COMPLETE MAPS OF ODA NOBUNAGA'S EMPIRE OF JAPAN 1534 - 1582

 

Warlords and overlords in Japan, 1560

I ..... Oda Nobunaga's Neighbors of Japan in 1560

Look at the map above and tell me it was all bed of roses for Oda Nobunaga when he started out. Can you even see his territory in 1560 in the map? Or Tokugawa Ieyasu's domain, which was just as insignificantly small, close by?

Even the number of overlords was already too many to reckon with, while this map brushes in every speck of tributary vassaldoms and half-independent warlords (the so-called 'spheres of influence') into the nearest overlord's domain. If individual warlords are put in, the number will get scarier -- there were more than 260 armed-to-the-teeth neighbors for Oda Nobunaga to deal with.

As Oda's war records have shown, the ones he got to beat first mostly came his way without being sought after or invited at all. And they were all overlords, which meant they had a chunk of warlords in their joint armies, and this of course meant a lot more people to go to war with than one single warlord's troops.

Imagawa Yoshimoto of Suruga, Totomi, and Owari (he was the lord of a larger portion of the province of Owari, compared to Oda Nobunaga's own territory in 1560). Saito Dosan (then Saito Yoshitatsu, and afterwards Saito Tatsuoki), overlord of Mino, Omi, Wakasa, Echizen, and pieces of other provinces besides. Takeda Shingen of Kai, Suruga, Totomi, Mikawa (half of the province, while nearly the other half belonged to Imagawa, and Tokugawa Ieyasu's was just a spot or so of the entire province). The the Ashikaga and their vassals and loyalists, such as the clans of Miyoshi, Matsunaga, Asakura, etc, that ruled the very center of the country, i.e. Kyoto and its surrounding areas. After that, Oda faced Uesugi Kenshin of Echigo and five other provinces or so. And so on. All the while, he kept cleansing the lands off warrior-monks who had their own fortresses and territories.

The truly great overlord at the time was Mori Motonari of Aki (that's the usual form of address to call him by, but the fact was he ruled the entire Western Japan from Harima to the edge of the main island of Honshu).

Even after Mori's death in 1570 the clan didn't deteriorate at all. Mori Motonari's sons, though didn't use their dad's last name (the famous brothers Kikkawa Motoharu and Kobayakawa Takakage), worked just as good as before with the grandson Mori Terumoto that got the legacy as Chief of the clan, backed up by their unflinching vassals such as the clans of Bessho, Ukita, Goto, etc.

Oda Nobunaga dealt with them last -- even after the campaign against the remains of Uesugi and Takeda forces -- for many reasons besides the Moris' apparent solidity; he and Motonari used to be kind of respecting each other, only now Terumoto took him as enemy.

 

Oda Nobunaga's map of Japan Oda Nobunaga's map of Japan

Left picture: Oda Nobunaga's territory when he just started the Japanwide campaign in 1560.
Right picture: Oda Nobunaga's territory by the time of his death in 1582.

 

All the while, the outer islands were in the hands of overlords who didn't have anything to do with whatever happened in Oda's main island Honshu and the Central Japan, such as Otomo Sorin and Omura Sumitada. Kyushu and Shikoku isles had their own supremacy battles, their own overlords, and their own belief -- most of them were Roman Catholic warlords. Oda Nobunaga didn't live long enough to shoot at them or get shot at by these people he never even met; Toyotomi Hideyoshi took the job after Oda was gone.

Oda Nobunaga's Wars: against Imagawa Yoshimoto | Saito Tatsuoki | Takeda Shingen | Takeda Katsuyori | Uesugi Kenshin | warrior-monks of Hiei Mountains | Mori Terumoto | Kikkawa and Kobayakawa | Iga ninja clan | warrior-monks of Ise | Ashikaga vassaldom | Asakura and Asai clans (allies of Saito and warrior-monks)

The Otherside: Christian warlords of Kyushu isles | Map of Oda Nobunaga's territory and (versus) warrior-monks' territory

Click here for detailed maps, complete names of provinces,
battle spots, locations of castles, and which clan owned what
in the 'Warring States Period' of Japan of 16th century.

Or click here for a comparison with the map of warlords' territories in the transition between Toyotomi Hideyoshi's and Tokugawa Ieyasu's reigns, i.e. one minute before the battle of Seki plains started on October 21, 1600.

 

 

Map of Oda Nobunaga's territory

II ..... Oda Nobunaga's Map of Generals in 1582

This map contains territories that Oda Nobunaga had distributed among his Generals. Some already had their own lands before joining him, such as Kuroda Kanbei's domain around Himeji castle in Harima, Tsutsui Junkei's family estate in Settsu, Hachisuka Hikoemon's clan territory in Owari, Asakura Kageaki's Echizen districts, and so on.

Why so small compared to the entire realm that Oda Nobunaga had gotten by 1582?

Because a little of the gains was held by Oda himself, and a lot was entrusted to the territories' previous rulers that Oda had defeated or who, by their own initiative, had pledged their domains to be considered as Oda's in tributary relations.

So the lands that Oda's Generals held were really concentrated in Central Japan, and in 'no man's lands' in the aftermath of a victory.

Click here for pictures and profiles of Oda Nobunaga's Generals

Click here for detailed maps, complete names of provinces,
battle spots, locations of castles, and which clan owned what
in the 'Warring States Period' of Japan of 16th century.

Or click here for a comparison with the map of warlords' territories in the transition between Toyotomi Hideyoshi's and Tokugawa Ieyasu's reigns, i.e. one minute before the battle of Seki plains started on October 21, 1600.

 

Oda and Toyotomi conquests

III ..... Oda Nobunaga's Chronological Map of Conquests

This chronological map comprises of Oda Nobunaga's and Toyotomi Hideyoshi's conquests
between 1560 and 1590.
The red areas are Oda Nobunaga's exact possessions when he died
(so the Western Japan, which was gotten one day after his death in 1582, isn't included yet).
The rest of Japan were added later by Toyotomi -- see the colors that indicate year of conquest.

When Toyotomi died in 1599, all Japan had been under his rule.

Tokugawa Ieyasu virtually never fought for territories at all after Oda Nobunaga's death
-- so he couldn't claim any credit in bringing Japan under one rule --
but he was the one who harvested all the final 'Japan, Inc.' in 1603.

Click here for detailed maps, complete names of provinces,
battle spots, locations of castles, and which clan owned what
in the 'Warring States Period' of Japan of 16th century.

 

 

Oda and Toyotomi conquests

IV..... Oda Nobunaga's Provinces of Japan

All the Kyushu warlords, even when they had been new ones transplanted there by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, remained nominal vassals to the Tokugawa shogunate from 1615 to 1867 -- provinces like Satsuma, Bungo, Buzen, Chikuzen, etc. only had a very fragile subordinating connexion with the Tokugawa shogunate for 250 years. So were former territories of the Maeda, Sanada, and Mori clans, plus other smaller ex-enemies of the Tokugawas.

Click here for detailed maps, complete names of provinces,
battle spots, locations of castles, and which clan owned what
in the 'Warring States Period' of Japan of 16th century.

 

NEXT

 

RELATED PAGES :

All of Oda Nobunaga's Wars

Oda Nobunaga's Position in the Japanese Political Structure

Oda Nobunaga's Status in the Japanese Society

All about Toyotomi Hideyoshi All about Tokugawa Ieyasu

 

Other maps of Oda Nobunaga's, Toyotomi Hideyoshi's, and Tokugawa Ieyasu's territories
are more detailed and complete, with a list of all provinces of Japan in 16th century,
and 20th/21st century major cities to enable easier reading of the good ol' maps today.

Click here

 

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