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1582, Honno-Ji Burns
Nobunaga had consolidated his power over most of Japan and had begun his final push to eliminate what few clans remained. Hashiba Hideyoshi was leading a western assault against the powerful Mori clan. Nobunaga had left to join the campaign, but had stopped at Honno Temple, his usual resting place in the capital of Kyoto. Mitsuhide had been ordered to rendezvous with Hideyoshi to support his efforts. Instead, he was marching towards Honno-Ji with a force of 13,000 men ready to overthrow Nobunaga. As Nobunaga’s generals and armies were all off fighting on different fronts, his only company were servants, bodyguards, court officials, and merchants.
Mitsuhide’s march towards Kyoto went unchecked as he used previous demonstrations in the city as a pretext to belay suspicion. As they crossed the Katsura River, Mitsuhide exclaimed “the enemy awaits at Honno-Ji!” Before sunrise, the temple was surrounded and Mitsuhide had begun his attack. Nobunaga and his company were taken by surprise and could not defend against the sheer number of troops. Rather than give the traitors the satisfaction of his head as a prize, Nobunaga ordered the temple to be burned down. He then committed ritual suicide, his body soon claimed by the flames. So ended the rule of the Demon King, Nobunaga.
Mitsuhide then began his own consolidation of power by claiming himself the new Shogun. However, besides the few holdouts, Japan had been ready to accept an Oda-Shogunate. Peace had begun setting in as quarrelsome provinces and rivals had been pacified. Without Nobunaga, ambition and the desire for power crept back into the land. Mitsuhide’s treacherous act would fracture the entire country, leading to all out war for the next two decades…