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Takeda Shingen's 24 Generals

Posted January 10th, 2011 at 12:04 PM by leakbrewergator

Takeda Shingen was loyally served by a very talented retainer band. In fact, outside of the mighty Oda Nobunaga, there is perhaps not 1 daimyo in Japan's history that could match the "star-power" within Shingen's command. (This, of course, does not include Hideyoshi or Ieyasu.)

Now, Shingen had around 40 or so generals that are worthy of being mentioned as great fighters. However, during the Edo period, an artist came up with the concept of "Takeda Shingen's 24 Generals." Supposedly, these were the men that Shingen trusted more than any others among his vassals.

There have been small variances in the list of Shingen's 24 generals over the years. These are the names that are most often associated with the list:

Click the image to open in full size.

Baba Nobufusa - Also known as Baba Nobuharu. He fought at Odawara, Mikatagahara, Kawanakajima and Mimasetoge. Nobufusa personally objected to Nagashino, because he recognized how futile the fight was. Despite his objections, he led the charge for the Takeda and was killed while protecting Takeda Katsuyori's retreat after the battle. He was known for his wisdom as well as his bravery and was often consulted on all matters by Takeda Shingen. Prior to his death at Nagashino, Nobuharu was said to have fought in over 70 battles without being injured.

Yamagata Masakage - Masakage is considered to have been the fiercest warrior in the Takeda clan. He performed admirably during the Takeda's campaign in Shinano and played an important role in the defeat of the Murakami at the Siege of Toishi. Masakage also played a major role in the Takeda victory at Mikatagahara as well as the battle of Mimasetoge. Much like his older brother, Obu Toramasa, Masakage dressed his troops in all red. This earned them the nickname "Red Regiment." Masakage died at Nagashino while commanding the vanguard of the Takeda force.

Sanada Masayuki - Masayuki is often overshadowed in history by his son, Yukimura. The fact is Masayuki was a capable fighter n his own right and is often considered one of the greatest generals of the later Sengoku period. His first battle was for the Takeda at the 4th Battle of Kawanakajima. He became the head of the Sanada in 1575 and immediately began to expand his family's influence. In 1580, Masayuki gained control of Kozuke from the Hojo. Five years later, Masayuki stoutly defended the territory against an invading Tokugawa force. Masayuki would join Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1590 to help attack his rivals, the Hojo, during the Odawara Campaign. He sided with the Western Army at Sekigahara and stubbornly defended Ueda Castle.

Hara Toratane - Toratane earned a reputation as being one of the fiercest warriors of the Takeda. He was also thought as one of the more skilled generals employed by Shingen during his many campaigns. His use of Ashigaru units has become legendary. It has been said that Toratane could use 10 Ashigaru with the same effectiveness as 100 Samurai. He is also reported to have been wounded no fewer than 50 times in at least 30 battles, a direct opposite of the career of Nobuharu.

Yamamoto Kansuke - Kansuke provided valuable service to the Takeda in their wars within Shinano. Kansuke helped to defeat the Murakami in 1551, and fought valiantly in all of the Kawanakajima battles. Kansuke was the chief strategist for the Takeda and his suicide is something that has grown to become a legend. After (falsely) believing that his strategy had failed at the 4th Battle of Kawanakajima, Kansuke threw himself into the ranks of the Uesugi and fought til the death.

Takeda Nobushige - Nobushige was the chosen successor to the Takeda domain until his brother, Shingen, rebelled. Shingen, realizing the abilities of Nobushige, not only allowed him to live, but also gave him a commanding role within his vanguard. Nobushige was known for his military capabilities as well as his wisdom. He often provided Shingen with invaluable advice throughout his campaigns. Nobushige was eventually killed during the 4th Battle of Kawanakajima in 1561.

Kosaka Masanobu - Masanobu played a pivotal role in the 4th Battle of Kawanakajima,proving to be a thorn in the side of the Uesugi throughout the engagement. Masanobu was one of the few Takeda generals to survive the Battle of Nagashino. He is responsible for the safe retreat of Takeda Katsuyori and his personal guard at this engagement.

Obu Toramasa - Toramasa's moniker was "The Wild Tiger of Kai." Now that's just plain awesome! Toramasa rightly earned that nickname on the battlefield. He was a well renowned general known for dressing his unit in all red. Something that would be copied by several later generals. His most brilliant moment came during the Siege of Uchiyama Castle. With only 800 men, the "Wild Tiger" successfully defended the castle from 8,000 troops led by Uesugi Kenshin.

Obata Toramori - Toramori was a valuable retainer of the Takeda clan throughout his entire life. Toramori fought for Baba Nobuharu in all of his battles. As the opposite of Nobuharu, he was reported to have been wounded no fewer than 40 times in his long career. Toramori is known to have been an ashigaru tairo.

Akiyama Nobutomo - Nobutomo was noted as being perhaps Takeda Shingen's fiercest warrior, earning him the moniker, "The Raging Bull of The Takeda Clan." Any nickname as cool as that was usually earned. Nobutomo is also one of the unfortunate Samurai to have met his demise by being crucified. This was done after Nagashino, when Nobutomo attempted to hold onto Iwamura Castle.

Anayama Baisetsu - Also commonly known as Anayama Nobukini, he was a noted warrior for the Takeda. He fought in all of Shingen's campaigns, and even fought for Takeda Katsuyori at Nagashino, despite objecting to it. There’s an interesting story about his death. After Akechi Mitsuhide rebelled against Oda Nobunaga, Baisetsu and Tokugawa Ieyasu needed to flee the capital. As the story goes, Ieyasu followed the advice of his noted retainer, Hattori Hanzo, and took a different route than Baisetsu. As they say in the business, the rest is history...

Sanada Yukitaka
- Yukitaka was a warrior of renowned skill. Shingen actually sought out his services after seeing his abilities firsthand. Yukitaka helped to capture several castles during the Takeda's campaign in Shinano. He was a noted strategist, and along with Sanada Nobutsuna, Yukitaka helped to capture Toishi castle. He also fought at the Battles of Kawanakajima.

Naito Masatoyo - Masatoyo was one of Shingen's most reliable generals. He fought in many of the Takeda's battles, particularly distinguishing himself at the 4th Battle of Kawanakajima in 1561, as well as at the Siege of Minowa Castle 5 years later. Masatoyo was a cavalry commander and he fought in the forefront at both the Battle of Mikatagahara as well as at Nagashino, where he was killed.

Ichijo Nobutatsu
- Nobutatsu was a brother of Shingen, and fought in several of his battles. Nobutatsu was particularly skillful in the use of diplomacy, In this area, he was able to strengthen the alliance between the Takeda and several of their allies.

Takeda Nobukado
- Nobukado was another one of Shingen's brothers. He was very well-educated and used his intelligence in the role of adviser to Takeda Katsuyori. He fought and died at Nagashino.

Hara Masatane - Masatane was a skilled commander who fought for the Takeda in many battles as a senior retainer, most notably Mimasetoge and Kawanakajima. He was killed while fighting in the forefront at Nagashino.

Itagaki Nobukata
- Nobukata was one of the chief conspirators in the plot to overthrow Shingen's father, Nobutora as the head of the Takeda clan. After helping to install Shingen to power, Nobukata quickly became a powerful figure within the Takeda clan. He was a close adviser to Shingen as well as a noted warrior. He is often credited with fielding a spy unit for the Takeda. Nobukata was killed at the Battle of Uedehara.

Oyamada Nobushige
- Nobushige was a distinguished general for Shingen who fought at several battles including, Kawanakajima, Takiyama and Mikatagahara. He deserted Katsuyori in 1582 in favor of the Oda, but was executed for his "cowardice" by Nobunaga.

Saigusa Moritomo - Moritomo fought at Mimasetoge and Mikatagahara, as well as at Nagashino. He was killed alongside Takeda Nobuzane during the raid on their position at Nagashino by Sakai Tadatsugu's forces.

Tada Mitsuyori - Served the Takeda as an infantry captain under Itagaki Nobukata. Mitsuyori fought in this capacity in 40 battles for Shingen. He particularly distinguished himself in the fighting at the Battles of Sezawa and Uehara.

Yokota Takamatsu - Takamatsu started out as a very low ranking warrior within the Takeda clan. However, he quickly proved himself on the battlefield, earning several promotions. He was noted as being very skillful with the bow and arrow. Takamatsu was killed during the Siege of Toishi. It is reported that Takeda Shingen used Takamatsu as an example for his other samurai to follow.

Sanada Nobutsuna - Nobutsuna was a veteran of many wars during his career. He was the commander during the capture of Toishi Castle for Shingen. At Nagashino, Nobutsuna was in charge of leading a large group of cavalry.

Amari Torayasu - Torayasu served both Takeda Nobutora and Takeda Shingen during their respective reigns as the head of the Takeda clan. He was elevated to the position of clan elder up until the time of his death at the Battle of Uedehara.

Tsuchiya Masatsugu
- Masatsugu is perhaps most famous for the charge he led against the Oda barricades during the Battle of Nagashino. Of course, he was killed in the resulting action, but his deeds have lived on.

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  1. Old Comment
    Thegn Ansgar's Avatar
    The Sanada family has had quite a number of talented individuals during this period. 3 generations of father-son-brother greatness.

    Yukitaka definitely trained his sons right. Well... Except Masateru, since all I know about him is that he died at Nagashino.
    Posted January 10th, 2011 at 01:17 PM by Thegn Ansgar Thegn Ansgar is offline
  2. Old Comment
    leakbrewergator's Avatar
    I don't know too much about Masateru, either. I know he is sometimes mentioned as being one of the "24 Generals." I would assume he accompanied Nobutsuna throughout his battles.
    Posted January 10th, 2011 at 01:50 PM by leakbrewergator leakbrewergator is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Spatar's Avatar
    I remember that in the early 80's I have seen Kurosawa's Kagemusha about Takeda Shingen. For a while I thought is accurate until I was in the University and a friend of mine who studied Japanese culture explained me that most of it was not.

    By the way, why there is no record of the death of Takeda?
    Posted December 28th, 2011 at 12:11 PM by Spatar Spatar is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Masamune Date's Avatar
    What exactly happened in the falling out between Takeda Katsuyori and Anayama Baisetsu?
    Posted June 18th, 2013 at 08:56 AM by Masamune Date Masamune Date is offline

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