Major Sengoku Events
This section will cover the events of the Sengoku Period.
A. The Onin War
Although Samurai Warriors' first battles are in the early 1560's, the Sengoku Period actually started in the late 1470's. It was a hectic time. Japan had suffered several natural disasters, and the common people were weary of large debts and high taxes. In 1467, the Onin War began. The Onin War began when Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa proclaimed his brother, Yoshimi, heir to the shogunate. Yoshimasa even dragged his brother out of a monastery to fulfill his proclamation. A year later, upon the birth of his son Yoshihisa, Yoshimasa changed his mind and decided his son was a better candidate. At the same time though, the Yamana and Hosokawa clans had spent years as rivals, interfering in the affairs of other families and clans with varying degrees of success. With two potential candidates to be the next shogun, it was a given that each family would choose either Yoshihisa or Yoshimi as who should be the next shogun. Looking to do battle, the Yamana and Hosokawa clans met up in Kyoto, each with over 80,000 men. It became a stalemate. Neither army wanted to start the war, fearing that they'd be labeled "rebels" by the shogun. After Yamana brought in 20,000 more men in, and burned the Hosokawa mansion to the ground, the war started. After only a few months, parts of Kyoto were in ruins, and most of the population had fled. Even so, these armies were not about to retreat.
Samurai Warriors Levels: None.
B. Chaos Erupts Throughout the Land
The Onin War ravaged on for ten years, costing thousands of lives. Both Yamana Souzen and Hosokawa Katsumoto died in 1473, and even then, the war continued on, neither side figuring out how to end the war. It was by 1477, some ten years after the fighting had begun, that Kyoto was now nothing more than a place for mobs to loot and move in to take what was left. Neither the Yamana clan, nor the Hosokawa clan had achieved it's goal. During this time, the shogun did nothing to stop the violence. The people began taking matters into their own hands. Eventually, no area in Japan was untouched by the violence. The best way to settle any dispute, during this time, appeared to be by the sword. Although the battles in Kyoto had been abandoned, the war had spread over to the rest of Japan. For seventy years, the battles raged on. Many powerful families, like the Hosokawa and Ouchi, rose and fell. Then, in 1551 an important event happened. A small warlord named Oda Nobuhide passed away. His son, Nobunaga, would take over his command, and eventually rise to prominence.
Samurai Warriors Levels: None
C. Nobunaga Rises
Nobuhide's son and heir, Nobunaga, was only seventeen at the time. Nobunaga hardly knew his father, and was known as a deliquent. Most of Nobuhide's men elected to follow Nobunaga's brother, Nobuyuki. From that point on, it would take seven years of campaigning for Nobunaga to unite the Owari province and gain a foothold. In 1560, an established warlord by the name of Yoshimoto Imagawa led nearly 30,000 men towards Kyoto. Nobunaga's forces, however, numbered only 5,000. Despite this, Nobunaga decided to fight against Imagawa. In a surprising twist, a thunderstorm hid Nobunaga's movements, and his forces assaulted the Imagawa camp and slew Yoshimoto, resulting in a victory that stunned the entire country. This was known as the Battle of Okehazama, and brought Nobunaga's name to national prominence. In the area of Mino, the powerful Saito clan ruled. Their leader, Saito Yoshitatsu, died suddenly of illness in 1561. Yoshitatsu was succeeded by his son, Saito Tatsuoki. Tatsuoki, however, was young and much less effective as a ruler and military strategist compared to his father. Seeing an opportunity for expansion, Nobunaga immediately began a campaign for Mino. Many of the Saito retainers chose to defect to Nobunaga, and Mino was finally conquered in 1567.
Samurai Warriors Levels: Okehazama
D. Nobunaga continues his dominance
In 1564, Nobunaga had his sister, Oichi marry Azai Nagamasa, a daimyo in northern Omi province. This would later help pave the way to Kyoto. Within a short amount of time, Nobunaga had reached Kyoto and driven the Miyoshi clan out of the city. He appointed Ashikaga Yoshiaki as the new shogun, although Nobunaga refused the title of shogun's deputy. This made it clear that he intended to use him as a puppet to justify his future conquests. Yoshiaki, however, was not pleased about being a puppet, and thus, he secretly corresponded with various daimyo, forging an anti-Nobunaga alliance. One clan in particular, the Asakura, hated Nobunaga. Nobunaga's forces were once subordinates under the Asakura, thus they were jealous of Nobunaga's success. When Nobunaga launched a campaign into the Asakura clan's domain, Azai Nagamasa, to whom Oichi was married, broke the alliance with Oda to honour the Azai-Asakura alliance which had lasted for generations. With the help of Ikko rebels, the anti-Nobunaga alliance sprang into full force, taking a heavy toll on the Oda clan. Nobunaga would team up with another warlord, Tokugawa Ieyasu, to confront these foes.
Samurai Warriors Levels: Nagashino
E. Nobunaga crushes his foes
In 1570, at the Battle of Anegawa, Nobunaga and his ally Tokugawa Ieyasu routed the Azai and the Asakura. Nobunaga then continued to wage war across the land with his brutal tactics. During this time, he attacked a monastery of warrior monks and killed more than 20,000 men, women, and children during the battle. He later attacked Nagishama, where he suffered the loss of two of his brothers. Nobunaga then surrounded the enemy complex and burned it, killing tens of thousands of non-combatants. The anti-Nobunaga alliance was still prevalent, however. Takeda Shingen, a master strategist from Kai, decided to destroy Nobunaga's forces. In 1572, He scored a victory against Tokugawa Ieyasu at Mikatagahara. Fortunately for Nobunaga, Shingen died of illness soon after the battle. Nobunaga then turned his attention to the Ashikaga, and brought an end to their clan in 1573. In the same year, he decimated the Azai and Asakura forces, causing Nagamasa to commit suicide. Now Nobunaga's closest foe was Takeda Katsuyori, the son of Shingen. At the battle of Nagashino in 1575, Nobunaga routed the famed Takeda Cavalry with musket tactics, having men fire while others reloaded. Through the next several years, Nobunaga expanded his territory. Finally, in 1578, he confronted Uesugi Kenshin, the only man to have beaten Takeda Shingen's forces in combat. However, after several failed attempts to take the Oda domain, Kenshin died of a stroke. Four years later he finally ridded the land of the Takeda clan. Nobunaga was the strongest he had ever been, and began to prepare for new campaigns.
F. The Honnoji Incident
Nobunaga then planned to expand quickly. He sent his general Shibata Katsuie to capture the home province of the Uesugi, while Hashiba Hideyoshi attacked the Mori lands. He was also preparing for two more invasions of rival provinces. Hideyoshi achieved initial success, but was then slowed. He requested reinforcements from Nobunaga, who sent Akechi Mitsuhide to help Hideyoshi. Nobunaga then travelled to Honnoji temple, where Nobunaga usually stayed when he was in Kyoto. Instead of assisting Hideyoshi, Mitsuhide promptly turned his forces around and surrounded Honnoji temple. At dawn, his men set fire to the temple, and Nobunaga, with only a few dozen servants to aid him, comitted suicide. Mitsuhide then mobilized his forces and captured several other former Oda checkpoints. Hideyoshi immediately made peace with the Mori, and got back to absorb the Oda vassals. He then attacked Mitsuhide at Yamazaki, crushing his forces in the process. Mitsuhide was killed while trying to flee. Hideyoshi, who harbored his own ambitions, now set his sights on continuing Nobunaga's legacy.