IRRELEVANT FACTS ABOUT
THE
LIFE AND TIMES OF
ODA NOBUNAGA
1534 - 1582

Oda Nobunaga

 

 

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Oda Nobunaga Trivia

Page 1

Another warlord whose name was also 'Nobunaga', Oda's tea ceremonies


Page 2

Oda's red hat, what Soseki Natsume wrote about Oda in his novel, etc.


Page 3

What's the 'Nobunaga Big Bang' is, what's Oda got to do with a gay pub in Tokyo, etc.

 

 

WHAT'S IN A NAME

Kazusa map

Map of Kazusa and Owari.
The Lord of Kazusa when Oda Nobunaga
was born (1534) was Takeda Nobuyasu.

Click here for detailed and complete maps of Japan, all the provinces and warlords.

In 1412, a new clan emerged near the edge of Central Japan. His descendants would from then on be called the Lords of Kazusa.

The patriarch and first Chief of this clan was TAKEDA NOBUNAGA.

His father's name was Takeda Nobumitsu, a relative of Takeda Shingen of Kai.

Other Lords from this clan were Takeda Nobukatsu, Takeda Nobuyasu, Takeda Nobutaka and Takeda Nobumasa.

Unfortunately they slumbered back to oblivion after getting defeated by the Satomi clan -- although the clansmen themselves still survived in 16th century.

Kazusa would by then become a slice of Oda Nobunaga's territory, and among the appelations that Oda got was as Commander of this domain.

By the way, 'nobunaga' is a lexical construxion made of 'grand/great/faith/bliss' ('nobu') and 'lasting/long' ('naga'). While the clan's name, Oda, means 'great field'.

 

Just in passing, here is a list of the meanings of Japanese names that you would find all over this site (ingredients of the column at your right are clickable):
     
N A M E / P A R T
M E A N I N G
S P E C I M E N
     

_bata

_take

Fujiwara

Fukuzawa

Hayashi

Honda

Ii

Ikeda

Ishida

Ishikawa

Iwamura

Kawakami

Kuroda

Kurosawa

Maeda

Matsumoto

Minamoto

Miyamoto

Miyazaki

_mizu

Mori

Murasaki

_nada

Takenaka

Nakamura

Nijo

Okazaki

Okita

Omura

Oyama

Sakamoto

Shimada

Shirakawa

Suzuki

Takeda

Tanizaki

Tsukiyama

Ueda

uji_

Takauji

Yamazaki

Hideyoshi

Yoshimura

Akihito

Akira

Atsumori

_bei

Daigo

Daisuke

_emon

Shingen

Kenshin

Hajime

Mitsuharu

Hideaki

Takashi

Takeshi

Hikaru

Hiko

Shishio

Makoto

Hirohito

Hiroyuki

ie_

Kaoru

Katsu_

Kitsuno

Kiyomasa

Kiyomori

Kiyonaga

Kobayakawa

Koichi

Kusunoki

Megumi

Mitsuhide

Motonari

Mutsuhito

Nagamasa

Nobutaka

Ryu

Sukemori

Terumoto

Toranaga

Toshiie

Tsunayoshi

Ieyasu

Yoshiaki

Yoshinaka

Yoshinobu

Akiko

Amako

Azumi

Chihiro

Junko

Koyuki

Masako

Midori

Motoharu

Nakagawa

field (as in 'corn')

peak (as in 'mountain)

wisteria of the swamp

deep creek

woods

prominent rice field

house

field by the pond

stony field

stony river

rock village

river gods

black field

black creek

front field

pine town

original town

shrine town

shrine point (as in 'knife')

water

forest

violet (color)

gulf

inside of bamboo

inner village

second avenue

great point (as in 'cliff')

great north

great village

great mountain

town on the slope

island field

white river

tree of bells

warrior field

point of a valley

moon of the mountain

upper field

clan

clan of gentlemen

summit (of a mountain)

the good sun

good village

the autumn man

clear/clarity

the kind woods

peace

great man

big help

guard

new sword

new sword

the beginning

bright spring (season)

the autumn sun

gentleman

brave

the shining one

bright

the lion king

loyalty

generous man

heavy snowfall

house

perfume-like

victory

plain orange (color)

pure truth

clear forest

great purity

small swift stream

first kid

camphor tree

kind and generous beauty

the bright sun

becoming the basis

a man from Mutsu province

lasting truth

great hawk

style (in swordsplay)

keeper of the woods

the shining origin

lasting tiger

house of genius

good rope

house of peace

good autumn

good inside-out

good and great

autumn kid

kid nun

beautiful and kind

generous relative

truthful kid

lady snowfall

child of truth

green (color)

town of spring (season)

in the river

Shibata Katsuie

Kitabatake Nobuo

Fujiwara Morosuke

Fukuzawa Yukichi

Hayashi Sado

Honda Heihachi

Ii Naomasa

Ikeda Shonyu

Ishida Mitsunari

Ishikawa Kazumasa

Iwamura castle

Kawakami Gensai

Kuroda Kanbei

Kurosawa Akira

Maeda Toshiie

Matsumoto

Minamoto Yoshitsune

Miyamoto Musashi

Miyazaki Hayao

Kiyomizu temple

Mori Ranmaru

Lady Murasaki

Sanada Yukimura

Takenaka Hanbei

Nakamura Toru

Nijo palace

Okazaki castle

Okita Soji

Omura Sumitada

Takeda Shingen's nickname

Sakamoto castle

Shimada Kambei

Emperor Go-Shirakawa

Suzuki Anne

Takeda Katsuyori

Tanizaki Junichiro

Lady Imagawa Tsukiyama

Ueda castle

Imagawa Ujizane

Ashikaga Takauji

Yamazaki battle

Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Yoshimura

Emperor Akihito

Minamoto Akira

Oda Nobunaga's favorite song

Takenaka Hanbei

Emperor Go-Daigo

Ryu Daisuke

Araki Mataemon

Takeda Shingen

Uesugi Kenshin

Saito Hajime

Akechi Mitsuharu

Ito Hideaki

Sorimachi Takashi

Kaneshiro Takeshi

Utada Hikaru

Hiko Seijuro

Makoto Shishio

Shinsengumi's slogan

Emperor Hirohito

Sanada Hiroyuki

Tokugawa Ieyasu

Kamiya Kaoru

Takeda Katsuyori

Ikoma Kitsuno

Kato Kiyomasa

Taira Kiyomori

Naito Kiyonaga

Kobayakawa Hideaki

Sato Koichi

Kusunoki Masashige

Takani Megumi

Akechi Mitsuhide

Mori Motonari

Emperor Mutsuhito

Asai Nagamasa

Oda Nobutaka

Ryu Daisuke

Taira Sukemori

Mori Terumoto

Toranaga

Maeda Toshiie

Tokugawa Tsunayoshi

Tokugawa Ieyasu

Ashikaga Yoshiaki

Kiso Yoshinaka

Tokugawa Yoshinobu

Yada Akiko

Amako Katsuhisa

oh, really?

Chihiro

Aoki Junko

Koyuki

Hojo Masako

Hirota Midori

Kikkawa Motoharu

Nakagawa Kiyohide

 

HOW DO JAPANESE PEOPLE NAME THEMSELVES?
WHAT ARE THE JAPANESE TITLES, JOBS, AND WORDS
THAT HAVE BEEN WRONGLY TAKEN AS NAMES
BY NON-JAPANESE PEOPLE?
CLICK HERE

 

 

The utterly nonsensical habit of having tea ceremonies (I'm speaking for you here) had been a sensible item among the hordes of rigid rituals routinely infected the periods in Japanese history since the Heian era (click here for story & pictures of it), but it got suddenly transformed into a major diversion in the midst of the 'Warring States Period' of 16th century.

It's funny that even historians are still asking why so.

Exactly because the age was so overwhelmingly turbulent, a few minutes out of this world -- which was a tea-related thing was all about -- became all the rage. It was perfectly illogical but (and) absolutely punctual like the meltdown of Windows operating system in 21st century.

But, while Windows incite suicides and nervous-breakdown among the frustrated customers who nonetheless insist on using it instead of other systems, tea ceremony in Oda Nobunaga's days served an entirely opposite function: it kept sanity in place -- though of course it wouldn't work for those who never had one to begin with, so we shouldn't wonder why some warlords stayed as insane as ever even after their thousandth tea-ceremony.

And Oda Nobunaga was the one who made tea-related stuff -- and all sorts of the usually impractical visual arts -- functional in the realm of feudal politicking since 1568.

It started from his meeting with a merchant of Sakai, a very famous one, Imai Sokyu (Imai was one of the few people whom Oda Nobunaga saw before he died in 1582 -- click here for story and pictures).

The city of Sakai was virtually owned and operated by people like Imai. As merchants occupied the lowest plane on the Japanese feudal pyramid (click here for story & pictures), they tried to exert some authoritative chirp when Oda wanted the city to get under his control, since the merchants knew they got what Oda wanted -- import biz, etc. Imai managed to talked his colleagues into submission. And he managed to cancel Oda Nobunaga's attack on the city, by having his friend Tsuda Sokyu to host a tea party for Oda Nobunaga and his Generals -- legend says there were 100 of the Oda men present at this colossal event. And in the middle of this back-breaking ceremony, Imai gave (in all the due ceremonial reverence) a tea set to Oda, which was named 'Matsushima' (that's a style) -- like the one pictured at your right side now.

So Imai triggered Oda Nobunaga's passion for collecting tea sets, something that he would be having until his last day on earth.

When this was known by the rest of Japan, people started to take it as a symbol of surrender or submittance under Oda Nobunaga's overlordship when giving him such gifts. It was not just tea sets, but also paintings and other trinkets, because Oda Nobunaga was kind of like my Grandma -- they both never discarded anything.

The surviving members of the warrior-monks sent a lot of classic Buddhist (Chinese) paintings to Azuchi as a token of submission after the Hiei mountains battle of 1571 (click here for story and pictures).

But not everyone was okay with that kind of politix. Matsunaga Hisahide (click here for profile and pictures) created sensation when he said to his men, "I'd rather take my tea set to hell with me than giving it to Oda Nobunaga!" and smashed the dear old tea set on the wall, minutes before Oda's soldiers crushed Matsunaga's last defense and he died in 1577.

So because Oda Nobunaga wanted everybody's tea sets, those everybody suddenly couldn't part with the tea sets no matter what. It would have been a very laughable confusion of vindictive motives and collectors' desires and possessive instincts, if only it was not so gory.

Oda Nobunaga established the handing off of tea utensils as a grant to seal alliance and reward for services, regardless of whether the persons involved were interested in collecting such items or would they have much preferred some cash.

He started it by giving (not giving back, as symbolism of the era stated) the 'Matsushima' tea set to Tsuda Sogyu when Sakai had proven to be a good vassal city while between the merchants and the Oda clan had been some mutually-beneficial biz.

After Oda's death, as a symbol of acknowledging Toyotomi Hideyoshi as Oda's successor, Tsuda gave the same tea set to him. Still the same old tea set was given to Tsuda by Toyotomi when Sakai had been his good vassal city for years. Then Tsuda gave it to Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu (click here for story and pictures). And true to the Tokugawa DNA that boldly contained something ordinary mortals called 'talent to be misers', no one ever heard of the tea set being given to anybody else after that.

Oda Nobunaga was, no matter how crazy he could be in collecting trinkets, just personally eccentric. But Toyotomi was always an extravagant wowmaker. Imitating Oda's hobby in this tea-related stuff, and continuing Oda's teacup diplomacy, he hit upon ideas such as the colossal tea party at Kitano forest to which he invited 6,000 people or so. He made the title 'tea master' to embody a rather disproportional authority compared to what it was about.

Since the remaining Oda kids were clawing each other's throats for being the chief of the clan (click here for story and pictures), Toyotomi could get much of Oda Nobunaga's collexion for free and in large packages at once from Oda Nobunaga's lamentable son Oda Nobuo (click here) since 1583. Tokugawa Ieyasu (click here) -- who had also been imitating Oda Nobunaga's hobby around tea, especially interesting to him I bet because it never involved his money at all -- sent some tea items to Toyotomi after the Oda succession war was over -- as a gesture of acknowledgement of Toyotomi's legitimacy as Oda's successor.

Starting this year, Toyotomi's major biz when not planning and doing wars was to show off his collexion to the 'public' -- highest-ranked vassals, allies, and rather tamed enemies. His first famous show was held at Yamazaki in 1583 when he showed Oda Nobunaga's favorite collexion -- such as a jar known as 'Pine Flower' and tea set named 'Ocean Clouds' -- and told the audience (as well as giving them all the needed visual clues) that he still maintained Oda Nobunaga's place as his late master and mentor. This gesture sufficiently impressed the Sakai merchants and tea masters who at least a bit doubted Toyotomi's worth in 'civilized' arts because of his total lack of noble pedigree.

Toyotomi didn't have much time (and Oda had even less) to learn about tea-related stuff when Oda was still around, but now he tapped everything he could download from Lord Hosokawa Fujitaka (click here for profile and pictures).

Hosokawa, a true-blue nobleperson (his clan had been Ashikaga shogunate's advisors since a hundred years back or so), was the most 'civilian' General and warlord around, and he knew all of such things as tea ceremonies. Oda Nobunaga let him stick around after banishing Shogun Ashikaga Yoshiaki in 1568 precisely because of Hosokawa's civilian hobbies in which he excelled.

 

ODA NOBUNAGA'S
TEACUP POLITIX

Oda Nobunaga

Oda Nobunaga was a fan of tea-related stuff and a collector of tea utensils, not any inch close to being one of the so-called 'tea-masters'. It was his younger brother Oda Nagamasu (1548-1622) that made tea-related biz a full-time occupation. To Nobunaga, it was just a hobby.

 

 

Oda's tea cup

Oda Nobunaga's 'Matsushima'
tea cup, 1568

 

Tokugawa tea cup

Tokugawa tea cup, 1600's

 

Teaset

Japanese always prefer green tea

 

Tea utensils

A tea party in Oda's times involved all this

 

Tearoom

A middle-class private tea room in Gifu

 

Teaset

A 21st century tea set

 

Still in the years of 1583-1585 Toyotomi Hideyoshi came to learn from Oda Nobunaga's younger brother that would outlive everyone, Oda Nagamasu -- who would be known in the shrouded little world of tea-fans as Master Yuraku ('Yurakusai-sensei' in Japanese; click here).

Nagamasu had never been too busy whacking people's heads off like his late brother, so he had time to attain perfection in this art that he would get immortalized by.

Tea saved him from Tokugawa Ieyasu's 'cleansing' program, too; it was too barbaric for Tokugawa's own taste to eradicate this 'civilian' remain of Oda Nobunaga's DNA-sharer.

 

TEA CEREMONY & ALL SUCH FUSS IS NOT AN ORIGINAL JAPANESE HABIT.
HISTORY OF JAPANESE TEA CEREMONY: CLICK HERE

 

Oda teahouse

Teahouse in Gifu, said to have been in biz
since Oda Nobunaga's time (1575)

Tokugawa teahouse

Tokugawa period (1600-1868)
teahouse in Tokyo

Meiji teahouse

Meiji period (1868-1912) teahouse
at the Imperial Garden in Kyoto

Click here for BIG PICTURES of Japanese traditional tea houses.

 

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ANY PICTURE OF..... Oda Nobunaga's BIRTH?
Oda NOBUHIDE (Nobunaga's father)? Oda Nobunaga's WEDDING?
The GUNS that Oda Nobunaga's FACTORY produced? Oda Nobunaga NAKED?
Oda Nobunaga supervising CONSTRUXION workers? Oda Nobunaga's LETTERS?
Statue of Oda Nobunaga's HORSE? The Oda Nobunaga ROSE?
Oda Nobunaga's CONCUBINES? Oda Nobunaga's INVENTION?
Click here for complete story & pictures of the real-life Oda Nobunaga's FASHION statements

 

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