Friday, February 27, 2009

Fight of Kenshin Uesugi, Battle of Tedori Gawa (River) -1

I was 10 year old in summer, 1966, when I had a problem of nerve sensitivity and my parent's doctor recommended to take me out of Tokyo where all tense and pressure were attacking me. It was when my uncle (my mothers older brother) took me to the Kasuga Yama(mountain) whereas Kenshin Uesugi had his own castle.

Kasuga Yama Castle
(Image in Public Domain)

Kenshin was local lord in my parent's hometown and I was very much interested in visiting the ruin of his castle. I remember I was pretty much disappointed because no castle or even a part of the castle was left there. It was not even a ruin, but just a flat top of the mountain with some souvenir shop. My uncle felt my disappointment and bought me a book of Kenshin Uesugi.

After he became the local king of now Niigata Prefecture, he had fought more than 100 times and he had never lost. He believed himself to be a reborn Mars and his subordinates and people believed it. He has many fighting episodes, but I would like to introduce just one today.
Statue of Kenshin
(Put in Public Domain by Owner)

Later part of 16th century, Japan is almost unified by a local lord, Nobunaga Oda. He is one of the great figure in dark age of Japan since he almost unified Japan ending continuous fights lasted for almost 100 years. As he was killed by his own subordinate at last, his activities, philosophy, and visions are always controversial. He is the one who burned down sacred temples which did not follow his orders. In destroying Ninja village, he killed all the people living there since he could not distinguish fighters and non-fighters.

Still Nobunaga Oda was the most advanced strategist of the age. He was wearing western style clothes in fighting because he thought it was easier to move. His army was equipped with large number of guns. He is the early adopter of fire arms in Japan and maybe the pioneer to make use of fire power for fighting in Japanese history.

In 1576, Nobunaga's territory occupied more than half of Japan and it seemed to be clear that he is the one who could finally unify all Japan. Kenshin Uesugi was the one who still can stop him. There were groups of people who wanted Kenshin to replace Nobunaga. They thought Kenshin could be more reasonable and merciful ruler than Nobunaga.

Portrait of Nobunaga Oda
(Image in Public Domain)

It was September in 1576, Kenshin and Nobunaga were ready to fight for deciding who is the winner for unified Japan. Nobunaga brought his own army with 30,000 soldiers with 3,000 guns. Kenshin right after his fight against another enemy, could carry 10,000 soldiers with about 500 guns. Nobunaga had known how strong Kenshin was. Nobunaga was not coward but he wanted to be and was well prepared for the fight against Kenshin. He did not like any possibility of being beaten. But still he was. How did that happen?

I did not mean to cut off this post in the middle like this, but it looks like I spent too much space for explaining who Nobunaga and Kenshin were. I need to post another article for going into the details of the fight.

Related posts:

Check my websites to find out what I am doing:

Feel free to contact me:
Shaw Funami
Fill the Missing Link

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shaw .. it's interesting to learn a little more .. but it's great to see that your uncle appreciated your need for positive information on Kenshin - you were obviously learned from a young age!

I look forward to part 2 ... and seeing how the conflict worked out ..

Hilary: Be Positive Be Happy

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shaw .. I forgot to mention that I remembered "yama" means mountain .. as in Fujiyama .. we don't need to put the 'mount' in as a prefix ..

I'm learning! Hilary: Be Positive Be Happy

Shaw said...

Hi Hilary, Yes, my mothers family people were very kind to me. It is so sad that all were gone, now. My uncle definitely opened my eyes to history. It was good because it was my parent's hometown history.

"Yama" means "mountain", you are right. So, you do not need to add prefix "Mt." Sometimes in foreign language, it is easier to use both, I found based on your post. I almost wrote "Tedorigawa River", Gawa=Kawa is "River". It was so much attached to name.

Thank you for your visit and comments.

Shaw Funami