Otate no Ran

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Uesugi Kagekatsu vs. Uesugi Kagetora

The great warlord Uesugi Kenshin died in the spring of 1578 and left Echigo with an uncertain future. Prior to his death, he had arranged for two men to inherit his domains and, perhaps unsurprisingly, this resulted in a civil war. The two leaders in question were Uesugi Kagekatsu and Uesugi Kagetora. Kagekatsu was the son of Nagao Masakage and Kenshin's nephew. Kagetora was the 7th son of Hojo Ujiyasu and at one time had been adopted into the Takeda family. Kenshin had adopted Kagetora in 1569 as part of a Hojo-Uesugi peace treaty and married him to one of Nagao Masakage's daughters, thus making him Kagekatsu's brother-in-law. When Kenshin died, mutual distrust and ambition quickly divided the two men, and separate camps formed - one with Kagekatsu at Kasugayama castle and one with Kagetora at Otate. Kagekatsu managed to gain the support of some of Echigo's greatest generals (including Amakasu Kagemochi, Saito Tomonobu, and Suibara Takaie) and after some bitter fighting managed to bring down Otate castle. A Hojo attempt to come to the aid of their kinsman failed, and Kagetora commited suicide. While Kagekatsu was now the sole lord of Echigo, the war would prove almost as disastrous for the Uesugi as Nagashino had been for the Takeda. Divided and bloodied, the Uesugi suffered the loss of almost all the lands Kenshin had taken to the west of Echigo to the Oda army. Only the death of Oda Nobunaga in 1582 halted the inexorable Oda push towards Echigo itself.