I don’t know about you, but I am one of those people who first got interested in studying Japanese history and culture because, well, samurai and ninja and pirates, and cool battles and so on and so forth. But, before I ever really got too deeply into learning the detailed narrative of the major players and major battles of the Sengoku period, I was already getting into kabuki and ukiyo-e, and various other Edo period topics. So, now, as I approach my PhD qualifying/comprehensive exams, this narrative – which is so basic for a lot of samurai fans out there – remains something of a hole, a gap, in my knowledge. (Not that they’re going to test me on this stuff on the quals, but, you know, just for my own knowledge, and such.)
Now, of course, a few YouTube videos don’t compare to reading extensive scholarship on the subject. But, that’s besides the point. It’s Fun Link Friday. And the guys at Extra History have done, so far I think, a pretty good job of summarizing at least one thread of the key narrative of the late Sengoku period, if we pardon the perpetuation of the valorization of the samurai (and the occasional misspelling and kiki nikui pronunciation). At the very least, it’s helpful towards getting the geography, names, and chronology straight – I had certainly heard of Imagawa Yoshimoto, Saitô Dôsan, Asai Nagamasa, and all the rest, but exactly which provinces did they control, and where was that? And who fought whom, in what order?
So far, they’ve put out just two videos of what looks like it’s going to be a pretty lengthy (read: detailed, informative) series.
In Part 1 of Extra History – Sengoku Jidai, they focus on the beginning of the rise of Oda Nobunaga, and the fall of Imagawa Yoshimoto, in the 1560 Battle of Okehazama.
In Part 2, they continue the story of Nobunaga’s rise to power, which a focus on the 1567 Siege of Inabayama.
Part 3, not yet out, seems like it will go all the way up to the death of Nobunaga at the 1582 Attack on Honnôji, leaving still however many episodes to detail the campaigns of Hideyoshi and Ieyasu. I’m certainly looking forward to it.