Monday, 23 July 2012


The three most famous Japanese historical figures are probably Nobunaga Oda, Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Tokugawa Ieyasu (last name first name). They coexisted more than 400 years ago and each desired to rule a unified Japan which had been in a state of continuous clan warfare for hundreds of years. Their characters were very different. It has been said of the three that Nobunaga expected your compliance with his wishes or he would kill you, Hideyoshi would persuade you, while Tokugawa simply waited until events played out to his advantage.
On July 16, 2012 Yayoi's friend Etsuko and cousin Atsutada and ourselves took the new Tomei freeway from Shizuoka to the city of Hamamatsu to see the 'shiro' or castle. Hamamatsu-Jo (castle) is where Tokugawa lived for 17 years. Ieyasu Tokugawa and Shingen Takeda fought a major battle at Mikatagahara near here in the year 1572 where Tokugawa was badly beaten and had to retreat to Hamamatsu-Jo.
The Takeda troops camped near Saiga-gake which is a deep gully north of the current Saiga-gake Pavilion which is a museum commemorating what happened here. The Tokugawa troops placed a cloth bridge over the gully and then began to fire guns behind the Takeda troops to make them think that Nobunaga Oda was coming with his troops to aid Tokugawa. The Takeda troops felt compelled to cross the cloth bridge and many were killed or injured.
To commemorate these deaths each year on July 15 (the day before we visited) the Enshu Dai-nenbutsu dance is held in front of the Saiga-gake Pavilion.

Click on Hamamatsu to see photographs on Picasa.

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