The Battle of Nagashino is one of the seminal battles in Japanese history. It took place on June 28, 1575 near Nagashino Castle and was one of the key engagements toward to conclusion of the Sengoku period.. The battle was fought as the forces of Takeda Katsuyori besieged the castle. Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu sent relief forces. The two sides squared off in what is considered the first ‘modern’ battle in Japanese history. The Takeda clan had introduced the cavalry charge in recent times, to devastating effect. To counter this, Oda implemented a revolutionary use of firearms, volley fire, never before seen in Japan. As wave after wave of Takeda’s mounted troops rushed Oda’s position, they were mowed down by the revolving fire of the matchlock rifle-toting, samurai-led riflemen.
Hiroo Onoda as a young officer, c 1944. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
The latest edition of my History in the News Series, a look at current events that have some sort of historical slant.
On January 16, 2014, Second Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda of the Imperial Japanese Army passed away at the age of 91.
Sometimes some people take things too seriously. War is probably something that does not fall into that category very often. There were a handful of Japanese holdouts following the island empires defeat in World War II who continued the armed struggle well beyond the August 15, 1945 surrender of their nation. Most of them were cut off by the United States’ island hopping campaign and were located on small islands in the Pacific. Some held out through the 40’s while others managed to keep the struggle going until the 70’s. Onoda’s story is, by far, the most remarkable.