Oda Nobunaga was the primus inter pares of the greatest samurai in Japanese history. He changed the way war was fought, through innovations in battlefield strategy, technical dominance, and organizational brilliance. He developed, implemented, and expanded the use of long pikes, firearms and castle fortifications, in adaptation to the expanded mass battles of the period. His ingenious creation of the rotating volley tactic ensured his firearm brigades could unleash a never-ending barrage of gunfire as one troop of gunmen always stood in reserve ready to attack and unleash hell when the first troop was forced to reload. He conquered the two important musket factories in Sakai City and Omi province assuring him superior firepower over his enemies.
Nobunaga brought to life a specialized warrior class system based on merit and ability and skill, rather than heritage. Retainers were given land on the basis of rice output, not land size. Unafraid to delegate, yet not a particularly trustworthy leader, few samurai entered his inner circle, and even his top men were treated with aloofness, and moved from place to place.
For all his military magnificence as a Sengoku Daimyô on the grandest scale, Nobunaga also worked tirelessly to create an economic superstate within the expanding borders of his realm. He had entered a Kyoto still in disrepair from the dark days of the Ônin War, its hills infested with bandits, and the use of its roadways subjected to extortionate levies. One of his first acts was to abolish the tollbooths, and commission a series of cadastral surveys in the surrounding prefectures.
Nobunaga was a keen businessman, and understood the principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics. He reconstructed an economy based exclusively on agriculture to a free market, focused on the manufacturing of goods and services. Castle towns were developed as the center and basis of local economies. He commissioned the construction of roads between them, not only to facilitate trade but also to be able to rapidly move his massive armies great distances in short timeframes.
His rakuichi rakuza policies abolished monopolies, opened previously closed privileged unions, and stimulated business. He introduced tax exemptions and established laws to regulate and ease the borrowing of debt. Nobunaga assumed control over the minting and exchange of coins, and brought the merchant city of Sakai under his influence, which proved valuable beyond anything anyone predicted. And he expanded international commerce beyond China and the Korean peninsula, to the Philippines, Siam and Indonesia, and nanban ‘Southern Barbarian’ trade with Europe.