Oda Nabunaga's Ceremonial Kabuto
A Gold and Jade Samurai Helmet
Oda Nobunaga (織田 信長), June 23, 1534 – June 21, 1582) was the initiator of the unification of Japan under the shogunate in the late 16th century, which ruled Japan until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. He was also a major daimyo during the Sengoku period of Japanese history. His opus was continued, completed and finalized by his successors Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu. He was the second son of Oda Nobuhide, a deputy shugo (military governor) with land holdings in Owari Province. Nobunaga lived a life of continuous military conquest, eventually conquering a third of Japanese daimyo before his death in 1582. His successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a loyal Oda supporter, would become the first man to unify all of Japan, and was thus the first ruler of all Japan since the Ōnin War. In Oda Nobunaga’s later years, he often wore a helmet made of gold and covered with jade when he performed ceremonial functions. His Son Toyotomi Hideyoshi, continued to wear this helmet after his father’s death and had a fearsome demon mask, split athwart of gold and silver. During a visit with Hideyoshi, A powerful Yakuza leader demanded the helmet as payment for the return of Hideyoshi’s kidnapped son. It was later found that the Yakuza boss was actually a dragon in disguise.