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History Gamô - The Struggle Begins

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Overall rating
5.00 star(s) 1 ratings
Pros
  • Fact-packed and rich in details
  • Covers aspects of Japanese history so far neglected by Western authors
  • Countless photos, maps and colour prints
  • Family tress not only of the Gamō, but also the Asai, the Ashikaga, the Hosokawa, the Kyōgoku, the R
Cons
  • Typographical mistakes
  • A few odd phrases that require editorial review
This is the seventh volume in Terje Solum's "Saga of the Samurai" series (read his interview here). Having participated in Terje's kickstarter project, I was more than excited to find his latest publication on the Ōmi Gamō in the mail - the first part of two on the clan that played a great role in the Sengoku Period and whose most eminent offspring was Gamō Ujisato, Oda Nobunaga's son-in-law and later retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

The book spans a period of 600 years, from Fujiwara Hidesato, the first to adopt the family name of Gamō (蒲生) in the 10th century after having been bestowed the province by the same name (in modern-day Shiga Prefecture) and follows the clan through the centuries: Nanbōkuchō, the Muromachi Period, and in particular the aftermath of the Ōnin War (1467-1477). The last chapters are devoted to Gamō Sadahide and his eldest son Katahide, himself a retainer of the Oda, who both consolidated their clan's influence in Ōmi Province and established the castle town of Hino around their home base of Nakano Castle.

This book is the most detailed reference to the Gamō clan and the history of Ōmi in English language and expands also on the other clans that battled for hegemony over the region. It contains countless photos taken during the author's journeys to Shiga, three-dimensional maps, historical prints as well as captivating colour plates rendered by illustrator Ganbat Badamkhand.

Rich in facts and historical details, it's another must-read for anyone who is fascinated by Japan's Sengoku period. I can only imagine how much time and research must have gone into bringing this project to fruition. I'm already looking forward to the second part, focusing on the life of Ujisato and his descendants.
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