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Men of God

Although Hideyoshi and Nobunaga were stationed far apart, Hideyoshi considered it one of his military responsibilities to send news regularly to Azuchi. In this way Nobunaga was given a bird's-eye view of the situation in the west, and thus he felt at ease with the strategy being used in the campaign.

After seeing Hideyoshi off to the western provinces, Nobunaga greeted the New Year in Azuchi. It was the tenth year of Tensho. That New Year was even busier than the previous one, and the celebrations did not go off without mishap. The following incident is recorded in The Chronicles of Nobunaga:

When the neighboring lords, relatives, and others came to Azuchi to pay their respects to His Lordship for the New Year, the crush was such that a wall collapsed and many were killed by the falling stones. The confusion was stupendous.

"Charge each guest from who comes for New Year's calls on the first day one hundred mon, no matter who he is," Nobunaga ordered on New Year's Eve. "A 'calling tax' is not much to ask of a visitor in return for the divine privilege of having an audience with me to express his New Year's wishes."

But that was not all. In recompense for the 'calling tax,' Nobunaga also gave permission to have parts of the castle grounds that were usually closed to the public opened up.

The inns of Azuchi had already been booked long before by eager sightseerslords, merchants, scholars, doctors, artists, craftsmen, and samurai of every rankwho waited impatiently for the opportunity to see the Sokenji Temple, to pass through the Outer Gate and approach the Third Gate, and from there to go through the residential apartments and enter the garden of white sand, there to express their greetings.

The New Year's sightseers walked through the castle, looking at room after room. They admired the sliding doors illustrated by Kano Eitoku, stared wide-eyed at the tatami mats with their borders of Korean brocade, and gazed in awe at the polished, gilded walls.

The guards shepherded the crowd out through the stable gate, where, unexpectedly, its way was barred by Nobunaga and several attendants.

"Don't forget your contribution! One hundred mon each!" Nobunaga shouted. He took the money with his own hands and tossed it over his shoulder.

A mountain of coins quickly piled up behind him. Soldiers stuffed the money into bags, and it was then given to officials and distributed among the poor of Azuchi. Thus Nobunaga fondly imagined that there was not one hungry face in Azuchi that New Year's.

When Nobunaga spoke to the official in charge of collecting the tax, who at first had worried about Nobunaga getting involved with such plebeian actions, the official now had to admit, "It was truly a fine idea, my lord. The people who came to visit the castle will have a story to tell for the rest of their lives, and the poor who received the 'contributions' will spread the news. Everybody is saying that those coins are not just ordinary coins, but money that was touched by the hand of Lord Nobunaga himself, and as such, it would be a travesty to waste it. They said they would keep it as capital. Why, even the officials are pleased. I think this kind of good work would be a good precedent for next New Year's and for the years following."

To the official's surprise, Nobunaga coldly shook his head and said, "I'm not going to do it again. It would be a fault for the man who runs the government to let the poor get used to charity."

* * *

Half of the First Month had passed. After the New Year's decorations had been taken down from the doors of people's homes, the citizens of Azuchi realized that something was going onso many ships were being loaded at the port and were sailing every day.

The ships, without exception, were sailing from the southern part of the lake northward. And thousands of bales of rice, carried along the land routes in meandering processions of horses and carts, were also going up the coast toward the north.

As always, the streets of Azuchi were filled with the traffic of travelers and the goings and comings of the various lords. Not a day went by that a messenger was not seen galoping down the road, or that an envoy from another province didn't pass by.

"Aren't you coming?" Nobunaga called out happily to Nakagawa Sebei.

"Where to, my lord?"


"That's my favorite sport! May I accompany you, my lord?"

"Sansuke, you come too."

It was on a morning in early spring that Nobunaga set out from Azuchi. His attendants had been picked the night before, but Nakagawa Sebeiwho had just come to the castlehad now been invited, and Ikeda Shonyu's son, Sansuke, was added to the group is well.

Nobunaga had a liking for riding, sumo wrestling, hawking, and the tea ceremony, but the chase was certainly one of his favorite pastimes.

The beaters and archers would be exhausted by the end of the day. Such interests might be called pastimes, but Nobunaga did nothing halfheartedly. With sumo wrestling, for example, when a basho was arranged at Azuchi, he would gather well over fifteen hundred wrestlers from Omi, Kyoto, Naniwa, and other faraway provinces. In the end, the various lords would gather to watch in large crowds, and Nobunaga would rarely grow tired of the sight even as the hour grew late. Instead, he would pick men from among his own retainers and order them to go up into the ring for match after match.

This First Month's hawking trip to the Echi River, however, was extremely simple. It was nothing more than an outing, and the hawks were never released. After a short rest, Nobunaga ordered the party to return to Azuchi.

As the party entered the town of Azuchi, Nobunaga reined in his horse and turned toward a foreign-looking building in the middle of a stand of trees. The sound of a violin was coming from a window. He suddenly dismounted and went in through the door with a few of his attendants.

Two or three Jesuits came down hurriedly to greet him, but Nobunaga was already striding into the house.

"Your Lordship!" the fathers exclaimed in surprise.

This was the school that had been built next to the Church of the Ascension. Nobunaga had been one of the benefactors of the school, but everything from the timber to the furnishings had been contributed by provincial lords who had been converted to Christianity.

"I'd like to see how you conduct classes," Nobunaga announced. "I assume the children are all here."

Hearing what Nobunaga wanted, the fathers were nearly in ecstasy, and told each other what an honor the visit was. Ignoring their chatter, Nobunaga climbed rapidly up the stairs.

Nearly in panic, one of the priests ran ahead to the classroom and informed the students of the unforeseen inspection by a noble visitor.

The sound of the violin stopped suddenly, and the whispering was silenced. Nobunaga stood at the rostrum for a moment and looked over the room, thinking what an odd sort of school it was. The seats and desks in the classroom were all of foreign design, and a textbook had been placed on each desk. As might be expected, the pupils were the sons of provincial lords and retainers. They bowed solemnly to Nobunaga.

The children were between ten and fifteen years of age. All of them came from noble families, and the entire scene, imbued with the exoticism of European culture, was like a flower garden that no Japanese temple school in Azuchi could rival.

But the question of which kind of schoolChristian or Buddhistoffered the best form of education had already been answered in Nobunaga's mind, it seemed, and so he had neither admiration nor wonder for what was in front of him. Taking a student's textbook from a nearby desk, he thumbed through the pages silently but quickly returned it to its owner.

Who was playing the violin just now?" he asked.

Repeating Nobunaga's question, one of the fathers queried the students again.

Nobunaga quickly understood: the teachers had not been in the room until now, and the students had plainly taken advantage of their absence to play musical instruments, gossip, and frolic happily.

"It was Jerome," the priest said.

The students all looked at one boy who sat among them. Nobunaga followed the diection of their stares, and his eyes rested on a youth of fourteen or fifteen.

"Yes. There he is. It was Jerome." When the father pointed at him, the youth turned bright red and looked down. Nobunaga was not sure whether he knew the child or not.

"Who is this Jerome? Whose son is he?" he asked again.

The priest spoke to the boy sternly. "Stand up, Jerome. Answer His Lordship."

Jerome stood and bowed to Nobunaga.

"I'm the one who was playing the violin just now, my lord." His words were distinct, and there was no servility in his eyes; one could see that he was the offspring of samurai family.

Nobunaga looked rigidly into the child's eyes, but the child did not look away.

"What was that you were playing? It must have been a tune from Southern Barbarian nusic."

"Yes, it was. It was a Psalm of David." The child seemed elated. He spoke with such facility that it was as though he had been waiting for the day when he could answer such question.

"Who taught it to you?"

"I learned it from Father Valignani."

"Ah, Valignani."

"Do you know him, my lord?" Jerome asked.

"Yes, I've met him," Nobunaga replied. "Where is he now?"

"He was in Japan at New Year's, but he may already have left Nagasaki and returned to India via Macao. According to a letter from my cousin, his ship was to set sail on the twentieth."

"Your cousin?"

"His name is Ito Anzio."

"I've never heard the name Anzio.' Doesn't he have a Japanese name?"

"He's Ito Yoshimasu's nephew. His name is Yoshikata."

"Oh, is that who he is? A relative of Ito Yoshimasu, the lord of Obi Castle. And what about you?"

"I'm Yoshimasu's son."

Nobunaga was strangely amused. As he looked at this impertinent, charming youth educated in the flower garden of Christian culture, he could only envision the reckless and bewhiskered figure of the boy's father, Ito Yoshimasu. The castle towns along the coastline of Kyushu in western Japan were ruled by lords like Otomo, Omura, Arima, and Ito. Recently they were becoming heavily influenced by European culture.

Whatever was brought in from Europefirearms, gunpowder, telescopes, medicines and medical equipment, leather, dyed and woven goods, and everyday utensils Nobunaga accepted with gratitude. He was especially enthusiastic aboutand even desirous ofinnovations connected with medicine, astronomy, and military science.

However, there were two things that his digestion absolutely rejected: Christianity and Christian education. But if these two things had not been allowed to the missionaries, they would not have come with their weapons, medicines, and other wonders.

Nobunaga was aware of the importance of fostering different cultures and had given permission for the establishment of a church and school in Azuchi. But now that the shoots he had let grow were beginning to bud, he worried about the future of these students. He realized that if the situation was recklessly ignored for a long time, it would lead to trouble.

Nobunaga left the class and was led by the priests to a well-appointed waiting room. There he rested on a colorful, glittering chair reserved for noble visitors. The fathers then brought out the tea and tobacco from their own country, which they valued so highly, and offered them to their guest, but Nobunaga did not touch a thing.

"The son of Ito Yoshimasu just now told me that Valignani was sailing from Japan this month. Has he already left?" he asked.

One of the fathers answered, "Father Valignani is accompanying a mission from Japan."

"A mission?" Nobunaga looked suspicious. Kyushu was not yet under his control, so friendship and commerce between Europe and the provincial lords of that island concerned him more than a little.

"Father Valignani believes that if the children of influential Japanese do not see the civilization of Europe at least once, true commerce and diplomatic relations will never really begin. He communicated with the various kings of Europe and His Holiness the Pope and persuaded them to invite a mission from Japan. The oldest person among those chosen for the mission is sixteen years old."

He then listed the boys' names.

Almost all of them were sons of the great clans in Kyushu.

"That's quite courageous of them." Nobunaga actually rejoiced that a mission of young men, whose oldest member was only sixteen, had journeyed to faraway Europe. Inwardly, he thought that it would have been good to meet with them and, as a parting gift, talk a little about his own spirit and faith.

Why would the kings of Europe and someone like Valignani so enthusiastically want the children of provincial lords to visit Europe? Nobunaga understood their intentions, but he also saw through their ulterior motives.

"When he departed from Kyoto for this mission, Valignani expressed his regrets about you, sire."


"That he was returning to Europe without having baptized you."

"Is that so? He said that?" Nobunaga laughed. He stood up from the chair and turned around to his attendant. The man had a hawk perched on his fist. "We've tarried too long. Let's go."

Almost as soon as the words left his mouth, he was descending the stairs in great strides. He quickly called for his horse outside the door. Ito Jeromethe student who had been playing the violinand all of the others were lined up in the school playground to see him off.

* * *

The castle at Nirasaki, the new capital of Kai, had been completed up to as the kitchens and the quarters of the ladies-in-waiting.

Regardless of the fact that it had been the twenty-fourth day of the Twelfth Month and at the very end of the year, Takeda Katsuyori had moved from Kofu, the old provincial capital for generations of his ancestors, to this new capital. The grandeur and beauty of the move itself was still the talk of the farmers along the roadside, even now during New Year's.

Beginning with the palanquins for Katsuyori and his wife and for the many ladies who waited upon them, and continuing with those for his aunt and her daughter, the lacquered litters for the various nobles and ladies must have numbered into the hundreds.

In the midst of this endless procession of sightsthe samurai and retainers, the personal attendants, the officials with their gold and silver saddles, the mother-of-pearl inlay, the sparkle of gold lacquer, the open umbrellas, the archers with their bows and quivers, the forest of red-shafted spearswhat caught everyone's eye above everything else were the banners of the Takeda. Thirteen Chinese characters sparkled in gold on a bright red cloth next to another banner. Two lines of gold characters were displayed on the long anner of deep blue:

Swift as the wind

Quiet as a forest

Ardent as fire

Still as a mountain

Everyone knew that the calligraphy for this poem had been executed by Kaisen, the head priest of the Erin Temple.

"Ah, how sad that the very soul of that banner is leaving the castle at Tsutsujigasaki and moving on today."

Everyone in the old capital seemed sad. Every time the banner with Sun Tzu's words and the one with the thirteen Chinese characters had been unfurled and taken into battle, the brave soldiers had returned with them. At those times, they and the townspeople had shouted themselves hoarse with deeply felt cries of shared victory. Such events had occurred in Shingen's time, and now everyone missed those days.

And although the banner emblazoned with Sun Tzu's words was the same physically, the people could not help feeling that it was somehow different from the one they had looked upon in former times.

But when the people of Kai watched the enormous treasure and the stores of munitions being moved to the new capital, along with the palanquins and golden saddles of the entire clan, and the meandering procession of ox-drawn carts stretching for many leagues, they were reassured that theirs was still a strong province. The same feelings of pride that had been with them since the days of Shingen still lingered in the soldiers and even in the general population.

Not long after Katsuyori moved to the castle in the new capital, the red and white

plum blossoms in the garden were in bloom. Katsuyori and his uncle, Takeda Shoyokenindifferent to the songs of the bush warblerswalked through the orchard.

"He didn't even come to the New Year's celebrations. He said he was sick. Hasn't he sent some news to you, Uncle?" Katsuyori asked.

He was talking about his cousin, Anayama Baisetsu, who was the governor of Ejiri Castle. Located on the border with Suruga, it was considered by the Takeda to be an important strategic area to the south. For over half a year now, Baisetsu had not come to wait upon Katsuyori, always sending the excuse that he was ill, and Katsuyori was worried.

"No, I think he's probably really sick. Baisetsu's a priest and an honest man; I don't think he would pretend to be ill."

Shoyoken was an exceptionally good-natured man, so this answer did not put Katsuyori's mind at ease.

Shoyoken fell silent.

Nor did Katsuyori say anything more, and the two of them walked on silently.

Between the keep and the inner citadel was a narrow ravine filled with different kinds of trees. A bush warbler dropped almost as if it had fallen, fluttered its wings, and flew away in surprise. At the same time a voice came suddenly from a row of plum trees.

"Are you there, my lord? I have important news."

The retainer's face had lost its color.

"Pull yourself together. A samurai should speak with self-control about important matters," Shoyoken scolded him. Shoyoken was not just disciplining the young man but was also trying to calm his nephew. Quite unlike his ordinary resolute self, Katsuyori had turned pale in surprise.

"This is not some small matter. It's really important, my lord," Genshiro replied as he prostrated himself. "Kiso Yoshimasa of Fukushima has committed treason!"

"Kiso?" Shoyoken's voice expressed a shock that was half doubt, half refusal. As for Katsuyori, he had probably already guessed this would happen. He was just biting his lip and looking down at the retainer prostrated in front of him.

The beating in Shoyoken's breast was not going to be calmed easily, and his lack of composure was echoed in his shaking voice. The letter! Lets see the letter!

"The messenger told me to tell Lord Katsuyori that the matter was so urgent there was not a moment to spare," the retainer said, "and that we are to wait for a letter from the next messenger."

As he walked away in great strides, Katsuyori stepped right past the still prostrate retainer and yelled back to Shoyoken. "It won't be necessary to see Goro's letter. There have been plenty of suspicious signs from Yoshimasa and Baisetsu in recent years. I know it's a lot of trouble, Uncle, but I'm going to need you to lead an army again. I'll be going too."

Before two hours had passed, the sound of a great drum rang out from the tower of the new castle, and the call of the conch shell floated through the castle town, proclaiming mobilization. The plum blossoms were almost white as this peaceful spring evening came to a close in the mountain province. The army set out before the end of the day. Hastened by the setting sun, five thousand men started out on the Fukushima Road, and by nightfall almost ten thousand troops had left Nirasaki.

"Well, this is just fine! He's made his revolt quite clear to us. If it hadn't happened, the day for me to strike down the ungrateful traitor might never have come. This time we'll have to purge Fukushima of everyone with divided loyalties."

Giving vent to the resentment that was so hard to control, Katsuyori mumbled to himself as his horse took him along the road. But the voices of indignation that traveled with himthe voices of resentment over Kiso's betrayalwere few.

Katsuyori was as confident as always. When he had cut off his relations with the Hojo, he had abandoned an ally without even looking back at the strength of the clan that been such a great support to him.

At the suggestion of those around him, Katsuyori had returned Nobunaga's son who had been a hostage with the Takeda for many yearsto Azuchi; but there was still plenty of contempt left in his heart for the lord of the Oda clan, and even more for Tokugawa Ieyasu in Hamamatsu. He had displayed this aggressive attitude since the battle of Nagashino.

There was nothing wrong with the strength of his spirit. He was extremely positive. Certainly, strength of spirit is a substance that should fill the jar of the heart to the brim. And during this period of warring provinces, the samurai class as a whole could be said to have possessed that kind of spirit. But in the situation in which Katsuyori found himself, there was an absolute need for unerring adherence to a composed strength that, at a glance, might be taken for weakness. A reckless show of strength would not intimidate an opponent. On the contrary, it only encouraged him. For a number of years, Katsuyori's manliness and courage had been looked down upon for this reason by both Nobunaga and Ieyasu.

And not only by these men, his enemies. Even in his own province of Kai there were voices expressing the wish that Shingen were still alive.

Shingen had insisted on a strong military administration of the province. And because he had given both his retainers and the people of Kai the feeling that they would be absolutely secure as long as he was there, they depended on him completely.

Even during Katsuyori's reign, military service, tax collection, and all other phases of administration were conducted according to Shingen's laws. But something was missing.

Katsuyori did not understand what that something was; regrettably, he did not even notice that something was missing. But what he lacked was a reliance on harmony and ability to inspire confidence in his administration. Thus it was Shingen's powerful government, now lacking in these two qualities, that began to cause conflict within the clan.

In Shingen's time, there was a general article of faith shared by the upper and lower classes, one of which they were very proud: no enemy had ever been permitted to take even one step inside the boundaries of Kai.

But misgivings seemed to be springing up everywhere now. It is hardly necessary to mention that it was obvious to everyone that a line had been drawn with the great defeat of Nagashino. That disaster had not been simply a matter of the failure of the Kai army's equipment and strategy. It had resulted from the shortcomings of Katsuyori's character; and those around himeven the general population, who looked to him as their mainstayfelt a horrible disappointment. Katsuyori, they realized, was not Shingen.

Although Kiso Yoshimasa was Shingen's son-in-law, he was plotting to betray Katsuyori and did not believe that he could survive. He was beginning to tally up Kai's prospects for the future. Through an intermediary in Mino, he had secretly been in touch with Nobunaga for already two years now.

The Kai army split up into a number of lines and marched to Fukushima.

As the soldiers marched they were confident, and they could often be heard to say, "We'll crush Kiso's forces right under our feet."

But as the days passed, the news relayed to headquarters did not make Takeda Katsuyori smile in satisfaction. On the contrary, the reports were all disturbing.

"Kiso is being stubborn."

"The terrain is hilly, and they have good defenses, so it will take a number of days for our vanguard to approach it."

Every time Katsuyori heard these kinds of things, he bit his lip and muttered, "If I went there myself

It was part of his character to become angry and exasperated when a war situation was going badly.

The month passed, and it was now the fourth day of the Second Month.

Horribly distressing news came to Katsuyori: Nobunaga had suddenly given the order for the Oda troops to mobilize in Azuchi, and he himself had already left Omi.

Another spy brought more bad news:

"The forces of Tokugawa Ieyasu have left Suruga; Hojo Ujimasa's troops have left the Kanto; and Kanamori Hida has left his castle. All of them are marching toward Kai, and it's said that Nobunaga and Nobutada have split their troops into two and are about to invade. When I climbed a high mountain and looked out, I could see columns of smoke in every direction."

Katsuyori felt as if he had been hurled to the ground. "Nobunaga! Ieyasu! And even Hojo Ujimasa?"

According to these secret reports, his own situation was about the same as that of a mouse in a trap.

Dusk was approaching. New reports came in that Shoyoken's troops had deserted during the previous night.

"That can't be true!" Katsuyori said. But it was a fact that such a thing had occurred during the night, and the urgent messages that came in one after another brought proof that could not be denied.

"Shoyoken! Isn't he my uncle, and an elder of the clan? What's the idea of leaving the battlefield and running away without permission? And all those others. It only sullies my mouth to speak about such disloyalty and ingratitude."

Railing against heaven and against humankind, Katsuyori should instead have felt such rancor against himself. Ordinarily he was not so weak-minded. But even a man with tremendous courage could not have helped being frightened by such a turn of events.

"It can't be helped. You must give the order to strike camp."

So advised by Oyamada Nobushige and the others, Katsuyori suddenly retreated. How desolate he must have felt! Although the twenty thousand soldiers he had counted on at the time of his departure had not engaged in a single battle, the retainers and men returning to Nirasaki with him now numbered no more than four thousand.

Perhaps trying to find an outlet for feelings he hardly knew how to deal with, he ordered the monk Kaisen to come to the castle. His bad luck seemed to be increasing, for even after he returned to Nirasaki, he received one depressing report after another. The worst, perhaps, was the news that his kinsman Anayama Baisetsu had deserted him and as if that weren't enough, had not only given up his castle at Ejiri to the enemy but had been engaged to guide Tokugawa Ieyasu. He was now said to be in the vanguard of the troops invading Kai.

So his own brother-in-law had openly betrayed him and was even trying to destroy him. With this knowledge, he was now forced to reflect a little on himself in the midst of his agony. Where have I gone wrong? he asked himself. While on the one hand he had made his indomitable spirit more and more unyielding and had ordered more defenses everywhere, when he received Kaisen at his new castle he displayed a willingness to engage in self-examination that was, for him, quite a gentle attitude. The change was probably too late.

"It has been just ten years since my father passed away, and eight years have gone by since the battle of Nagashino. Why have the generals of Kai so suddenly lost fidelity to their principles?" Katsuyori asked the priest.

Kaisen, however, sat facing him in silence, and Katsuyori continued, "Ten years ago, our generals weren't like this. Each of them had a sense of shame and was careful of his own reputation. When my father was still in this world, men rarely betrayed their lord, much less left their own clan."

Kaisen sat silently with his eyes closed. In comparison with the priest, who seemed like cold ashes, Katsuyori talked on like a wildfire.

"But even the men who were poised and ready to strike down the traitors have all scattered without having engaged in a single battle or waited for their lord's command. Is

This behavior worthy of the Takeda clan and its generalswho would not even allow the great Uesugi Kenshin to take one step into Kai. How can there be such deterioration of discipline? How degraded can they be? Many of the generals under my father, like Baba, Yamagata, Oyamada, and Amakasu either are old or have passed away. The ones that remain are completely different people: they're either the children of those generals or warriors who were not directly connected with my father."

Kaisen still said nothing. The monk had been more intimate with Shingen than had anyone else, and he must have been over seventy years old. From beneath his snowlike brow, he had observed Shingen's heir very carefully.

"Venerable teacher, you may think it's too late because things have already come to

This pass, but if my way of administering the government has been remiss, please show

me how. If my command of military discipline has not been correct, give me some strict way of enforcement. I'm anxious to correct myself. I have heard that you were taught a great deal by my father, who was your friend in the Way. Could you not teach some good strategies to his unworthy son as well? Please don't be stingy with what you have to teach. Consider me as Shingen's son. Please tell me, without reserve, what I've done wrong and how I can correct myself by doing things this way or that. Well then, let me say it. Have I offended the people after my father passed away by suddenly raising the tariffs at river crossings and barriers in order to strengthen the province's defenses?"

"No," Kaisen said, shaking his head.

Katsuyori became even more agitated.

"Then there must have been some failing in rewards and punishments."

"None at all." The old man shook his snowy brow once again.

Katsuyori prostrated himself and was on the verge of tears. In front of Kaisen, the fierce warlord who had so much self-esteem could only cry in agony.

"Don't cry, Katsuyori," Kaisen finally said. "You are certainly not unworthy, and neither are you an unworthy son. Your only error has been lack of awareness. It is a cruel age that has made you stand face to face with Oda Nobunaga. You are not his enemy, after all. The mountains of Kai are far away from the center, and Nobunaga has the advantage of geography, but that is not a great cause of your problem, either. Although Nobunaga has fought battle after battle and has administered the government, in his heart he has never forgotten the Emperor. The construction of the Imperial Palace is just a single instance of all the things he has done."

Kaisen and Shingen had had a deep understanding of the heart, and Shingen's reverence for the old abbot had been extraordinarily deep. But Kaisen had also believed strongly in Shingenhe was a dragon among men; a mythical fiery horse from the heavens. But while he praised Shingen so highly, he never compared him with his son, Katsuyori, or considered the latter to be unworthy by contrast.

On the contrary, he viewed Katsuyori with sympathy. If someone criticized Katsuyori's mistakes, Kaisen always responded that it was unreasonable to expect more; his father had simply been too great a man. Kaisen did, perhaps, feel one small dissatisfaction: certainly if Shingen had lived on until now, his influence would not have been restricted to the province of Kai; he would have put his great ability and genius to work on something of greater significance. And now Kaisen regretted that Shingen had not survived. The man who had perceived something of greater significance was Nobunaga. It was he who had broadened the provincial role of the samurai to one of national importance. And it was Nobunaga who had even showed himself to be a model retainer. Kaisen's expectations for Katsuyori, who did not have the character of his father, had absolutely disappeared. The abbot clearly perceived that the long civil war was over.

So, to help Katsuyori force the troops of the Oda to kneel to him, or to plan some safe solution was impossible. The Takeda clan had been founded centuries before, and Shingen's name had shone too brightly in the sky: Katsuyori was not going to beg for capitulation at Nobunaga's feet.

Takeda Katsuyori had a strong will and knew a sense of shame. Among the common people of the province, there were voices saying that the government had declined since the time of Shingen, and the levying of heavy taxes was perceived as a major cause of the complaints. But Kaisen knew that Katsuyori had not levied taxes for his own luxury or pride. Every tax had been directed toward military expenditure. In the last few years, military tactics and technology had been progressing in rapid strides in the capital and even in the neighboring provinces. But Katsuyori could not afford to spend as much money on new weapons as his rivals.

"Please take care of yourself," Kaisen told Katsuyori as he prepared to leave.

"Are you going back to the temple already?" There were still many questions Katsuyori wanted to ask, but he knew that the answers to whatever he asked would be the same. He pressed his palms to the floor in reverence. "This is, perhaps, the last time I will see you."

Kaisen put his hands, draped with a string of prayer beads, to the floor and left without another word.

Hanbeis Legacy | Taiko | The Fall of the Takeda