|5th Weapon:|| |
Muramasa/Lord of Hell (2:XL~3:XL)
|6th Weapon:|| |
|Moveset Type:|| |
|First Appearance:||Samurai Warriors|
|Real name:|| |
|Japanese name:|| |
June 23, 1534
June 21, 1582
Initially available (WO1)
Hu Lao Gate (WO2)
|Personal Item:|| |
Painted Scroll of Atsumori
Nobunaga Oda is one of the three unifiers of the Warring States period along with his former generals, Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Ieyasu Tokugawa. Until his untimely demise, Nobunaga is widely considered to have had controlled most of Japan as one of the strongest ruling powers of his time. He is Nōhime's husband, Oichi's older brother, and Nagamasa Azai's brother-in-law. His successor is his son, Nobutada, though he often does not live to continue his father's legacy.
In many of Kou Shibusawa's produced works, Nobunaga is often portrayed as a charismatic if flawed heroic figure rather than as a heartless dictator. He is the title character of the strategy series, Nobunaga's Ambition, and is the role model for Hideyoshi in Taiko Risshiden. He also appears as a bonus character in Dynasty Warriors using his visual look from the Nobunaga's Ambition series. To honor Nobunaga's Ambition leading to the company's recognition as a video game company, Nobunaga's sprite portrait is imprinted onto one of the cement courts in Koei-Tecmo's Kanagawa building.
His Samurai Warriors counterpart is portrayed as the equivalent Dynasty Warriors Cao Cao. In the first Samurai Warriors, he's 33 years old. His height in the series is 190 cm (approximately 6'3"). Nobunaga is seventeenth place in Gamecity's Sengoku Musou 3: Empires character popularity poll. In Koei-Tecmo's Facebook Sengoku Musou Chronicle 2nd poll, he tied for sixth place with three other characters.
Role in Games
- "Come on, Demon King. Live up to your name."
- ―Lu Bu; Warriors Orochi
In Warriors Orochi, Nobunaga is seen as a fearsome neutral party. In reality, he is gathering various warriors to join his resistance against Orochi, despite Kanetsugu's initial observations. He is also fascinated by Cao Cao, the conqueror that several people state he resembles. He acts as the figurehead for the Samurai force and is seen as a heroic mastermind. Throughout the story, Nobunaga predicts the future, such as Cao Pi and Sun Ce eventually betraying Orochi. He is one of the four characters to lead a major resistance force (the others being Cao Pi, Sun Ce, and Zhao Yun) and temporarily join forces with his rivals, Shingen and Kenshin. After Orochi's defeat, the three warlords separate.
Nobunaga is given a lesser role in the sequel and is absent for the first half of the game. In the Samurai storyline, Sakon Shima looks to construct a powerful force to combat Kiyomori. At Hu Lao Gate, Sakon sends a messenger to seek an audience with Nobunaga and convince him to join the anti-Orochi alliance. In the middle of the battle, Nobunaga appears with reinforcements and helps Sakon defeat Kiyomori. In the Wei storyline, however, at Tong Gate, Nobunaga and his vassals help Xiahou Dun route a desperate Kiyomori. He stays to build a friendship with Cao Cao.
He shares his Dream stage with the other unifiers of Japan and wage a contest with the rulers of the Three Kingdoms.
Leading his army in Warriors Orochi 3, Nobunaga fought against Cao Cao for dominance in the original timeline. When Hydra awakened, he and his forces were bitterly decimated and scattered. Nobunaga's whereabouts after his defeat are not known. As the coalition from the future returns to Da Ji's past, however, the Demon King's forces opposes them. Nobunaga remains stationed at Honnōji and desires for the coalition to prove their worth to him in battle. Impressed by their will, he joins them after the battle. He later leads the Oda forces to defend Osaka Castle for the coalition.
Nobunaga stars with his wife in "Every Snake Has Its Day", one of the downloadable stages. With Yoshihiro, they help Diamondback in his rebellion against Kiyomori.
In Ultimate, Nobunaga is besieged by the forces of Shu at Honnōji due to false rumors of him forging an alliance with Da Ji. Upon being defeated by them, he is spared by Jiang Wei who discovered that the rumors were being spread by his doppelganger. Deducing Da Ji's role in this incident, Nobunaga sets out to capture her only to find the Wei army attacking them. This is due to Da Ji using another clone to impersonate Nobunaga.
Nobunaga retains his personality in the Warriors franchises, but his cruelty and abstract nature are significantly toned down to fit the target audience for Pokémon Conquest. During his youth, he was a gregarious and optimistic person who loved Pokémon and his freedom. However, he soon realized that people would always fight amongst themselves in their greed for the legendary Pokémon. These wars would make people lose sight of their Pokémon's companionship and lead them to regard their friends as mindless tools. To prevent such a future and to unify the divided countries in Ransei, he becomes stern and distant. Nobunaga desires to destroy the common perception of the legendary Pokémon by toppling it with his own power. By doing so, he believes the land can truly be at peace. Nobunaga summarizes his ambition as one that will "destroy Ransei", which alienates him from his sister.
By the time the protagonist obtains four castles in his/her possession, Nobunaga has defeated five other castles and over half of Ransei is in his leadership. He accepts various proposals from the defeated countries for their servitude. He visits the protagonist personally once he/she gains Shingen and Kenshin's trust, haughtily challenging the youth to surpass him. When the protagonist beats his Zekrom at his home castle, Nobunaga forfeits his castle to him/her and disappears. Nobunaga watches from afar as the protagonist meets the legendary Pokémon atop Infinity Tower within his domain. After the protagonist forms a Link with it, Nobunaga and his five closest supporters challenge him/her. He faces the main party with his personal black Rayquaza to see which leader is truly superior.
When he loses the climatic battle, he explains to Oichi his wish for Ransei. His genuine desire moves the legendary Pokémon to respectfully depart from Ransei and leave it in the protagonist and Nobunaga's care. With the legendary Pokémon gone, the Bushou Leaders reach an understanding and agree to keep the land peaceful. With his ambition seemingly fulfilled, Nobunaga mysteriously keeps watch atop Infinity Tower.
Nobunaga briefly appears in the first Kessen as an aspiration in the sky. Moments before Ieyasu departs for Sekigahara, Nobunaga wishes for his dream to live on with Ieyasu. His message to Ieyasu continues to inspire him throughout his campaigns.
In Kessen III, the roles are switched and Nobunaga is the main protagonist. He is very close to his wife, Kicho, and is well liked by his generals. Unlike his Samurai Warriors counterpart, he is symbolized in some way by a hawk. He judges people based on their capabilities over status and is fascinated by European travelers. He is a witty and charismatic leader who shares happy relations with his allies. He tries to avoid war if possible but is usually forced to fight due to his persistent enemies.
As far back as he can remember, Nobunaga has an ongoing dream of his death in a fiery room. He sees two blurred figures in it and believes that they will probably shape his fate. He confides this dream to Kicho, who believes that it maybe a premonition. At Honnoji, his life is saved by Kicho's metal hair clip, a memento she left behind for him and kept close to his chest. With all of his enemies joining Mitsuhide, he leads a resistance to destroy his rival and save the land from any further warfare. In the extra ending for the game, he eventually travels overseas and makes peace with Spain. He also allows an overseas village to be built and expresses wishes for all of Japan to learn about Christianity and European history.
The protagonist frees Nobunaga's soul in Toukiden after they defeat the King of Tokoyo, the last giant demon of the main story. He/She has prevented the demons' attempts to conjure a destructive vortex, yet demons still lurk within Nakatsu Kuni. Nobunaga and the other souls within the protagonist swear to keep fighting by the hero/heroine's side to protect humanity. They imply they will continue to do so until the land is completely safe.
The titular character of the series, Nobunaga is often one of the daimyo with the best all-rounded stats within the games. Depending on the year players choose to play as him, he will be stationed within Azuchi Castle, Gifu Castle, or somewhere within the Owari Province. Throughout the series, he excels with firearms but also has a high proficiency with foot soldiers or spearmen. He often has a uniquely named skill set aside for him that increases his troops strength or attack. Several events from what is historically known or fabled to be known about him are reenacted in the games, including his invention of the "Tenka Fubu" seal or his burning of Mount Hiei. His death at Honnoji is one of the consistent historical events to receive a cinematic sequence. When he dies at Honnoji in the newest title, his death poem is actually his famous rendition of Atsumori.
Within the online adaption, Nobunaga rules as a level 70 daimyo at Azuchi Castle. Similar to his Kessen counterpart, he is a jocular leader who wants to see the wars end. Knowing that he needs power to create lasting peace, he invites others to follow his vision. Caring only for his vassals, he doesn't care about what others call him or say of him. Nobunaga specifically quotes they can call him the "Sixth Heaven Demon King" -simply put, to invite only desire and pleasure to the suffering masses, a taboo gesture in Buddhism- and he won't blink an eye. The nickname is also the namesake for his unique ability, "Sixth Heaven Demon King's Light". When he uses it, it stuns all enemies standing against him and fully restores his own morale. Since it takes at least thirty seconds to recover from stun and Nobunaga uses the ability often, it is considered a game breaking ability by players.
Tendou offers an original scenario called Hotogisu no Yukue that takes place in January 1590. Hideyoshi and Ieyasu have cut ties with Nobunaga in their desires to take the land, pitting the three unifiers against one another. Eying his former comrades as his two true rivals, Nobunaga remarks they are undoubtedly strong but lack the qualities for unification. Therefore, he sets out with his remaining trusted vassals, whom include Katsuie, Nagahide, and Masahide Hirate, to wage war on them. Even without Hideyoshi and Ieyasu's help, Nobunaga gains the trust of the people living within his territory by defeating troublemakers in the streets and successfully dispatches other coalitions raised against him. Once his forces take the capital, he confides his plans of "Tenka Fubu" to Ranmaru, even if his page doesn't completely understand the concept.
If he defeats Ieyasu or Hideyoshi, both daimyo remark they can't win against Nobunaga. As a reply, Nobunaga bluntly states that their realization is an obvious one. For Ieyasu, Nobunaga invites his friend to dine with him inside his castle as a guest. He tells "Takechiyo" that he wishes they were never enemies and praises the strength of Ieyasu's forces. Nobunaga states that the Tokugawa forces are what is truly needed to unite the land and asks Ieyasu to join him again. Although his friend is surprised by Nobunaga's honesty, Ieyasu agrees. For Hideyoshi, Nobunaga invites his former retainer on a horse ride to the country. Quickly deducting the "monkey"'s desire for the land, he then asks if Hideyoshi desires to continue serving under him. As Hideyoshi happily agrees, he curtly orders his enthusiastic retainer to put himself to good use and get the troops ready the next battle.
When Nobunaga unites the land in this scenario, he remarks his path to conquest is just beginning. Nobunaga desires to conquer the entire world for a true land of peace. He hopes to make his homeland a strong one for the following wars to come.
Inindo: Way of the Ninja
Nobunaga serves as the main antagonist in Inindo: Way of the Ninja. He is in the midst of ordering the complete subjugation of Iga when Mitsuhide betrays him at Honnoji. Depending on the scenario, Nobunaga will look completely unscathed or will be covered in bandages due to his escape. He lives in either version and continues his conquests across Japan.
In the first story path, Nobunaga had actually perished in the burning temple. He is reborn into the living plane as a demon who desires retribution for the betrayal. After avenging his loss, Nobunaga becomes aware of his supernatural state and believes he has transcended godhood. He is overtly confident of his newfound strength and even taunts the protagonist to join him.
The other path has Nobunaga instead lose faith in humanity due to the shock of Mitsuhide's treachery. Too embittered to trust the words of his own vassals, he instead lends an ear to a foreign sorcerer named Nicolai. Nicolai offers to conjure demons to conquer the land, which a disillusioned Nobunaga accepts. He figures his methods shouldn't matter if he couldn't believe in his fellow man.
When he is fatally wounded by the protagonist, Nobunaga praises the young ninja. After telling the youth his story, Nobunaga admits his goals for either scenario made him lose sight of his real self and were trivial (he is impressed by the hero's resolve to fight in the name of his loved ones in the secondary scenario). Before he dies, he thanks the hero for granting him a fraction of his humanity. Having no regrets about his fate, Nobunaga perishes and burns within Azuchi Castle.
Geten no Hana
Geten no Hana portrays Nobunaga as Nobuhide Oda's eldest son and Nobuyuki's lone older brother. He was pressured since his birth to be Nobuhide's rightful successor. Yet Nobunaga was a rebellious youth who was appalled by his stringent teachings. He preferred to dress in outrageous clothing and spend his time teasing his younger brother. In due time, he was shunned for his remorseful disrespect for responsibility and called the "Fool of Owari". His refusal to follow predicted trends and expectations, however, led to his childhood friendship with Toshiie and Ieyasu.
Masahide Hirate, a retainer of his father's, was his nagging caretaker who tried his best to discipline him. The elderly man's scoldings and lecturing had no effect on Nobunaga, but the young lord still enjoyed his company. Six years before the main story, Nobuhide died and Nobunaga was named his heir. As per his usual behavior, the young lord didn't care for decorum at his father's funeral and roughly threw the ceremonial ashes as though it were dirt. He was unaware of the animosity his actions caused with the Oda retainers and the true weight of his new position. To awaken Nobunaga to the truth, Masahide committed honorable suicide.
Nobunaga was shocked yet perceptive enough to realize the message. Taking his responsibilities seriously, the experience taught him to value life and to respect the fallen. He learned to carefully plan his actions to avoid meaningless slaughter, even in his conquests of the land. Assuming his responsibilities post haste, Nobunaga's bold change of character quelled the displeasure with his father's retainers. When they turned on his younger brother, Nobunaga intervened on his behalf to protect him. Nobuyuki was able to survive thanks to his mercy.
As he swiftly pacified the neighboring lords, Nobunaga befriended foreign missionaries and became fascinated with their beliefs. Once he learned that Japan was a mere speck in the world, Nobunaga was amazed by how small their disputes seemed in comparison. He dreams of someday unifying his home country and granting it an entertaining age of peace completely free from military authority, a simple pleasure he feels it long deserves. Nobunaga aspires to someday sail overseas once he feels Japan is safe to fend for itself.
By the time the main story takes place, he has conquered most of the main island. He stations himself within Azuchi Castle as a rare break from his duties and to leisurely oversee the activities of his forces.
Nobunaga is first introduced to Hotaru under her disguise as Kikyō. She trips over his napping figure within the castle grounds and, through her sheer nervousness at meeting him, is the first to immediately be suspicious of her. Despite his first impressions, Nobunaga welcomes her warmly into his domain. While he is fully aware that there are spies within the castle aiming to take his life, Nobunaga spends the majority of his time relaxing with the townsfolk or entertaining himself with tea or a recreational activity with his retainers when he isn't busy overseeing his duties.
A week after Hotaru's arrival, Nobunaga and company invite her to Ieyasu's manor for a tea ceremony. The tea tasting ends at nightfall and the members go their separate ways to retire for the night. Hotaru is ordered by Mitsuhide to retrieve his fan he had forgotten at Ieyasu's manor. On the way, she spots a masked figure aiming a blow dart towards Nobunaga. Protecting the young lord is a part of her mission so she throws a kunai vaguely towards Nobunaga's direction as a warning. The masked figure escapes with a smoke bomb and, before Hotaru can escape, Nobunaga apprehends her. She uses the smoke's cover to transform back into Kikyō and answers that she forgot something at Ieyasu's manor. Though he is leery of the princess being by herself, he buys her story and has Ranmaru escort her back to the Akechi manor. Nobunaga inspects the vicinity and quickly deduces that there are more than two spies targeting him, updating the guards with the news the following morning.
Approximately a week later, Nobunaga calls for an urgent conference with his brother and fellow retainers. He tells them that the Emperor has conceded to give him one of the following titles: Chancellor of the Realm, Shogun, or Chief Advisor. Nobunaga cuts off their congratulations by stating his intentions to refuse, determined to decide his own title for himself with no ties to the Emperor. Two days later, he spontaneously drags his nearby retainers and Hotaru to join him for a twilight firefly gathering. Whilst there, they reveal to her that Nobunaga has scheduled a trip to the capital in two weeks time to refuse the titles in person. He notices her spirits lowering with the news and assures her that it is for the sake of his dream, a spontaneous speech which additionally awes his listeners.
Two nights or so later, Hotaru approaches the main keep to personally inspect rumors of a spirit haunting the premise. Nobunaga spots her and unceremoniously shoves her inside for tea served by Yoshirou. Ranmaru informs him that one of the Emperor's messengers seeks an audience with him, causing Nobunaga to excuse himself. Whilst alone with the tea server, Hotaru saves him from a toxic serpent and pursues the eavesdropping Rekka. Upon learning that Nobuyuki is the shinobi's master, she reports her findings to Mitsuhide.
He in turn reveals the news to Nobunaga in private and explains Hotaru's kunoichi training to him. Nobunaga quickly accepts the truth about Hotaru, yet he refuses to believe that his younger brother has been plotting to assassinate him. Mitsuhide then concocts an elaborate ruse to draw Nobuyuki's true character into the open, and Nobunaga agrees to feign ignorance on behalf of his plan. He pretends that nothing is amiss, even up to the moment of his staged assassination. Once Nobuyuki is proven guilty and imprisoned, he continues his plans to move to the capital and resides within Honnōji. Nobunaga's fate in the default storyline is reliant on the player's choices and the number of endings they have completed by this point.
Yumeakari has Nobunaga continue his plans for unification after he survives Honnōji.
Interested in spending time with the "peculiar princess", Nobunaga drags her to whatever he believes will please her as soon as he can. Their first outing is spent drinking tea he personally brewed with Nobuyuki. He is pleased to hear she enjoys it, yet he becomes defensive when his brother criticizes the sincerity of his dream. To him, a dream is a passionate force with the strength to completely reshape a person's character, enough to move a person to do whatever it takes to achieve it. Once he finishes illustrating the importance of having a vision in life, Nobunaga calls for Hotaru to state hers for him. She is puzzled by his inquiry, as she never considered her motivations to be dictated solely by an ideal. Entertained by her odd reaction, he believes her world is too sheltered to confidently answer him and bids her to indulge herself during her one month stay. Nobunaga eagerly anticipates to learn her dream once she has decided on one.
As Hotaru walks the castle grounds one day, she happens to spot Nobunaga and Ranmaru leaving the main keep. The men are approached by a peasant woman, a destitute mother seeking to avenge the death of her son from one of Nobunaga's campaigns. Seeing that she is armed, Nobunaga calls off Ranmaru and draws his own blade against her. Hotaru senses a murderous intent from him and hurries to the mother's rescue by pleading in the woman's defense. He ponders if she is truly prepared to stand against him and Hotaru fearlessly challenges him. She dares him to cut her if he wants to hurt a woman, stating that it would injure his reputation and incur the wrath of the Akechi family. Intrigued by her gull, Nobunaga lets the mother flee unharmed and returns to his quarters amused.
He summons for her company the day after Ieyasu's tea ceremony, wanting to know if the princess could identify the shinobi who attempted to kill him. Hotaru feigns ignorance of the spy's identity and is momentarily scared when Nobunaga deducts that there must have been a female spy. She changes the topic to his fearlessness in the face of death. He answers that his dream drives him forward and shows her the globe within his quarters. After he explains his ambitions for Japan to her, Hotaru accurately predicts his intents to set his sights on the world. He enthusiastically complements her for understanding him in one sitting, surprised to have met someone who understands him so thoroughly. Later, he elaborates to her that the dream of a happy, serene land is shared by him and the people. Even the mother who tried to kill him is a reflection of that desire. Nobunaga deems himself capable of making it a reality.
One night after the firefly gathering, Hotaru visits Nobunaga and finds him dancing to Atsumori within his private garden. As she chats with him, Rekka knocks out Nobunaga's two escorts and attempts to assassinate their lord. Since Hotaru is disguised as the helpless Kikyō, she needs to act the part as a maiden in distress. When the young lord suffers a minor cut from the enemy shinobi protecting her, Hotaru surprises herself when she briefly considers breaking her cover to save Nobunaga. Ranmaru arrives in time to stop Rekka, thus preventing her from acting on the impulse. Nobunaga is unmoved by the incident and escorts Hotaru back to the Akechi manor. Blaming herself for placing him into any sort of danger, Hotaru insists on being punished for her ineptitude. Nobunaga swiftly orders her "punishment": she must visit him more often and provide him company, something which Hotaru happily agrees to fulfill.
Mitsuhide gives Hotaru her final mission to assassinate Nobunaga at the firefly banquet approximately a week later. The conspirators scheme to use Hotaru to lure Nobunaga far away from the banquet and murder him in private. Mitsuhide and Nobuyuki plan to watch nearby from the shadows. Conflicted over her mission and her desire to see Nobunaga's dream, she is unable to keep her uncertainties hidden and uses fatigue as an excuse to stay away from the public eye. Though she discreetly prepares for the mission, Hotaru wishes to see Nobunaga live through the ordeal and dreads each day before the banquet. Nobunaga at this point is aware of the reasons behind her uncertainties and offers to share her burden in private. Hotaru is torn yet doesn't confess her feelings for the sake of the mission. Hoping to provide some relief to her doubts, Nobunaga gladly offers his life to her and states his wish for her to believe in him.
The firefly banquet proceeds as planned with Hotaru and Nobunaga alone in a secluded area. The moment she draws her kunai Nobunaga grabs her wrist and stabs himself with it. He immediately commands her to flee from the scene and collapses in a pool of blood. She transforms into a bird and disappears before Ranmaru arrives. After Hotaru reports to Mitsuhide, Nobuyuki openly relishes the news of his brother's death and his new position as clan head. Nobunaga enters the scene unharmed, explaining that the blood was fake. Finally convinced of Nobuyuki's character, he orders for his capture and returns to his quarters. Mitsuhide explains the reasons of the farce to Hotaru and encourages her to see Nobunaga for his thoughts. She flies into his window as a bird and presents herself in her true kunoichi form.
Coming clean about his knowledge of the scheme and pleased to finally know her real name, Nobunaga admits he suspected that Hotaru was a kunoichi since their first meeting. Her reactions and courage in the face of danger further convinced him. With the need for deception over, he eggs her to be honest about her blatant infatuation for him. Hotaru hasn't fallen in love with someone before and fumbles with identifying her attraction for him, yet he finds her confusion endearing. Before he spends the rest of the night alone with Hotaru, he frustratingly tells an embarrassed Ranmaru to get out.
The following morning Nobunaga receives a report that Nobuyuki is still behind bars and decides to postpone judgment until after he finishes his business in the capital. He then summons his retainers to his side, nulls Hotaru's contract to Mitsuhide, and instructs her to disguise herself as a princess. Before his men, Nobunaga announces that she is his future wife and demands that they show her the proper respects. Hotaru voices her concern over his proclamation when they retire in private, worried that a kunoichi like herself is unworthy of him. Nobunaga is clear on his feelings for her and gives her a tea bowl. The bowl is decorated by a fenghuang with two tail feathers, which the young lord insists represents their ties to one another. He promises to wait for her to realize her love for him and departs the next day for the capital.
Hotaru mulls over her anxieties over her social stature and is visited by Mitsuhide. Seeing her distress, Mitsuhide reveals that Nobunaga was pleased when he first learned about Hotaru's identity, proudly referring to her as "his other half" in life. His assurance gives her the confidence to believe in her lifestyle and in the sincerity of Nobunaga's proposal. One of Mitsuhide's retainers suddenly brings a report that Nobuyuki is missing from his cell and no where to be found. Mitsuhide hurries to assemble an army and orders Hotaru to give him a report of Nobuyuki's whereabouts. She transforms into a bird, sees his army heading towards Honnōji, and passes on her reconnaissance to Mitsuhide. Hotaru then flies as fast as she can towards the temple.
The kunoichi arrives before Nobuyuki's army sets fire to the temple, but they are too late to escape. Once the fire starts, Nobunaga resolves himself to his defeat. He orders both Ranmaru and Hotaru to escort the residents in the Nijo Pavilion to safety rather than have them risk their lives against the army of 2,000. As he was unable to see through Nobuyuki's plot, the lord feels his time is over and is prepared to die in the flames. Ranmaru reluctantly leaves, but Hotaru stays. She finally confesses her dream to him: to live and see the world he creates. He assures her that his dream will live on in the hearts of his colleagues and states his final farewells. Nobunaga then walks further into the fire, willingly accepting his end that heaven has appropriately judged for him.
Resolving to not give up on him or her acceptance of being his lover, Hotaru uses the transformation scroll given to her by her village elder nearly a month before. She transforms into a giant fenghuang to fly both of them to safety. With Nobunaga safe and away from the temple's fire, he bests Nobuyuki in a duel and his retainers quell the army of insurgents. Nobuyuki is recaptured again for his trouble, and Nobunaga cancels his plans to meet the Emperor. He proclaims his return to Azuchi Castle to imprison his younger brother.
Though Hotaru collapses in exhaustion using the giant scroll, Nobunaga ushers her to recover. In the days that follow, he resumes his work at Azuchi and Hotaru returns to Iga to report back. She also informs the village of her intents to live with Nobunaga, a decision which the elder accepts. Hotaru is fine living under the disguise as a princess for Nobunaga, as it will never change her confidence in her ninja upbringing. She swears to continue using her ninja training to protect him. The couple eventually marry and promise to share their future together.
Mōri Motonari: Chikai no Sanya
Portrayed as one of the many influential daimyo of the game, Nobunaga is a rude and brash man who is frustrated by those he deems incompetent. He has a short temper with anyone who questions him, feeling no remorse for anyone who begs for sympathy. Since the focus of the story is on the western side of the main island, Nobunaga's appearances in the story are brief.
Nobunaga is first seen meeting the hostage Takechiyo in Owari, demanding the "brat" to move out of his way. A few chapters later, the young man visits Takechiyo to pass on news of the death of the boy's father. When Takechiyo begins to cry, Nobunaga accosts him as his form of comfort. Reasoning the boy to gain composure and to not be an embarrassment like his father, Nobunaga seems proud when Takechiyo obeys. Losing his father didn't affect him personally, spatting an insult and hurling the ceremonial ash at Nobuhide's funeral with spite. He instead revels in the power given to him as the new clan head and effortlessly defeats Yoshimoto at Okehazama.
Years later, Nobunaga seeks to abuse and use any window of opportunity that comes his way. First, he accepts the offer to escort and protect the fleeing shogun to Kyoto. When the shogun asked if Nobunaga wanted a reward, he demanded the service of Yoshiaki's most capable retainer, Mitsuhide. His request granted, Nobunaga then manipulates the shogun's power to better serve his purposes and bases himself in the capital. Kicking the shogun out when the man served his purposes, Nobunaga controls the center of the land and deals with several rebellions. He becomes infuriated with the repeated instigations from Kennyo's peasant followers and orders Katsuie to slaughter them. His vicious act sparks Terumoto's animosity and the Mōri finally decide to stand against the Oda.
After the loss at Kizugawaguchi, Nobunaga splits his retainers to deal with different sections of the land at once. Barking at Mitsuhide for daring to question his authority, the conqueror begins his own preparations to join the invasion of the Mōri. Although news of his imminent arrival frightened the villagers of the west, their fears are put to rest when Nobunaga is killed by Mitsuhide at Honnōji. His death is not shown to the player, Terumoto only hearing of the event himself when his kunoichi reports it to him.
Initially, the designers aimed to portray him as "Sengoku's demon king" and went with their spin on the typical Nobunaga attire seen in fiction. They gave Nobunaga a sword to enforce his trait of quickly eliminating anyone who opposes him. His first design aimed to create a "new manly" image of Nobunaga that didn't look too similar to his appearance in the Nobunaga's Ambition series. For his redesign, they wanted to differentiate him further by emphasizing his symbolic item in the series, which is black feathers. To keep the dramatic flow of action for his character, they decided to split his mantle and adorned his armor's collar with feathers.
Like most fictional accounts, Nobunaga in Samurai Warriors acts cold and indifferent to the suffering of innocent people and of others' opinion of his methods. Boldly declaring that he is predestined to rule as a part of heaven's and the land's design, he therefore sees any resistance to his conquests as useless pursuits. He aims to continuously shock people with his campaigns, forcing them to continuously grow past their dated expectations by destroying the old. He adopts a devil's advocate motif, often asking others their desires and a way for him to grant them. An ingenious individual with sadistic traits, he also presents poetic barbs for his opponents in a quizzical and superior manner. In the second title, he enjoys the prospect of facing death, believing that all battles should be fought to conquer one's fear of dying. For the Japanese script of his Warriors appearance, Nobunaga speaks in a theatrical tone, refers to himself in third person, and dramatically pauses before speaking the last syllable of his sentences. His lines become more abstract and philosophical as he appears in more titles.
Enjoying Mitsuhide's headstrong nature and honesty, even when his retainer betrays him, Nobunaga always goads him to show his best effort. In the event that he actually dies at Honnōji, Nobunaga somehow gets the last word against his opponent by morbidly praising his vassal's accomplishment -Mitsuhide's reaction varies on the title. He is affectionate towards his wife, thinking highly of her beauty and her position beside him. Knowing her promise to her father, Nobunaga teases her about her thoughts in the first and third title. In the original Japanese script, his praise for Ranmaru contains hints of arousal and explicitly state that the young man's accomplishments are dedications of love. Nobunaga's lines are much more platonic in the English script, in which he praises Ranmaru with simple fascination. In the Japanese dub, he calls both of them with the "o" honorific (お濃 O-Nō, お蘭 O-Ran). His relationship with Nagamasa and Oichi is usually minor, but he has shown reluctance to lose either one of them in the first and third title.
Though he may seem callous, he's depicted with a shred of sympathy in his recent appearances. He trusts his generals to carry out their missions and is seen forgiving them in select scenarios. His heroic qualities are better demonstrated in the Warriors Orochi series. He acts as an idol for Guan Ping during the series, his presence impressing the youth greatly. Adhering to strong individuals, Nobunaga praises him, the youth's father, and Cao Cao.
Geten no Hana's Nobunaga lives and breathes the messages found in Atsumori. He believes that life is limited to fifty years; a person who isn't moved to enjoy living for their dreams may as well be dead. Always on the move and never satisfied with waiting, his every decision as clan head is dedicated towards a new land of peace for the people. Idealistic and unorthodox as his actions may seem to traditionalists, Nobunaga's daring leadership and formidable cunning silences their skepticism. He firmly accepts the realities of his ancient war-torn age, realizing that death is an inevitable price for success. Therefore, Nobunaga treasures every drop of blood spilled and willingly accepts any change or sacrifice necessary for the sake of a new land. Since the stories of his belligerent disregard for customs run rampant, rumors of his cruel ruthlessness are commonplace. Aware of the constant intimidation he faces, Nobunaga gladly relishes it as proof of his dream becoming a reality.
Nobunaga is rather whimsical during his leisure. At any time, he may sneak away from the castle grounds to explore the nearby town, challenge his pages to a duel, or order for his men to attend a hunting party with him. Wanting to enjoy his life to the fullest, he desires to do anything which captures his immediate interest and rarely takes no for an answer. He is more than capable of protecting himself from danger during his adventurous outings –despite Ranmaru frequently nagging him to bring more guards– and feels he shouldn't waste time fixating on groundless paranoia. The young lord is undoubtedly sarcastic, arrogant, and blunt, yet his playful teases don't mask the genuine concern he has for his retainers. He ultimately urges them to do what's best for their happiness as a supportive brother figure. Nobunaga extends the same bond of trust and companionship to Nobuyuki, even if the feelings are not returned in a manner he expects.
At first, Hotaru is an interesting woman to him. He can initially relate to the burden of being labeled an "oddity" by others and is fascinated by her profound boldness. Adoring her for it, Nobunaga feels that he has found the one woman in his life that he had been waiting for, especially once she perfectly chimes his intents to see the world. He realizes his attraction for her much sooner than Hotaru and encourages her to be proud of herself beside him. Though her timid rejections may provoke his teasing, he has no doubt about her thoughts for him. For her, he is willing to be patient as he feels they are two separated halves becoming one.
Nobunaga's rendition of the poetical dance Atsumori is one of his many famous lines in various fictional media. The original Atsumori lines remarks that everything in life is destined to change and nothing, whether it be beauty or eternal life, can be permanent. Everything in the world is fragile. Atsumori closely follows the Buddhist concept of nothingness and the conservative acceptance of mutable life and death. According to the Nobunaga Kouki, Nobunaga particularly liked the last three lines featured for the poem and took his own spin on it during the early morning of Okehazama, thereby changing its artistic message. A rough translation of Nobunaga's version is:
- * One of six heavenly realms for a soul focusing on entertainment. One day and night there is equivalent to 8,000 mortal years.
Most reenactments of Nobunaga's version cuts off the areas that are orders and instead focuses on the first five lines. Frailty is embraced and the message for change is boldly emphasized. It's because the world is changing that life can be beautiful and enjoyable whether it be short-lived or not. His version also remarks that the comfort of an afterlife is to be avoided; nothing is to be gained by peacefully waiting for death. History fans today like to remark the poem is ironic foreshadowing since Nobunaga's own life was cut short at approximately fifty years. It led to the urban legend of Nobunaga reciting his version of Atsumori again at Honnōji.
Nobunaga's titles in Samurai Warriors 2 are "Fool of Owari", "Storm General", "The Upstart", "Nether Lord", "Master of Chaos", "Demon King", and "Mighty Conqueror" (in the Xtreme Legends expansion).
Within the Samurai Warriors series, Nobunaga is symbolized by the character "heaven" (天), the character for "supremacy" (覇), and black feathers. The kanji are likely tied to his "Tenka Fubu" seal, his main method of conquest for the land. His black feathers are probably referring to a crow, long said to have been a type of sun bird and a messenger of heaven or the gods in Japanese mythology. Due to the ancient belief of sharp vision mirroring intelligence, crows are famed as quick witted and gifted beings of wisdom. Killing a crow is said to invoke the gods' anger and punishment.
Conversely, in the Nobunaga's Ambition series and Kessen III, Nobunaga is symbolized by a soaring hawk. It ties into one of Nobuanga's historical hobbies, falconry. Practicing falconry was a sign of might and power, but notes in the Nobunaga Kouki state Nobunaga stayed with the recreational sport because he admired and liked his hawks. He was thrilled whenever a hawk came to his arm on command and loved to reward them. During one of his outings, he happened to lose sight of a hawk he favored and was depressed when he couldn't find it. When it was found and returned to him, Nobunaga was overjoyed and highly rewarded the ones who brought it back to him. For those who he thought he didn't want anymore, he simply rejected them and let them free. His attitude towards his hawks is said to be parallel with his attitude towards his retainers: Nobunaga proudly rewarded those who pleased him and was quick to dismiss people who didn't interest him. His friendship with Ieyasu was fiercely strengthened when both generals proudly demonstrated their avian companions during falconry sessions. As a side note, Nobunaga favored white hawks the most.
Kogarasumaru is the namesake for Nobunaga's first unique sword in Kessen III. Thought to have been forged during the Heian period by the legendary swordsmith, Amakuni, its unique trait is its double edged sword. It's been believed that it could have been once been a naginata or yari blade, although there is little evidence to support the claim. According to legend, the sword is much older and was discovered by Emperor Kammu. He was practicing scriptures with a priest at the Imperial Palace, a set of armor magically fell from the sky. Soon after, he saw a giant, one-winged crow fly from the eastern horizon. Beckoning the bird closer, it hovered over the palace. Stating that it was a messenger of Isejinguu, the crow dropped a sword and took off. Emperor Kammu decided to name the blade, Kogarasumaru, to mark the incident. The sword stayed within the Imperial family until the Ise-Heishi took over. The sword was then said to have been wielded Taira no Sadamori during the Genpei War and Kogarasumaru was lost at sea during the Heike's retreat at Ichi-no-tani. Centuries later, it was found by the Ise clan and presented to Tokugawa Iemitsu. It was returned to the Ise family until it was handed down to Sō Yoshiakira, a descendant of Taira no Sadamori's bloodline, in the Meiji period. He was said to have trained with it for several years. Currently, the blade is in the care of the Imperial family.
Nobunaga's first two swords in Samurai Warriors are named after two legendary armaments mentioned in Tales of Heike, Kumokiri and Onikiri (also known as Hizamaru and Higekiri respectively). Both blades are tied to valorous tales for the Genji family during the Heian period. Yoshitsune and his brother, Yoritomo, are said to have been tied due to the blades' past with their ancestors. After the fall of the Kamakura shogunate, it was said Minamoto no Yoshisada held the blades for a time. The swords whereabouts after that are not known.
His second armament -third in the first title- is Heshigiri Hasebe, one of Nobunaga's swords tied to his infamous history of tantrums. As the story goes, he was drinking tea one day when Nobunaga somehow became infuriated by the rudeness of the one serving him. The tea server noticed the mistake too late and was forced to flee for his life as an angry Nobunaga chased him down with a sword. With few hiding places in the area, the frightened servant tried to hide himself inside a narrow shelf. Though crude and easy to spot, he thought in desperation that the shelf could offer some form of protection, thinking it could stop an overhead blow for a fraction of a second or have Nobunaga double-think the possibility of ruining furniture. When Nobunaga found the man in hiding, he killed the man without question; stories state different strikes, but it's sometimes said he inserted the blade through the inner shelves and cut the man in two. With the man dead, Nobunaga took pride in the sword he grabbed and smugly named it to mark his unmistakable power and authority over the dead servant (said to be named Hasebe Kunishige). Later, it was granted to Hideyoshi and eventually housed as a treasured sword by the Kuroda family. Though the story states otherwise, it's not a blade known for being considerably sharp, and it's impossible to kill a person with its cutting edge.
The original name for his third weapon -fourth in the first title- is named after the legendary sword, Muramasa. The swordsmith of the same name is well known for having a sordid, mysterious history with Ieyasu and the Tokugawa family. Muramasa was employed by Ieyasu -a supposed Muramasa collector- and famously crafted Tonbogiri (Tadakatsu's trademark weapon) and Shinkiri (Tadatsugu Sakai's treasured sword). Either Muramasa's extreme history of breaking unpolished blades or his obsessive methods eventually lead to him being dismissed and all of his weapons were banned for Tokugawa vassals. Legends from the Edo Period state that it was due to Muramasa's weapons harboring a supernatural bloodlust that gradually "poisoned" the minds of Ieyasu's generals. Another states Ieyasu's disapproval for Muramasa was sparked due to his weapons being responsible for the deaths of his grandfather, father, his son, various retainers killed during rebellions, and Toda Katsushige. As Ieyasu was looking at the spear that killed Katsushige, it dropped and cut him on the finger. When Muramasa was dismissed, he developed a grudge and it's said a mystical blade of malice was created to manifest his hatred. Nobunaga's version adds a reference to his political religious practice, Namu Myoho Rengekyo, a division of Buddhism dedicated to the Lotus Sutra. According to Luís Fróis, Nobunaga sought to make the Lotus Sutra a public doctrine and it was taught nearby Honnōji before his death. His Power version in the third title adds the mysterious formations for yin-yang while his Speed types use Ba gua for Muramasa.
His fourth weapon -fifth in the first title and Unique in the third- is named Orochi-no-Aramasa, a sword appearing in Japanese mythology. According to different sources, this is the blade Susanoo used to suppress Yamata-no-Orochi. Depending on who is asked, it's either a different name for Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi or a different sword altogether. It is housed in Owari with the story of slaying Orochi, though its exact origins are not known. As a side note, Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi forms the namesake of Nobunaga's ultimate personal weapon in Kessen III. His second best weapon in the game is named after the mythological type of blade used to kill Yamata-no-Orochi and Kagutsuchi.
Nobunaga's fifth and sixth swords are named after his nickname, Dai Rokuten Maoh (第六天魔王), which is translated as "Sixth Heaven Demon King". Within Buddhism, there are six different divisions for the path of rebirth: heaven, human, shura, gaki, chikushou, and hell. Within these six paths, there are three different realms that a spirit can be reincarnated. The highest ranked reincarnation for a human soul is Dakejizaitenshu within the realm of desires. Obtaining the rank allows the soul to obtain utter control of their every desire without inhibition, allowing them to indulge in various pleasures and enjoyment. Though it sounds appealing, Buddhism heavily stresses to remove oneself from desire and experience suffering in order to reach true enlightenment. To succumb to even the smallest desire will lead the human soul to completely forget the fundamentals of Buddha's teachings. Therefore, the "demon king" title became affiliated with Dakejizaitenshu as a warning to believers during the Heian period. Whatever desires the demon king tempts, it should be avoided for a soul would otherwise succumb to the demon's wiles. While Nobunaga is sometimes interpreted in fiction to follow the actual definition for Dai Rokuten Maoh, most fictional sources distort the name to literally personify various demonic traits for Nobunaga. Given that the name was meant to be slander by the Ikko rebels, whom were appalled by the thousands of innocents he ordered for slaughter, it may be an appropriate interpretation. Nobunaga is said to have liked the nickname himself.
- Douglas Rye - Samurai Warriors (English-uncredited)
- Brent Schaus - Samurai Warriors 2, Nobunaga's Ambition: Rise to Power (English)
- Christopher Corey Smith - Warriors Orochi series, Samurai Warriors 3 (English-uncredited)
- John Murphy - Kessen (English; credited for "Shadow")
- Crispin Freeman - Kessen III (English-uncredited)
- Yukimasa Kishino - Dynasty Warriors (Japanese)
- Jūrōta Kosugi - Samurai Warriors and Warriors Orochi series (Japanese)
- Ryōtarō Okiayu - Kessen, Kessen III (Japanese)
- Hideo Ishikawa - Nobunaga no Yabou Online, CR Sengoku no Arashi ~Nobunaga no Shou~, Sengoku Pachislot Nobunaga no Yabou ~Tenka Sousei~
- Rokurō Abe - Game Nihonshi Kakumeiji ~Oda Nobunaga~
- Kazuya Nakai - Mōri Motonari: Chikai no Sanya
- Masaya Matsukaze - Geten no Hana
- Umeka Shōji - Geten no Hana (as a child)
Live Action Performer
- See also: Nobunaga Oda/Quotes
- "Alea jacta est."
- "...Is that so?"
- "Why did you dogs resist me?"
- "We must destroy... in order to create."
- "You're destined to die before your time, you know. But I think I'll do away with you even sooner than that."
- "Ha ha ha ha ha..."
- "Heh, you make me look sane, friend."
- ~~Kotarō and Nobunaga; Samurai Warriors 2
- "What would you do with a bird that refused to sing?"
- "I would simply wait until it does, my lord. What think you of my answer, Lord Nobunaga?"
- "You are indeed a patient man."
- "Then my lord, what would you do?"
- "Kill it... Why would I do anything else?"
- ~~Nobunaga and Ieyasu; Samurai Warriors 2: Empires
- "Lord Nobunaga! Hideyoshi's off playing with his courtesans again! Can't you do something?"
- "Dry your tears, Nene. Your beauty grows day by day. Your husband knows not what he has. If he doesn't watch out, he will lose the sweetest treasure he owns."
- ~~Nene and Nobunaga; Samurai Warriors 2: Empires
- "People are like hail. They fall above the trees around us, dancing as they scatter apart."
- "Death is certain... If they were to avert their eyes from the truth, how then can people live?"
- "That is what makes them human, that is what begins thoughts for endearment. Just as how enlightenment, foresight, and morality are the same as fleeting dreams."
- ~~Okuni and Nobunaga; Sengoku Musou 3: Empires
- "I have heard rumor that Orochi has captured talented officers from far and wide to use in his infernal army. His forces grow in number every day. Surely the time has come when we must do something about this!"
- "You do not see beyond the surface... I see all..."
- "I am a practical man, my lord, but I know that the enemies and weapons I do see are real enough!"
- ~~Guan Ping and Nobunaga; Warriors Orochi
- "Err... You are...?"
- "I am Nobunaga, and I am here to save your life."
- "I dunno... It's hard to trust anyone who looks so much like Cao Cao..."
- ~~Lu Xun and Nobunaga; Warriors Orochi
- "There is not enough room in this world for both of our ambitions. Who will be the one to fall?"
- "The victor will be whom the heavens desire."
- ~~Cao Cao and Nobunaga; Warriors Orochi 2
- "Endless darkness is spreading across your heart..."
- "I sense such darkness flowing forth from you as well."
- "Haha... I suppose we have that in common."
- ~~Nobunaga and Nemea; Warriors Orochi 3
- "Ieyasu... I entrust my dream to you, my vision of an united land. My dream cannot die. It must not die..."
- ~~Nobunaga's spirit; Kessen
- "Someday, the time will come when the west and east mix freely. I would lead that effort. I would cross to other countries. I would bring the riches of the world into Japan."
- ~~Kessen III
|Keys:||Normal Attack •||Charge Attack •||Musou •||Jump/Mount|
- , (), (), (): Hovers into the air and shoots a dark energy ball that stuns opponents. The more the button is pressed the more powerful it is.
- , , (), (), (): Launches the enemies in the air, follow them up and slices them several times before sending them back to the ground with a final downward strike.
- , , , (), (), (): After two slashes, Nobunaga twirl around, hit the ground with his fist causing a shockwave and then propels himself forwards spinning like a drill while covered in dark aura. The more the () is pressed, the further he'll go.
- , , , , (), (), (): Nobunaga slashes his enemies three times, then charges a dark aura which is released in a circular shockwave. The more the button is pressed, the wider and more powerful it becomes.
- , , , , , , , : Nobunaga unleash a flurry of fast slashes against his enemies, culminating with a circular swipe.
- , : Slams his sword into the ground, making a shockwave.
- , : Slashes with his sword
- : Glides along the ground slashing his sword from left to right.
Samurai Warriors 2
Keeps his mounted moveset excluding his horse musou, which changes to a horse stampede. His ground moveset was changed slightly due to his attack type (Special).
- , (), (): Rises slowly into the air sending down a ball of energy which stuns foes. Can be charged by multiple presses to increase the damage and area of effect; final stage can only be achieved while Special 2 is in effect.
- , , (): Launches enemies into the air then follows them up with a series of slices. Final stage can only be achieved when Special 2 is in effect, and adds an additional "spike" attack, slamming the airborne foe back to the ground.
- , , , (): Delivers a quick, wide slash, then slams fist into the ground creating a pillar of energy. Final stage can only be achieved while Special 2 is in effect, and consists of Nobunaga charging forward cloaked in energy..
- , , , , (): Charges up and releases a dark aura that hits enemies. Longer charges increase the damage and range of the aura. Final stage can only be achieved while Special 2 is in effect.
- , , , , (Xtreme Legends only): Lunging thrust. If he connects, he quickly impales his sword into a foe before retracting it. Activates his R1 + if successful.
- : Same as before. Level 3 Musou adds random pillars of dark energy that burst out of the ground around him as he dashes.
- R1 + : Focuses aura into an energy barrier. Slightly reduces damage and makes Nobunaga flinch much less while in effect, but unless charged to maximum has a painfully-short duration.
- R1 + : Increase the strength of weapon attacks momentarily. Also enables the final stages of all charge comboes (if they've been unlocked), and extends weapon range slightly. Also has a very short duration, if not charged to maximum.
- Personal Skill : (Vehemence) Weapon charge achieved by special move strengthened.
- Warriors Orochi
His normal moves are the same except he has no C5 or his Level 3 Musou. His R1 moves have also changed:
- R1: Shoots out a dark energy ball.
- Warriors Orochi 2
- Triple Attack 1: Causes ferocious gales to rise up from the ground.
- Triple Attack 2: Slams the ground with fist to generate a strong pillar of wind.
- Triple Attack 3: Sends out a ground shockwave moving quickly.
Samurai Warriors 3
- (Ultimate/Kaiden): Nobunaga stabs his sword into the ground, and a shockwave of darkness erupts from the tip.
- Spirit Cancel:
- Warriors Orochi 3
- R1: Creates a barrier that temporarily protects the user from harm and strengthens weapon in the process. An amalgamation of Nobunaga's special abilities from the Samurai Warriors series.
- Musou Orochi 2 Ultimate
- , R1: Unleashes a surge of dark energy which also powers up Nobunaga's weapon.
He wields a two-edged straight sword imbued with dark energy and has the power to hurl a dark "force" blast at his foes. This appearance has led to some game reviewers to jokingly refer to him as Darth Vader. His combative technique is useful in both crowds and one-on-one combat as it is very forward and direct with few relative openings - those only generally seen when he does in fact, power up his 'force' moves. His musou attack is one of the hardest to control in all of the games because it is the fastest and the angle at which he turns makes it harder to hit enemies. His technique also effectively shows him 'gliding' and levitating in various strikes, further emphasizing his 'magical' properties.
- See also: Nobunaga Oda/Weapons
Warriors Orochi 3
Big Star Weapons
Nobunaga uses the following big star weapons in the game.
- King's Rapier
- Areus's Sword
- Amethyst Sword
- Radiant Sword
- Lord of Hell
- Dandyman (DLC)
- Patrician Sword (DLC)
Musou Orochi 2 Ultimate
Acquiring Mystic Weapon
Nobunaga was truly a rebel of his times who never seemed to fit the mold of his society. He cared little about what other daimyo thought of him and only made friends with people who amused him. However, his fickle nature with the people around him often distorted the truth behind his actions. For instance, an insert from the Nobunaga Kouki states that he tinted the three skulls of his enemies Azai Hisamasa, Azai Nagamasa, and Asakura Yoshikage with golden metal. Fictional accounts state that this was due to his bitterness towards these "meddlesome pests" and he drank from them as personalized mugs. In reality, he wanted to respect and honor their remains. Many accounts from his generals and enemies said that he was a cold and cruel revolutionist. He either personally killed or ordered the deaths of many people, sparing no one based on age, status, or gender. He also had an eccentric taste in humor as he gave many of his retainers and children endearing yet somewhat degrading nicknames, such as Monkey or Bald Rat for Hideyoshi.
He's perhaps best known for his friendly tolerance of foreign settlers, then known to the rest of the Japanese providence as "Southern barbarians". He participated in their events and dressed in a rider's mantle and European helmets. He befriended the missionary Luís Fróis, whose chronicles in his time in Japan were pinnacle for a third person account of Nobunaga. Through their friendship, Nobunaga marveled the advancement of European society and was pleased when he saw a globe to represent the world (a contrast to his retainers who thought the idea was pure nonsense). In his notes, Luis described Nobunaga as:
Records indicate that Nobunaga even sent a folding screen painting of Azuchi Castle to Pope Gregory XIII but its whereabouts remain unknown.
His other interests include dancing, falconry, equestrianism, archery, and Go (the move "Nobunaga's cradle" is named after him). He particularly liked Bon festivals and sumo wrestling and hired some of his personal aides to also be adequate wrestlers. In modern conversions, he was approximately 165 cm (5'5") tall and weighed 60 kg (132 lbs). He had one wife, two concubines, twelve sons, ten daughters, and three adopted daughters. One of his surviving modern descendants is a professional figure skater.
Nobunaga was born under the childhood name, Kippoushi, at Shobada Castle. His father was Oda Nobuhide and his mother was Toda Gozen, who is believed to be the one of Toda Tsuchida Masahisa's daughters. His clan is speculated to be descendants of either the Taira clan, the Fujiwara clan, or Saiko Kichinosuke but the details regarding these claims are sadly lacking. Early records suggest the second option since, at one point, Nobunaga curiously adopted the Fujiwara name. When Nobunaga was born, his father was serving the governor of Owari, Shiba Yoshimune, and defended their territory from Imagawa Yoshimoto.
When he was two years old, he was sent to Nagoya Castle and spent most of his youth there. He acted unruly for someone of his status and dressed himself in bright and outlandish clothing. He took an interest in matchlock rifles, played as a commoner with the townsfolk, and adopted the local slang, calling his parents "Dad" and "Mom". Since his conduct was considered bizarre and rude to the court, he was quickly nicknamed The Fool of Owari (尾張の大うつけ or たわけ). He entered battles at an early age by serving as his father's reserve guard. During this time, he met Imagawa Yoshimoto's hostage, Matsudaira Takechiyo (later known as Tokugawa Ieyasu).
In the year 1546, he experienced his coming of age ceremony at Furuwatari Castle and was named Oda Kazusanosuke Nobunaga (織田上総介信長). When he was thirteen, he was also called Saburo Nobunaga by his mother and other nobles in the court. He was married to Nōhime when he was fourteen to create an alliance between the Owari and Mino provinces. When his father died in 1551, Nobunaga became the head of the clan. However, he refused to attend his father's funeral, which caused an outright uproar amongst the Oda vassals. When he did pay his respects to his father's altar, he threw the ceremonial ashes in the same way a sumo wrestler throws salt to purify the ring. Hirate Masahide, a loyal servant who looked after his young lord's future, committed suicide to protest Nobunaga's disrespectful actions. The event was the first reported incident of Nobunaga showing regret for his behavior. Since then, he adopted better etiquette but he continued to be sarcastic and eccentric. In a meeting regarding the displeasure amongst his retainers, he reportedly only said "Is that so?" (であるか) to the complaints.
Due to several retainers conflicting opinions regarding Nobunaga, the Oda clan split in a civil conflict. He was challenged by his uncle, Oda Nobutomo, and his younger brother, Oda Nobuyuki. Nobutomo and Nobuyuki joined forces to conspire Nobunaga's downfall and manipulated Shiba Yoshimune to be their puppet ruler. Yoshimune secretly sympathized with Nobunaga and when Nobutomo learned of this, he was killed. His heir, Shiba Yoshikane, barely escaped Nobutomo's men while crossing a river and went to Nobunaga for safety.
To gain the power needed to overthrow the conspirators, Nobunaga allied with his other uncle, Oda Nobumitsu, who slew Nobutomo at Kiyosu Castle. Nobumitsu mysteriously died soon after in 1556 and many speculated that he was assassinated in some way by his nephew. In the same year, he also sent reinforcements to help Nōhime's father, Dosan, against his rebellious son. It was a lost battle and Mino's daimyo became Saito Yoshitatsu. With Yoshikane in his good fortune, Nobunaga also allied with Imagawa Yoshimoto since they were lords in the same province. This allowed some protection along the Oda's eastern boarders.
A few months later, Nobuyuki staged a rebellion with Oda vassals Shibata Katsuie, Hayashi Hidesada, and Hayashi Mochitomo. To counter, Nobunaga gained the support of Mori Yoshinari, Sakuma Nobumori, and Sakuma Morishige. On August 24 the same year, Nobunaga -in spite of facing overwhelming odds- defeated his brother at the Battle of Ino. Their mother intervened on the conspirators' behalf and they were pardoned. The next year, however, Nobuyuki again planned to rebel. When Nobunaga was informed of this by his new vassal Katsuie, he faked illness to get close to Nobuyuki and assassinated him in Kiyosu Castle.
Battle of Okehazama
In 1560, Yoshimoto gathered an army of 25,000 men and started his march toward Kyoto, with the excuse of aiding the frail Ashikaga shogunate. The Matsudaira clan of Mikawa Province was also to join Yoshimoto's forces. In comparison, the Oda clan could rally an army of only 1,800, and the forces would also have to be split up to defend various forts at the border. Under such dire circumstances, Nobunaga was said to have performed his favorite Atsumori dance, before riding off with only a few attendants to pray in a shrine.
The Oda clan's generals did not believe that they would win this impossible war. Only the night before, Katsuie had tried in vain to change Oda Nobunaga's mind about a frontal attack; he kept reminding Nobunaga of the joint army's complete lack of manpower compared to the Imagawa soldiers, who, according to rumors, numbered 40,000 men. Hayashi Sado no Kami Hidesada, the remaining adviser from Nobuhide's days, even argued for surrender without fighting, using the same reasoning as Katsuie. Upon this advice, according to the clan's chronicler, Nobunaga yelled:
Nobunaga was right; Yoshimoto deliberately leaked the highly exaggerated number of his soldiers out to scare the Oda clan, and the official chronicler of the Imagawas put it down as was usual in medieval battle records to exaggerate numbers. While Yoshimoto's men were celebrating their early victories over the Oda troops, Nobunaga and his men charged down the mountainous terrain from Zenkoji. Aided by the heavy thunderstorm and the unprepared Imagawa troops, Nobunaga's ambush was a startling success. His victory dispelled most doubts about his capabilities and labeled him as a genuine threat to Owari's neighbors.
Rapidly weakening, the Imagawa clan no longer exerted control over the Matsudaira clan. In 1561, an alliance was forged between Oda Nobunaga and Matsudaira Motoyasu, despite the decades-old hostility between the two clans. Tradition dates this battle as the time that Nobunaga first noticed the talents of Kinoshita Tokichiro who would eventually become Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
Rise to Power
After Saito Yoshitatsu's death, Nobunaga set his sight on the weakened Saito clan ruling Mino. The current ruler of Mino was the comparatively incompetent Saito Tatsuoki. To simultaneously aid his territory's defense and add to his military strength, he issued an alliance with Azai Nagamasa and solidified their pact by marrying his sister, Oichi, to him. This allowed him to concentrate on crushing the Saito clan. Five years after their first conflict, Nobunaga took various castles within Mino and gained the trust of the influential Mino trio (Inaba Yoshimichi, Ujiie Bokuzen, and Ando Morinari). He forced Tatsuoki to retreat to Nagashima, Mie in 1567 and completely subjugates the Mino clan in 1568. Tatsuoki survived until he was later killed by Nobunaga's men in 1570. To avoid military conflict with Mino's ally, Takeda Harunobu, the Oda and Takeda clan made a matrimonial alliance between Matsuhime (Harunobu's seven year old sixth daughter) and Oda Nobutada (Nobunaga's eleven year old eldest son).
At age 33, Nobunaga had successfully expanded his territory and designated Inabayama Castle to be his new base of operations. He renamed his new home to be Gifu and started to use the personal seal, Tenka Fubu (天下布武), to signify his new ambition. It is literally translated as "unite the land under military might" or "below the heavens (rain), warriors cover all". To follow suite, he attacked Kitabatake Tomonori in the neighboring Ise sector in late 1568. By 1570, after a brave fifty day resistance, Kitabatake surrenders after his retainers betray him and he refuses to agree to the treaty requirements to make Nobunaga's second son, Nobuo, his heir. He becomes a monk and his daughter, Yukihime, became Nobuo's wife for any possible offspring.
In September 1568, Ashikaga Yoshiaki went to Gifu to ask Nobunaga to start a campaign toward Kyoto. Yoshiaki was the brother of the murdered thirteenth shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate, Yoshiteru, and wanted revenge against the killers who had already set up a puppet shogun, Ashikaga Yoshihide. Nobunaga agreed to install Yoshiaki as the new shogun and, grasping the opportunity to enter Kyoto, started his campaign. An obstacle in southern Ōmi Province, however, was the Rokkaku clan. Led by Rokkaku Yoshikata, the clan refused to recognize Yoshiaki as shogun and was ready to go to war. In response, Nobunaga launched a rapid attack, driving the Rokkaku clan out of their castles. Their decisive encounter was the Battle of Kannonji Castle, one of the early military accomplishments for Nobunaga's retainers: Kinoshita Tokichiro, Niwa Nagahide, and Takigawa Kazumasu. Shortly after, Nobunaga had reached Kyoto and driven the Miyoshi clan out of the city. Yoshiaki was made the 15th shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate.
Historians generally agree that Nobunaga had the entire Kansai region under his control by 1569.
First Anti-Nobunaga Sentiments
After he established Yoshiaki as the shogunate, Nobunaga presented him with his personally written laws called the Tenchu Onokite (殿中御掟). Nobunaga would oversee the shogun's every movement and had permission to call arms at any time. His laws tried to make capital punishments more practical and separated religion from government affairs. Aside from controlling the shogunate, it also recognized the common man's accomplishments over nobility and pressed for military rule. Since Yoshiaki owed his ally, he reluctantly passed nine of these articles and five more in January 1570. As he approved more laws, however, Yoshiaki began to plot Nobunaga's demise.
In April 1570, Nobunaga decided to conquer the Asakura clan and stake his claim on the Echizen Province. Against the advice of his vassals, he gathered an army with Tokugawa Ieyasu and took various Asakura castles. While Nobunaga's troops were marching through Kanegasaki, Azai Nagamasa joined forces with the Asakura and betrayed the Oda clan. Taken by surprise, Nobunaga was forced to retreat. Tokichiro, Ieyasu, Ikeda Katsumasa, and Akechi Mitsuhide served as the rear guard as he fled. It is said that out of his army of 30,000 only ten men safely arrived with him back to the capital.
By this time, other daimyo who disagreed with Nobunaga's methods began to rise at Yoshiaki's request. They were Azai Nagamasa, Asakura Yoshikage, Takeda Shingen, Mōri Terumoto, and the Miyoshi trio (Iwanari Tomomichi, Miyoshi Masayasu, Miyoshi Nagayasu). Additionally, the Buddhist monks at Ishiyama Hongan-ji, who were displeased with Nobunaga removing the omnyoji's influence in the court, also joined the circle. They were later dubbed the "Nobunaga Encirclement" or the "Anti-Nobunaga Coalition" (信長包囲網).
Determined to stop Nobunaga's forces, the Asakura and Azai clans moved to stop him at Anegawa. On August 9, the smaller Tokugawa army and the larger Oda army were victorious in driving them back. Only seventeen days later, Nobunaga also had to strengthen his defenses against the Miyoshi trio. His enemies were eventually reinforced by the Ishiyama sect who weren't allied with Yoshiaki. By September 23, his opponents called off the assault and the Noda and Fukushima Castles remained under Oda control.
Simultaneously, the Azai and Asakura armies rebounded from their defeat with 30,000 men and attacked the Oda troops near Sakamoto. Mori Yoshinari and Nobunaga's younger brother, Oda Nobuharu, were killed in battle. The two armies stationed themselves at Mount Hiei and Nobunaga moved to counter them at Usayama Castle. He once again drove them back by December 17. While he was fighting them, however, the Ishiyama sect rebelled under Kennyo's leadership and attacked the Nanashima (later known as Nagashima) forts. During their first siege, another of Nobunaga's younger brothers, Oda Nobuoki, was killed in battle. At a loss, Nobunaga asked Emperor Ogimachi to call for a ceasefire with the Asakura and Azai clans. Under royal order, they obeyed. In Ōkubo Tadataka's book, Mikawa no Monogatari, Nobunaga reportedly said, "The heavens are waiting to devour the Asakura. Hope is not lost."
While defending his boarders from all sides, Nobunaga contemplated on a method to cripple the coalition against him and gain more allies in Kyoto. In January 1571, Hosokawa Fujitaka sent a letter stating that Mount Hiei must be taken within that year or the Azai forces would claim it. The mountain was an important strategic point in defending Nobunaga's second base, Kyoto, and also the home of Enryaku-ji, a highly respected temple and home for the rebellious warrior monks. After quelling the resistance surrounding the mountain, Nobunaga and Hideyoshi marched their armies upwards in September. As the 30,000 men came closer to the temple, Nobunaga was offered gold to bribe him to leave. The closer he marched, more gold he was offered. Nobunaga never accepted the peace offering; he was convinced that the people within the temple were corrupt and used their pious background to dodge government punishment. On the night of September 30, his army burned the temple and killed many women and children. The total fatality count is estimated to be 3,000~4,000 people; the numbers vary due to the amount of innocents involved. While it is seen as a controversial move by his vassals, the rest of the country thought it was a heinous act against tradition and humanity.
In May the same year, he also began his longest military campaign against the Ikko (Ishiyama) sect rebels. In Nagashima, Nobunaga lost many men near the location of their first battle and was forced to temporarily withdraw when he was injured by gunfire in June.
His ally, Ieyasu, held off Shingen's attacks and called for aid in 1572. Nobunaga sent 3,000 men and two of his retainers, Hirate Hirohide and Sakuma Nobumori. To his surprise, Shingen was victorious at the Battle of Mikatagahara and severely weakened Ieyasu. Shingen's following march towards the capital was halted when he suddenly died near Noda Castle. Seemingly aided by the heavens, accounts of Nobunaga's "demon" reputation usually originate during these years. He was specifically nicknamed the "Red Ogre" (赤鬼) after the Enryaku-ji massacre.
Shingen's death threw Yoshiaki's allies into confusion and allowed Nobunaga to gain the momentum he needed. Yoshikage, who was previously barricaded near Nijō and Makishima Castle, fled from the capital. Left with no immediate defenders against Nobunaga, the Muromachi shogunate was ruined and Yoshiaki was banished. In August 1573, Iwanari Tomomichi was subjugated by Fujitaka during the second battle at Yodo-ko Castle. In the same month, Nobunaga lead 30,000 men and conquered the Asakura's home, Ichijōdani Castle. Two months later, he also attacked Odani Castle, Nagamasa's home. During the siege, Nagamasa and his parents (Hisamasa and Ono-dono) were killed. Oichi was returned to Nobunaga before the castle fell completely.
In November the same year, Nobunaga marched towards Miyoshi Yoshitsugu's home in Kawachi Province. Yoshitsugu and Yoshiaki were raising a revolt and Sakuma Nobumori was sent to take care of it. Facing Nobunaga's might, many of Miyoshi's retainers mutinied and the clan was ruined by November 16. On December 26, the powerful Matsunaga Hisahide also surrendered to Nobunaga.
Nobunaga was able to destroy most of the resistance against him except for the Ikko sect. Since he hated prolonged battles, Nobunaga withdrew his troops in October to focus on the Miyoshi trio. One of his retainers, Hayashi Michimasa, died during this conflict. The siege of the Nagashima forts didn't end until 1574 when Nobunaga constructed a wooden barricade to trap the Ikko sect within their fort. The rebels appealed for surrender but Nobunaga wanted to annihilate them (legends state that he particularly hated the rebels' superior officer and considered the plea to be a ruse). Nobunaga ambushed the surrender party and, when they learned their men were killed, the remaining rebels also rioted. They attacked Nobunaga's family and killed two more of his younger brothers, Nobuhira and Hidenari. In response, Nobunaga decimated the rebels and their families, murdering 20,000 men and women. After this, the Nagashima riots were stopped.
In April 1575, Takeda Katsuyori marched his army near Tokugawa's territory once more. Though his main goal was to finish off the Tokugawa clan, he also wanted to punish the "traitor" Okudaira Nobumasa. With an army of 15,000 men, Katsuyori took Nagashino Castle and marched closer on Okudaira's troops. They were reinforced by Nobunaga's 30,000 manned army on May 12. When Katsuyori withdrew his troops, Nobunaga joined forces with Ieyasu's troops from Mikawa. Six days later, the army of 38,000 marched towards Katsuyori's position and fought at Nagashino on May 21.
According to the Nobunaga Kouki, Nobunaga used 1,000 arquebusiers to stop the incoming Takeda cavalry. The Tokugawa records insist that 3,000 riflemen were used. Regardless of the number, Nobunaga's reliance on the firearm revolutionized the way how they were used in Japanese warfare. This claim is currently being questioned for its authenticity, as recent research suggests that the story of using rifle troops could have been an entirely fictional note added into records during the Edo period.
While Nobunaga was visiting the temple built for his beloved retainer, Maeba Yoshitsugu, internal strife began in Echizen. The proprietor of the riot was the same man responsible for Yoshitsugu's death, Tomita Nagashige. Hearing of the public unrest, Kennyo ordered one of his followers, Shimotsuma Raisho, to lead the Echizen riots. They declared Nobunaga to be an evil influence for the country and raised arms. Thinking this was his chance to finally gain Echizen, Nobunaga suppressed them in August. Just how Nobunaga defeated the rebels remains unclear. Nobunaga's recorder at the time, Murai Sadakatsu, wrote that it was an unsightly massacre. The Maeda family recorder states that they used non-violent methods to capture the men opposing them. Others write that the rebellion was failed from the start as the followers were not entirely united for their cause; they either surrendered or quit the field.
With a section of Echizen under his command, Nobunaga ordered Katsuie to keep an eye on it.
Second Anti-Nobunaga Sentiments
On November 4, Nobunaga was promoted from Dainagon to Konoe Daisho, the third most powerful position in the government at the time. Only fourteen days later, after he gave estate of Owari and Mino to his heir less Nobutada, he resigned from politics. However, Nobunaga continued to lead and foresaw all activities regarding his clan. In 1576, Nobunaga commissioned the building of Azuchi Castle. When it was completed in 1579, he declared it as his new place of operations and lived there.
During the same year that Azuchi Castle was being built, a chain of revolts against Nobunaga began. Since these generals gained Yoshiaki's support for their campaigns, the group is called the Second Nobunaga Encirclement. Figures included in the group are Hatano Hideharu, Yamana Suketoyo, Mōri Terumoto, Ukita Naoie, Murakami Yoshimitsu, Araki Murashige, Bessho Nagaharu, Matsunaga Hisahide, Uesugi Kenshin, and Takeda Katsuyori. The Saika sect and the Ikko sect at Ishiyama Hongan-ji are also major participants.
Nobunaga first raised arms against the rebellions in April 1576. With 30,000 men, Mitsuhide, Murashige, and Ban Naomasa met with him to defeat Hideharu and the Ikko sect at Osaka. However, he suffered a crushing defeat and many people -including high-ranking politicians- were killed during the conflict. Seeing the monks as his greatest threat, he aimed to defeat them after his loss. Marching with an army of 3,000, he planned to infiltrate and claim their base of operations, Tenno-ji, which was reinforced by the Saika sect. Despite facing the massive army of 15,000 rebels, Nobunaga chose to spearhead the attack on the early morning of May 7. Caught off guard, the rebels were defeated at the cost of suffering serious injuries and losses from the Oda army. He planned to starve the monks' resources, which worked until the Ikko sect's ally, the Mōri clan, arrived on July 13 from the shoreline. Nobunaga's men were forced to withdraw. The Ikko sect used this time to convince Kenshin and many other daimyo to aid their rebellion.
Seeing his own defenses lacking, Nobunaga ordered Mitsuhide, Murashige, Hideyoshi and other key generals to capture the nearby rivers and villages for resources in 1577. After they took Ise, they came closer to Kii Province, the homeland of the Saika sect. When they tried to march deeper within, they were ambushed by guerrilla tactics from the defending Saika snipers. Hideyoshi lost 23 men to the attack and quickly called for a retreat. Both sides shared an uneasy feeling of unrest and were not sure how to progress with the situation. Wanting to prevent a prolonged siege, the Saika formerly surrendered. Nobunaga agreed and withdrew his troops from the area. Around the same time, Katsuie razed the lands of Tedorigawa, which was located in the same province.
Matsunaga Hisahide, after joining with the remaining Miyoshi strongmen and receiving a promising reading of his future, betrayed Nobunaga the same year. By August, he had an army of 8,000, a fortified castle, and aid from the Ikko sect and the Uesugi. Though Nobunaga reportedly half regretted the decision, the Oda army journeyed toward Shigesan Castle in September. With Mitsuhide and Hideyoshi at the front, the defenses were withered by October and Hisahide committed suicide later the same month. When Naito Sadamasa died of illness at the same time, Nobunaga took advantage of the weakened Tamba Province and captured many of their castles.
Katsuie was ordered to deal with the Uesugi during their siege with Hisahide. Against Kenshin's tactics, his vassal suffered a crushing defeat at Tedorigawa. Before efforts to retaliate the Uesugi were made, however, Kenshin died of illness. The following civil dispute between Kenshin's living heirs saved Nobunaga from further attacks from Echizen. Again, he took advantage of the Uesugi strife to claim their lands, the Noto and Kaga Provinces, in 1578.
Oda Region Corps
Still dealing with the threat of multiple rebellions and wanting to expand his newly gained territories, Nobunaga decided to split his forces to deal with every conflict simultaneously. He planned to send each of his top-ranked generals in approximately ten different parts of the country.
- Oda Nobutada - Takeda territory; vassals such as Kawajiri Hidetaka and Mori Nagayoshi faced Katsuyori
- Sakuma Nobumori - Ishigami-Honganji district; ordered to suppress the Honganji rebels
- Shibata Katsuie - Hokuriku region; faced Uesugi Kagekatsu with Maeda Toshiie and Sassa Narimasa
- Akechi Mitsuhide - Kinki or Kansai prefecture; with help from Hosokawa Fujitaka, suppressed Hatano Hideharu's rebellion
- Hashiba Hideyoshi - Chugoku region; sent to deal with Mōri Terumoto
- Takigawa Kazumasu - Kanto sector
- Oda Nobutaka, Niwa Nagahide, Hachiya Yoritaka - Shikoku territory
- Tokugawa Ieyasu - ordered to suppress the Tokiado region
- Oda Nobukatsu - ordered to suppress Iga
- Oda Nobuharu - ordered to suppress the Kii province
Nobunaga gave them permission to rule each part of their respective land and promised to pay them greatly. If possible, he also wanted them to conquer the surrounding territory. The Oda army used the newly conquered provinces from Echizen to bolster their forces. His decision to wage constant warfare was met with mixed impressions with his men, causing his vassals, Bessho Nagaharu and Araki Murashige, to defect or revolt.
Hideyoshi captured Murashige during his early stages of rebellion but spared him supposedly due to their ties of friendship. When Nobunaga heard of his vassal's betrayal, he was shocked; his vassals were not. Nobunaga agreed to Mitsuhide's suggestion to hold Murashige's wife hostage and personally lead the siege against the defector in the years 1578 and 1579 at Arioka Castle. He lead an estimated 50,000 man army with Mitsuhide, Hideyoshi and Matsui Yūkan's forces. His adversary endured their assault with 10,000 soldiers. Despite their numbers, the Oda army fared badly due to secret sympathizers with Murashige, ambushes from the local monks, and other simultaneous conflicts. Their situation did not improve until Nakagawa Kiyohide and Dom Justo Takayama surrendered. Soon after, the castle was taken and Murashige fled. As punishment, the rest of his family was executed -excluding his wife and child whom escaped.
During this time, the Oda army was continuously routed due to the vastly superior Mori clan. Their army took advantage of the mutinies against Nobunaga and fought fierce naval campaigns. When Murashige was defeated, the tables had turned when the influential Ukita Naoie submitted to Nobunaga. Bessho Nagaharu was one of the main generals who continually opposed Hideyoshi's advance. When he heard that the Mori were weakened and was cut off from any support, he chose to commit suicide. On Nobunaga's behest, Hideyoshi also headed for Yamana Suketoyo, a man who surrendered to his lord but, after being neglected regarding his conditions of surrender, betrayed the clan in 1575. Though elderly by this time, he was considered to be a threat since he helped fund the resistance against Nobunaga. He was slain when Hideyoshi's troops surrounded his castle on May 21, 1580.
Nobukatsu, who was specifically ordered to only supervise his designated area for the time being, got infuriated by his stagnant occupation and decided to invade the Iga province in 1579. He aimed to repair the dilapidated Maruyama Castle and use it as his base of operations. News of his scheme quickly reached the Iga ninja and the shinobi, Shimoyama Kainokami, was sent to deal with the threat. Nobukatsu suffered a crushing defeat when his troops were ambushed by the ninja troop lead by Kainokami. Nobunaga was soon informed of the blunder and harshly scolded his son for the obtrusion. In 1581, Nobunaga gathered 40,000 volunteers to invade Iga and made Nobukatsu the army's leading commander. It is said that nearly every resident within Iga was ready to stake their lives to oppose the Oda army. This time, the Oda army was able to navigate the lands easier due to guidance from the Koga shinobi, Tarao Mitsutoshi, and two Iga ninja defectors. Gamō Ujisato also aided them and the Iga ninja were soon isolated in one castle. The events after this point remain disputed between four accounts. Nobunaga either decided to have a ceasefire, ordered the Iga ninja to be slaughtered, opted for their surrender and service, or the Iga ninja in the castle revolted a final time and were slain. In either case, Iga was subdued and was integrated under the Oda name.
Friction between Nobunaga and his vassals continued to build with his abrupt rulings. One such infamous instance was when he ordered Ieyasu's son (Matsudaira Nobuyasu) and wife (Tsukiyama-dono; also Nobuyasu's mother) to commit suicide due to loose rumors regarding treachery in 1579. When the Honganji rebels eventually surrendered in 1580, Nobunaga heard that their enemies were holding secret talks with ally generals. Based on this reasoning, he banished Hayashi Hidesada and Andō Morinari. Both incidents made the forces for and against Nobunaga hold passionate debates regarding his questionable judgment. Many stated that he was only using their misfortunes to fuel his own ulterior motives. In spite of whatever people thought about him, Nobunaga was at the height of his power in 1581. His properties nearly tripled since his campaigns in 1569. On February 28 the same year, he held a parade in Kyoto to celebrate his success. He designated Niwa Nagahide as the general who would demonstrate the strength of his army and invited Emperor Ōgimachi to attend.
Kiso Yoshimasa, a Takeda vassal who was angered and disgusted with Katsuyori's methods, decided to defect to the Oda clan on February 1, 1582. He took his younger brother, Akematsu Yoshitoyo, with him as a hostage. Understandably, Katsuyori was infuriated with the betrayal and instantly ordered Yoshimasa's wife, noble concubine, and child to be crucified. Thinking that the Oda resistance would be light, he marched with Takeda Nobutoyo to reek vengeance. His army numbered 15,000. Nobunaga heard of the instance two days later and marched with his son, Nobutada, from Ina Province. Joining him from four different directions were Ieyasu, Hōjō Ujimasa, and Kanamori Nagachika.
The Takeda troops were demoralized by the mass army formed against them and gradually suffered from various defections within the first month of conflict. Their castles fell one after another and were given to Nobunaga's generals. Nobunaga, after addressing the situation, did not take an active part during the campaign and designated himself on stand by. His son, however, won various stakes to fame when he captured Takato Castle, which was defended by Nishina Morinobu and Oyamada Masayuki. His accomplishments forced Katsuyori to flee from his position the following day. Reinforcing his army, Nobunaga rode from Azuchi Castle on March 5, 1582 to block the general's escape path. As a result, Katsuyori couldn't rendezvous with Sanada Masayuki in the manner he originally planned. The Oda army gave chase and set fire to any castle that Katsuyori escaped to.
Katsuyori fled to Temmokuzan about two or three days later with his son, Nobukatsu. When he was denied entry by his vassal Oyamada Nobushige, he and his son were embittered by defeat. They committed suicide soon after. When Takigawa Kazumasu went to inspect the area on March 11, his force was fiercely attacked by the remaining Takeda loyalists, which totaled to 100 or 300 men. Many of the Takeda's remaining generals were killed in the final charge. By this time, Nobunaga had returned to Azuchi Castle and received Katsuyori and his son's heads on March 14. Upon the Takeda's demise, he declared, "I shall pardon none who have submitted, as the roots and its offspring shall be exterminated as a whole." With this order, the "hunt for the Takeda" was quickly issued.
He assigned awards and territories to his vassals, personally going to inspect the Shinano Province in April. During this time, he ordered the death of Shoki Kaisen on accusations that the monk twisted the land's well being.
Incident at Honnoji
Nobunaga began his plans to invade the Shikoku region, obtained by Chōsokabe Motochika, for summer the same year. Oda Nobutaka, Niwa Nagahide, Hachiya Yoritaka were sent in advance to begin preparations for their campaign.
On April 4, Ieyasu visited Azuchi Castle to celebrate his victory during the Takeda subjugation. Nobunaga ordered Mitsuhide to entertain him on the 8th and 10th. His vassal continued to act as an entertainer for his guests until June 6, when Hideyoshi requested reinforcements. According to the Akechi Gunki (Mitsuhide's edited biography from the Edo Period), Nobunaga was gravely dissatisfied with Mitsuhide's performance by this time and gave him a rather harsh scolding and beating. He replaced the latter's position with his page, Mori Naritoshi, and ordered Mitsuhide to reinforce Hideyoshi.
Meanwhile, on June 19, Nobunaga prepared the troops that were scheduled to be sent to the Chūgoku region. After this, he paid a visit to Honnō-ji. Mitsuhide, who was supposed to be marching towards Hideyoshi, suddenly turned back to Kyoto. From here, the following events are generally split between two different stories. It is assumed that Nobunaga fought the invading troops with a spear and Naritoshi sacrificed his life for his lord's safety. He was overwhelmed, however, when the Akechi troops set fire to the temple. The other account prevalent with the Akechi troops was that Nobunaga saw the threat and, when hope was lost, set fire to the temple himself and stayed within the flames. He either committed suicide through the traditional method or voluntarily let the flames engulf him. He was either 48 or 49 when he died. Hideyoshi later dedicated a shrine to his lord at Daitoku-ji. On November 17, 1917, Nobunaga was given the posthumous rank of Shou-ichi, a distinguished and honorable rank to commend the daimyo's contributions for Japan.
Akechi Hidemitsu recorded that he tried searching for Nobunaga's remains but lamented that they weren't found. This has lead to some speculation regarding the daimyo's actual whereabouts during this time. Some say that he escaped the disaster and committed suicide in a completely different location. Others state that Nobunaga did die at the temple yet his remains were respectfully hidden and buried by a priest who admired him. Mitsuhide captured the pious man but released him when he couldn't find anything suspicious about him. Recently, in 2007, the area where the incident occurred was thoroughly investigated and scorched tiles and planks were found. With hopes to know the truth behind Nobunaga's final moments, the investigation around the area continues to this day.
- In the Sengoku Jidai themed comic, Sengoku Angelique, Angelique Limoges acts as the Nobunaga of the cast. Her full name is "Oda Angelique Nobunaga".
- Hisashi Koinuma cosplayed as the Samurai Warriors Nobunaga in the limited seating Sengoku Musou Chronicle 2nd Experience Conference.
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