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The Honnōji Incident

Date(s): June 21, 1582 Armies: Oda vs. Akechi Casualties: Unknown number for both sides   The Honnōji Incident was a coup brought on by Akechi Mitsuhide against Oda Nobunaga in the early morning hours of June 21, 1582. This is one of the most significant events in the Sengoku Jidai, with the end result being the death of Oda Nobunaga. Despite the incident being a famous event, little is known on how the battle went down and why Mitsuhide suddenly betrayed his lord.   Before the Battle Nobunaga was on the path to conquer Japan. In the early months of 1582, Nobunaga finished off the last of the Takeda at the Battle of Tenmokuzan. By this point, Nobunaga had control over central Japan and the last power enemies he had to deal with were the Hōjō, Mōri, and Uesugi. These clans, however, were falling apart from the inside, giving Nobunaga an opening. Nobunaga sent Shibata Katsuie to invade Echigo, Taigawa Kazumasu to watch the Hōjō clan’s movements from Kōzuke and Shinano Provinces, and Niwa Nagahide …

Kyōgoku Maria

Kyōgoku Maria in Sengoku BASARA 4. Kanji: 京極マリア Date(s): 1543-August 20, 1618 Other Known Names: Yōfuku-in Azai clan mon Kyōgoku Maria was the daughter of Azai Hisamasa and the older sister to Azai Nagamasa. Very little is known about her, the only place being on Wikipedia, which is strange considering that she is claimed to be one of the best catechists in Kyōto-Ōsaka area. There are no records of a birth name, but she got the name of Maria when she was baptized alongside her husband, Kyōgoku Takayoshi, in 1581. From the list of family on her Wikipedia page, it looks like there was only one other member of her family that became a Christian, one of her daughters, Kyōgoku Magdalena, but with no dates of birth or death, or any other information whatsoever, it is just a guess on my part just based on the daughter’s name alone. The other daughter Kyōgoku Tatsuko, was one of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s favorite concubines. Sadly, her husband died not too long after their baptism. After her husband’s death, she …

Kaihime

Kaihime in Samurai Warriors 4 Kanji: 甲斐姫 Date(s): circa. 1572(?)-17th Century (year and cause of death unknown) Other Known Names: N/A Hōjō clan mon Kaihime was an onna-bugeisha from the Narita clan who served the Later Hōjō clan. She is well known for her grace and beauty, being called “the most beautiful woman in east Japan”, and she was known for her bravery which has been recorded during the sieges of Oshi Castle during the Odawara Campaign in 1590 and Ōsaka Castle in 1615. She was also one of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s wives. It is unclear when Kaihime was born, but most historians speculate that she was born around 1572. She was the daughter of Narita Ujinaga, a retainer of the Later Hōjō clan. She had two other sisters, Makihime and Atsushihime. Kaihime’s father lamented at the fact that he only had daughters as heirs. To make up for this, Kaihime trained as an onna-bugeisha. She was married to Yura Narishige, but he would pass away in 1578. Her first recorded feat of bravery was at the …

Tachibana Ginchiyo

Kanji: 立花 誾千代 Date(s): September 23, 1569-November 30, 1602 Other Known Names: N/A Tachibana clan mon Tachibana Ginchiyo was head of the Tachibana clan and onna-bugeisha from the Sengoku Jidai. She was the only surviving child of Tachibana Dōsetsu, the “Lightning God”. She was an unconventional leader, and one of the few that had an entourage of trained and armed women and is well-known for her solo stance against the Eastern Army during the Kyūshū Sekigahara Campaign in 1600. When Ginchiyo was born in 1569, her father was the one to personally name her. Ginchiyo’s name roughly means “one who would not listen idly to others”, which became an extremely fitting name as she got older. She rejected much of her mother’s teachings to be a lady, focusing more on martial arts. It is said that Ginchiyo was a stern and strict woman who excelled in communication. Ginchiyo took over the clan in 1575 at the age of six, inheriting her father’s territory and belongings, namely the sword known as Raikiri (“Lightning Cutter”). Her other …

Ii Naotora

  Ii Naotora in Samurai Warriors 4. Kanji: 井伊 直虎 Date(s): 1530s(?)-September 1582 Other Known Names: “Female Landlord”, Jirō Hōshi Ii clan mon Ii Naotora was a daimyo and possible onna-bugeisha during the reign of Oda Nobunaga. She was the only daughter and only child of Ii Naomori, the eighteenth head of the clan, and Yuushun-in (background unknown). She was the one who brought independence to the Ii clan and were loyal to the Tokugawa clan. There is no record of her ever marrying or having any children of her own, but she did adopt Ii Naochika’s children, the most famous being Ii Naomasa. There is very little information about her life, and some of what we know is conflicting. What is known is that she was the only child of Ii Naomori and Yuushun-in. To secure an heir, Naotora’s uncle Naomitsu tried to marry her to his son, Ii Naochika. This way, Naomitsu could inherit the clan. At this point, the Ii clan served the Imagawa clan, and Naomitsu planned on rebelling against the …

Ōhōri Tsuruhime

Ōhōri Tsuruhime in Sengoku BASARA Yukimura-den Kanji: 大祝鶴姫 Date(s): 1526-1543 Other Known Names: the “Joan of Arc” of Japan Kono clan mon   Ōhōri Tsuruhime, or simply known as Tsuruhime, was possibly an onna-bugeisha who fought against the Ōuchi clan in the early years of the Sengoku Jidai. She was the head priestess at Ōyamazumi Shrine on Ōmishima Island in Iyo Province. With her amazing fighting skills and her divine inspiration, she has been compared to Joan of Arc. Tsuruhime was born in 1526 and by the time she was fifteen, she had lost her brothers due to the Ōuchi/Kōno conflict on Shikoku and her father to illness. It was after the death of her father that she was made head priestess of Ōyamazumi Shrine and took charge of protecting the shrine from the Ōuchi. In 1541, she led an army against the Ōuchi, and managed to drive them back to the open sea. Four months later, the Ōuchi arrived outside of Ōmishima. Tsuruhime snuck onto the ship belonging to Ohara Takakoto and challenged him …

Ashikaga Yoshiteru

Kanji: 足利 義輝 Date(s): March 31, 1536-June 17, 1565 Other Known Names: Ashikaga Yoshifuji (or Yoshifishi), “The Sword Shogun” (“Kengo shōgun”) Ashikaga clan mon Ashikaga Yoshiteru was the thirteenth shōgun in the Ashikaga Shogunate. Reigning from 1546 to 1565, Ashikaga Yoshiteru has been claimed by historians as the last effective shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate. He was well-known for his skill with the sword, trained by the founder of the Kashima Shintō-ryū martial arts school, Tsukahara Bokuden. Due to his skill, he was given the nickname, “The Sword Shōgun”. Born in 1536, Ashikaga Yoshiteru became shōgun of Japan after his father, Ashikaga Yoshiharu was forced to retire after a power struggle with Hosokawa Harumoto. Yoshiteru was only eleven at the time. He managed to establish a peace treaty with the Hosokawa, but the peace did not last long, for a civil war broke out between the Miyoshi and the Hosokawa, causing Yoshiteru and his father to flee Kyōto. In 1550, Yoshiteru’s father passed away in Ōmi Province. Two years later, Yoshiteru established peace with Miyoshi …

Uesugi Kenshin

Kanji: 上杉 謙信 Date(s): February 18, 1530-April 19, 1578 Other Known Names: Nagao Kagetora, Uesugi Masatora, Uesugi Terutora, Dragon of Echigo, God of War, Tiger of Echigo, Guardian of the North Uesugi clan mon Uesugi Kenshin was one of the most powerful daimyo during the Sengoku Jidai. He was the rival of Takeda Shingen, fighting against him at Kawanajima in total of five times during their lifetime, each time ending in stalemates. He was a devout follower of Zen Buddhism and followed Bishamonten, the God of War, and many of his followers believed that he was the Avatar of Bishamonten. In recent years, questions have been raised about Kenshin’s gender, which will be covered in a separate article, but for this article and for the Sengoku Archives, Kenshin will still be referred to as a man. Uesugi Kenshin was born Nagao Kagetora, the third or fourth son of Nagao Tamekage, who was a retainer of the Yamanouchi branch of the Uesugi clan. His father won many military battles for the Uesugi, but problems began to …

Maeda Keiji

Date(s): c. 1543-1612? Kanji: 前田慶次 Other Known Names: Soubei (young adult), Keijirō (young adult), Toshihiro (adult), Toshioki (adult), Toshisada (adult), Toshitaka (adult), Takuto (adult), Gokuzou-In Hyosai (senior), Ryuzaiken Fubensai (senior)   Maeda clan mon Maeda Keiji, also known as Maeda Toshimasu, was the adopted nephew of Maeda Toshiie and a samurai of great mystery to historians today. Maeda Keiji was considered to be a kabukimono, a type of rōnin that was prominent in Japan during this area and were known to be flamboyant in their dress and mannerisms. Despite his wild and crazy ways, it has been said that Keiji was a compassionate man who enjoyed the arts and literature. His horse, Matsukaze (“the wind in the pines”), is just as mysterious as his master. With very few historical records available (especially in English), many legends and alternative histories surround Maeda Keiji. It is unclear when he was born, but most historians place his birth year around 1543. He was born in the village of Arako, which is in the present-day Nagoya region. While most …

The Tōhoku Sekigahara Campaign

Hasedō as it appears in Samurai Warriors 4.   The Tōhoku Sekigahara Campaign are the series of sieges fought in the northern part of the main island of Honshū between the Eastern and Western Armies. The Uesugi clan sided with the Western Army and the Date and Mogami clans sided with the Eastern Army. The entirety of the Tōhoku Sekigahara Campaign was fought in four sieges: Shiroishi, Hataya, Kaminoyama, and Hasedō.   Before the Campaign After Toyotomi Hideyoshi died in 1598, the country that had once knew peace was now facing turmoil once again. Tokugawa Ieyasu set his sights on control of the country, while Ishida Mitsunari fought to keep the land united under the Toyotomi. This began to divide the country, making other daimyos choose who to follow. Tensions got extremely high after the death of Toyotomi Hideyori’s godfather, Maeda Toshiiie, passed away the following year, giving Ieyasu an opening. He began taking over the Toyotomi clan just as Hideyoshi did after Nobunaga’s assassination in 1582. The problems that led to the Tōhoku Campaign …