Oda Nobunaga

Oda Nobunaga bigraphy, stories - Daimyo

Oda Nobunaga : biography

June 23, 1534 – June 21, 1582

Jansen, Marius (2000). The Making of Modern Japan, p. 11. Nobunaga lived a life of continuous military conquest, eventually conquering a third of Japan before his death in 1582. His successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a loyal Oda supporter, would become the first man to unify all of Japan, and was thus the first ruler of all Japan since the Ōnin War.


Nobunaga is remembered in Japan as one of the most brutal figures of the Sengoku period. Nobunaga was the first of three unifiers during the Sengoku period. These unifiers were (in order) Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (also called Hashiba Hideyoshi above) and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Oda Nobunaga was well on his way to the complete conquest and unification of Japan when Akechi Mitsuhide, one of his generals, forced Nobunaga into committing suicide in Honnō-ji in Kyoto. Akechi then proceeded to declare himself master over Nobunaga’s domains, but was quickly defeated by Hideyoshi.


In popular culture

Nobunaga appears frequently within fiction and continues to be portrayed in many other anime, manga, video games, and cinematic films. Many depictions show him as villainous or even demonic in nature, though some portray him in a more positive light.

The latter type of works include Akira Kurosawa’s film Kagemusha, which portrays Nobunaga as energetic, athletic and respectful towards his enemies. The film Goemon portrays him as a saintly mentor of Ishikawa Goemon. Nobunaga is a central character in Eiji Yoshikawa’s historical novel Taiko Ki, where he is a firm but benevolent lord. Nobunaga is portrayed in a heroic light in the video games Kessen III, Ninja Gaiden II, and the Warriors Orochi series.

By contrast, the novel and anime series Yōtōden portrays Nobunaga as a literal demon posing as a power-mad warlord. In The Samurai’s Tale by Erik Christian Haugaard, he is portrayed as an antagonist "known for his merciless cruelty". He is portrayed as evil or megalomaniacal in the anime/manga Samurai Deeper Kyo and Flame of Recca. Nobunaga is portrayed as evil, villainous, bloodthirsty, and/or demonic in the video games: Ninja Master’s, Sengoku (1991), Inindo: Way of the Ninja, Atlantica Online, Sengoku Basara (and anime), and the two video game series Onimusha and Samurai Warriors.

There are also numerous examples of his portrayal in a more neutral or historic framework, especially in the Taiga dramas shown on television in Japan. Oda Nobunaga appears in the manga series Tail of the Moon, Kacchu no Senshi Gamu, and Tsuji Kunio’s historical fiction The Signore: Shogun of the Warring States. Historical representations in video games include: Shogun: Total War and Total War: Shogun 2, Throne of Darkness, the eponymous Nobunaga’s Ambition series, as well as Civilization V and Age of Empires II: The Conquerors.

There are also more fictive portrayals, in which the figure of Nobunaga influences a story or inspires a characterization. In James Clavell’s novel Shōgun, the character Goroda is a pastiche of Nobunaga. In the film Sengoku Jieitai 1549 Nobunaga is killed by time-travellers. Nobunaga also appears as a major character in the eroge Sengoku Rance. In the anime Sengoku Otome: Momoiro Paradox, as well as Sengoku Collection, he is even depicted as a female character. This fictive take on him is most prominent as the titular character of the light novel and anime series The Ambition of Oda Nobuna. He appears in the manga series Nobunagun as a soul infused into a large machine gun wielded by the protagonist. He is a playable character in Pokémon Conquest.

Kamenashi Kazuya of the Japanese pop group KAT-TUN wrote and performed a song titled "1582" which is allegedly written from the perspective of Mori Ranmaru at the Incident at Honnouji.