamics of a Sengoku Partnersh Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Lamers states that when Nobunaga decided to march into Kyoto to support Shogun Yoshiaki’s cause, there was a fundamental change in the nature of his relationship with Ieyasu. Does anyone want to take a guess as to what that change was? If not, I’ll get to it in a day or two, when I continue with this topic.


Let me guess: Ranmaru enters the picture and the it breaks Ieyasu's young heart. He goes on to write some angsty haiku.

Actually, I'd guess that at this point Ieyasu enters into more of a 'vassal' state, becoming an important general, but more subservient to Nobunaga to whom he has given his troops. It is no longer just two daimyo who happen to have an alliance and respect one another. Still, I don't really know what I'm talking about, so go ahead and post away!
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