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Takeda Shingen (December 1, 1521 – May 13, 1573)
Referred to as the “Tiger of Kai”, Takeda Shingen was an exceptional
strategist, a brilliant general and daimyo of Kai Province.
Highly influential in regards to issues involving the periods’ laws,
taxes and administration, he was a fair ruler, aggressive, but not
unnecessarily cruel towards his opponents.
At the age of 21 he rebelled against his father, sending him into exile,
he seized control of the clan and the family lands in modern day
Yamanashi Prefecture. In an effort to expand his territories, he soon
conquered neighboring Shinano Province, currently Nagano Prefecture.
Having taken Shinano, he was faced with a warrior who would become
his greatest rival, Uesugi Kenshin. The rivalry between the two
became almost legendary, facing each other five times in the Battles
Of those five skirmishes, it is the Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima
that saw the fiercest fighting on September 10, 1561.
The famous story tells of the 13,000 Uesugi forces advancing deep
into the 20,000 strong Takeda lines, and the horse mounted Uesugi Kenshin himself actually entering
Takeda Shingen’s battle camp enclosure. Uesugi attacked Takeda as he sat on his camp stool,
defending himself with his Gunbai, war baton.
In 1573, Takeda Shingen began encroaching upon the lands of Tokugawa Ieyasu in his effort to destroy
the forces of Oda Nobunaga. At Mikatagahara just outside of Hamamatsu Castle, Shizuoka Prefecture,
Shingens’ 20,000 samurai faced off against Ieyasu’s 8,000, supported by 3,000 from his ally, Oda Nobunaga.
It was to be one of Ieyasu’s worst defeats, and one of the best demonstrations of Takeda cavalry tactics.
Ieyasu fled back to Hamamatsu Castle, and opened the gates to the now undermanned fortress wide open,
and with brazier lights burning bright. Fearing a trap, Shingen left the castle standing, and instead pushed
further into Mikawa Province (Aichi Prefecture) and made an attempt on Noda Castle. It was to be
Shingens’ final fight.
Although the exact details of Shingen’s death are not absolutely known, it is believed he was killed by,
or died from injuries sustained from a sniper within Noda Castle while laying siege to the Mikawa fortress.
Upon hearing of Shingen’s death, Uesugi Kenshin is reported to have openly wept at the loss of a worthy,
and much respected rival.
【Japan World Link】
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