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Nobutada Oda
PS Vita Nobunaga no Yabou Souzou with Power Up Kit portrait
Character Information
Clan(s)/Alliance(s): Oda
Weapon Type:
Unit Type: Noble
Significant Battle(s):
First Appearance: Samurai Warriors
Historical Information
Real name:
Oda Nobutada
Japanese name:
織田 信忠
June 21, 1582
Could have been born in 1555 or 1557.

Nobutada Oda is Nobunaga's eldest son and successor. He followed his father into many of his campaigns, even being entrusted to lead a few battles without Nobunaga's supervision. His promising future was cut short due to the Incident at Honnōji. Fiction posthumously popularized him as a loyal if incompetent heir.

His Nobunaga's Ambition counterpart is sixty-third place in Gamecity's character popularity ranking for 2015. The Nobunaga no Yabou 201X poll for 3-star officers puts him in tenth place. He placed forty-ninth in the Nobunaga no Yabou Taishi poll for most favorite father.

Role in Games[]

Samurai Warriors[]

In Samurai Warriors 2, Nobutada is often featured during Honnōji. Surrounded at Nijo Castle, the player will be given a mission to either rescue him or kill him depending on which side of the conflict they serve. Sengoku Musou 3: Empires has him adopt speech patterns similar to his father's during conversation events. Nobutada will continuously send reinforcements to his father and try to send messengers outside Honnoji in Samurai Warriors 4. His death is a requirement to continue the stage.

The social game 100man-nin no Sengoku Musou features Nobutada as a gentle and compassionate young man who is moved by the people's griefs. He has an inferiority complex when other people compare him to his father, often struggling to decide whether he should inherit Nobunaga's ruthlessness or not.

An event titled Nobutada's Ambition details a "what-if" scenario regarding his life and exploits. In spite of his wife's ties to the Takeda, he leads the Takeda Hunt to exterminate the clan. Although his father wanted him to slaughter everyone present, Nobutada makes efforts to rescue his wife from the carnage. His father later entrusts him to deal the final blow to Hisahide Matsunaga. The young man feels he is the helping to create a new age until the elderly gentleman remarks that he is the same as his father; their encounter leaves the young man distraught.

When Nobutada receives news that his father had perished at Honnōji, he desires to live and breaks through the Akechi army at Nijo Castle. He survives with a handful of faithful Oda retainers and leads the counteroffensive against Mitsuhide at Yamazaki. When Mitsuhide falls to his blade, Nobutada gains the confidence step out of his father's shadow. His vision is to create a peaceful world using fairer methods and mediations than his father. He convinces Hideyoshi that he is still the rightful Oda heir and keeps the Oda clan united under his rule. With Hideyoshi's support Nobutada gradually moves westward to convince Motonari and Yoshihiro to lay down their arms for the sake of peace. After he proves his convictions to Ieyasu at Komaki-Nagakute, Nobutada is recognized as the daimyo who unified the land. He tells his aunt he wishes to stabilize the era of harmony for generations. The event's Gaiden scenario has Nobutada face his father in a fight for dominance.

Warriors Orochi[]

Nobutada is seen with his father during the Warriors Orochi series. If Nobunaga is in the player's party, Nobutada will substitute his NPC position.

Nobunaga's Ambition[]

Nobunyaga no Yabou highlights his kitty counterpart during the Dokii! Himedarake no Neko Senki scenario. He is seen leading the annihilation of the remaining Mikeda. He does this in spite of his wife, Matsuhime-nyan, being one of Shingen's daughters. When Nobutanyah later fails to resist the Akechi army at Honnōji, he and his wife decide to die together. The Cat God gives the player the mission to fight the wedded couple for both mentions.

Nobutada stars in Nobunaga no Yabou 201X's Strange Tale of Mikatagahara event. To protect their alliance with the Matsudaira and address the Takeda's suspicious movements, Nobutada is sent to Mikatagahara as his father's representative. His personal goal for himself is to test his honed strengths and tactics. He meets Tadazane Honda as planned before the UMA invade.

The SLO agents and Nobutada bump into one another by chance. Before they can exchange pleasantries, they notice Matsuhime and hurry to rescue her. Nobutada shields her from an UMA and carries her to safety, hiding the grievousness of his wound to avoid worrying his comrades. As she stammers to thank them, Nobutada quickly deduces that she is his arranged fiancée who he has yet to have met. Believing that their ties could jeopardize the Oda-Matsudaira alliance, Nobutada hushes Tadazane and Matsuri from referring to him by his real name. To protect his identity, Nobutada adopts a pseudonym which borrows from his and his father's childhood names: Kimyousai Mizutani (吉法奇妙斉).

As they fight beside their allies, Nobutada tries to make good on his goal. He slays as many UMA as possible but can't do fight as well as Tadazane. He displays his command but isn't as assured of his authority as Nobuharu. He concocts a strategy but isn't as cutthroat as Shingen's mastery. Whenever he starts to feel inadequate, Matsuhime shyly compliments his efforts. Even though he knows he is her fiancé, Nobutada initially mistakes her actions as infidelity. She realizes his discomfort and apologizes to her friend; Matsuhime unintentionally clarifies her faithfulness to him by singing her praises for Nobutada. Realizing his foolishness, Nobutada drops his doubts towards her and genuinely appreciates her company.

By the time the party have reached Mikatagahara, Nobutada has come to terms with himself and his capabilities. He is content to stand in the reserve and protect the Takeda princesses.

Voice Actors[]

Live Action Performers[]


  • "I pledge my loyalty to you, Father... And to total domination!"
"...Is that so?"
~~Nobutada and Nobunaga; Samurai Warriors 2: Empires
  • "Nobutada, you greatly resemble Brother when he was your age."
"Is that so? But I'm afraid that's all we have in common. I can't stomach ruling in the same way as Father."
"You are so kind and sweet. Try another path to reach Brother's goal. You don't need to become him; you can just be yourself. "
"Be myself... Thank you very much for your advice. First, I need to know my own path. And, maybe one day, I'll be able to surpass Father."
~~Oichi and Nobutada; 100man-nin no Sengoku Musou

Historical Information[]

Portrait housed at Sōkenji in Nagoya

Early Life[]

Oda Nobutada was Nobunaga's eldest son born in Owari. His biological mother was not listed in the Oda family records, though later generations would hold various theories of her identity.

Nobutada's name as an infant was Kimyōmaru (奇妙丸, loosely: "Strange One"), a name which was allegedly declared by Nobunaga himself. As the story goes, Nobunaga named his son after glancing down at him and retorting, "He has a strange face." The childhood name is considered bizarre and derogatory, even by the standards of the time period. Yet the gesture has been argued to be a sign of Nobunaga's offbeat humor, his sincere fascination for his heir, or an emotional defensive mechanism during a time when infant mortality rates were high. Kanei Shōkakei Zuiden alternatively refers to his younger self as Kimyō-Onzōshi (奇妙御曹司). Shinchou-kou Ki also dubbed him Kankurō (勘九郎) as he aged.

Ever since his childhood, Nobutada was trained to become Oda clan successor. Nobutada was not given any formal responsibilities from his father but was permitted to follow Nobunaga's activities. He commonly studied war and politics through keen observation. For instance, he was given his own battalion at the Nagashima conflicts in March 1573, but Nobutada was not known to have personally fought or issued commands when he was on the field. Nobutada was recognized as talented potential from an early age.

As a condition of the Takeda and Oda alliance, Nobunaga's adopted daughter Ryūshō-in married Takeda Katsuyori. When she died in 1567, the eleven-year old Nobutada was engaged to a seven-year old Matsuhime. Every political measure was done through letters, and neither child was known to have left their homes or to have met their engaged partner. His engagement ended in 1572 when the Takeda-Oda alliance collapsed with Shingen's campaign towards the capital.

Records indicate that Nobutada's rite to manhood ceremony occurred at a curiously late age (roughly 16~19) and roughly the same time as a few of his siblings. Arakawa Bunsho claims that he was first called Nobushige (信重) before being called Nobutada, a new name made in respect to Nobunaga and their family allies the Tokugawa. Other sources instead claim that the "Tada" in his name was shared with Hosokawa Tadaoki who had his adult name change roughly around the same time.

Nobutada's first battle was Odani Castle. Nobutada's accomplishments are torn between two different accounts. One side states that he was placed along the castle outer perimeter; his battalion was not needed for combat since the majority of the fighting took place closer to the castle. The other insists that he was near his father's battalion and his contributions played a pivotal part for the Oda victory.

Clan Inheritance[]

Nobutada was made Oda commander for the Siege of Iwamura Castle which was set shortly after Nagashino in 1574. 30,000 Oda soldiers surrounded the 1,100 or so Takeda. The cornered Takeda were harassed by a night raid by Oda troops. Reports for the battle's conclusion are mixed —either Katsuyori tried to assist but arrived too late or Iwamura Castle lord Akiyama Torashige surrendered to Nobutada and was executed in exchange for the people's safety— but Nobutada's troops reportedly annihilated everyone inside the castle. Among the argued victims was Otsuya no Kata, Nobunaga's aunt. His leadership for the campaign boosted his reputation with the Oda retainers.

On November 28, 1576, Nobutada was given the family estate, governance of sections of Mino and Owari, and donned the lord of Gifu Castle. Nobunaga later dubbed him Akitajōnosuke —an archaic title for a second-caste central government magistrate— within the same year. While it was technically impossible for either Oda leader to be granted political prestige with the imperial court, Nobunaga's influence could had potentially granted Nobutada enough gumption to be within the realm of becoming shogun. The notion at least solidified Nobutada's succession.

When Matsunaga Hisahide rebelled and tensions rose for Shigisan Castle, Nobunaga entrusted his son to deal with him in October 1577. Nobutada was the Oda's main commander for the castle siege, leading an army of 40,000 against 8,000. On the last day of fighting, Nobutada permitted Tsutsui Junkei to the front lines and intimidate the castle defenders. When Junkei refused to budge against their pitiful artillery, morale plummeted and the desperate castle defenders were swiftly killed. Following this battle, Nobutada was recognized as a leader who followed his father's footsteps. He would act as Nobunaga's replacement for other campaigns at Nagashima and Ishiyama-Honganji.

During the second battle of Kōzuki Castle in 1578, Nobutada led a massive force of reinforcements in an attempt to aid the stranded Hashiba Hideyoshi. However, the Oda troops fell victim to the Mōri's stratagems near Miki Castle, and Nobutada's forces were to ordered to withdraw from the conflict. A handful of Nobutada's retainers (Akechi Mitsuhide, Niwa Nagahide, Takigawa Kazumasu) were able to provide assistance for Hideyoshi's troops.

After Nobumori Sakuma and Andō Morinari's exiles from the Oda, Nobutada was entrusted with the eastern sections of Mino. In February 1582, Nobutada used his position to lead an army of 50,000 to annihilate the remaining Takeda with Tokugawa Ieyasu and Hōjō Ujimasa. Nobutada's forces attacked southern Shinano, and many castles fell to the Oda in quick succession. His troops worked closely with Kazumasu throughout the march. They rushed through castle moats and climbed over the castle's simple fences to crush the defenders. Alternatively, castle defenders chose to surrender to the Oda rather than risk fighting.

Faced with the merciless charge and abandoned by his generals, the weakened Katsuyori was unable to hold his ground. On March 11, Anayama Nobukimi, Ieyasu and Nobutada were convening to decide the Takeda leader's fate. Katsuyori took this opportunity to raze Shinpu Castle and attempt an escape. Kazumasu's troops spotted him and closed off his exit, leading to Katsuyori and his closest family faltering at Mount Tenmoku. Days after Katsuyori's suicide, Takeda retainer Oyamada Nobushige pleaded to enter Oda service. Nobutada was recorded to have scoffed, "You say this after you betrayed your master Katsuyori. Oyamada, you are undeniably the most disloyal person that I have ever met." Nobutada then personally ordered for the execution of Nobushige and his immediate family at Kai Zenkōji.


Like his father, Nobutada was resting within the capital to provide ready assistance for Hideyoshi's siege of Bitchu-Takamatsu Castle. Nobutada resided within Myōkakuji, another temple that Nobunaga liked to rest. Once he received word that the Akechi army surrounded Honnōji, Nobutada tried to hurry his men to assist but were too late to save his father.

Resolved to save what he could, Nobutada and his followers relocated to Nijo Castle, the nearby residence of the crowned prince (Prince Masahito). When the castle was surrounded, Nobutada opened an exchange with Mitsuhide to permit the prince's safe escape. Once the prince was away from the premise, Nobutada and his few men tried to resist. They were eventually overwhelmed by Mitsuhide's retainer Ise Sadaoki. Depending on the source, Nobutada either fought to his last breath against his foes or committed suicide. Shimokata Yasaburō, a man who claimed to be Nobutada's page, said he was gravely injured in the fighting. Nobutada dragged him to safety and congratulated him with well wishes to meet again in another life. With a defiant smile, Nobutada charged into the fray and lost his life. He died when he was 26 years old.

Nobutada never married but he sired two sons, Hidenobu and Hidenori. Both were born shortly before their father's death and later manipulated by Hideyoshi's political power plays. He had many alleged concubines: Suzu, Nagamitsu Shiokawa's daughter, Mori Yoshinari's daughter, Wada Magodayū's daughter, a maiden of the obscure Mino based Shindō clan or Matsuhime.

Japanese Folklore[]

Bukōyawa and Kansei Chōshū Ushoukafu, the two prominent historical records for listing family genealogy for the time era, both insist that his biological mother was Ikoma Kitsuno, Nobunaga's favored concubine. Both records claim that she was the biological mother for Nobutada, Nobukatsu and Tokuhime.

Bukōyawa claims she gave birth to Nobutada in 1555 at Koori Castle, but she isn't known to have formerly met Nobunaga until after her husband's death in 1556. Kansei Chōshū Ushōkafu instead states he was born in Kiyosu Castle 1557.

Sōfukuji's records includes a written document from Nobutada prohibiting taxation of the temple in respect to the resting place of his mother. He only referred to her by her posthumous name Kyūan Keiju and did not mention whether she was also Nobukatsu's biological mother. The temple claiming to house Kitsuno's grave lies at another temple. Later generations insist that his mother was previously from the Ikoma clan to imply she was Kitsuno, yet there is so far nothing to validate the claim.

It has been suggested that the confusion about the mothers was due to the similarity of the two women's posthumous names. Kitsuno's postuhumous name was believed to have been Kyūan Keishō 久庵慶昌, which is written nearly-identically to Kyūan Keiju 久庵慶珠. However, as the Kyūshōji En'yu records contains an entry describing that Nobukatsu had been the one serving as chief mourner for Kyūan Keishō, it has been suggested that these two were indeed different women. Had Nobutada and Nobukatsu shared the same mother, the chief mourner in the funeral should have been Nobutada, as her eldest son.

The late Edo period text Keizu Sanyō claims that Nobutada was Nobunaga's second son and eldest legitimate heir. Nobunaga's eldest son was a bastard, Oda Nobumasa. Nobumasa was an extraordinarily talented warrior who had his father and Nobutada's respect. He outlived many of his siblings, serving at Nijo Castle and narrowly surviving Hideyoshi's rise to power. With Hideyoshi's forgiveness, he retired to be a monk and died when he was 92. However, Nobumasa falls into the realm of Yamamoto Kansuke: both come from a lone source, yet none of their exploits or titles can be verified in older historical records of the time period. In fact, some records blatantly contradict the claims. The castle Nobumasa was supposedly made lord of was recorded to have been an abandoned castle for years prior to the date of Nobumasa's entering the castle.

Images of Nobutada's ineptitude are a recent invention of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Mitsutoshi Takayanagi, a former college professor, shared a tale of Nobunaga and Ieyasu comparing the qualities of their sons. Nobunaga noted that Matsudaira Nobuyasu was a problem child but a godsend compared to his Nobutada. He further complained that Ieyasu's quibble for successor paled to his reluctance to let Nobutada inherit his legacy. Meishō Fukōroku, a text written in the late Edo period, shares a similar opinion. When Nobutada was first starting his campaigns, the family retainers held him in high regard. Nobunaga scowled, "He may look capable, but he plays a better fool."

Japonius Tyrannus, a political biography written by Jeroen Lamers, contains an excerpt of a letter from Nobunaga to Takigawa Kazumasu regarding his son which said, "As Jō no Suke (Nobutada) is still young, he is clearly bent on staging a one-man show and making a name for himself in this campaign. I am certain that he will surprise you." This indicates that Nobutada may have been known to behave rashly at times."

Unlike his father who preferred Kōwakamai dance, such as the Atsumori, Nobutada prefers the humourous Kyōgen dance instead. He was known to ask Ieyasu for assistance in acquiring the rare collection of Zeami's works (Zeami is one of the forefathers of modern Noh). Seishū Gunki records that Nobutada performed Noh dance at Ise Matsushima Castle once, and the Tōdaiki described that his performance was "incredible". However, according to Seishū Gunki despised warriors who liked Noh, saying, "That dance was a waste of gold and silver. It makes one forget their family business and corrupts the land." In 1580, anything Noh related was confiscated from Nobutada's possessions as punishment.

Ōkubo Tadataka wrote that when the Incident of Honnōji took place, Nobunaga immediately suspected that it was his son's rebellion. This statement is highly regarded as Tadataka's personal opinion, yet Nobutada's actions during that time frame remain a subject of debate. It remains a mystery why Nobutada chose to relocate to Nijo Castle, especially since he didn't use the crowned prince as a deterrent to his enemies' charge. Proponents for the move speculate that Nobutada was mainly biding time for other Oda loyalists' escape since his uncle and a few of his closest retainers were able to flee capture. Alternatively, Nobutada went to the castle as a figurative show of his political influence, a failed ruse to dissuade his enemies from attacking. Nobutada's decision to stay when he potentially had the window of escape is often viewed as an uncharacteristic blunder for a clan head.

One of the many hypothetical scenarios surrounding Honnōji are the plausible outcomes of history if Nobutada had survived. If he did, Nobutada could have assembled an army to swiftly avenge his father and could have become the land's new de facto leader. The Oda family legacy would have stayed dominant and not collapsed. Discrimination against Christianity and foreigners would not have erupted. Though the possibility has been buried long ago, it's still a prospect that is explored by the curious today.