Oda Nobunaga

Oda Nobunaga

biographical name

(born 1534, Owari province, Japan—died June 21, 1582, Kyoto) With Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu, one of the three unifiers of premodern Japan. He brought the domain of his birth, Owari, under his control and followed that success by defeating the huge forces of a neighbouring daimyo. In 1562 he formed an alliance with Ieyasu, and together they captured Kyoto, which Nobunaga controlled from 1573, thereby ending the Ashikaga shogunate (see Muromachi period). He then turned his attention to crushing the militant Tendai Buddhist monks of Enryaku temple, destroying their headquarters in 1571. He spent the next decade fighting the fanatically religious Ikko sect, defeating their fortress-monastery in Osaka in 1580. His efforts to weaken the strength of the Buddhist temples extended to permitting Jesuit missionaries to build a church in Kyoto; his own interest in Christianity was purely political. In 1582 he had conquered central Japan and was attempting to extend his control over western Japan when he was wounded by a discontented general and committed suicide.

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