Search glossary

Ichinose (一ノ瀬)

A student at Fukashi Junior High School one year older than Takaya, who fawns over Mitsui and resents the fact that Takaya was allowed to join his gang while he was not. Friends with Yokomori.

Kasai (葛西)

The counselor from the Family Court who mediated Takaya's parents' divorce. He is middle-aged, slim with broad shoulders, and wears glasses. He always carries caramels in his pockets, which he freely shares, due to which Miya gives him the nickname "Caramel Man". He smiles frequently and warmly and is one of the only adults the young Takaya tells his true feelings to. He has also taken charge of Mitsui several times on behalf of the Court.

Kayama (加山)

A student at Fukashi Junior High School in Takaya's year, described as a delinquent with blond hair who belongs to the "Yankee Gang". He's in Yuzuru's class in their second year of junior high.

Kousaka Masanobu (高坂昌信)
1527 - 1578

Also called: Kousaka Danjou Masanobu (高坂弾正昌信), Kousaka Danjou Nosuke Masanobu (高坂弾正忠昌信), Kasuga Toratsuna (春日虎綱), Kasuga Gensuke (春日源助)
Title: Danjou Nosuke/Faithful True-Shot (弾正忠)

Historically: One of Takeda Shingen's most loyal retainers who was one of his Twenty-Four Generals and played a key part in the fourth battle of Kawanakajima.

Kousaka was born in Kai to a wealthy farmer, Kasuga Ookuma (?) (春日大隈). His father died when he was 16, and he lost a lawsuit against his elder sister's husband for ownership of his father's lands. He then enrolled in the service of Takeda Shingen.

Kousaka first served as a messenger for Shingen. He distinguished himself in battle, and rose swiftly through the ranks of Shingen's trusted retainers. He participated in most of Shingen's battles. He did not hesitate to retreat when required, which earned him the nickname of "Escaping Danjou". However, he was calm and logical in the midst of battle, and was perhaps the best of Shingen's generals.

There are anecdotes that in his younger days, Kousaka and Shingen were engaged in a shudo relationship, and Kousaka rose so quickly in Shingen's service because of Shingen's affection.

After Shingen's death in 1573, Kousaka continued on to serve Takeda Katsuyori. He sought an alliance between the Takeda clan and their old enemy, the Uesugi clan, in order to unite against the threat of Oda Nobunaga.

Kousaka died in 1578 of illness at the age of 52. He was succeeded by his second son, Kousaka Masamoto (高坂昌元), his first son, Kousaka Masazumi (高坂昌澄) having died in the Battle of Nagashino in 1575.

In Mirage of Blaze: A kanshousha who, along with Sanjou-no-Kata, breaks the barrier over Takeda Shingen's tomb, the Maenduka, in an attempt to resurrect Shingen by using Narita Yuzuru as a vessel for his spirit.

According to Haruie, Kousaka has a high level of spiritual sensing ability (reisa), such that he is able to recognize someone he had met before even after their soul has undergone purification. He warns Naoe that Narita Yuzuru's existence is a threat to the Roku Dou Sekai.

Matsunaga Hisahide (松永久秀)
1510 - 1577

Also known as: Matsunaga Danjou Hisahide (松永弾正久秀), Matsunaga Soutei (松永霜台)

Initally a vassal of the Miyoshi Clan who served Miyoshi Nagayoshi as his private secretary, Hisahide was both a warrior and a tea master who would be regarded by history as a schemer and something of a villain.

Miyoshi Nagayoshi gave his daughter to Hisahide in marriage, but Hisahide turned against his master. He was rumored to have poisoned Nagayoshi's son and heir, Miyoshi Yoshioki, and Nagayoshi's three brothers died under mysterious circumstances between 1561-1564. In 1564 at Nagayoshi's death, all that stood between Hisahide and the Miyoshi domain was the young Miyoshi Yoshitsugu, whom Nagayoshi had seleted as heir, and his guardians the "Miyoshi Triumvirate", Miyoshi Nagayuki, Miyoshi Masayasu, and Iwanari Tomomichi.

Hisahide briefly joined forces with the Triumvirate against the Shogun, Ashikaga Yoshiteru, who was forced to commit suicide. Thereafter he fought against the Miyoshi Clan and later submitted to Oda Nobunaga and served him for a few years after 1568.

In 1573, however, he was already conspiring against Nobunaga with Miyoshi Yoshitsugu—then turned back to Nobunaga and destroyed the remaining Miyoshi Clan. In 1577, he rebelled against Nobunaga again and in the end committed suicide at Shigisan Castle when besieged by Oda's army (though first smashing a priceless tea kettle, the "Hiragumo", which Nobunaga had coveted).

Mitsui (三井)

Leader of the largest gang in the Matsumoto area where Takaya lives in junior high. He's four years older than Takaya and dropped out of senior high in his first year. He is a fringe member of a mafia group called the Seiyuu Group and carries their silver badge. He appears to be an errand boy for them as well as a distributor of amphetamines. He claims to command hundreds, both in and out of prison. Takaya hangs out around his garage when he has nowhere to go, where Mitsui gathers his gang nightly and throws parties with booze and girls. He carries a cut from Takaya's knife above one eyebrow, which he received from breaking up a fight between Takaya and one of his gang members on their first meeting.

Mori Ranmaru (森蘭丸)
1565 - 1582

Also called: Mori Nagasada (森長定), possibly Shigetoshi (成利), Nagayasu (長康)

Historically: A vassal of Oda Nobunaga who served as his attendant from
an early age. His father, Mori Yoshinari, was also a vassal of Oda Nobunaga. Favored by Nobunaga for his talent and loyalty, he also followed the tradition of shudo with his liege-lord. He and his three younger brothers died with Nobunaga at the Honnou-ji on June 21, 1582.

Nagasue Sawako (永末佐和子)

Takaya and Miya's mother, who left them and her husband when his business failed and he became a violent alcoholic. She changed her name to Nagasue when she remarried. She now lives in Sendai and has a young son.

Naoe Nobutsuna (直江信綱)
? - Oct. 6, 1581

Also known as: Nagao Kagetaka (長尾景孝), Nagao Toukurou (長尾藤九郎)
Title: Yamato no Kami (大和守)

Historically: Son of Nagao Akikage, he became head of the Sousha-Nagao Clan at a young age. He later (around 1545) passed the position to his younger brother Nagao Kagefusa. When the clan was destroyed by Takeda Shingen and their territory lost, the family escaped into Echigo. There Kagefusa became a monk, and Kagetaka was adopted by Naoe Sanetsuna when he married Sanetsuna's daughter, Osen-no-Kata. He succeeded his adopted father as master of Yoita Castle in 1577 and was a vassal of Uesugi Kenshin. He promptly took the side of Uesugi Kagekatsu during the war for succession after Kenshin's death and mobilized the members of the Naoe Clan at the castle to subdue Kagetora's troops.

After the intra-house war and Kagekatsu's victory, a question of reward was called into question. Yasuda Akimoto, one of Kagekatsu's trusted commanders, had promised rewards to Shibata Shigeie, Mouri Hidehiro, and others to convince them to join Kagekatsu's side. However, Yamazaki Hidenori, Naoe, and others objected, for they had risked life and limb at Kasugayama Castle from the very beginning of the battle, while Shibata Shigeie and the others had been lured by promise of reward from Yasuda Akimoto.

Yasuda Akimoto committed suicide when he could not keep his promise of reward. Later, Mouri Hidehiro, carrying a grudge for his death, murdered Yamazaki Hidenori at Kasugayama Castle; Naoe, who was with him at the time and took up a sword to defend himself, was killed as well. His death ended the Naoe line, which Kagekatsu later resurrected by marrying Naoe's widow, Osen-no-Kata to Higuchi Kanetsugu and commanding him to take the Naoe name.

In Mirage of Blaze: According to Kousaka Danjou, and Houjou Ujiteru he was the ringleader of Uesugi Kagekatsu's forces in the Otate no Ran. He is now Uesugi Kagetora's protector and one of the Yasha-shuu under his command. He alone, as Kagetora's protector, was given the power to perform kanshou on other souls, a power he used to force Kagetora's soul into Minako's body.

Narita Yuzuru (成田譲)

Possessed by: Takeda Shingen (temporarily)

Ougi Takaya's best friend and an honor student at his school.

Notes: He appears as 'Yuzuru' in narration. Takaya calls him 'Yuzuru'. Naoe calls him 'Yuzuru-san', and Chiaki calls him 'Narita'.

Oda Nobunaga (織田信長)
1534 - 1582

Also called: Oda Kippoushi
Title: Kazusa no Suke, Owari no Kami

Historically: The first of the "Three Unifiers"; born in Owari to a samurai, his unbridled, ruthless ambitious and military tactical genius enabled him to gain control of the imperial court in 1573 after having driven the shogun out of Kyoto. His seal read "the realm subjected to military power". Murdered at the age of forty-nine by his vassal Akechi Mitsuhide in the Honnou-ji in Kyoto.

Oonuki (大貫)

The guidance counselor at Fukashi Junior High School while Takaya was a student there.

Described as a middle-aged man with a deep, harsh voice, an overbearing expression, and bad breath. He wears a threadbare necktie and trousers that always look like the same pair. Rumor has it that he's the hen-pecked husband of a woman from one of the old families, and takes his shame and resentment of being adopted into his wife's family out on the students. He always carries an elastic stick pointer and likes browbeating the students in the guise of counseling them. Also rumored to have made a female student take her clothes off in front of him.

Ougi Miya (仰木美弥)

Takaya's younger sister, who is a second-year junior high school student at the beginning of the story. She lives in Matsumoto with her brother, in number 302 in a multi-apartment complex.

Ougi Takaya (仰木高耶)

Birthday: July 23
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 134 lbs
Blood type: O
Possessed by: Uesugi Kagetora

At the beginning of the story Takaya is a seventeen-year-old high school delinquent with no memory of his past. His parents divorced when he was a first-year junior high school student, probably because his father started drinking when his business failed. His mother remarried and lives in Sendai.

He was born and raised in Matsumoto and lives there with his sister, Miya. He attends Jouhoku High and is in the same class (Year Two Group Three) as his best friend, Narita Yuzuru.

Notes: He appears as 'Takaya' in narration. Nagahide and Haruie call him 'Kagetora', and Naoe calls him 'Kagetora-sama' and 'Takaya-san'. Most of the students at Jouhoku High call him 'Ougi-kun' (Chiaki calls him 'Ougi' at school). Miya calls him 'Onii-chan', and Yuzuru calls him 'Takaya'.

Sakurai (桜井)

Takaya's neighbors in their apartment complex, who take Miya in when their father becomes violent. They have three children of their own, but seem genuinely concerned about Takaya and Miya, refusing to return Miya when their father demand his children back in his drunken rages.

Sassa Narimasa (佐々成政)
Feb. 2, 1536 - July 7, 1588

Also known as: Kuranosuke—nickname (内蔵助)
Titles: Mutsu no Kami, Ecchuu no Kami, Chamberlain

A daimyo of the Sengoku, born in Owari. His father was Sassa Morimasa. His two older brothers, Sassa Masatsugu and Sassa Magosuke, died in battle, so Narimasa became head of the clan and master of Hira Castle in 1560. He distinguished himself in the loyal service of Oda Nobunaga and fought in many of Nobunaga's battles. His name was first on a list for the Kurohoro-gumi, an elite group of Nobunaga's bodyguards.

In 1580, he backed Jinbou Nagazumi against both the Uesugi Clan and the Ikkou-ikki in Ecchuu, and was given half the province. The following year, he was named governor (Kami) of the entire province when Jinbou Nagazumi lost his standing. He made Toyama Castle his main castle and performed extensive repairs and renovations on it.

After Nobunaga's death in 1582, Narimasa continued to engage in fierce battles with Uesugi Kagekatsu. He took the side of Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobukatsu against Toyotomi Hideyoshi, but later surrendered to him in 1585 when Hideyoshi laid siege to Toyama Castle with 10,000 troops. He lost Ecchuu, but was given a fief in Higo in 1587 for merits in the suppression of Kyuushuu, along with instructions on refraining from hasty reforms. Ignoring those instructions because of illness or perhaps misunderstanding, Narimasa immediately set out on Hideyoshi's nationwide land survey, resulting in rebellion of the province. He was charged with misgovernment and committed ritual suicide.

He wrote the following as his death-poem: "The shell of my begging bowl in which I have placed the evil delusions of these recent days now breaks" (この頃の 厄妄想を 入れ置きし 鉄鉢袋 今破るなり).

Narimasa is said to have brutally killed his concubine, Sayuri, along with her family for a rumor of infidelity. The legend goes that Sayuri cursed him before she died, and the curse was responsible for his death at the hand of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

In Mirage of Blaze: He is kanshousha who has entered the «Yami-Sengoku» as one of the Oda's commanders, described as a tanned, fearless-looking young man, a "mountain cat in human skin." He and Mori Ranmaru don't appear to be on the best of terms. He later seeks his death at Sayuri's hands in remorse for the way he brutally tortured and killed her in their previous lives.

Sayuri (早百合)
? - 1584? 1585?

Sayuri was a favored concubine of Sassa Narimasa, said to be a peerless beauty, whom he brutally tortured and killed on suspicion of infidelity.

The story goes that Narimasa fell in love with Sayuri at first sight and made her his concubine. He lavished affection on her, and was overjoyed when she became pregnant in 1584. His other three concubines were jealous of Sayuri, and when Narimasa left Ecchuu on a trip to meet with Tokugawa Ieyasu in December of that year, spread the rumor that she was in secret communication with one of Narimasa's vassals, a man who had stayed behind at Toyama Castle because of illness, Takezawa Kumashirou (sp?) (竹沢熊四郎). They claimed that the child belonged to Kumashirou, not Narimasa.

Narimasa dismissed the rumors at first, but found a small brocade sachet at the door of Sayuri's bedroom which belonged to Kumashirou (said to have been placed there by the other concubines). He flew into rage and put Kumashirou to the sword on the spot. He then hanged Sayuri by her feet to a tree in the Jintsuu River Basin and slowly cut her to pieces. He also beheaded the 18 members of her family and crucified their bodies at the prison gates.

The scene is described in the Taikouki: at the moment of her death, Sayuri, her lips bitten through, bloody tears flowing down a once-beautiful face now twisted into a malevolent mask, cursed Narimasa: "As Narimasa beheads me here, my enmity shall a demon become, to grow year by year until I have killed all thine issue even unto the extinction of thy family name." Those watching covered their eyes, and those who heard felt their hair rise at those words.

Stories say that a drifting fire would appear on stormy nights at the spot where Sayuri died, and sometimes a freshly-severed head with wild hair waving in the air saying "Sayuri, Sayuri." The fire was called "Sayuri Fire". The story goes that Sayuri became a vengeful ghost whose curse later killed Sassa Narimasa (though not his children). Sightings of the fire occurred as late as the Meiji Era.

The hackberry tree from which Sayuri was said to have been hanged was burned during the air-raid of Toyama City in World War II. Two second-generation hackberry trees now stand on the spot.

Shimozuma Rairen (下間頼廉)
1537 - Aug. 11, 1626

A monk who served as an official under Kennyo at Ishiyama Hongan Temple, he along with Suzuki Shigehide commanded the Hongan Temple army against Oda Nobunaga. For this reason they were called the "Left and Right Generals of Osaka".

When Hongan Temple surrendered to the Oda army in 1580 by order of the Emperor, Rairen's signature was among those on the official letter. Afterwards, he left with Kennyo to persuade the Ikkou-ikki of various parts of the country to rise up against Nobunaga.

After Takeda Shingen's death, when both Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu requested help from the Ikki forces, Rairen opposed and remained neutral throughout. In 1589, Hideyoshi bestowed land on him and made him a magistrate.

Shimozuma Raishou (下間頼照)
1516 - 1575

Also known as: 頼昭, Jutsurai (述頼)
Titles: Chikugo-no-Kami

As a member of the Shimozuma Clan which served Hongan Temple, Shimozuma Raishou was dispatched by Kennyo to Echizen Province and took a large portion of it from the Oda forces, which was split by internal discord.

Raishou, dissatisfied with being treated like a vassal, plotted rebellion, but was suppressed by forces from Hongan Temple in 1574.

In the summer of 1575, Oda's forces attacked him at Kannonmaru Castle in Echizen. Raishou was unable to gather enough of the Ikkou-ikki's followers, and the castle fell under fierce attack from 15,000 Oda soldiers. Raishou tried to escape by sea, but was discovered and beheaded.

Takeda Shingen (武田信玄)
1521 - 1573

Also called: Takeda Katsuchiyo, Takeda Harunobu
Title: Shinano no Kami

Historically: Daimyo of Kai who became the head of the Takeda clan by rebelling against his father. Conquered Shinano and fought against Uesugi Kenshin. The two clans clashed five times on the plains of Kawanakajima, where neither gained complete victory until Shingen died of illness in his campaign against Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Uesugi Kagekatsu (上杉景勝)
Jan. 8, 1556 - Apr. 19, 1623

Also called: Nagao Kiheiji (長尾喜平次), Nagao Akikage (長尾顕景), Nagao Kagekatsu (長尾景勝)

Historically: One of Uesugi Kenshin's nephews, he was adopted by Kenshin and named Kenshin's heir along with Uesugi Kagetora. Following Kenshin's death in 1578, he provoked the feud against Kagetora in the Otate no ran for succession. His forces won over those of Kagetora in 1579, and he forced Kagetora to commit suicide. He lost the Uesugi's western holdings to Oda Nobunaga, and later submitted to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, under whom he rose to prominence to become a member of the council of five regents appointed by Hideyoshi to protect the Toyotomi rule.

As a general under Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Kagekatsu received the 1.2 million-koku fief of Aizu in addition to his 550,000-koku fief of Echigo. After Toyotmi's death, Kagekatsu was one of the first daimyo to plan revolt against Tokugawa Ieyasu with the building of a new castle in Aizu and the accumulation of troops, and could be said to have least partly begun the Battle of Sekigahara. He refused a summons from Tokugawa to go to the capital to explain himself, and attacked with a 50,000 army, which were held back by Mogami Yoshiaki and Date Masamune. Kagekatsu was defeated early at the siege of his castle at Shiroishi and declared his allegiance to Tokugawa.

Afterwards, Kagekatsu was given the 300,000-koku Yonezawa-han in the Northeast.

Uesugi Kagetora (上杉景虎)
1552? 1554? - Apr. 19, 1579

Also known as: possibly Houjou Ujihide (北条氏秀), Houjou Saburou (北条三郎), Saburou Kagetora (三郎景虎)

Historically: Uesugi Kagetora was the seventh son (sixth to survive to adulthood) of Houjou Ujiyasu, younger brother of Houjou Ujimasa, Houjou Ujiteru, Houjou Ujikuni, Houjou Ujinori, Houjou Ujitada, and older brother of Houjou Ujimitsu. His mother was the sister-in-law of Tooyama Yasumitsu, a vassal of the Houjou Clan (other sources say Zuikeiin, Ujiyasu's principle wife). It's likely that he and Houjou Ujihide were two different people and that Ujihide was the son of Houjou Tsunashige and living in Edo while Saburou was living in Echigo, so most historians refer to him as Houjou Saburou when describing his early life.

As a child, he was sent into the priesthood at Souun Temple in Hakone, then sent as hostage to Takeda Shingen of the Takeda Clan in the three-way alliance between Houjou, Takeda, and Imagawa formed in 1554 (though this last point is now in dispute, as it is told only in the Records of Ancient Battles of the Eight Kanto Provinces and recorded in none of the Takeda Clan records.)

He was adopted by his uncle Houjou Genan in 1569 and married Genan's daughter.

When the Houjou and Uesugi clans formed an alliance in 1569, Saburou was sent to Uesugi Kenshin in an exchange of hostages with Kakizaki Haruie. (At first, the hostage was set to be Houjou Ujimasa's third son Kunimasumaru, but Ujimasa could not bring himself to send off his son, who was then still a baby.) Saburou was sent to the Uesugi clan in early 1570. Kenshin, who never married, developed a liking for the handsome and intelligent Saburou. He married his niece Seienin, the daughter of Nagao Masakage and older sister of Nagao Akikage (Uesugi Kagekatsu) to Saburou, gave him the name Kagetora (a name that had once belonged to Kenshin himself), and adopted him into the Uesugi Clan.

When Kenshin died suddenly in 1578 without naming an heir, Kagetora and Kagekatsu, similarly adopted by Kenshin, fought for succession to the position of clan head (the Otate no Ran). Though Kagetora held the early advantage with the backing of Uesugi vassals such as Uesugi Kagenobu, Honjou Hidetsuna, Kitajou Takahiro, and the Houjou Clan, the tide of the battle turned with Takeda Katsuyori's betrayal to Kagekatsu's side.

When the Otate fell in 1579, Kagetora attempted to escape to Odawara Castle, but was betrayed at Samegao Castle by Horie Munechika and committed suicide. His wife committed suicide along with him (though there are also accounts that she remained behind at the Otate and committed suicide there when her brother Kagekatsu refused Kagetora's surrender.) His oldest son Doumanmaru died at the hands of Kagekatsu's troops along with Uesugi Norimasa, and the rest of his children were believed to have died along with their parents.

In Mirage of Blaze: He was born to Houjou Ujiyasu and Zuikeiin as their eighth (seventh to survive to adulthood) and youngest son. After his death in the Otate no Ran, he was charged by Uesugi Kenshin to become kanshousha in order to ensure that the peace of Japan is not disrupted by the onshou as the leader of the Yasha-shuu and the commander of the Meikai Uesugi Army.

Yokomori (横森)

A student at Fukashi Junior High School one year older than Takaya, who fawns over Mitsui and resents the fact that Takaya was allowed to join his gang while he was not. Friends with Ichinose.