Copyright Robert Cole 2015 - No copying or distributing -
SeeShingen's Sword

~ Cavalry ~ 
Swiftly, like the Wind 
~ Infantry ~ 
Orderly, like the Forest 
~ Raiders ~ 
Sweep like Wild-fire 
~ Commander ~ 
Unmoving, like the Mountain


View Layout Versionpdf
After the long years SHINGEN and UESUGI KENSHIN ( See KENSHIN ) wrestled in the dirt at KAWANAKAJIMA, the TAKEDA patriarch joined IYEYASU TOKUGAWA against IMAGAWA UJIZANE, taking and dividing SURUGA and TOTOMI between them
The HOJO father and son team of UJIYASU and UJIMASA were appalled and entered against SHINGEN, and against SHINGEN's 

expansion, restoring UJIZANE at FUCHU. The old IMAGAWA territories had been TOTOMI and SURUGA, and TOKUGAWA's home province of MIKAWA. 

Instead of siding with SHINGEN's appeal against the HOJO, TOKUGAWA enjoined the camp of NOBUNAGA showing the game-craft that would later earn him the SHOGUNATE. SHINGEN then entered IYEYASU's TOTOMI.

This put TOKUGAWA, whose ranks were filling with the IMAGAWA SAMURAI that had peopled these TOKUGAWA tracts of TOTOMI and MIKAWA, against SHINGEN's push at the provincial line to KYOTO. (The same regions, or DO , that birth the arts and sword-styles that are studied by sword collectors and appraisers were the paths that would provide the line of supply for any march on power. These fights of the SENGOKU were about opening and holding that line to KYOTO.)

After the death of staunch, HOJO UJIYASU, SHINGEN made peace with his son, UJIMASA, and had only then KENSHIN, at his rear in the west, to tie up resources from efforts against the TOKUGAWA/NOBUNAGA wall that separated KYOTO. 

Winter snows were an expected and reliable damper for KENSHIN, so October would find SHINGEN in MIKAWA at IYEYASU's HAMAMATSU Castle.

51 year old SHINGEN enticed the twenty-nine year old out by falling from his camp at MIKATA-ga-HARA to II-DANI and thereby leaving empty the only field for TOKUGAWA's only hand: pitched battle against overwhelming odds.

                IYEYASU took the field.

He was attacked and defeated, and his forces dispersed.

It is here the KAMI intervened IYEYASU's famous SEPPUKU and brought about his return to the Castle. From HAMAMATSU he mounts a surprise dawn attack that electrifies his forces to a sweeping route.

   SHINGEN will wait a year to hear his sweet flute drift in the twilight at NODA Castle.
TOKUGAWA will find three periods to his life:
    - That of NOBUNAGA, fighting SHINGEN and his son
    - That of the TAIKO, seating politics and power
    - That of securing the SHOGUNATE 

IYEYASU contemplates his fate 
following defeat at HAMAMATSU

SHINGEN & his 23 Retainers

A musket ball whistles through the lyric 
                                                           of a drifting flute...
SHINGEN lost his life trying to unseat the TOKUGAWA block through MIKAWA

After a lull, NOBUNAGA and TOKUGAWA renewed their effort to destroy the great TAKEDA power-base then being scuttled in the hands of SHINGENs' son, KATSUYORI

Defeats at TAKATENJIN in 1574 and NAGASHINO, 1575, marked the first of their long bloody trail. 

KATSUYORI's younger brother, NISHINA NOBUMORI held KATSUYORI's TAKATO Castle in SHINANO, TEN-SHO 10, 1582. 

ODA NOBUNAGA's third son, NOBUTAKA sent a BONZE to negotiate. SHINGEN had built the castle after taking TAKATO in 1549 and it had been KATSUYORI's since 1562.

NOBUMORI cut off the priest's nose and ear. 

On the 2nd day of the 3rd month, 
                                                     TAKATO fell. 

Takeda Katsuyori
KATSUYORI's SHIMPU-JO Castle had also become indefensible and when he heard his brother had committed SEPPUKU, KATSUYORI decided to strike an offensive the next day at OYAMADA NOBUSHIGE's IWADONO Castle near OTSUKI.

He commanded NOBUSHIGE to make ready, giving him the TAKEDA MITSUTADA and his prize mount, OSHU-KURO. (NOBUSHIGE was later killed by this same MITSUTADA at ZENKO-JI Temple in NAGANO. It would become one of the famous 25 NOBUNAGA MITSUTADA)

Leaving the burning SHIMPU-JO, they stayed the night at DAIZEN Temple. TAKEDA relative, REKEINI joined their party and the REKEINI-KI family chronology provides a vivid description:

'Having seen many defections the prior day, the party headed over the mountain to IWADONO. The women marched without footwear, streaking the road with blood...'

Takigawa Kazumasu
IWADONO: they find surprise turncoat, NOBUSHIGE, barricaded with rifles, refusing them entrance. 

At this, the remnants of the great and once all powerful TAKEDA clan, 46 warriors and 23 women, 
                                         turned for TEMMOKUZAN

ODA's general, TAKIGAWA KAZUMASU, See ODA with an army several thousand strong, and headed by ex-TAKEDA retainer, hyper-zealous, TSUJI YABEI, over-took them at TANOnoSATO. 

KATSUYORI, carrying his fathers' HAITO and family treasure, the KAInoKUNI GO YOSHIHIRO, was attacked from all directions. 

He killed 11. 

His son, TARO NOBUKATSU in U-no-HANA YOROI, had the other family treasure, the TAKEDA SA-MONJI TACHI. 

Without arms or armor, the women killed themselves with TANTO...

The men, including KOMIYAYAMA MASATOMO, TSUCHIYA SOZO and AKIYAMA KII, fought one of the strongest recorded battles in Japanese history, - but at last all fell 
                  to overwhelming numbers. 

It is said KATSUYORI took his own life with the GO.

Katsuyori, his wife 
and son, Nobukatsu


After these long struggles, it was appropriate when TAKIGAWA gave the KAInoKUNI GO sword to IYEYASU TOKUGAWA.

Perhaps his most prized personal and career acquisition, IYEYASU corrected the TEMMOKUZAN damage by making the NAKAGO, SURIAGE and held it as his special, coveted trophy, a true symbol of his struggles and successes. The vanquished soul of his beloved enemy, SHINGEN, and all that remained of his lost house resided, finally, with him.

After IYEYASU aided the ODA house against "The Usurper" TOYOTOMI HIDEYOSHI at NAGAKUTE, stalemated HIDEYOSHI, the soon TAIKO of Japan, demanded the KAInoKUNI GO as stinging personal penance and high gift.

HIDEYOSHI gave in return the FUDO KUNIYUKI sword and his sister, ASAHInoKATA, in marriage.

This exchange brokered the destiny of Japan for, from this swap, the path of these ex-NOBUNAGA generals was forever struck. HIDEYOSHI would build his Golden Pavilion and take Korea and China. TOKUGAWA would have the rice cake of the KANTO and force his wily hand to the SHOGUNATE - Emperors would pay homage to his grave.

HIDEYOSHI kept the KAI GO and bestowed it, only on his death bed, to MORI TERUMOTO, the great MOTONARI's grandson, to help stake his covenant and allegiance as one of the five TAIRO or Great Regents guarding the minority of HIDEYOSHI's five year old son, TOYOTOMI HIDEYORI. This publicly humiliating jab to IYEYASU was at once, tension builder and powerful political play for, giving it to another, all knew of TOKUGAWA's correctly placed love for this piece. If it were any living man's, it was truly that of IYEYASU. His very position in life had been forged with SHINGEN. IYEYASU's vassal had fired that fatal shot in that fateful twilight long before
After SEKIGAHARA, IYEYASU retrieved his KAInoKUNI GO for the TOKUGAWA Family, while also allowing disgraced TERUMOTO another public wound for a shamed retirement. 
Continues to ODA

    Shingen's Sword

Go to:  Koshirae
        View Layout Version pdf 
Return to: SiteMap