The warrior Ōta Kazusanosuke Taira-no Harunaga-kō (Oda Nobunaga) tearing a tent bearing his vassal's crest

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    Oda Nobunaga, 1534-1582, (here disguised under the name of Harunaga-kō) was a descendant of Taira no Kiyomori. He was the first of the three great unifiers of Japan at the end of the civil wars of the Sengoku-jidai, 1467-1568, defeating many key figures during the period and conquering several domains. In 1582 he ordered Akechi Mitsuhide, 1528?-1582, (here Takechi Michihide), one of his vassals, to provide entertainment for a great welcoming party for Tokugawa leyasu (1542-1616). Mitsuhide organised it most sumptuously, displaying treasures of gold and silver; however, Nobunaga became very angry when Mitsuhide used a tent curtain marked with his own crest.

    In this print 'Harunaga-kō' is in court robes, wearing a tachi sword, tearing the tent curtain containing 'Takechi's' crest, in anger. Mitsuhide later turned against Nobunaga, who he caused to commit suicide at the Honnō-ji incident of the same year, when he burned down Azuchi castle.

    In: Impey, Oliver, and Mitsuko Watanabe, Kuniyoshi's Heroes of China and Japan: A Selection of Warriors from Two Series of Prints and a Painting by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798 - 1861), the Suikoden of 1827 and the Taiheki of 1848-9 (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2003)

Further reading

Impey, Oliver, and Mitsuko Watanabe, Kuniyoshi's Heroes of China and Japan: A Selection of Warriors from Two Series of Prints and a Painting by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798 - 1861), the Suikoden of 1827 and the Taiheki of 1848-9 (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2003), no. 11 on p. 11, illus. p. 23 pl. 11

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