One of the most famous samurai battles, the Battle of Nagashino, took place in a small, narrow valley in Shinshiro, eastern Aichi Prefecture on May 21st, 1575. The battle hardened Takeda army were advancing on the capital, Kyoto, and crossing the lands owned by Tokugawa Ieyasu. The Takeda had defeated the Tokugawa at the Battle of Mikatagahara some years before, and were confident of another victory. The 15,000 strong Takeda first laid siege to Nagashino Castle with 500 inside. One brave samurai escaped and alerted Ieyasu and their strong allies, the Oda clan, who came to the rescue with 38,000 soldiers.
Each samurai carried a long, thin log with them to build 2km of palisade along the western side of the valley. 3,000 Oda troops with matchlock guns waited behind the fences. The gun had been introduced to Japan by Portuguese traders only 20 years before, but already the samurai had embraced the weapon.
The Takeda forces attacked, and the Oda forces gunners felled them immediately in a great blast of gunfire! Oda Nobunaga had organized his gunners into lines of 3 around the barricades to continue shooting the enemy in a machine gun-like fashion. 8 hours later, 10,000 Takeda and 6,000 allied troops lay dead across the valley.
Chris Glenn is a bilingual radio DJ, TV presenter, producer, narrator, MC, copywriter, author and columnist, and Japanese historian, specializing in samurai castles, battles, armor and weapons. He is an inbound tourism advisor, and is often called upon as a lecturer and speaker on Japanese history and topics. He was born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1968, and has spent over half his life in Japan, most of that time in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture. Chris is dedicated to promoting and preserving Japans’ long history, deep culture, traditions, arts and crafts.