NIW Chapter 6: Azai’s Bravest Generals

The Odani Castle of the Azai Clan was one of the best fortresses ever built in the Odani mountains of the Omi province in the Sengoku Era. The mountain castle that fell as a result of the fierce attack by the Oda Clan in 1573 with help of the betraying Atsuji family which were relatives of the Azai Clan was said to be the most advanced castle that they were able to build at the time.

Even though it was claimed to be so advanced, it had one major flaw; it was cold. Not just cold but to the extent that it is unusual. Also, as the result of it being located in the mountains, there was a high concentration of humidity. The heavy air surrounding the living space of the castle could even be called gloomy.

Incidentally, the Odani Castle was dismantled by Hideyoshi Toyotomi after it had been occupied by Nobunaga Oda. The materials were used for the Nagahama Castle construction that became his residence.

There are various theories as to why Hideyoshi dismantled the Odani Castle. According to some, it is said that Hideyoshi, who loved Oichi, wanted to dismantle the Odani Castle because he didn’t want to live in the place where she and Nagamasa spent their honeymoon days.

‘As long as I am here, I will definitely not let the Azai Clan be destroyed; there is no way that the Odani Castle will be dismantled. It shouldn’t be. I don’t want it to be. And yet, I would like to do something about this living environment…’

As for the coldness in the natural sense, it can’t be helped anymore; the bedding is the problem. The futon of the Sengoku Era is quite different from the one in my previous life. In the Azai Clan, there were only futons that consisted of 3 cloths made out of cotton sewed together and laid out on top of the tatami.

Also, things such as blankets didn’t exist, the coat of the thick kimono that Oichi wears is used as the coverlet. Only at times like this, do I miss the bed of the welfare facility where I used to live. Embracing Oichi on a soft bed or futon sure sounds wonderful…

‘I have decided, first let’s change the things involving my everyday necessities.’

And not just for people inside the Azai Clan… I want to share these benefits with all the people inside the Azai territory.

Silk and cotton are necessary in order to build bedding. However, in this era cotton could basically only be imported from China. Only in Mikawa of the Tokai Region and in its surroundings did they cultivate silk in Japan during the Sengoku Era. But the productivity was extremely low, so they weren’t able to distribute throughout the entire country. Therefore they were basically relying on China.

It is needless to say that silkworms are needed for silk. Yes, those that are used as teaching materials in Japan’s elementary school, those insects that were also grown as part of free studies in the summer break. The fiber that can be taken from the cocoon of these insects is elastic and beautiful; it is a well-known fact that when the Meiji government of Japan published the Fukoku Kyohei1 the silk had become the principal item to acquire foreign currency.

I see the sky through the transom while pondering on those things. Although it’s still dark, it started to brighten little by little. I believe it is roughly 4 o’clock in the morning? In contrast with the severe coldness of the outdoor air, I take my arm away from Oichi’s warm body; I carefully leave the futon so as not to wake her up.

When I look at her face, she has a very calm expression, and her soft breathing can be heard. Last night she stroked my penis with her hands for the first time, held it in her mouth and received my ejaculation. There are no longer any traces of that obscene look she had when she spread my semen on her breast.

After that, I gave a kiss to Oichi who was completely relieved, but after having done that, she immediately started acting spoiled. It might be better to report that the war continued in a second and third round after seeing her cuteness and innocence coming from the heart.

While rubbing and raising her breasts that became slimy with semen, I pushed my penis into her warm and soft vagina, and french kissed her numerous times. In the middle of that Oichi climaxed over and over again and by the end of the third round, she completely collapsed.

Even though she was tired, she never closed her eyes before me. I guess it was by sheer willpower as one would expect from Nobunaga Oda’s little sister.

I changed my clothes next to where Oichi was sleeping and arranged my appearance. There is something I must arrange in the early morning. In order to finish that I couldn’t wait for Oichi to wake up. Because the schedule made by Sukechika for the individual interviews with the vassals starts today.

I left the room after looking one more time at the sleeping face of my beloved wife. Then I noticed Oichi’s maidens, looks like they were holding back so not to interrupt us? They kept waiting in this cold hallway of the mountain’s castle for me to leave. I felt responsible for the maidens that left their hometown; I couldn’t help but admire the Oda women who came to the Odani Castle.

‘I wonder if there is some way to reward their devotion.’

I thought about that while they send me off.


When I returned to the room after finishing my arrangements she was in the middle of being cleaned and dressed by the maidens. It looks like it was originally something that men shouldn’t see, Oichi’s face turned bright red, and one of the maidens looked at me with criticizing eyes.

Ahh, I see. Isn’t this the ‘catching the heroine changing clothes’ scene that is common in light novels?!

I don’t quite understand. It’s not like Oichi’s skin is exposed and they should be finished dressing her after adding a few more layers of clothes. As a man, I can’t say that it’s a particularly happy occasion.

I made a gesture as to say “please finish the changing of the clothes quickly” and leaned on the pillar of the room’s entrance. They understood that I had no intention of leaving and increased the speed of dressing her. Speaking of Oichi, she was staring at me with a heated look on her face that made me think of when we were making love. It seems that it will take me some time to understand the sensibility of the women in the Sengoku period.

“Say, Nagamasa-sama… what on earth were you doing…?”

Oichi, whose clothes changing continued to be ogled, asks me while being ashamed. I showed a wrapped up cloth as an answer to her question after walking to the middle of the room.

“What could this be?”

“It’s a crepe.”

I show her how to roll the circular dough that is still slightly warm. Yes, my goal is to prepare the souvenirs for the military commanders that are doing the interview today. For that I sneaked into the kitchen in the early morning when the cook was still sleeping, I borrowed rice flour, chicken eggs and also some sugar without permission and baked them.

Of course, a frying pan doesn’t exist in Japan yet, so I had to use a pot for the food preparation. That is why the form was irregular, and since there was no wheat flour, I had no choice but to use rice flour as a substitute.

There is no doubt that this is a crepe nonetheless. By the way, Japan has only recently started trading with western Europe, so crepes shouldn’t have been introduced yet, Oichi is also blinking with surprise as if she was seeing it for the first time. The maids were also looking with a curious look from the corner of the room.

‘The west…no, maybe she’ll understand it easier by saying western Europe.’

“This is a sweet that people in western Europe eat.”

“This…?”

Oichi looks at the crepe closely while letting out a small breath.

“It looks like a moon doesn’t it…? It has a sense of elegance to it.”

“Is that so…?”

“This can be eaten?”

“Ahh, I actually thought of making this as a souvenir for the vassals that I’m meeting today, but I made enough for you and the maidens.”

“Oh!”

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Oichi’s face was shining. Her face was showing happiness from knowing that it was also prepared for her maidens. Thinking about others is one of her best qualities.

Tsubaki, Kaede, Sakura come over here.”

Oichi called her maids, they took a little time and approached timidly while looking at each other, wondering what was happening. One of the tasks of the maids was not to disturb when the Daimyo couple were alone. That is why they were hesitant.

“Here, you roll it like this…”

“Oh…it looks cute doesn’t it?”

I roll the crepe into a circular shape and hand it over to Oichi. Then, I do the same for the three maids. Thereupon, they bow, deeply lowering their heads and receiving it while their bodies were shaking.

If you think carefully, it’s absolutely impossible for the head of the Daimyo family to personally hand over sweets that he prepared to the likes of a maid. In the first place, even with tea, the vassal couldn’t participate until the Daimyo approves it. As for Kaede, the maid that was looking at me with criticizing eyes not long ago started snuffling and crying with deep emotion.

Yep, as I thought it is quite difficult to get used to it. Oichi smiles while I have a troubled look on my face, “I appreciate your courtesy, Nagamasa-sama” she says as she opens her lovely mouth and takes one bite of the crepe.

“So..sweet…!”

She raised a voice of astonishment while blinking in surprise. The maids that were in front of their surprised master meet the crepe hastily with their mouths. Then they stayed with that stiff posture and started to let out big tears.

In this era, sugar was still something very valuable. Even though brown sugar obtained from the Ryukyu Islands and white sugar obtained from western Europe started to flow into Kitakyushu, Osaka, and Kyoto in the late 1560’s.

The market price of the sugar was centered in Kitakyushu, Kyoto and Osaka, the farther from those places, the higher the price. The Owari province where the home of Oichi’s parents was located was a prosperous area in commerce but because there was some distance from Kyoto, sugar was expensive, there was no doubt that it was a luxury. In other words, what these maids of low social status were eating was something impossible to get throughout their lifetime.

However, because the Azai Clan influenced the Omi province which is adjacent to Kyoto, I was able to buy it directly from the Kyoto market, so the sugar was relatively easy to obtain.

I looked at the girls that were moving their mouths with innocence in a fresh mood. Yup, meals sure are important. Eating delicious food brings you happiness.

‘I wonder if I can do something about the diet in this era…’

The only flavoring that they have is salt, which is sad when you compare it to modern times. I let out an unconscious sigh.


“It is finally time, Nagamasa-sama.”

“Yes.”

Oichi raised her voice with nervousness in my room. Right now is Mi no Seikoku2, that is 10 o’clock in the morning expressed in modern time. It is finally time for the individual interviews with the vassals. The interview site is my room, Sukechika is supposed to guide the military commanders when the time comes.

By the way, the ones that I have an interview with today are Kazumasa Isono and Naotsune Endo.

Naotsune is the strongest admiral of the Azai Clan; he already met with Oichi before when we welcomed Oichi to the Azai Clan.

Kazumasa is a brave general of the Azai Clan that could be compared to Naotsune. He was a great man that broke through eleven of the thirteen formations led by Nobunaga Oda and was nothing but a step away from Nobunaga’s headquarters in the Battle of Anegawa where the allied forces of Oda and Tokugawa battled against the allied forces of the Azai and Asakura.

Moreover, it is surprising to say that Kazumasa broke through a formation set up by Katsuie Shibata, who was the best strategist of the entire Oda Clan, and the future ruler Hideyoshi Toyotomi. Surely Japan’s history would have changed greatly if the Asakura army had been able to hold up a little longer against the offensive of the Tokugawa army.

While fantasizing about the if’s of such a different course of history, the fusuma opens, and Sukechika interrupts my fantasy with his face peeking through it.

Nagamasa-sama, it’s me, Sukechika. Naotsune Endo-dono has arrived.”

“Good, come in!”

“Yes, although…”

Said Sukechika with bewilderment.

“I notified to Kazumasa Isono-dono that his meeting is after Naotsune-dono, but Kazumasa-dono misunderstood the order and has already arrived at the castle.”

“Is he trying to compete against Naotsune for the order?”

I ask while taking a deep breath.

“No, it’s not like that…”

Said Sukechika amazed.

Naotsune-dono said, “I have served the Lord since he was a child. No matter what happens, there is no way that I lose my loyalty to my lord. Therefore, there is not much to talk about. Also, I cannot avoid meeting my friend Kazumasa after all this time, now that it’s come to this I would like you to guide Kazumasa and me together to the presence of the Lord.””

I unconsciously expressed a bitter smile. It is a historical fact that Naotsune Endo was the vassal who Nagamasa Azai trusted the most. It is said that Nagamasa appointed him not only for his unrivaled loyalty and bravery but also for his personality. In short, he will secure the benefits of his master or his friends even if it obliterates his own; it is a very rare personality in the Sengoku Era and even more in modern times.

“I understand. Naotsune is that kind of man. It deviates from the schedule but bring them both.”

“Very well, my lord.”

With that, Sukechika leaves and calls the two main figures of the Azai army.

Naotsune Endo-dono and Kazumasa Isono-dono… Both of them are well-known generals by the Oda Clan. But Kazumasa-dono sure is a funny gentleman for mistaking the order, isn’t he? Perhaps they wanted to meet Nagamasa-sama as soon as possible and attended to the castle.”

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Oichi says with a bitter smile.

“You’re probably right.”

I admired Oichi’s courage that didn’t even show a fragment of nervousness. I think that anyone would normally be nervous in the presence of two brave generals of the Azai Clan, but I think that aspect of hers should be expected from the Princess of the Oda family. I think that I’m more nervous than her.

“My lord it’s me, Naotsune.”

Nagamasa-sama it’s me, Kazumasa.”

Meanwhile, I hear their voices. Fortunately, I met Naotsune immediately after coming to this era so I can’t mistake their names and faces.

“You may enter.”

I placed two wrapping cloths behind me and raised my voice. The fusuma opens quickly, and I can see the figures of Naotsune and Kazumasa bowing and lowering their heads.

“What are you doing? You don’t have to be so formal, quick, come over here.”

“Yes.”

These strong men known for their bravery stepped forward before me. In their eyes, there was the fire of loyalty.

Unlike Naotsune, Kazumasa surrendered in the Azai attack against the Oda Clan. However, that was because Nagamasa didn’t have confidence in Kazumasa and stopped supporting him with provisions and in the end, his mother that was held hostage in the Odani Castle was executed.

Kazumasa continued the battle even after their supplies stopped, but his patience ended when Nagamasa murdered his mother, and then he surrendered to the Oda Clan.

As a person coming from the future, I am confident that both Kazumasa and Naotsune are trustworthy. Kazumasa is afraid of losing someone close to him or having blood relatives killed. That is why he takes arms and fights. Today’s interview will be key to whether I can become a close person to Kazumasa and whether he would think it’ll be worth to throw away his life for my sake.

That is why I spoke frankly with both warriors.

“The reason that I called both of you here was that I wish to talk frankly about the future of the Azai Clan.”

After Naotsune and Kazumasa looked at each other, they return their glance to me. First Kazumasa asks with a “with all due respect” as a preamble.

“What do you mean by ‘the future of the Azai Clan’? Are you planning on changing the Azai Clan?”

“That is correct.”

I said to Kazumasa while looking at his eyes.

“Just like I said before. I will rebuild the Omi province. For that reason, there are many things that I must do. Therefore, we need to change our plans drastically.”

“…”

Naotsune and Kazumasa stared at me seriously. They are truly thinking about the future of the Azai Clan that they serve. They are completely focusing on what I am talking about, and they were ready to rebuke anything when necessary. That is why I was able to reveal my intentions with confidence.

“I am not planning on unifying the country which means that I do not desire to become a ruler. Also, I am not aiming to unify the Omi province.”

“What?!”

The color in the eyes of the generals changed, and they both leaned forward. That was to be expected. Up till now, the Azai Clan has been fighting for the hegemony of the Omi province against the Rokkaku Clan.

“If I may be so bold to ask, Nagamasa-sama! In that case, what do you plan to do to cope with the threat of the Rokkaku Clan!?”

Asked Kazumasa with a thunderous voice. There were the feelings of a man who experienced many battlefields in those words…

Kazumasa is the Lord of the Sawayama Castle in the south of Omi. Right in front of his eyes lay the Kannonji Castle, which was the headquarters of the Rokkaku Clan who were named as the Shugo Daimyo3 of Omi. The territory between these castles was filled with hostility since the start of the war of independence by Nagamasa.

The former heads of the Isono Clan, including Kazumasa, managed to defend the castle while using the lives of the whole clan on the battlefield for the Azai Clan.

Kazumasa being neck deep in these current events felt a strong sense of danger from my proposal. And perhaps Naotsune shared his thoughts because he has also lost many relatives and vassals on the battlefield against the Rokkaku. That is why I must give a firm answer to his serious question.

“Won’t my brother-in-law Nobunaga-dono solve that for me?”

“What!?”

Both Naotsune and Kazumasa eyes opened wide with astonishment. And behind me, I could hear the surprised voice of Oichi. It was expected since Nobunaga Oda was in the middle of fighting against the Saito Clan for the Mino province. He couldn’t afford to head towards the Omi province.

Naotsune, tell me today’s date.”

“Yes…”

Naotsune responds while being confused by my incoherent question.

“It is the 16th day of January, my Lord. Why would that…?”

“My brother-in-law will begin the assault to the north of Ise at the end of February.”

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“H-How…?”

He was about to ask how the Lord knew such a thing, but Naotsune keeps quiet after staring at Oichi.

I’m sure that Naotsune is thinking ‘The wife must have whispered the military movements of the Oda family into the Lord’s ears,’ there is no doubt that he interpreted it like that. Perhaps Kazumasa shared the same thought. The reason why I brought Oichi with me was also so that they would read too much into what I say. I used the knowledge acquired from my historical research.

“My brother-in-law intents to capture the north of Ise with Takigawa Kazumasa-dono as general. In the north of Ise lives a vassal of the Rokkaku Clan, Morinobu Seki of the Kameyama Castle. The Rokkaku Clan will be forced to send reinforcements from the south of Omi to the northern border of Ise through a long mountain road. Though since they have to contain my brother-in-law in the south of Omi, they will have to split all their forces between the two, right?”

“I see…”

“In other words… Starting from the end of February, you will not have to worry about a big battle between the Rokkaku Clan and us. Naotsune, Kazumasa, do you now understand what I wanted to say?”

“Yes.”

The two brave generals lower their heads before me.

“This year will be our victory if we strengthen the abilities of the Azai and the and the north of Omi… Is such an interpretation correct, my Lord?”

“It is.”

I nodded to Naotsune’s answer.

“The funds of the Azai Clan heavily depends on the toll charged to the travelers and merchants moving through Lake Biwa. But it’s not enough. We need to secure new financial resources.”

“Secure new financial resources…?”

Naotsune inclined his head to the side as if he was thinking ‘I do not understand business stuff.’ Next, to him, Kazumasa clapped his hands like he was convinced.

“I get what you mean by financial resources! Is this perhaps about the ‘there aren’t enough human resources’ that Nagamasa-sama said the other day?”

“That is correct.”

I nod to Kazumasa.

“The more people there are, the wealthier the Azai Clan will become. The land tax depends greatly on the planting condition of the year, but money is different. I will collect equally regardless of the difference between rich and poor in the form of head tax. With that in consideration, the more people, the better.”

“And the number of soldiers will also increase.”

Said Naotsune while snorting. Well, if there are too many soldiers then I would have to prepare provisions and salaries, so I’ll have to keep it at a reasonable number somehow. It would only be a tragedy to strengthen the army if it ends up in ruins because of financial problems. I really don’t want to reproduce what happened in the ancient Roman Empire.

“Industries work similarly. Create products, add value to it and then take as much money as possible from the opponent. I was thinking of emerging in the cotton and silk industries…”

“Cotton and silk!”

Says Kazumasa while he leans forward and pats his knee.

“Certainly, if the production of high-quality silk and cotton gets on track, the people producing it will without a doubt receive the benefits. The kimono shops from Kyoto will also come to our territory. In that case, there will be a lot of activity near the castle, and many people will migrate here.”

“That’s it; you’re completely right! Naotsune, Kazumasa, listen carefully.”

“Being realistic, the power of the Rokkaku Clan is far superior to ours. That is the reason why the population of the south of Omi is much more numerous. Right now the north of Omi has nothing that looks like an industry, and we hardly have anything to attract people. However, with the rise of industries and the liveliness near the castle, what will happen with an increase of immigrants? Where do those people come from?”

I concentrate and question them.

“Oooh…..!”

It appears that Naotsune and Kazumasa have finally understood.

“I see! People are finite, not infinite…! Especially if we could attract the interest of the people living in the south of Omi and make them move to the north of Omi…!”

“Our territories will become prosperous, and the Rokkaku resources will be pressured, they will no longer be able to make the military movements they have made so far.”

“You did understand what I was thinking!”

I stand up and hold their hands with excitement. The brave generals were also excited and repeatedly nodded while looking at me.

“This is a battle. A battle in which we prevent shedding more blood than necessary…!”

I confess my real intentions while looking at the both of them.

“Japan is in pain right now. The war continues, and the nation is suffering in ruins and impoverishment. Naotsune, Kazumasa, do you fight because you like it? Do you like the battlefield? That’s not it, right? In today’s world, you can’t survive without fighting… that’s just how it works. To the point that it becomes cruel.”

Both of the brave generals let out a deep sigh and drop their shoulders. Those words must be terrible to hear and stab them deeply since they have fought against many soldiers in numerous battles. That’s exactly why…

“We have to change it. We must put an end to the Sengoku Era in this world. We must build a world where the people can laugh and live their lives… That is our duty. I will make it happen in Omi at all costs.”

“You will help me, right?”, I said, and they both silently lowered their heads. As they slowly raised their heads, Naotsune, who has been serving Nagamasa since childhood laughed happily.

“Shinkuro-sama4 has changed. After meeting your wife, you became able to see the world with a broader perspective. The marriage with the Oda Clan was a great success…”

The days without battle might come sooner than expected. Naotsune and Kazumasa… brave generals, the pride of the Azai Clan, were crying in front of Oichi and me after I finished saying my piece.

  1. Japan’s national slogan during the Meiji period.
  2. Traditional Japanese time system.
  3. Provincial military governor turned daimyo.
  4. Shinkuro is another name of Nagamasa.