Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Random Historical Person: Asai Nagamasa (Part 2)

Good Evening from Akkeshi! Shall I continue my story? Grab your popcorn and perhaps a drink too since now this is going to get more interesting.

So when we last left off, the Battle of Mt. Usa claimed the lives of Nobuharu Oda and Yoshinari Mori. With their death's and his defeat at Usa, Nobunaga started to prepare for his next move against the Asai-Asakura Coalition. However, due to problems with his concurrent seige of the Ishiyama Honganji (Big Buddhist Fortress in Osaka), he had to delay his plans against the Asai-Asakura. But finally in 1573, he gathered his forces and once again marched to Ichijodani. This time, in order to prevent Nagamasa from attacking his rear again, Nobunaga divided up his forces, one to Ichijodani, and the other to Odani (home of the Asai). To make a long story short, Yoshikage eventually kills himself as the Oda close in on his position, thus ending the Asakura Clan. Nobunaga also saw to it that Yoshikage's head as presented to him.

Nagamasa knew that his time was starting to run out. But he and his men prepared for what they knew would be their final battle with the Oda (Ieyasu and his men were bogged down in a campaign against the Takeda Clan of Kai Province (modern day Nagano Prefecture) at the time and couldn't provide aid to the Oda). So the roster of each army looked like this

Asai Clan

* Nagamasa Asai *

* Hisamasa Asai *

* Kazumasa Isono

* Kiyotsuna Akao

* Sadayuki Atsuji

* Keijun Miyabe

* Naoyori Shinjo

Oda Clan Nobunaga *

* Nobunaga Oda *

* Hideyoshi Hashiba

* Mitsuhide Akkeshi

* Katsuie Shibata

* Nagahide Niwa

* Toshiie Maeda

* Ittetsu Inaba

* Hanbei Takenaka

* Josui Kuroda

* Kazutoyo Yamanouchi

* Ranmaru Mori (the fourteen year old son of Yoshinari was taken in by Nobunaga to be his personal page andbutt buddy on the front. I'll discuss Japanese homosexuality and non-homosexuality in a later post, since it is actually quite fascinating in my opinion)

* Nobutada Oda ( Nobunaga's oldest son, aged around 15-16 at the time, was put into his first battle against his uncle. Tragic, ain't it?)

Before we get into what happened during the Seige of Odani, we need to look at Nagamasa and Oichi's personal life.

Even before getting into this mess with the Oda, Nagamasa and Oichi had a very happy life together. Along with that happy life, Oichi bore Nagamasa four children

* Oldest Son - Manpukumaru

* Oldest Daughter - Cha-hime (known as well by her adult name, Yodo-gimi)

* Second Daughter - Hatsu-hime

* Youngest Daughter - Go-hime

Nagamasa realized that once Nobunaga arrived at Odani, he would most likely instruct his men to kill everyone and everything in the castle before Odani would be burned down to the ground. Before the moving out to Odani, Nobunaga started to get a very fierce reputation by killing men, women, and even children of his enemies. The most classic example of this would actually be after the Seige of Odani at the Battle of Ise-Nagashima against the fanatical Buddhist Ikko-Ikki sect around the year 1575-1577 (I need to confirm that date again). What Nobunaga did in that battle/seige was instead of trying to force his way into the complex, he locked EVERYONE inside (man, woman, and child), and then lit the complex on fire, killing everyone inside.

Nagamasa probably realized that even if he were to somehow defeat Nobunaga at this battle, Ieyasu would eventually come to help, in addition to other clan's that Nobunaga allied with too (which included the Hojo of Sagami (Modern day Tokyo area), and the unofficial/official/correspondence alliance with the Date of Oshu (Modern day Sendai area)). In addition, if he ever wanted to continue the Asai linage, he would have to sacrifice his life in exchange for the guaranteed sparing of Oichi and his children's lives.

As he entered negotiations with Nobunaga (through Hideyoshi), the deal was set as this. Before the battle would take place, Hideyoshi and Kazutoyo would take Oichi and the girls back to Nobunaga. Manpukumaru would be at his father's side when the time came for Nagamasa to die, should the situation ever arise. The only objection from the negotiations was from (of course) Oichi. She refused to leave without her son, but Nagamasa overrulled her objection and the women were sent back to Nobunaga's HQ in Owari.

To make a long story short, the Asai troops put up a good fight, but the Asai fell to the might of the Oda war machine. Kiyotsuna and Keijun were killed in battle. Nagamasa's number two man, Kazumasa Isono, defected to the Oda right before the end of the battle and actually became a vassal to Nobunaga. Naoyori and Sadayuki were released and Sadayuki ended up in the service of Mitsuhide Akkechi.

As for Hisamasa and Nagamasa . they both committed ritual suicide before they could both be captured by the Oda. We don't know for certain who did this, but both Nagamasa and Hisamasa's heads were taken to Nobunagawhere Nobunaga committed a very despicable act with them

During the New Year's Holiday of 1573-1574, Nobunaga hosted a dinner party with all of his generals and allies (Ieyasu included since the Takeda Clan's leader, Shingen, died earlier that year, thus halting the campaign against the Takeda). They were having a wonderful time at their party until Nobunaga asked one of his servants to bring out the "goblets" for the wine . what the goblet's were shocked everyone in attendence.

From left to right:

- Hisamasa Asai

- Nagamasa Asai

- Yoshikage Asakura

They were the skulls of Nagamasa, Hisamasa, and Yoshikage, lacquered in gold. Nobunaga then ordered Mitsuhide Akkechi to pour him a drink with "Nagamasa's head". Frightened by this, but fearing the retribution if he didn't, Mitsuhide followed orders and poured his lord a drink. Nobunaga reportedly had a very sinister smile from his face as he drank from the goblet

When Oichi found out what Nobunaga had done, she immediately left the Oda Clan with her daugheters and was taken in by the Shibata family, where she re-married to Nobunaga's old, crusty, and bravest 60 - something year old general, Katsuie. If you think the story is over yet for Oichi, think again, but I feel that Oichi and Katsuie's marriage is best reserved for the Valentine's Day post, so stay tuned until then.

But what ever happened to Manpukumaru? Wellwe don't know for certain. There are reports that Nagamasa took his life before killing himself, other reports indicate that Manpukumaru was located, and then executed by Hideyoshi and Kazutoyo. Others say that he escaped and became a monk. We just don't know what happened to him, but it didn't really matter since the Oda never heard from him or encountered him again.

THE END . at least until we continue Oichi's story with her girls and her new hubby Katsuie.

That will do it for tonight! I think my next post will talk about some daily differences between my hometown of Flower Mound, Texas and Akkeshi.

Good Night from Akkeshi! Drop me a line at for questions, concerns, or suggestions!
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