Though Uesugi Kenshin was a legendary warrior and the subject of many tales and war stories, his military endeavors did not especially enhance his political position. However, he confronted and defeated Oda Nobunaga at the Battle of Tedorigawa, and he prepared a large army to enter Nobunaga's territory and continue the assault. When a messenger reported this, Nobunaga confessed that if he were attacked by Uesugi, he would have no choice but to concede and offer him half of his holdings in return for clemency. If Uesugi Kenshin had not died suddenly before launching his assault, the history of modern Japan might have been different. Oda Nobunaga is remembered for his efforts to unify most of Japan and prepare the foundation for the Tokugawa shogunate that ruled Japan for 200 years until the Meiji Restoration.
Kenshin took Buddhist vows and embodied the philosophy of Buddhism. He expressed it in the last poem he wrote before his death:
Even a life-long prosperity is but one cup of sake;
A life of forty-nine years is passed in a dream;
I know not what life is, nor death.
Year in year out-all but a dream.
Both Heaven and Hell are left behind;
I stand in the moonlit dawn,
Free from clouds of attachment.
(Suzuki, D. T. Zen and Japanese Culture, rev. ed. Princeton University Press, 1970, 82)
Unification Aspects is designed to relate the subject of this article to Unification Thought and to aid teachers and researchers who wish to further pursue these topics from a unification perspective.