てんのうざん【天王山】1. the name of a mountain
■ Mt. Tennou, a mountain in the Kansai region near what is presently Oyamazaki Town (大山崎町), located approximately 12 km southwest of Kyoto Station. In 1582, it was the site of a decisive battle between the forces of Hashiba Hideyoshi (羽柴秀吉, later Toyotomi Hideyoshi 豊臣秀吉) and Akechi Mitsuhide (明智光秀).
□ Shortly after the assasination of Oda Nobunaga (織田信長) at the hands of Akechi Mitsuhide, forces led by Hashiba Hideyoshi converged with those of Mitsuhide near Mt. Tennou. Hideyoshi's army succeeded in occupying the high ground, which enabled him to defeat his opponent, thereby both avenging the assassination of his former lord as well as opening the way for Hideyoshi to consolidate his position as the most powerful of Nobunaga's successors.
◇ 秀吉と光秀の合戦の舞台となった天王山（大山崎町）[Web, Dec. 2001]
Mt. Tennou (in Oyamazaki Town), the setting of the battle between Hideyoshi and Mitsuhide.
■ By analogy to the battle fought at Mt. Tennou, any decisive confrontation or moment of truth
□ Although most often used in reference to sports and politics, it is also commonly seen in reference to highly competitive endeavors such as high school and college entrance exams.
◇ 勝負を決する最も大事な時期を「天王山」に例えられることは、あまりにも有名である。[Web, Dec. 2001]
Is there anyone who hasn't seen the term Tennouzan used as an analogy to a decisive confrontation?
"夏は受験の天王山！" 入試頻出の重要事項を身につけ、秋からの入試演習にそなえよう！[Web, Dec. 2001]
Summer is Tennouzan for Entrance Exams! Get ready for the practice exams that start in autumn by getting the important questions most likely to appear in tests under your belt.
■ A game or series of games between a champion and challenger, or in league play between the first and second place teams, especially but not exclusively in situations where the winner claims possession of first place.
□ In baseball in particular, commonly used by the sports media to stir up fan hysteria even well prior to the decisive stages of the season, especially if one of the teams involved is the Tokyo Giants. To get a real feel for this expression, try imagining what it would be like if, every time the Boston Red Sox faced the New York Yankees with first place in the American League East on the line, the sports media called it "the Battle of Gettysburg."
◇ 丸山が再びリードを奪うか、佐藤が一気に逆転するか、シリーズの天王山とも言える第５局を迎える。[From coverage of a shogi title match; Web, Dec. 2001]
Will Maruyama regain the lead? Will Sato turn the tables? Who can tell what will happen as we head into the 5th game, and what is certain to be the Tennouzan in this [best-of-seven] series!
今季のペナントを占う天王山第３Ｒ、熱い、熱い死闘を制したのは、若松ヤクルトだった。[Web, Dec. 2001]
In the third "Tennouzan" series to determine this year's pennant winner, coming out on top of this hot, hot battle to the death were Wakamatsu's Yakult Swallows. [Translator's note: Wakamatsu is the manager's name.]
This entry was created by Steven P. Venti.