Here I will put samurai bios. This is specifically for generals of major daimyo and lords of the period. I am also putting
these bios on http://www.wikipedia.org
so look for them there. (Username is TheGreatTinHead)
I will put information on the famous rulers of the Sengoku-Jidai period here. I will put them alphabetically
Kenshin Uesugi was one of the many powerful lords of the Sengoku-Jidai period. He is famed for his prowess on the battlefield,
his military expertise, strategy and his belief in the god of war-Bishamonten. Kenshin Uesugi was known to also be an alchoholic.
He never had any sons but adopted two different sons who would be his heirs. He increased trade in his provinces and encouraged
Kenshin Uesugi was born in Echigo province and was the son of a powerful warlord. Kenshin's father died in
battle, starting tumult and civil war in Echigo where Kenshin's father was ruler. Kenshin Uesugi fought with his brother in
battle and won, thus recieving his fathers lands and becoming a powerful daimyo of the time. He had gained Echigo but had
not completly unified it. Kenshin Uesugi's unification of Echigo was a slow process that probably was not completed till much
Around the time Kenshin had become the new lord of Echigo, Shingen Takeda had won victories in Shinano. The
two provinces (Shinano and Echigo) share a border. Shingen Takeda gained dominion over Shinano by defeating a few minor lords
and then defeating Yoshioki Murakami, the leader of the powerful, local Murakami clan. The Takeda, originally situated in
Kai, had expanded northwards. Kenshin watched these activities with alarm. Soon after Yoshioki Murakami was defeated, he and
another lord went to Kenshin and asked him to help them against Shingen. Shingen's northward advance had worried Kenshin Uesugi
and so he agreed to fight against Shingen Takeda. The two lords fought many battles at Kawanakajima though neither side gained
any great advantage.
After 3 battles at Kawanakajima, Kenshin Uesugi expanded his domain to include Etchu province
by fighting various lords there. After this, he and Shingen Takeda fought the biggest battle they would fight, the 4th battle
of Kawanakajima. Shingen won this battle but at great cost. At the beginning of the fight Shingen's brother was killed. Shingen's
plan was to pincer the enemy or surround Kenshin's army. However Kenshin became aware of this and realized Shingen's strategy.
He surprised Shingen and his cavalry made an effective charge against the surprised Takeda troops. Soon after Kenshin used
an ingenious tactic. He used a special formation where the soldiers in the front would switch with the soldiers in back every
now and then. This allowed the tired soldiers to take a break while the soldiers who had not seen action would fight on the
frontlines. This was extremely effective and because of this Kenshin nearly defeated Shingen. In this battle is the tale of
Kenshin riding up to Shingen and slashing at him with his sword. Shingen fended off the blows with his iron war fan or 'Tessen.'
However Kenshin failed to finish Shingen off. Nobufusa Baba drove Kenshin away and Shingen made a counter-attack. The Uesugi
army retreated and many soldiers drowned in a nearby river while others were cut down by Nobufusa Baba's troops and troops
of other important Takeda vassals.
Though Shingen and Kenshin still fought, Kenshin became concerned with fighting
the Hojo. He also fought with the Ashina clan, another powerful clan of the time. Kenshin expanded his territory again but
was forced to retreat when he ran short on supplies. Shingen died around the time and Kenshin reportedly wept for the loss
of a good rival.
Sometime later Kenshin Uesugi fought with Nobunaga Oda. He defeated Nobunaga Oda despite being outnumbered
and might have further expaned into Nobunaga's lands. However Nobunaga Oda was fortunate and Kenshin Uesugi died slightly
after the battle. Some say he died on a lavatory, others say he was assassinated by a ninja. However most likely he died from
sickness since Nobunaga Oda persecuted ninjas. Kenshin might have become the most powerful ruler in Japan and could have lived
on to defeat Nobunaga Oda perhaps had he not died.
Shingen Takeda had a profound effect on the Sengoku-Jidai period of Japan. He influenced many lords with his law system,
tax system and administration system. He was probably not as cruel as other warlords but he was aggresive toward military
enemies. His war banner contained the famous phrase Fu-Rin-Ka-Zan, taken from Sun Tzu's 'The Art of War.' This phrase translates
to Swift as the wind, Silent as a forest, Fierce as fire and Immovable as a mountain.
The phrase demonstrates both
Shingen's policies and warfare strategy. Shingen was indeed fierce as fire and was one of the most aggressive warlords of
the time period. He moved swiftly as the wind and even after a defeat he would quickly avenge his loss and make a counter-attack.
However Shingen's intentions weren't always clear. He would move cautiously and could suddenly attack enemies, thus he was
silent as a forest. Despite all of this Shingen was indeed immovable as the mountain. In battle he moved cautiously and made
sure he was well defended. Once he had gained a firm hold on territories in Shinano and Kai, Shingen made sure he did not
rush into battle and Shingen carefully checked his borders. Even after a defeat he would still hold his ground and thus during
his reign the Takeda was well defended.
Shingen Takeda is known as 'The Tiger of Kai' and was a major warlord during
the Sengoku-Jidai period. He was the son of Nobutora Takeda. At some point in his life Shingen rebelled against his father
and took control of the Takeda. Yoshimoto Imagawa helped this rebellion and the Imagawa, Hojo and Takeda would be a sort of
allied union. (Mostly thanks to Yoshimoto Imagawa who was a master diplomat of his time)
Shingen's first act was
to gain a hold of the area around him. His goal was to conquer Shinano province. He fought with many warlords and expanded
his conquest. However the warlord was defeated at Uehara by Yoshioki Murakami who won by utilizing guns which would play a
prominent role in Sengoku-Jidai warfare. Shingen managed to avenge this loss and the Murakami clan eventually was defeated
as well. Yoshioki Murakami fled and became a vassal of the Uesugi later. By this time the Takeda had unified Shinano and had
gained a fairly vast domain of Shinano and Kai. Unlike many other clans of the time, the Takeda were lucky enough to have
a large number of horses in their provinces which allowed them to make use of cavalry. (Many clans could barely get enough
horses for their officers let alone have cavalry units) The Takeda was emerging as a threat to other clans.
he had gained Shinano, Shingen faced his greatest rival and archnemesis, namely, Kenshin Uesugi. The two would battle it out
in the great battles of Kawanakajima. Even when faced with his greatest enemy, Kenshin Uesugi, Shingen would not completly
make a bold move against the enemy. Instead he moved carefully and did not make one full attack, he made sure that he was
well defended while slowly taking forts.These battles snowballed back and forth between the two clans. No side gained complete
victory until Shingen Takeda died. In these battles Shingen would come up with the genius strategy to dam the Fuji river which
was a genius ploy on his part. In these battles also comes the famous tale of Kenshin Uesugi's forces clearing a path through
Takeda troops and Kenshin fighting with Shingen. The tale has Kenshin Uesugi attacking Shingen with his sword while Shingen
defends with his iron war fan or 'Tessen.'
After Yoshimoto Imagawa (a close ally of the Takeda) was defeated, Shingen
made a clever move against the weak Imagawa. He fought against Yoshimoto's heir and expanded his domain. After this he made
a move against the Tokugawa clan which had also taken advantage of the situation of the weakened Imagawa. This culminated
in his famous victory at Mikatagahara where he defeated the Tokugawa. This would be Shingen Takeda's last major victory. He
died soon after this battle and his son Katsuyori took over. Soon after Shingen died, his rival Kenshin weeped the death of
a great nemesis. The Takeda was not defeated however. Shingen's son Katsuyori took over and would bring the clan to ruin by
trying (unsuccessfully) to fulfill the ambition of his father by further pressing onto Tokugawa lands. At Nagashino, Katsuyori
Takeda would be defeated by an allied contingent of Nobunaga Oda and Ieyasu Tokugawa marking the almost total annhilation
of the Takeda.
Masamune is known for a few things that made him a special daimyo of the time. In particular his famous helmet gained him
some clout in this period. As a child Masamune Date lost his eye in a bout with smallpox. He actually pulled his own eye out.
His aggressive policies, temper and forceful policy earned him the nickname One-eyed dragon. Despite this, Masamune supported
programs to beautify his region with art and architecture, and the Northern fiefs that Masamune controlled prospered.
When his father Terumune retired, Masamune took control of the Date. Soon after Masamune took control, one of
Terumune's retainers, Ouchi Sadatsuna betrayed him to join the powerful Ashina clan. Masamune foolishly went to war with the
Ashina and suffered a defeat. Unluckily for Masamune, his father's rival Yoshitsugu Hatakeyama also declared war on him. Yoshitsugu
captured and executed Masamune's father Terumune and gained the support of the Ashina and other powerful clans in the area.
The enemy coalition took one fort after another of Date's. As the Date seemed to be on the brink of defeat, Date had the
grand fortune of his enemy being attacked by another clan. Encouraged Date learned from his mistakes and rebuilt his force.
He then defeated the Soma clan and prepared to challenge the Ashina to a rematch. This time, Masamune Date destroyed a bridge
so the enemy could not escape. Once the enemy was routed, Masamune Date and his men charged the enemy slaughtering every one
of them. Now Date held a large fief to rule. Hideyoshi Toyotomi gained his support and Masamune would participate in a number
of battles serving the lords.
Masamune expanded trade in the otherwise bland, backwater province of Tohoku. Although initially in his career he was faced with hostile clans attacking him, he managed to overcome these clans after
a few defeats and eventually ruled the largest fief of the later Tokugawa shogunate. He built many palaces and worked on many
projects to bring prosperity to the region. He is also known to have encouraged foreigners to come to his land.
It is also possible that Masamune Date himself was secretly a Christian convert although most likely he wanted foreign technology
similarly to other lords like Nobunaga Oda. For 270 years Tohoku was a place of tourism, trade and prosperity. Matsushima for instance, a series of islands was praised
for it's beauty and serenity by the Haiku poet Basho.
Masamune Date's greatest achievment was funding and endorsing one of Japan's only journeys of exploration in this period.
Masamune sympathized with Christian missionaries and traders in Japan. In addition to allowing them to come and preach in
his province, he also released the prisoner and missionary Padre Sotelo from the hands of Ieyasu Tokugawa. Masamune Date allowed Sotelo as well as other missionaries to practice their religion and win converts in Tohoku. After a while Masamune Date ordered the building of the Date Mura an explorer ship. Masamune constructed this ship using
foreign (European) ship-building techniques. He sent one of his retainers and Sotelo on a voyage to Rome. This voyage visited
such places as the Philippines, Mexico, Spain and Rome making it the first Japanese voyage to sail around the world. In prior
times Japanese lords never funded these sorts of ventures so it was probably also the first successful voyage period.
Although Masamune was a patron of the arts and sympathized with the foreign cause he also was an aggressive and ambitious
daimyo. When he first took over the Date clan he suffered a few major defeats from powerful and influential clans such as
the Ashina. These defeats were arguably caused by recklessness on Masamune's part. No lord fully trusted Masamune Date. Hideyoshi Toyotomi reduced the size of his land after his tardiness to participate in the siege of Odawara against Ujimasa Hojo. Later in his life Ieyasu Tokugawa increased the size of his lands again but constantly was suspicious of Masamune and his
policies. For instance Ieyasu Tokugawa suspected foreign missionaries as treasonous and/or a threat to his power. Because
of this he ordered Padre Sotelo to death after his journey around the world. Although Ieyasu Tokugawa and other allies of the Date were always suspicious
of him, Masamune Date served the Tokugawa and Toyotomi loyally for the most part. He took part in the Korean campaigns, Hideyoshi's
campaigns for expansion in Korea and the Osaka campaigns. When Tokugawa was on his deathbed Masamune came to visit him and
read a piece of Zen poetry to him.
Here I will add women such as Okuni who highly contributed to Japanese culture or otherwise.
Oichi's real name was Odani-no-Kata. She was a very beautiful woman but out of the many woman of the Sengoku-Jidai period,
Oichi might have had the most turbulent life. Caught up in the tides of war, Oichi was seperated from her daughters, husband
and family and used as a political tool throughout her life. Oichi's daughter would later marry Hideyoshi Toyotomi and bear
his son Hideyori.
Oichi was initially married to Katsuie Shibata. She truly loved him but Nobunaga forcibly divorced
the pair. Nobunaga sent Oichi to Nagamasa Azai to be married. This political marriage allied the Oda and Azai clans for a
time. Oichi and Nagamasa had their first child, a daugter.
In time however Nagamasa Azai chose to help his ally Asakura,
who was at war with Nobunaga Oda. This provoked Nobunaga and he decided to attack Nagamasa. He won at the battle of Anegawa
river. However Nagamasa and Nobunaga agreed to peace again. Oichi was caught between the Oda and the Azai clan. Yet now there
seemed to be a peace between the two clans.
Oichi had two more children with Nagamasa Azai however they were both daughters.
In 3 years time, Azai would again ally with Asakura and Nobunaga would besiege both castles. Nobunaga set fire to Odani castle,
where Oichi and Nagamasa resided. Oichi managed to escape Odani castle and was brought back to Katsuie Shibata, her former
husband. She would not move from the castle until it seemed there was no other choice. Nagamasa Azai perished in the flame.
Oichi wept for the loss of her husband. However Oichi took her 3 daughters with her when she escaped.
Now she was again
united with Katsuie Shibata and her daughters were with her. Katsuie Shibata gained Asakura's castle. Tragedy came again to
Oichi. When Nobunaga died, Hideyoshi fought a war with Mitsuhide. Afterwards he fought an inheritance war with Katsuie Shibata.
Sadly for Oichi, the latter lost. Oichi this time died with her husband but sent her daughters to Hideyoshi. Oichi and Katsuie
met their fate and were killed. One of Oichi's daughter would bear Hideyoshi's only son and heir-Hideyori Toyotomi.