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Sakuma Nobumori, one of Oda Nobunaga's most enduring and dedicated retainers, was born in 1528 in what is now Minami-Ku of Nagoya City. As a stalwart supporter of Nobunaga, six years his junior, Sakuma Nobumori played a pivotal role in every campaign led by his master.

Notable battles in which he participated include Okehazama in 1560, the Battle of Anegawa, and the sieges of Nagashima in 1571 and 1573. He commanded 3,000 Oda troops in support of Tokugawa Ieyasu at the Battle of Mikatagahara against Takeda Shingen, and also fought in the 1573 and 1575 Battle of Nagashino against Shingen’s son, Takeda Katsuyori. Additionally, he was present at Ichijodani, the burning of Mt. Hiei, and led the largest contingent of the Oda clan army during the 1576 siege of the Hongan-ji Temple in Osaka.

Despite his consistent service, Sakuma Nobumori faced criticism for his overly cautious tactics, earning him the nickname "Noki Sakuma," or "Retreating Sakuma." While other generals of Nobunaga, such as Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Akechi Mitsuhide, achieved victories, Sakuma Nobumori repeatedly failed to fulfill his assigned duties in battle. Eventually, Nobunaga, frustrated with Sakuma's performance, drafted a scathing 19-point document detailing his numerous shortcomings and banished him along with his son, Nobuhide, to Mt. Koya, where they lived out their days as priests. Sakuma Nobumori passed away five years after his banishment, at the age of 54, on February 18, 1581.

 


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