Matchlocks rule the day again at festival commemorating 1575 Battle of Nagashino

May 07, 2014

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

SHINSHIRO, Aichi Prefecture--Historical reenactors treated visitors to the Nagashino Kassen Nobori festival May 5 to a fusillade of matchlock gunfire to commemorate the pivotal Battle of Nagashino in 1575.

The battle is considered a turning point in Japanese warfare. During the fighting, warlord Oda Nobunaga, using newly introduced gun tactics and together with the forces of Tokugawa Ieyasu, are known to have defeated Takeda Katsuyori and his large cavalry force.

The historical reenactment of the tactics employed by Nobunaga’s matchlock units, which were credited with winning the day, is the main attraction of the annual festival, held at the ruins of Nagashino castle.

The reenactors wore the uniforms of feudal warriors belonging to a matchlock gunnery unit of the former Yonezawa Domain in Yamagata Prefecture.

The gunnery unit gave demonstrations of Inatomi-style gun firing techniques utilized at the time. The local Nagashino Shitaragahara gun club also gave a similiar demonstration.

Spectators shouted in excitement as the sounds of heavy gunfire, white smoke and the smell of burnt gunpowder filled the air amid the light rain.

A reenactor portraying Suzuki Kinshichiro, who along with footman Torii Suneemon carried a message to Tokugawa Ieyasu at Okazaki castle seeking reinforcements for the besieged forces at Nagashino castle, was one of the main highlights of the festival’s parade.

Students from the municipal Horai Chubu Elementary School sang “Nagashino Kassen” at the event.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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Members of the local Nagashino Shitaragahara gun club give a matchlock demonstration on May 5 at the ruins of Nagashino castle in Shinshiro, Aichi Prefecture. (Yoshinobu Matsunaga)

Members of the local Nagashino Shitaragahara gun club give a matchlock demonstration on May 5 at the ruins of Nagashino castle in Shinshiro, Aichi Prefecture. (Yoshinobu Matsunaga)

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  • Members of the local Nagashino Shitaragahara gun club give a matchlock demonstration on May 5 at the ruins of Nagashino castle in Shinshiro, Aichi Prefecture. (Yoshinobu Matsunaga)

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