Who was Oda Nobunaga?

There are plenty of references in Japanese pop culture to Oda Nobunaga.  He has been immortalized in films, novels, manga, games, and several anime.  The most recent incarnation of Oda Nobunaga in anime has been in Drifters which has seen a more brutal approach to his character.  In Drifters we see an almost maniacal man, hell bent on destroying the current world and fulfilling his dream of unifying a nation.  One of the most unique iterations of Oda Nobunaga, though, has to be the character Oda Nobuna in The Ambition of Oda Nobuna.  In this historical comedy, Oda Nobunaga is depicted as a teenage girl who is befriend by the protagonist Yoshiharu Sagara.  Sagara is a modern-day young man who finds himself thrown back in time to an alternate reality version of the Sengoku period where all the main historical figures have been replaced by high school aged girls.

So who exactly was Oda Nobunaga and why is he considered an important person in Japanese history?  Oda Nobunaga was a Daimyō in 16th century Japan and one of the “Three Unifiers” along with Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu.  Nobunaga started a campaign that would ultimately unify Japan as a singular nation.  He is also noted for the introduction of firearms into his military forces.  Eventually his success would be cut short by the betrayal of his retainer Akechi Mitsuhide.

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2 comments

  1. They overused him in so many anime, but I think its because of his larger than life persona. After all, despite being in a tough position, his passion still drove him to unify Japan. He had no chance though, since everyone else wanted to conquer Japan in a different way.

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  2. I will admit that he seems a bit overused in Anime. However he did not complete the unification of Japan, that mission would fall upon Toyomoti Hideyoshi and then Tokygawa Ieyasu. I believe if he was not betrayed at Honnō-ji he very well may have completely unified the nation. His military genius was second to none in the region and his use of Western firearms revolutionized Japanese military tactics.

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