free ebooks

A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

But Shingen was not reciprocally hampered




The battle of Okehazama led to another incident of prime importance in Japanese history. It brought about an alliance between Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Among the small barons subject to the Imagawa there was one called Matsudaira Motoyasu. He had taken the name, Motoyasu, by adopting one of the ideographs of Yoshimoto's appellation. His family, long in alliance with the Imagawa, were at a variance with the Oda, and in the battle of Okehazama this Motoyasu had captured one of the Owari forts. But on the defeat and death of Yoshimoto, the Matsudaira chieftain retired at once to his own castle of Okazaki, in the province of Mikawa. He had then to consider his position, for by the death of Yoshimoto, the headship of the Imagawa family had fallen to his eldest son, Ujizane, a man altogether inferior in intellect to his gifted father. Nobunaga himself appreciated the character of the new ruler, and saw that the wisest plan would be to cement a union with Matsudaira Motoyasu. Accordingly he despatched an envoy to Okazaki Castle to consult the wishes of Motoyasu. The latter agreed to the Owari chief's proposals, and in February, 1562, proceeded to the castle of Kiyosu, where he contracted with Oda Nobunaga an alliance which endured throughout the latter's lifetime. In the following year, Motoyasu changed his name to Ieyasu, and subsequently he took the uji of Tokugawa. The alliance

was strengthened by intermarriage, Nobuyasu, the eldest son of Ieyasu, being betrothed to a daughter of Nobunaga.


It was at this time, according to Japanese annalists, that Nobunaga seriously conceived the ambition of making Kyoto his goal. The situation offered inducements. In the presence of a practically acknowledged conviction that no territorial baron of that era might venture to engage in an enterprise which denuded his territory of a protecting army, it was necessary to look around carefully before embarking upon the Kyoto project. Nobunaga had crushed the Imagawa, for though his victory had not been conclusive from a military point of view, it had placed the Imagawa under incompetent leadership and had thus freed Owari from all menace from the littoral provinces on the east. Again, in the direction of Echigo and Shinano, the great captain, Uesugi Kenshin, dared not strike at Nobunaga's province without exposing himself to attack from Takeda Shingen. But Shingen was not reciprocally hampered. His potentialities were always an unknown quality. He was universally recognized as the greatest strategist of his time, and if Nobunaga ventured to move westward, the Kai baron would probably seize the occasion to lay hands upon Owari. It is true that the alliance with Tokugawa Ieyasu constituted some protection. But Ieyasu was no match for Shingen in the field. Some other check must be devised, and Nobunaga found it in the marriage of his adopted daughter to Shingen's son, Katsuyori.


In Kyoto, at this time, a state of great confusion existed. The Emperor Okimachi had ascended the throne in 1557. But in the presence of the violent usurpations of the Miyoshi and others, neither the sovereign nor the shogun could exercise any authority, and, as has been shown already, the Throne was constantly in pecuniarily embarassed circumstances. Nobunaga's father, Nobuhide, had distinguished himself by subscribing liberally to aid the Court financially, and this fact being now recalled in the context of Nobunaga's rapidly rising power, the Emperor, in the year 1562, despatched Tachiri Munetsugu nominally to worship at the shrine of Atsuta, but in reality to convey to Nobunaga an Imperial message directing him to restore order in the capital. The Owari baron received this envoy with marked respect. It is recorded that he solemnly performed the ceremony of lustration and clothed himself in hitherto unworn garments on the occasion of his interview with the envoy. It was not in his power, however, to make any definite arrangement as to time. He could only profess his humble determination to obey the Imperial behest, and promise the utmost expedition. But there can be no doubt that the arrival of this envoy decided the question of a march to Kyoto, though some years were destined to elapse before the project could be carried out.

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us