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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

And thus acquired the name of Oda


Among the welter of warring regions glanced at above, five sections detach themselves as centres of disturbance. The first is the Court in Kyoto and the Muromachi Bakufu, where the Hosokawa, the Miyoshi, and the Matsunaga deluged the streets with blood and reduced the city to ashes. The second is the Hojo of Odawara, who compassed the destruction of the kubo at Koga and of the two original Uesugi families. The third is Takeda of Kai, who struggled on one side with the Uesugi of Echigo and on the other with the Imagawa of Suruga. The fourth is Oda Nobunaga, who escorted the shogun to the capital. And the fifth is the great Mori family, who, after crushing the Ouchi and the Amako, finally came into collision with the armies of Oda under the leadership of Hideyoshi.

ENGRAVING: "EMA" (Pictures Painted on Wood, Especially of Horses, Hung up in the Temple as Motive Offerings)





WHEN the Taira sept was shattered finally at Dan-no-ura, a baby grandson of Kiyomori was carried by its mother to the hamlet of Tsuda, in Omi province. Subsequently this child, Chikazane, was adopted by a Shinto official of Oda, in Echizen, and thus acquired the name of Oda. For generations the family served uneventfully at the shrine in Omi, but in the disturbed days of the Ashikaga shoguns, the representative of the eighth generation from Chikazane emerged from the obscurity of Shinto services and was appointed steward (karo) of the Shiba family, which appointment involved removal of his residence to Owari. From that time the fortunes of the family became brighter. Nobuhide, its representative at the beginning of the sixteenth century, acquired sufficient power to dispute the Imagawa's sway over the province of Mikawa, and sufficient wealth to contribute funds to the exhausted coffers of the Court in Kyoto.

This man's son was Nobunaga. Born in 1534, and destined to bequeath to his country a name that will never die, Nobunaga, as a boy, showed much of the eccentricity of genius. He totally despised the canons of the time as to costume and etiquette. One of his peculiarities was a love of long swords, and it is related that on a visit to Kyoto in his youth he carried in his girdle a sword which trailed on the ground as he walked. Rough and careless, without any apparent dignity, he caused so much solicitude to his tutor and guardian, Hirate Masahide, and showed so much indifference to the latter's remonstrances, that finally Masahide had recourse to the faithful vassal's last expedient--he committed suicide, leaving a letter in which the explanation of his act was accompanied by a stirring appeal to the better instincts of his pupil and ward. This proved the turning-point in Nobunaga's career. He became as circumspect as he had previously been careless, and he subsequently erected to the memory of his brave monitor a temple which may be seen to this day by visitors to Nagoya.

It is frequently said of Nobunaga that his indifference to detail and his lack of patience were glaring defects in his moral endowment. But that accusation can scarcely be reconciled

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