Samurai Archives HOME
Biographical Dictionary HOME


REIZEI Takatoyo
Ôuchi retainer

Takatoyo was the eldest son of Reizei Shimotsuke no kami Okitoyo and a noted retainer of Ôuchi Yoshitaka. He served Yoshitaka both as a warrior and an administrator whose duties included overseeing the silver mines of Aki Province. He remained loyal to Yoshitaka when Sue Harukata rebelled in 1551 and assisted the former in committing suicide, after which he killed himself. He was a poet of some skill.


The Rokkaku mon

The Rokkaku were descended from the Sasaki family (by whose name they are occasionally referred). They were powerful in Ômi Province into the 16th Century and played a role in the struggles for power around Kyoto in the wake of the Ônin War. They competed with the Asai and opposed Oda Nobunaga in 1568. Nobunaga took Kannoji Castle and by 1570 the Rokkaku had fallen as daimyô.

Rokkaku Sadayori
Warlord of Ômi

Sadayori was the 2nd son of Rokkaku Takayori. As a youth he was sent to study at the Sôkokuji in Kyoto but returned to secular life after his elder brother was badly wounded in battle. He became lord of the Rokkaku and resided at Kannonji Castle. He aided Ôuchi Yoshioki during the latter's tenure as kanrei and fought under him against Hosokawa Sumimoto at the Battle of Funaokayama in 1511. He later clashed with the emerging Asai family of northern Ômi. It is sometimes said that Sadayori was a forerunner of sorts to the later shirowari policy- that is, allowing only one castle per province. In Sadayori's case, he ordered the abandonment of Otowa Castle in 1523 following an internal dispute within the Gamô house. This is thought to have been part of an effort to better control his retainers. He was at any rate a capable administrator and among his efforts was the stimulation of merchant activity at Kannoji. He died on 21 January 1552.
Son: Yoshikata

Rokkaku Yoshikata
(Sasaki Yoshikata, Rokkaku Shôtei)
Ômi Warlord

Yoshikata was a son of Rokkaku Sadayori. He was involved in many of the later struggles for power around Kyoto, supporting Hosokawa Harumoto in 1549 in his war with Miyoshi Chokei. He went on to fight with Asai Hisamasa of northern Ômi and Saito Dôsan of Mino, as well as with Matsunaga Hisahide in 1558. In 1559 Yoshikata officially retired in favor of his son Yoshiharu and shaved his head and assumed the name Shôtei. He nonetheless continued as the effective joint-leader of the Rokkaku. Yoshikata and Yoshiharu were soundly defeated at Norada in 1560 by the Asai and created dissension within the ranks of their retainer band by executing Goto Tajima no kami Katatoyo in 1563. In 1567 they jointly composed the Rokkaku-shi shikimoku, which, significantly, places limitations on the authority of the daimyô. They refused a request by Nobunaga to allow Oda troops safe passage through southern Ômi in September 1568. As a result the Rokkaku were brushed aside by Nobunaga on his way to Kyoto in October-November. Yoshikata and Yoshiharu fled Kannonji, which fell into Nobunaga's hands, but continued to contest Nobunaga's activities from Namazue Castle with what might be termed guerrilla warfare. They were defeated attempting to take Chomyoji in southern Ômi from Shibata Katsuie and Yoshikata afterwards surrendered in 1570. He was afterwards allowed to live in Ômi by Nobunaga.
Sons: Yoshiharu, Yoshisada

Rokkaku Yoshiharu
(Rokkaku Yoshisuke)
Ômi warlord

Yoshiharu was the eldest son of Rokkaku Yoshikata and became the official lord of the Rokkaku in 1559 but in fact ruled jointly with his father, with whom he shared defeat at Norada against the Asai in 1560. He joined his father in abandoning Kannoji as the Oda marched through the Rokkaku domain in 1568 but continued to fight from Namazue Castle. He allied with the Asai but fled when that clan was destroyed in 1573. He took up with the Takeda, with whom he had corresponded in 1572, and hid in the Erin-ji in Kai Province. He later became a retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and served Toyotomi Hidetsugu. His final post was as instructor of archery for Toyotomi Hideyori at Osaka Castle.


The Rusu of Mutsu Province were descended from Fujiwara Kaneie (929-999) and adopted the Rusu name following Minamoto Yoritomo's conquest of northern Japan in the wake of the 12th Century Gempei War. During the Nambokucho Period they supported the Southern Court and joined the army of Kitabatake Akiie. They entered the Sengoku Period established at Takamori Castle and connected with the Date family. The Date provided them with a number of heirs, and the Rusu had essentially become a related retainer family by the late-16th Century.

Rusu Masakage
Date retainer

Masakage was a son of Date Harumune. He was adopted by Rusu Akimune and became the lord of Takamori Castle in 1567. He went on to serve Date Terumune and Masamune with distinction at Hitadoribashi (1585), Ôsaki (1588), and elsewhere. During the Sekigahara Campaign (1600) Masakage led Date reinforcements into Dewa Province to support the Mogami, under attack by the Uesugi, and clashed with troops under Naoe Kanetsugu. He afterwards received an income of some 20,000 koku.
Sons: Munetoshi, (Date) Munetsuna


The Ryûzôji mon

The Ryûzôji of Hizen Province may have been descended from Fujiwara Hidesato. They were retainers of the Shôni family until Ryûzôji Takanobu overthrew them in 1553. While Takanobu was able to secure most of Hizen Province, his defeat and death at Okitanawate in 1584 greatly weakened his clan and they were effectively supplanted by the Nabeshima.

Ryûzôji Iekane
Shôni retainer
Yamashiro no kami

Iekane was the 5th son of Ryûzôji Yasuie and succeeded to the head of his family by dint of outliving his elder brothers. He defeated the Oûchi in 1506 following their own defeat of Shôni Masauke (in which the latter was killed) and again at the Chikugogawa in 1530. He gradually drew away from the Shôni and grew in power within Hizen, although he had long since officially retired. However, in 1544 another Shôni retainer, Baba Yorichika, concerned by Iekane's power, sprung a trap on Iekane. Although Iekane lost many members of his family in Yorichika's attack, he escaped to Chikugo Province and took up with Kamachi Akimori, lord of Yanagawa Castle. Although Iekane was by then nearly 90, he led an army back into Hizen the following year and defeated and killed Baba. He died on 10 April 1546.

Ryûzôji Tanehide
Shôni retainer

Tanehide was the eldest son of Ryûzôji Tanehisa and the 18th lord of the Ryûzôji. He was able to lend support to Ryûzôji Iekane when the latter counterattacked the Baba in 1545. He died of natural causes in 1548.
Son: Ienari (d.1582)

Ryûzôji Takanobu
( Ryûzôji Tanenobu, Ryûzôji Takatane)
Hizen warlord
Yamashiro no kami

Takanobu was the eldest son of Ryûzôji Chikaie and a great-grandson of Iekane. His father was killed by Baba Yorichika in 1544. He became a monk at a young age and was known as Engetsu. At around age of 18 he returned to secular life and in 1548 became the head of both main branches of the Ryûzôji house (following the death of Tanehide). Certain retainers had proposed that Ryûzôji Tanehide's son, Ienari, be named the lord and others doubted Takanobu's ability to rule. However, Takanobu proved himself a competent commander. In 1553 he rebelled against Shô Tokinao and the following year he took Saga Castle and drove Tokinao to Chikugo Province. Takanobu pursued and killed him in 1556. Takanobu expanded his power throughout Hizen, struggling in the Sonogi region with the Ômura and Arima. Takanobu soon came into conflict with the Ôtomo of Bungo Province and in 1570, with Nabeshima Naoshige, dealt them a major defeat at Iyama. The Ôtomo's defeat at the Battle of Mimigawa in 1578 at the hands of the Shimazu allowed Takanobu to expand into Higo and east of Hizen at their expense. He defeated an Ôtomo army in Chikugo in 1579 and attacked the lands of the Ômura around the same time, forcing the submission of the latter in 1580. A ruthless schemer, he tricked Kamachi Shigenami into coming to a sargaku party and had him murdered, thus acquiring Kamichi's powerful Yanagawa Cstle (in Chikugo)in 1579. Given the Kamachi's service to Ryûzôji Ienari during the war with Baba Yorichika in 1544-45, this was seen as especially underhanded and disturbed the Ryûzôji retainer band. Takanobu came into conflict with the Shimazu over Higo Province after 1580 while gradually wearing down the Arima of Hizen's Shimabara area. In 1584 he assembled an army of as many as 20,000 men and marched against the flagging Arima Harunobu, whose own meager forces were reinforced by Shimazu Iehisa. At the Battle of Okinawadate, Shimazu swordsmen burst into Takanobu's command post and cut him down, triggering a general rout of the Ryûzôji forces. After Takanobu's death, his son Masaie submitted to the Shimazu. Takanobu's nickname was the 'Bear of Hizen' (Hizen no Kuma), at least in part a reference to his habit of wearing bearskin on his armor. At the same time he is said to have heavily indulged in alcohol and by 1580 was showing signs of advanced alcoholism, including a dulling of his mental capabilities and an increasing girth. In fact, he was carried to his last battle, Okinawadate, in a palanquin as he was physically incapable of riding.
Sons: Masaie, Ietane, Ienobu

Ryûzôji Nobuchika
(Ryûzôji Shinjirô)
Ryûzôji retainer
Awa no kami, Bungo no kami

Nobuchika was the 2nd son of Ryûzôji Chikaie and a younger brother of Ryûzôji Takanobu. He assisted his brother in various military endeavors (including war with the Matsuura). After Takanobu's death he assisted Ryûzôji Masaie in matters of administration.
Son: Nobuaki

Ryûzôji Naganobu
(Ryûzôji Ienobu, Taku Naganobu)
Ryûzôji retainer
Izumi no kami

Naganobu was the 3rd son of Ryûzôji Chikaie and a younger brother of Ryûzôji Takanobu and established the Taku family. He was given the 'Naga' in his name from the lord of Yamaguchi, Ôuchi Yoshinaga.
Son: (Taku) Yasushige

Ryûzôji Masaie
Hizen warlord

Masaie was the eldest son of Ryûzôji Takanobu. Following his father's defeat and death in 1584 at the hands of the Shimazu, Masaie agreed to a truce with the latter. He was physically weak and a poor leader and so suffered the defection of a number of his retainers in short order. He relied on Nabeshima Naoshige but in fact Naoshige was himself maneuvering towards independence. He quickly transferred his allegiance to Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1587 and was confirmed in six districts of Hizen (worth some 350,000-koku). He was present at Hideyoshi's headquarters during the Korean invasion. His lands were later transferred to his former vassal, Nabeshima Naoshige.

Ryûzôji Ietane
(Egami Ietane)
Ryûzôji, Nabeshima retainer
Musashi no kami

Ietane was the 2nd son of Ryûzôji Takanobu. He fought at the Battle of Okitanawate and when he learned that his father had been struck down, he grabbed a handful of spears and plunged into the enemy ranks. He fought valiantly before being forced to fall back with the rest of the army. He later became a retainer of Nabeshima Naoshige. He died in Korea in 1593, though just how is a matter of debate. One opinion is that he succumbed to illness - another has that he fell in battle.

Ryûzôji Ienobu
(Goto Ienobu)
Ryûzôji retainer
Hôki no kami

Ienobu was the 3rd son of Ryûzôji Takanobu (and was eventually adopted by Goto Takaaki). He took an interest in Christianity and was baptized, provoking his father's intense displeasure. He accordingly renounced his new religion - until his father's death in 1584, after which Ienobu was again baptized. This in turn created friction between himself and his elder brother Masaie. He was part of the relief effort that broke the long siege of Ulsan in the 2nd Korean Campaign.


SAGARA Haruhiro
Higo warlord

Haruhiro was a daimyô of Higo Province. He clashed with the Shimazu and ordered a revision of the Sagara house code sometime prior to his death in 1555.
Sons: Yoshiaki, Yorifusa

Sagara Yoshiaki
Higo warlord
Tôtômi no kami

Yoshiaki succeeded his father Sagara Yoshiaki. He refused a request by Shimazu Yoshihisa in 1581 to allow the Shimazu unhindered transit through the Sagara domain. In consequence, Yoshihisa besieged Yoshiaki at Minamata Castle and forced him to commit suicide.
Son: Nagatsune

SAIGUSA Moritomo
Takeda retainer
Kageyuzaemon no Jô

Moritomo was a notable Takeda retainer and the son-in-law of Yamagata Masakage. He fought at Mimasetoge (1569) and Mikatagahara (1573). He was killed at Nagashino in 1575 in the same Oda/Tokugawa raid that killed Takeda Nobuzane.

SAITÔ Toshimasa
(Saitôto Dôsan, Matsunami Shôkurô, Nishimura Kankurô, Nagai Yorihide, Saitô Hidetatsu)
Lord of Mino
Sakyô-daibu, Jibu-Ôsuke

Saitô Dôsan

Toshimasa's origins are unclear. According to the traditional story of his life, he was born in Yamashiro province and was the illegitimate son of Matsuda Motomune. After attempting a career as an oil-seller, he assumed the name Nishimura Kankurô and entered the service of Nagai Nagahiro of Mino. According to a quite possibly more reliable version, Toshimasa's father, a certain Shinzaemonjô, late a monk at the Myoukaku-ji in Kyoto. Shinzaemonj˘ had given up the priesthood and married the daughter of an oil merchant. He picked up the trade and in the course of hawking his wares on the road happened to run into a friend from his days as a monk at the temple. This acquaintance was now the abbot of the Jouzai-ji in Mino province. The abbot was a relative of the Nagai clan, retainers of the Toki, the shugo of Mino Province who were at that time led by Toki Masafusa (1467-1519). With the abbot's recommendation, Shinzaemonjô gained employment with Nagai Nagahiro, and quickly rose through the Nagai ranks, eventually taking the surname of Nagai himself. Saitô Dôsan's mon
Regardless of his roots, Toshimasa contributed to a general instability within Mino Province and around 1526 Toki Yoshinari gave him his concubine in the hopes that this would appease him. He officially succeeded his father in 1533 and overthrew Nagai in 1542 and took control of the Mt. Kinka area. An ambitious schemer, he next overthrew the Toki in 1544 and established himself as daimyô, building Inokuchi (Inabayama) Castle. Many of the details of Toshimasa's career to this point are obscure but he certainly was a ruthless schemer who murdered a number of his superiors in his rise. He fought with Oda Nobuhide of Owari and dealt him a defeat at Kanoguchi in 1547. Peace was made the following year when it was agreed that Toshimasa's daughter would marry Nobuhide's son Nobunaga. Toshimasa's eldest son was Yoshitatsu. Yoshitatsu's mother was the concubine of Toki Yoshinari and as he was born less than nine months after the women was given to Toshimasa, his parentage was unclear. Despite establishing Yoshitatsu in Inabayama while he settled in Sagiyama, Dôsan planned to name one of his other sons heir. In response Yoshitatsu killed two of his brothers and went to war with his Toshimasa in 1556. Toshimasa and Yoshitatsu met at the Nagara River on the 20th day of the 4th month of 1556 and in the course of the fighting, in which Toshimasa was heavily outnumbered, Toshimasa's head was taken by a certain Komaki Genta. Toshimasa is alleged, as a result of his desperate circumstances, to have named Nobunaga as lord of Mino Province in his will and sent this document to Nobunaga. Nobunaga, however, was unable to provide his father-in-law with aid. A colorful character, Toshimasa also had a reputation for cruelty and was considered by many to be a highly unsavory figure, earning the nickname mamushi (viper). His wife, known as Ômi no kata, was a daughter of Akechi Suruga no kami Mitsutsugu. Toshimasa had adopted the name Saitô, former shugodai of Mino overcome by the Nagai in the 1520s.
Sons: Yoshitatsu, Magoshiro, Nagatatsu

Saitô Yoshitatsu
Lord of Mino
Yoshitatsu was quite possibly the biological son of Toki Yorinari (Yoshiyori), whom Saitô Dôsan (Toshimasa) went on to usurp in 1544. According to one story, Dôsan had in fact won Yoshiyori's concubine through a wager: Dôsan bet Yorinari that he could put a spear through the eye of a tiger painted on a sliding door. Dôsan succeeded and was given the lady as a concubine. Yoshitatsu was born seven months later and his parentage would come to be questioned. At first, it is said Dôsan doted on him and he was duly established at Inokuchi (Inabayama) Castle while his father retired and took up residence nearby in Sagiyama. Rumors that Yoshitatsu was in fact not Dosan's real son (that is, that he was actually Yorinari's son) persisted, however, and Dôsan apparently began to think of naming one of his other sons as heir. Yoshitatsu had come to suspect his father's intentions. Though he actually did suffer from leprosy, he feigned illness and arranged for the murder of two of Dôsan's natural sons in 1555. The following year he and his father met in battle at the Nagara River. Yoshitatsu emerged triumphant after a stiff fight, and took control of Mino. He proved a capable commander and was able to defeat attempts by Oda Nobunaga to avenge Dôsan's death, but died of his illness in July 1561.
Son: Tatsuoki

Saitô Nagatatsu
(Saitô Shingorô, Saitô Toshioki)
Oda retainer

Nagatatsu was a younger son of Saitô Dosan. He was taken from Mino Province to avoid the fate of his elder brothers, slain by Saitô Yoshitatsu, and entered the protection of Oda Nobunaga. He was later married to a daughter of a certain Satô Kii no kami and was given a fief in Mino Province (taken by the Oda in 1567). He served in various campaigns for Nobunaga and in 1582 was killed alongside Oda Nobutada at Nijô following Nobunaga's death at the hands of Akechi Mitsuhide.

Saitô Tatsuoki
Lord of Mino

Tatsuoki was the son of Saitô Yoshitatsu and his mother was a daughter of Asai Hisamasa. He succeeded his father when the latter died of illness in 1561. He inherited a war with the Oda and saw his forces defeated in a series of engagements that culminated in the Battle of Moribe in 1561. He was unable to prevent the Oda from penetrating Mino and also had to contend with the Asai on his western border. Nobunaga managed to lure away the Saitô's top generals (including Ando Morinari, Inaba Ittetsu, and Ujiie Bokuzen) and thus considerably weakened Tatsuoki's position. In 1567 Nobunaga captured Inokuchi (Inabayama) and Tatsuoki was sent off into exile and took up with the Asakura of Echizen. He was killed at Tonezaka when the Oda invaded Echizen in 1573.

SAITÔ Toshimitsu
Akechi retainer

Toshimitsu was from Mino province and a long-time retainer of Akechi Mitsuhide, though he at first served Saitô Yoshitatsu. He was considered a competent soldier. According to one version of events, he was captured after the Battle of Yamazaki and executed. Another theory has that he killed himself the day after the battle. Toshimitsu's daughter was the well-known Kasuga no Tsubone, who would be a nurse for the later shôgun Tokugawa Iemitsu.

SAITÔ Tomonobu
Uesugi retainer
Shimotsuke no kami

Tomonobu served Uesugi Kenshin and held Akata Castle in Echigo Province. He fought in many of Kenshin's battles, including campaigns in Etchû, Shinano, and the Kanto. After Kenshin's death, Tomonobu supported Uesugi Kagekatsu in his war for control of Echigo with Uesugi Kagetora and was afterwards involved in the war with Shibata Katsuie (of the Oda).


The Saka of Aki Province were descended from Môri Chikahira, head of the Môri in the early-middle 14th Century. The clan lost a fair amount of influence when Saka Nagato no kami Hirohide joined in a plot against Môri Motonari in 1523.


The Sakai mon

The Sakai of Mikawa Province were related to the Matsudaira, whom they served during the Sengoku period. They became one of the chief retainer families of Tokugawa Ieyasu and were represented by a number of branches.

Sakai Tadatsugu
Tokugawa retainer
Saemon no kami

Sakai Tadatsugu

Tadatsugu was one of Ieyasu's most notable commnaders. When Ieyasu split from the Imagawa clan after 1560, Tadatsugu (a vocal supporter of the break) was given command of Yoshida Castle, which guarded the coastal road way into Mikawa from Tôtômi Province. At the Battle of Mikatagahara (1573) he secured the Tokugawa's right flank, and saw his command badly mauled by the attacking Takeda when the units around him (those sent by Oda) fled. At Nagashino (1575) he requested permission to lead a night attack on the Takeda camp, which he accomplished (along with Kanamori Nagachika) to good result. During the Komaki Campaign, he was dispatched to turn back a Toyotomi move against Kiyosu led by Mori Nagayoshi, and was successful. At the time of the Odawara Campaign (1590) he accompanied Tokugawa Hidetada (Ieyasu's hostage to Toyotomi Hideyoshi) to Kyoto. When the Tokugawa were moved to the Kanto, he received a 50,000-koku fief at Takasaki (Kôzuke Province). Despite Tadatsugu's high rank, some believe that Ieyasu never forgave him for an incident in 1579: while making a diplomatic visit to Oda Nobunaga, Tadatsugu was confronted with allegations that Ieyasu's son Nobuyasu was plotting against the Oda. No friend of Nobuyasu himself, Tadatsugu made little attempt to refute the charges (and Nobuyasu was later made to commit suicide). Ieyasu afterwards chided him for not making some effort to defend his son's honor.
Sons: Ietsugu, (Honda) Yasutoshi

Sakai Ietsugu
Tokugawa retainer
Saemon no jô

Ietsugu was the son of Sakai Tadatsugu and held Yoshida from 1578 until 1590, at which point he received a 30,000-koku fief in Kôzuke province (Usui). He saw his income raised to 50,000 in 1594. He fought at Sekigahara and the Osaka Castle campaigns and in 1619 received a 100,000-koku fief at Takata in Echigo Province.

Sakai Shigetada
Tokugawa retainer
Kwatchi no kami

Shigetada was a son of Sakai Masachika (1521-1576). He was given a 10,000-koku fief at Kawagoe in Musashi Province in 1590 and later 35,000 koku at Umabayashi in Kôzuke Province. During the Osaka Summer Campaign (1615), Shigetada was entrusted with guarding Edo Castle while Tokugawa Ieyasu and Hidetada was away at the front.
Son: Tadayo

Oda retainer

Kyûzô was a son of Sakai Masahisa and served Oda Nobunaga. Despite his youth, he was active in the battles against the Rokkaku of Ômi Province during Nobunaga's march to Kyoto in 1568, participating in the capturing of Mitsukuri, Wadayama, and Kannoji. He was in the advance guard of the Oda army at the Battle of Anegawa in 1570 and there fell in fierce fighting with troops under Asai retainer Isono Kazumasa.

(Sakikabara Heishichi)
Tokugawa retainer
Koheida, Shikibu-taiyu, Daijuji

The Sakikabara mon

Sakikabara Yasumasa

Yasumasa was a younger son of Sakakibara Nagamasa. He rose to become one of Tokugawa Ieyasu's closest retainers and was skilled both in war and administration. A veteran of numerous campaigns (including Anegawa, Nagashino, and Takatenjin in 1581), Yasumasa was with Tokugawa when the latter chose to defy Hideyoshi in 1584, and suggested Komaki as a suitable headquarters for the ensuing confrontation. In 1585, after peace was made, he accompanied Ieyasu to Osaka to meet with Hideyoshi and was awarded the title Shikibu-taiyu. Following the Tokugawa move to the Kanto in 1590 he was given Tatebayashi Castle and assigned to head up a team responsible for the allocation of fiefs. While Tokugawa was away serving on Hideyoshi's Korean Invasion staff in Kyushu (1592-93, 1597-98), Yasumasa was one of the chief administrators left to supervise the Kanto.
Sons: Tadamasa, Yasukatsu


The Sakuma mon

The Sakuma were descended from the Muira family of Sagami Province. They settled in Owari at Yamazaki Castle and came to serve the Oda.

Sakuma Nobumori
Oda retainer
Dewa no suke, Uemon no jô

Nobumori was the son of Sakuma Nobuharu. He first served Oda Nobuhide and then went on to follow Oda Nobunaga throughout his career and was a senior Oda retainer by 1568. He commanded troops at Anegawa (1570), and was one of the three Oda commanders (including Takigawa Kazumasu and Hirate Norihide) sent to assist Tokugawa Ieyasu against Takeda Shingen in 1573. In the event he and Takigawa fled the battle when it turned against the Tokugawa. In 1575 he was tasked with transferring some 2,000 koku in badly-needed supplies to the Tokugawa, a portion of which provisioned Nagashino Castle. He and his son were heavily engaged in the siege of the Ishiyama Honganji from 1575 until 1580. Following the surrender of the Honganji, Nobunaga wrote a scathing letter to Nobumori, accusing him of both incompetence and negligence and ordering him to shave his head and give up his lands in Yamato Province. Nobumori and his son Jinkûro thus wandered as beggars, Nobumori evidently dying of starvation or disease sometime within late 1581 or early 1582 at or near Mt. Koya.
Son: Masakatsu (Jinkûro)

Sakuma Masakatsu
(Sakuma Jinkûro)
Oda retainer

Masakatsu was the eldest son of Sakuma Nobumori. He shared in his father's disgrace in 1580 at the hands of Oda Nobunaga and was banished along with him to Mt. Koya. He was later allowed to return to public life.
Son: Nobukatsu

Sakuma Morimasa
(Sakuma Genba)
Shibata retainer

Morimasa was the son of Sakuma Moritsugu, a cousin of Sakuma Nobumori, and his mother was Shibata Katsuie's elder sister. He became one of Shibata Katsuie's top retainers and accompanied him on most of his campaigns while serving the Oda. He was established at Oyama in Kaga Province and owing to his aggressive spirit was nicknamed onigenba. He led Shibata's army into northern Ômi in 1583 when war came with Toyotomi Hideyoshi. In the course of the campaign he captured Iwasakiyama from Takayama Ukon and was besieging Shizugatake when Katsuie ordered him to withdraw lest Hideyoshi catch him off-guard. Sakuma, however, over-estimated the time it would take Hideyoshi to arrive on the scene and so disobeyed Katsuie. Hideyoshi in fact reacted swiftly and in the resulting Battle of Shizugatake, Sakuma's army was routed. Morimasa was captured and later beheaded in Kyoto.

Sakuma Morishige
Oda retainer

Morishige was the holder of Marume Castle and came under attack by the forces of Matsudaira Motoyasu (Tokugawa Ieyasu) during the Imagawa invasion of Owari in 1560. Morishige held off an opening attack by the Matsudaira, but was shot and killed leading a counterattack out of the castle. He is believed to be the first 'general' killed by gunfire in Japan.

Uesugi retainer
Iyo no kami

Sadanaga was a retainer of Uesugi Kenshin famed for his skills as a warrior, and especially for his actions at 2nd Kawanakajima (1555). He later supported Uesugi Kagetora in the Ôtate no ran and fled when the latter committed suicide in 1579. His younger brother Kagenaga remained in Uesugi service but was killed at Uzu Castle in June 1582 fighting the forces of Shibata Katsuie.


The Sanada mon

The Sanada of Shinano Province were of obscure origins and may have been descended or related to the Uno family. They came into prominence while a retainer family of the Takeda after 1550. After the fall of the Takeda they became an independent house, resisting efforts by the Hôjoô to force them from their territory. At the time of the Sekigahara Campaign members of the Sanada served on both sides in the contest and so a branch survived into the Edo Period while another, represented by Sanada Yukimura, was destroyed with the fall of Osaka Castle in 1615.

Sanada Yukitaka
(Sanada Ittokusai)
Takeda retainer
Danjô no Jô

Yukitaka may have been the son of Uno Munetsuna, a Shinano daimyô. After being defeated along with Uno around 1541 by the Murakami and Suwa, Yukitaka took up with the Nagano of Kôzuke. He was later convinced to join Takeda Shingen's retainer band and was able to reclaim Sanada Castle around 1550. He was a noted strategist and assisted Shingen on numerous occasions in the latter's conquest of Shinano Province.
Sons: Nobutsuna, Masateru, Masayuki, Nobutada, Takakatsu (d.1606)

Sanada Nobutsuna
Takeda retainer
Gentazaemon no Jô

Nobutsuna was the eldest son of Sanada Yukitaka and rose to become a noted Takeda general. He inherited his father's domain in Shinano in 1574 but died at the Battle of Nagashino the following year.

Sanada Masateru
Takeda retainer

Masateru was the 2nd son of Sanada Yukitaka and served Takeda Shingen. A veteran of Shingen's invasion of Sagami Province in 1569, he was killed alongside his elder brother Nobutsuna at the Battle of Nagashino while leading 50 men. His eldest son Nobumasa eventually ended up in the service of Tokugawa Tadateru.
Son: Nobumasa

Sanada Masayuki
Takeda retainer, Shinano warlord
Awa no kami

Masayuki was the 3rd son of Yukitaka and first saw battle at Kawanakajima in 1561. He became head of the Sanada after his two elder brothers were killed at Nagashino. As the power of the Takeda declined, Masayuki expanded into Kôzuke Province and took Numata from the Hôjô in 1580 after having the lord of that place, Numata Kageyoshi, murdered. In 1585 Tokugawa Ieyasu demanded that Numata be returned to the Hôjô as part of a Tokugawa-Hôjô agreement. Masayuki refused and defeated a Tokugawa army sent to chastise him near Ueda, though peace was afterwards made with the Tokugawa by sending his son Nobuyuki as a hostage. He also secured an alliance with the Uesugi of Echigo Province and in this case his second son Nobushige (a.k.a. Yukimura) was dispatched as a hostage. In 1600 Masayuki initially acted as if in support of Tokugawa, then declared for the 'western' cause. He and his son Yukimura were besieged in Ueda by Tokugawa Hidetada but successfully resisted the Eastern forces in what was to become one of the celebrated sieges of Japanese history. After the Sekigahara Campaign was concluded, Tokugawa Ieyasu banished both Masayuki and Yukimura to Kûdoyama in Kii Province, where Masayuki died in 1608. Rumors spread that Ieyasu had ordered Masayuki assassinated, though he had spared the latter in 1600 in view of Sanada Nobuyuki's decision to side with the eastern forces.
Sons: Nobuyuki, Yukimura (Nobushige), Nobukatsu (d.1609) , Masachika (1583?-1632)

Sanada Nobutada
(Sanada Nobumasa)
Takeda, Sanada, Tokugawa retainer
Oki no kami

Nobutada was the 4th son of Sanada Yukitaka. He at first served the Takeda and saw action in the attack on the Hôjô's Fukuzawa Castle in 1570. He later came to serve the Tokugawa and was given an income of 3,000 koku. He went on to serve with distinction on the Tokugawa side in the Osaka Castle battles.
Sons: Yukimasa, Nobukatsu

Sanada Nobuyuki
(Sanada Nobuzane)
Sanada retainer, Shinano warlord

Nobuyuki was the 1st son of Sanada Masayuki and was known at first as Genzaburô. He married to the daughter of Honda Tadakatsu and in 1600 supported the Tokugawa even as his father and brother fought for the 'western cause'. For his efforts he inherited the Sanada domain in Shinano and in 1622 saw his income raised to 100,000 koku. Traditionally, Nobuyuki's decision to serve the Tokugawa is seen as pragmatism on the part of the Sanada - regardless of whether Ishida or Tokugawa won, the Sanada would stand to gain.
Sons: Nobuyoshi (1593-1634), Nobumasa (1597-1658), Nobushige

Sanada Yukimura
(Sanada Nobushige, Sanada Genjirô)
Sanada retainer, Osaka Castle defender
Saemon no suke

Yukimura, who was actually known throughout his career as Nobushige, was the 2nd son of Sanada Yukimura. As a child he was called Gobenmaru. In 1585 he was sent as a hostage to the Uesugi by his father and was placed in the custody of Suda Chikamitsu. Returning to his father, he was married to a daughter of Ôtani Yoshitsugu. Later, he gained fame at the defense of Ueda Castle where he assisted Masayuki in holding back the troops of Tokugawa Hidetada. He was afterwards banished with his father to Kûdoyama in Kii Province. When men began to rally around Toyotomi Hideyori at Osaka Castle in 1614, Yukimura slipped out of Kii and arrived at Osaka on the same day as Chosokabe Morichika. He was to become a chief defender of the castle when it was attacked by the Tokugawa in what would become known as the 'Osaka Winter Campaign'. He constructed a fortified position remembered as the 'Sanada barbican' (Sanadamaru) and defended it fiercely with 7,000 men against an attack by 10,000 Tokugawa men. When the 'Osaka Summer Campaign' commenced in May 1615, Yukimura was one of the commanders of the full-scale offensive operation that culminated in the Battle of Tennôji. As the battle began to turn against Hideyori's followers, Sanada, seeing that his cause was lost, collapsed onto his campstool in exhaustion and was killed by a certain Nishio Nizaemon of the Tokugawa army. Yukimura's destiny was to become one of the most popular and famed figures of the Sengoku Period amongst modern Japanese.
Son: Nobumasa (Daisuke, d.1615)

copyright 2005 F. W. Seal