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Araki Murashige (荒木村重)
1535 - 1586

Title: Settsu no Kami

A vassal of Oda Nobunaga, born in what is now Ikeda City in Osaka as eldest son and heir to Araki Yoshimura (some say Araki Takamura). He served as vassal to Ikeda Katsumasa and married the daughter of Ikeda Nagamasa. He later served the Miyoshi Clan when they took over the Ikeda Clan, but was noticed by Nobunaga and allowed to become a vassal of the Oda Clan.

Nobunaga gave him Settsu Province as well as several castles, and Murashige fought in many of Nobunaga's wars, including the ten-year siege of Ishiyama Hongan Temple.

In October of 1578, Murashige suddenly revolted against Nobunaga. (Opinions differ on why he did so; Nobunaga apparently held Murashige in high esteem, and his betrayal came as a shock.) Oda's army besieged Murashige at Itami Castle, and he resisted bitterly for the space of a year. However, when his attendants Nakagawa Kiyohide and Takayama Ukon betrayed him, he was left at a severe disadvantage. Thereafter he fled alone to the Mouri Clan. His wife and children as well as soldiers and everyone else left behind at Itami Castle (some 600 people) were executed at Kyoto.

In 1582, after Oda's death and Toyotomi Hideyoshi came to power, Murashige returned to Sakai City in Osaka as a master of the tea ceremony. In the beginning he called himself Araki Douhun (荒木道糞), formed of the characters for "road" and "excrement" in remorse for abandoning his wife and children. Later, Hideyoshi forgive him his past errors and gave him the name Doukun (道薫), with "excrement" changed to "fragrance".

He died in Sakai at the age of 52.

bai ()

Intoned by the Yasha-shuu at the beginning of choubuku, 'bai' is the "seed syllable" for Bishamonten, originally known as Vaiśravaṇa.

Bishamonten (毘沙門天)

Also know as: Bishamon, Tamonten, Vaiśravaṇa, Kubera

Bishamonten is one of the 12 Deva Guardians, the protector of the North and the most powerful of the Four Heavenly Kings. He is the god of warfare and warriors, sometimes called the "black warrior"; black is his symbolic color, and winter is the season over which he presides. He is often depicted as warrior with a crown on his head, a pagoda in one hand and a trident in the other. He punishes those who do evil and is also the guardian of the places where Buddha preaches. He is one who is all-knowing, who hears everything, who is always listening, and is completely versed in Buddha's teachings. He is one of Japan's Seven Deities of Fortune. The soldiers of his army are the powerful earth deities called Yaksha.

Bishamonten is also called "Tobatsu Bishamonten" (刀八毘沙門天), or "Eight-Sword Bishamonten", because of an error in translation passed down through the centuries. The original name, "Bishamonten of Tobatsu", pointed to a manifestation of Bishamonten which appeared in the Central Asian kingdom of Tou-po or Tobatsu (兜跋) to protect the capital city against invaders. Bishamonten in this form is depicted with a diadem on his head, four hands holding a key, a gem, a pagoda, and a halbert before him and eight arms holding eight swords around him.

choubuku (調伏)

Also known as: choubukuryoku (調伏力)

The special power given to the Yasha-shuu to banish onryou to the Underworld using the dharani of Uesugi Kenshin's guardian deity, Bishamonten. The types of choubuku include "kouhou-choubuku", "ressa-choubuku", "kekkai-choubuku", etc. Each choubuku is begun with the incantation "bai" and the ritual hand gesture of Bishamonten's symbol.

Choubuku does not work against kanshousha, who have bodies of their own.

Chuushingura (忠臣蔵)

Chuushingura, or 'collections of the faithful retainers,' are fictionalized accounts of the true story of the Forty-seven Ronin avenging their master Asano Naganori after he was forced to commit seppuku for assaulting a court official. The samurai avenged their master's honor by killing the official, Kira Yoshinaka, and were forced to commit seppuku in turn. The tale of loyalty, sacrifice, persistence, and honor became one of the most popular and familiar stories in Japan, with various kabuki, bunraku, stage, film, novel, and television productions.

Chuuzenji-ko (中禅寺湖)

Lake Chuuzenji, located in Nikkou National Park in the city of Nikkouview map location, Tochigi Prefecture, is one of Japan's 100 famous views. It is the 25th largest lake in Japan and drains through the Kegon Falls.

daimyo (大名)

Lit.: "great name"; feudal warlords of Japan

Date Kojirou (伊達小次郎)
1568? - 1590

Also known as: childhood—Jikumaru (竺丸)

Second son of Date Terumune and Yoshihime, Kojirou was favored by his mother over his older brother Date Masamune for succession as head of the Date Clan. However, Terumune favored Masamune, who became head of the Date Clan in 1584.

Yoshihime planned the assassination of Masamune, but after she failed to poison him in 1590, Masamune ordered Kojirou's death.

Date Masamune (伊達政宗)
1567 - 1636

Titles: Echizen no Kami, Mutsu no Kami
Also known as: birth—Bontenmaru (梵天丸), adult—Tojirou (藤次郎), posthumous—Teizan (貞山), self-introduction—Fujiwara no Masamune (藤原政宗), religious—Takeru Hikonomikoto (武振彦命), nickname—One-Eyed Dragon (独眼竜)

Date Masamune was a powerful daimyo in the Northeastern part of Japan during the Sengoku Period. He was the 17th-generation head of the Date Clan and the founding daimyo of Sendai-han. He was the eldest son of Date Terumune and Yoshihime, the daughter of Mogami Yoshimori.

Masamune was born in Yonezawa Castle (modern-day Yamagata Prefecture). He lost the use of his right eye after falling ill of smallpox in his childhood, and would later come to be known as the One-eyed Dragon. However, because of it his mother thought him unfit for rule of the clan, and favored his younger brother. When Date Terumune retired from the position of the clan head in 1584, Masamune killed his brother and became the head of the clan at 18.

Masamune was known as a brilliant tactician. Shortly after he became head of the clan, Oouchi Sadatsuna, a Date vassal, defected to the Ashina Clan in the Aizu region of Mutsu Province. Masamune declared war on the Ashina for the betrayal, but was forced to retreat by the Ashina general, Iwashiro Morikuni. Three months later, Masamune laid seige to Oouchi's stronghold at Otemori. It was said that he put some 800 people to the sword in retaliation for the betrayal. Thereafter the Hatakeyama Clan, the traditional rival of the Date Clan, kidnapped Masamune's father, who was then killed in battle when Masamune and his troops engaged the kidnappers. War ensued between the two clans, and Masamune would ruthlessly subjugate his neighboring clans, even those who were allied by marriage or kinship. He defeated the Ashina Clan in 1589, but was called by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to lay siege to Odawara Castle of the Houjou Clan.

He served both Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu, though neither trusted him completely due to his ambition and aggression. Under Tokugawa Ieyasu Masamune controlled one of the largest fiefdoms in Japan and turned Sendai from a small fishing village to a large and prosperous city. He encouraged foreigners and was largely lenient towards Christanity and its practioners. He funded and backed the first Japanese expedition to sail around the world, which visited such places as the Philippines, Mexico, Spain and Pope Paul V in Rome.

He died in Edo at the age of 70 of esophageal cancer, and was entombed in the Zuihouden according to his last will and testament. His second son (eldest son by his legal wife Megohime) Date Tadamune inherited the position of clan head after him.

Echigo-no-kuni (越国)

An ancient province in north-central Japan which was ruled by Uesugi Kenshin during the Sengoku Period. Now a part of Niigata Prefecture.

Edo-jidai (江戸時代)

The Edo period in Japanese history, which lasted from 1603 until 1867, was established by Tokugawa Ieyasu and was the period in which Japan was ruled by the Tokugawa Shogunate. It is seen as the beginning of modern Japan. During this period, the Shogunate perceived Christianity as a threat to the stability of Japan and actively persecuted adherents of the religion until it was almost completely eradicated. During this period Japan also isolated itself from the rest of the world, an isolation ending only with the appearance of Commodore Matthew Perry's ships in Edo Bay in 1853.

Edo-jou (江戸城)

Also known as: Chiyoda Castle (千代田城)

Edo Castle is a flatland castle located in what is now the Chiyoda District of Tokyo, once called Edo in the Toshima District of Musashi Province. It has been designated a special historical landmark and is now used as the Imperial Palace.

The warrior to first use Edo as his base was Edo Shigetsugu, and the Edo Clan resided there from the end of the Heian Period to the beginning of the Kamakura Period. After the destruction of the Edo Clan in Kantou riots in the 15th Century, Oota Doukan, a vassal of the Ougigayatsu-Uesugi Clan, built Edo Castle there in 1457. Doukan was later killed by his master Uesugi Sadamasa, and the Uesugi took possession of the castle. After the fall of the Ougigayatsu-Uesugi Clan, the castle came under control of the Houjou Clan.

After the Siege of Odawara, Toyotomi Hideyoshi bequeathed Houjou's old fiefs to Tokugawa Ieyasu and decreed that he should move into Edo Castle. Ieyasu did so on Aug. 30, 1590 and later established the Tokugawa Shogunate with Edo as its military capital. His grandson Tokugawa Iemitsu greatly expanded the castle and grounds from 1593 to 1636.

The last Tokugawa shogun surrendered Edo Castle to the imperial forces on Apr. 11, 1868. The castle was renamed Tokyo Castle, then Imperial Castle. The Meiji Emperor took possession of the castle in the later part of the same year made it his imperial residence.

Enryaku-ji (延暦寺)

Enryaku-ji is a Tendai monastery located on Mount Hiei, established by Saichou in 788 during the early Heian Period (794 - 1185). Oda Nobunaga leveled Enryaku-ji in 1571 in order to end the power of the Tendai warrior monks.

Futarasan Jinja (二荒山神社)

Futarasan Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in the city of Nikkou founded by Holy Priest Shoudou. It enshrines three mountain deities: Ookuninushi, Tagorihime, and Ajisukitakahikone of Mt. Nantai (also called Mt. Futara), Mt. Nyohou, and Mt. Tarou.

Its main shrine (Honden) was built in 767, its middle shrine (Chuuguushi view map location) in 784, and its rear shrine (Okumiya) in 782.

Fuuma Kotarou (風魔小太郎)

Historically: The name Fuuma Kotarou was given to each leader of the Fuuma Clan/organization of ninjas which served the Later Houjou Clan, starting with its first leader. The clan started information-gathering and espionage activities in the time of Houjou Souun, the founder of the Later Houjou Clan. The clan name began as 風間, composed of the characters for "wind" and "space", but was changed to its present form, a homophone composed of the characters for "wind" and "evil/demonic/magical."

In its 100 years of service to the Houjou Clan, the most renowned Fuuma Kotarou was the fifth, who served Houjou Ujimasa and his son Houjou Ujinao (unknown - 1603). Stories say that he was 7'1". One of his most famous exploits was in 1580 and the Battle of Kise-gawa, during which he slipped into the enemy camp at night and caused mass chaos. Another famous ninja, Ninokuruwa Isuke, also belonged to the Fuuma Clan.

After the destruction of the Houjou Clan, Kotarou and the Fuuma Clan became thieves near Edo. Kotarou was captured and executed in 1603 from information given by Kousaka Jinai, another ninja-turned-thief who formerly served the Takeda Clan.

In Mirage of Blaze: Fuuma Kotarou leads the Fuuma ninjas in service to the Houjou Clan. He is described as a tall, slender man with broad shoulders and a muscular but supple body. He wears his hair long, tied in a woven tail that reaches to his waist.

gojou-kesa (五条袈裟)

Lit. "five-stripe robe", a simple ceremonial mantle worn by Buddhist priests over their monk's robes, it is traditionally made by sewing together five pieces of rectangular cloth and represents Shakyamuni Buddha's original robe.

goshinha (護身波)

Lit. "wave of self-protection"; the goshinha is a protective mesh spun from fine strands of spiritual energy which surrounds the caster and protects from an opponent's spiritual as well as physical attacks. The mesh gains strength and stability when it is multi-layered and becomes the goshinheki. The goshinha is Naoe's forte.

Hachiouji-jou (八王子城)

Hachiouji Castle was a mountain castle built by Houjou Ujiteru on Mt. Fukazawa in 1587 in a strategic part of West Kantou (now Tokyo). Hachiouji, or "Eight Princes", was so named because the eight sons of the eight Buddhist Gozu Tenno deities were enshrined at the summit of the mountain.

Ujiteru made Hachiouji his main fortress, but in 1590 during the Siege of Odawara, Ujiteru and his main vassals raced to join the battle at Odawara, leaving only a few vassals, troops, mobilized peasants and their families—in all around 1000 to face the 15,000 of the combined armies of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Uesugi Kagekatsu, Maeda Toshiie, and Sanada Masayuki.

The castle was overrun and fell in a single day. Yokochikenmotsu Yoshinobu, the chamberlain, and the other vassals committed seppuku because they had not been able to take decisive action. The women and children killed themselves or threw themselves into the waterfall of the lord's palace, starting with Ujiteru's wife Hisa. Stories say that the waterfall ran with blood for three days and three nights.

Tokugawa Ieyasu later abandoned the castle.

The castle ruins were declared a historical landmark on June 9, 1951.

Hakone-jinja (箱根神社)

Hakone Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Hakone Town, Kanagawa Prefecture, at the foot of Mt. Hakone along the shores of Lake Ashi. The shrine itself lies hidden in a dense forest, but its large red "floating" shrine gates (Torii of Peace) stand prominently in the lake.

From chronicles stretching back as far as the Nara Period (710-794), Hakone has been named as a spot sacred to the mountain-worshiping religion. The original shrine was founded during the reign of Emperor Koushou (475 BC – 393 BC) on Mt. Komagatake. Holy Priest Mangan revived and relocated the shrine to Lake Ashi in 757. It was separated into three parts dedicated to the deities whom legends says appeared to him in a dream as a Buddhist acolyte, government official and woman and asked him to deliver the grace of the Buddhist and Shinto religions onto mankind.

In the year 801, before general and shogun Sakanoue no Tamuramaro set out on an expedition to quell the Northeast by imperial command, he left an arrow as offering in front of a cedar tree at Hakone Shrine as a prayer for his victory. The tree become known as the Yatate Cedar, or 'Standing Arrow Cedar,' and in later years other legendary generals such as Minamoto no Yoshiie, shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo, and Minamoto no Yoshitsune all left arrows as offerings there.

The shrine was destroyed by fire in Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Siege of Odawara and rebuilt by Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Hakone-machi (箱根町)

Hakone is a town located in the western part of Kanagawa Prefecture. It is a popular tourist location, hosting many hot springs, Hakone Shrine on the shore of the caldera lake, Lake Ashi, the volcanically-active Great Boiling Valley, and beautiful views of Mt. Fuji.

Hakone-yama (箱根山)

Mt. Hakone is a volcano centered in Hakone Town, Kanagawa Prefecture and a designated part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Lake Ashi lies against the south-western wall of the Hakone caldera, and many hot springs such as Hakone Onsen and Yugawara Onsen well up from its sides and base. It has been a health resort area such ancient times, and is now a well-known sight-seeing area.

han (藩)

The domain or fiefdom of a daimyo.

Harajuku (原宿)

The district around Harajuku Station in the Ward of Shibuya in Tokyo, located between Shinjuku and Shibuya, known for its youth fashion.


A brief list of honorifics used in address:

san (さん) - the most common honorific, usually used to address someone outside one's immediate circle with respect
kun (君) - usually used towards boys and men of junior status or equal age and status
chan (ちゃん) - a diminutive used mainly towards children, and intimate friends, especially women; also used as an endearment for girls
sama (様) - the formal form of "san", showing a high level of respect
senpai (先輩) - used to refer to someone with a more senior status, such as a freshman towards a senior
sensei (先生) - often translated as "teacher", but can actually be used to show respect for anyone with superior knowledge in a field, including doctors and writers
dono/tono (殿) - an antiquated term which roughly translates to "lord", used to show great respect for the addressee, who can be of equal or higher status than the speaker
uji/shi (氏) - in ancient times, carried the meaning "of the ~ clan" or "of the ~ surname"; now used in formal speech and writing to refer to someone unfamiliar to the speaker.

Houjou Gen'an (北条幻庵)
1493 - 1589-11-01

Also known as: 北条菊寿丸, Houjou Nagatsuna (北条長綱)

Historically: A warlord of the Houjou clan in the Sengoku province of Sagami, the fourth and youngest son of Houjou Souun and a concubine from the influential Katsurayama Clan. He entered Kongouou Temple, the bettou-ji (administrative temple) of Hakone Shrine, at a young age and later became its head. He took the name of Gen'an (lit. Phantom hermitage) upon his retirement.

He had three sons, all of whom died before him, and two daughters. He adopted Houjou Saburou (Uesugi Kagetora) as his heir, but the adoption was annulled when Kagetora was sent to Echigo. His grandson Ujitaka (son of his second son) later became his heir.

Houjou Genan was described as a master of horsemanship and archery who led armies, but also a man of culture who was skilled with his hands. He became elder statesman and trusted adviser to Ujiyasu and Ujimasa. He was 97 when he died (though opinions differ); eight months later, the Houjou clan was attacked by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and destroyed.

Houjou Souun (北条早雲)
1432 - Sept. 8, 1519

Also known as: Ise Moritoki (伊勢盛時), Ise Souzui (伊勢宗瑞), Shinkurou (nickname—新九郎), Souunansouzui (Buddhist—早雲庵宗瑞)

Houjou Souun was the founder of the Later Houjou Clan, but he was never known as "Houjou Souun" during his lifetime. His son Houjou Ujitsuna, who succeeded him as clan head, adopted the clan name of Houjou and posthumously named his father Houjou Souun.

Though popularly portrayed as a humble masterless samurai, Souun's father, Ise Morisada, held an important post as an official of the shogunate according to modern-era research. The name of Ise Shinkurou Moritoki appears in written records from 1481, when he was appointed to a company of troops by Ashikaga Yoshihisa. Souun initially served his brother-in-law, Imagawa Yoshitada, and after his death, help his young son Imagawa Ujichika become the next head of the clan. In gratitude, Ujichika gave him Kokokuji Castle and the "uji" character in his name.

Souun took advantage of general unrest in the Eastern Provinces to take Izu Province for himself in 1493 (an event that many scholars mark as the beginning of the Sengoku), then Odawara Castle and Sagami Province in 1495. He died in 1519, leaving his new terrorities and the clan to his son Houjou Ujitsuna.

Houjou Ujimasa (北条氏政)
1538 - Aug. 10, 1590

Title: Sagami no Kami
Also known as: Matsuchiyomaru (松千代丸—childhood), Shinkurou (新九郎—nickname), 慈雲院松巌傑公 (posthumous)

Ujimasa was born in 1538 as the second son of Houjou Ujiyasu and his principle wife Zuikeiin, daughter of Imagawa Ujichika, and was older brother of Houjou Ujiteru, Houjou Ujikuni, Houjou Ujinori, Houjou Ujitada, Houjou Saburou (Uesugi Kagetora), and Houjou Ujimitsu. He became heir to the clan when his older brother Shinkurou died before reaching adulthood.

Ujimasa married Oubaiin, eldest daughter of Takeda Shingen and Sanjou-no-Kata, on the occasion of the three-way alliance between the Takeda, Imagawa, and Houjou clans in 1554. Their marriage was thought to be a happy one.

Ujimasa succeeded his father as the fourth head of the Sagami Houjou Clan in 1559 upon Ujiyasu's retirement. His first task upon becoming heir of the clan, per clan convention, was a a land survey evaluating how the Houjou lands were being used and the condition of the people serving on those lands. His relationship with his brothers was good throughout, and they were be a huge help to him in the governing of the clan.

In 1561, Uesugi Masatora (Uesugi Kenshin) of Echigo laid siege to Odawara Castle with a huge army gathered from the Kantou and south Mutsu. Under the leadership of his father Ujiyasu, Ujimasa was able to drive back the army. After the Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima, he was able to take back a large part of North Kantou from the Uesugi in concert with Shingen.

In 1568, seizing the opportunity presented by the decline of the Imagawa Clan after Imagawa Yoshimoto's death at Oda Nobunaga's hand, Takeda Shingen invaded Suruga, laying siege to Yoshimoto's heir, Imagawa Ujizane in Kakegawa Castle. Ujimasa led the Houjou forces to repel the Takeda army and formed an alliance with Tokugawa Ieyasu of Mikawa in order to rescue Ujizane (his brother-in-law by way of his younger sister Hayakawadono). Ujimasa then had Ujizane adopt his son Ujinao as his heir, thus giving the Houjou Clan a legitimate claim to the territory of Suruga. In order to hold back Takeda, he formed an alliance with his old enemy Uesugi Kenshin, giving his younger brother Saburou (Uesugi Kagetora) as hostage. The severing of ties with the Takeda Clan, however, meant the dissolution of his marriage with his beloved wife Oubaiin.

In 1569, Takeda Shingen laid siege to Odawara Castle, delivering a crushing defeat to the Houjou Clan (though recent analysis by historians indicate that Shingen lost a great many men as well). In 1570, Suruga belonged almost wholly to Shingen.

In October of 1571 upon his father's death, Ujimasa broke off his alliance with Kenshin and reformed the alliance with Shingen in accordance with his father's will, after which fighting between the Houjou and Uesugi clans flared up again.

Kenshin's death in 1578 triggered a fight for succession to the Uesugi Clan between his two adopted sons, Uesugi Kagekatsu and Uesugi Kagetora (the Otate no Ran). Ujimasa was tied up at that time in a confrontation with Satake Yoshishige and Utsunomiya Kunitsuna in Shimotsuke, so sent his brother Houjou Ujikuni to their brother's aid in his place while asking Takeda Katsuyori for reinforcements. Katsuyori betrayed the Houjou and formed an alliance with Uesugi Kagekatsu, and the Otate no Ran ended with Kagetora's death and Kagekatsu's succession.

Ujimasa broke off the alliance with the Takeda clan a second time and formed an alliance with Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu to attack the Takeda territory in a pincer movement, but shifting alliances and hard fighting left the conclusion unclear. In 1580 Ujimasa proposed to Oda Nobunaga, who had just taken Ishiyama Hongan Temple, that the Houjou Clan become a vassal of the Oda Clan, but Takeda Katsuyori managed to form an alliance with Oda first. Ujimasa retired from the position of clan head in the same year, but like his father before him still held onto the government and military affairs of the clan.

In the following years, the Houjou Clan managed to gain control over a vast territory: Sagami, Izu, Musashi, Shimousa, Kazusa, Hitara, Shimotsuke, and a part of Suruga. Interestingly, however, Ujimasa did not seem to hold the ambition of ruling the entire country, a tradition passed down from the founder of the Late Houjou Clan, Houjou Souun. Instead, Ujimasa concentrated on independence for the 8 Kantou provinces under Houjou rule and alliances with other strong warlords such as Tokugawa Ieyasu and Date Masamune.

In 1589, using Ujimasa's refusal to proceed to the capital to attend him as pretext, Toyotomi Hideyoshi gathered an army of 220,000 to lay siege to Odawara Castle. It overran castles in the Houjou territory in quick succession. The siege against Odawara Castle lasted from May to August. On August 4, Ujimasa offered to surrender his life for the lives of his men. Toyotomi demanded the lives of both Ujimasa and his brother Ujiteru, as well as the lives of their vassals Matsuda Norihide and Daidouji Masashige. Ujimasa and Ujiteru committed seppuku on August 10.

Ujimasa left behind the following tanka verses for his death poem:

「雨雲の おほえる月も 胸の霧も はらいにけりな 秋の夕風」
「我身今 消ゆとやいかに おもふへき 空よりきたり 空に帰れば」

translated (Sadler 1978, pp. 160–161):

Autumn wind of eve,
blow away the clouds that mass
over the moon's pure light
and the mists that cloud our mind,
do thou sweep away as well.

Now we disappear,
well, what must we think of it?
From the sky we came.
Now we may go back again.
That's at least one point of view.

There is another verse which is sometimes attributed to his brother Ujiteru, but is most often attributed to Ujimasa:

「吹くと吹く 風な恨みそ 花の春 もみじの残る 秋あればこそ」

which may be translated:

The wind's resentment—
Oh, see how it blows against
The flowering spring.
Yet it will leave us anon
The bright colors of autumn.

Houjou Ujinao (北条氏直)
1562 - Dec. 19, 1591

Houjou Ujinao was the eldest son and heir of Houjou Ujimasa. His mother was Ujimasa's principle wife, Oubaiin, daughter of Takeda Shingen. He became the fifth head of the Later Houjou Clan in 1580 when his father retired. He married Tokuhime, daughter of Tokugawa Ieyasu, in 1583 after a year of battles between the Houjou and Tokugawa armies over the provinces of Kouzuke, Shinano, and Kai, left masterless after the deaths of both Takeda Katsuyori and Oda Nobunaga.

After the Siege of Odawara in 1590, Toyotomi Hideyoshi spared Ujinao's life in part because he was Ieyasu's son-in-law. He was exiled to Mt. Kouya along with his brothers, uncles, and retainers. There he lived under house arrest until the beginning of 1591, when Toyotomi granted him a fief of 10,000-koku in Osaka and allowed his wife to join him there. However, he died there in November of the same year of smallpox at the age of 30.

Houjou Ujiteru (北条氏照)
1540? 1541? 1542? - Aug. 10, 1590

Title: Mutsu-no-Kami
Also known as: Houjou Genzou (北条源三), Ooishi Genzou (大石源三)

Ujiteru was the third-born son (second to survive to adulthood) of Houjou Ujiyasu, younger brother of Houjou Ujimasa, and older brother of Houjou Ujikuni, Houjou Ujinori, Houjou Ujitada, Houjou Saburou (Uesugi Kagetora), and Houjou Ujimitsu. He was widely extolled for his courage and wisdom.

In 1559, he married Hisa, the daughter of Ooishi Sadahisa, master of Takiyama Castle in Musashi, and became Ooishi's adopted son and heir. (Later, Ooishi became a vassal of the Houjou clan, and Ujiteru regained the Houjou surname.)

In the following years, Ujiteru followed his father into several battles with neighboring clans, which greatly increased the Houjou sphere of influence. He also excelled at diplomacy, and maneuvered the alliance between the Houjou and Uesugi clans into place in 1569. He also secretly built up diplomatic relations with the Date Clan. Though he wanted the clan to form an alliance with the Oda Clan during Oda's period in power, the plan fell through because of opposition within the family and Oda's death.

In 1569, while the Takeda army was en route to a siege of Odawara Castle, a detachment of the Takeda army led by Oyamada Nobushige attacked Takiyama Castle, penetrating all the way to the outermost wall. Ujiteru crossed spears with Takeda Katsuyori during the battle. Ujiteru's forces managed to stave them off, but dissatisfied with Takiyama's defenses, Ujiteru abandoned it in favor of Hachiouji Castle.

In September of 1579, Ujiteru and his younger brother Ujikuni went to the aid of their brother Uesugi Kagetora in the Otate no Ran, but were stopped short by snow and hard-fought battles.

In 1590, during Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Siege of Odawara, he entrusted his main castle, Hachiouji Castle to a loyal vassal and barricaded himself in Odawara. Due to that fact, Toyotomi saw him as one of the pro-resistance leaders, and demanded his death along with his brother Ujimasa's. Ujiteru committed seppuku with Ujimasa on August 10.

He wrote as his death poem:

「天地の 清き中より 生まれきて もとのすみかに 帰るべらなり」

which may be translated thus:

We are born into
the brightness betwixt heaven
and earth; yet there is
another dwelling to which
we must all someday return.

Ujiteru's tomb view map location is located near Hachiouji Castle.

Houjou Ujiyasu (北条氏康)
1515 - 1571

Title: Sagami-no-Kami
Also known as: The Tiger of Sagami, The Lion of Sagami

Son of Houjou Ujitsuna and third head of the Late Houjou Clan, one of the greatest daimyo of the Sengoku in both military and political arenas. He expanded the Houjou holdings to five territories and battled both Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin over the Kantou and Suruga regions.

He retired in 1560 and handed over the clan to his eldest son Houjou Ujimasa, but continued to guide the clan until his death of palsey or stomach cancer in 1571. He made an alliance with the Takeda Clan in 1562 and gave over his 7th son, Houjou Saburou, to Takeda Shingen for adoption.

Houjou Ujiyasu was a great admirer of poetry, culture and learning as well as a outstanding administrator who created unique bureaucratic organizations such as litigation processes for the ruling of his lands. He was much beloved of his people and widely mourned at his death.

Ikebukuro-eki (池袋駅)

Ikebukuro Station is a train station located in the Ikebukuro district of Toshima, Tokyo, and is the second-busiest train station in the world after Shinjuku Station. It opened in 1903 and serves 8 rail lines and subways.

Ikkou-shuu (一向宗)

Lit.: "One-minded School/Sect", a small, militant, antinomian offshoot of True Pure Land Buddhism founded by 13th-century monk Ikkou Shunjou. Its ideologies provided the basis for a wave of uprisings against feudal rule in the late 15th and 16th centuries, such as the Ikkou-ikki revolts. Oda Nobunaga eventually destroyed the sect's two large temple-fortresses, Nagashima and Ishiyama Hongan Temple and slaughtered most of its sectarians in those areas. Tokugawa Ieyasu defeated the followers of the sect in Mikawa in 1564 in the Battle of Azukizaka. The last of the Ikkou sect fought alongside Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the 1580s.

Iroha-zaka (いろは坂)

Iroha Hill Road is a Japanese national highway (no. 120) which connects Nikkou's Umagae district to the banks of Lake Chuuzenji. The road, actually consisting of two one-way paths, is famous for its hairpin curves. Iroha Hill One, which goes from Lake Chuuzenji to Umagae, contains 28 curves, while Iroha Hill Two, going in the opposite direction, contains 20 curves. Iroha Hill One was established in 1954, Iroha Hill Two in 1965.

The name "Iroha" comes from the poem of the same name which uses each character of the Japanese hiragana exactly once; each of the 48 curves in the road is named after the character which it resembles.

Ishigaki-yama (石垣山)

Mount Ishigaki is a mountain located in Odawara City, Kanagawa Prefecture 241.6 meters (792 feet) in height. It is located 2.8 kilometers (1.7 miles) to the south-west of Odawara Castle and is famous for being the place where Toyotomi Hideyoshi built his stronghold, the One-Night Castle, in 1590 during the Siege of Odawara. It was designated a historical landmark in 1959.

The mountain was originally known as Mt. Kasagake, but was renamed Ishigaki, or "stone wall" for the castle ramparts after the siege. Hideyoshi's troops started the castle on April 5th and completed it on June 26th, and it was the first all-stone castle built in the Kantou. The summit of Mt. Ishigaki offered an unbroken view of the entire Odawara Castle area.

Ishigakiyama-jou (石垣山城)

Also known as: Ishigaki-yama One-Night Castle (石垣山一夜城), Taikou One-Night Castle (太閤一夜城)

The One-Night Castle was Toyotomi Hideyoshi's stronghold during the Siege of Odawara, built on top of Mt. Ishigaki. 30,000 - 40,000 of Hideyoshi's troops began construction on it on April 5th and completed it in about 80 days. The construction was completed in secrecy, and its position within the tree cover of Mt. Ishigaki could not be seen from Odawara Castle to the north-east. At its completion, Hideyoshi ordered the trees felled so that from the Houjou side the castle seemed to spring up overnight, sapping their morale. The castle, the first all-stone castle in the Kantou, was very much a modern fortress at the time. Hideyoshi held tea parties at the castle with the imperial messenger as a guest.

The castle remains were designated a historical landmark in 1959.

Izu-hantou (伊豆半島)

Izu Peninsula, located to the west of Tokyo, was formerly part of Izu Province and is today a part of Shizuoka Prefecture. It is known for its hot springs and is a part of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.

jikitotsu (直綴)

The robe normally worn by Buddhist monks, usually made of dark cloth.

Jinguu Gaien (神宮外苑)

The Jinguu Gaien is the garden surrounding the Meiji Jinguu, which is the largest Shinto shrine in Tokyo. It is also called the Outer Garden, encompassing 70 acres of forest land with more than 100,000 trees from hundreds of species from all over Japan.

Kabuki-chou (歌舞伎町)

Kabuki-chou, nicknamed the "Sleepless Town" is a world-famous entertainment and red-light district located in Shinjuku, Tokyo. It houses over three thousand bars, nightclubs, love hotels, massage parlors, host and hostess clubs, shops, nightclubs, restaurants, and movie theaters.

Kai-no-Kuni (甲斐国)

Also known as: 甲州 (Koushuu)

An ancient province in central Japan which was ruled by Takeda Shingen during the Sengoku Period. Now known as Yamanashi Prefecture.

Kamaitachi (窮奇/鎌鼬/かまいたち)

Also known as: cutting whirlwind, razor whirlwind

A wind demon commonly depicted in Japanese folklore as a trio of weasels with sharp claws, riding on a gust of wind to cut into the skin of their victims at lightning speed.

Kanagawa-ken (神奈川県)

A prefecture located in the southern Kantou Region of Honshuu, Japan which was composed of the ancient provinces of Sagami and Musashi.

kanshou (換生)

To possess another's body, driving out their soul, so as to be reborn with memories intact. Only Naoe of all the kanshousha has the power to perform kanshou on another soul.

Kantou-chihou (関東地方)

Lit.:"East of the Gate", the easternmost of five regions located on Honshuu Island which comprises of the seven prefectures of Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa. This is the most highly developed and industrialized region of Japan and was the heart of feudal power during the Edo Period.

During the Edo Period, the area was also called the "Kanhasshuu" (関八州), or Eight Kantou Provinces: Musashi, Sagami, Kazusa, Shimousa, Awa, Kouzuke, Shimotsuke, and Hitachi.

Katakura Kagetsuna (片倉景綱)
1557 - 1615

Also known as: Katakura Kojuurou Kagetsuna (片倉小十郎景綱)

A military commander of the Sengoku era and hereditary vassal of the Date Clan. The Katakura family traditionally took the nickname of 'Kojuurou', so Katakura Kagetsuna is better known as Katakura Kojuurou.

Kojuurou first served Date Masamune's father, Date Terumune, as a junior page, then became Date Masamune's attendant in 1575. He was later appointed a strategist, and participated in most of Masamune's important wars where he rescued the Date Clan from many tight spots. His wisdom was extolled by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and his name was a byword for loyalty. (He was called 'Katakura Kagetsuna the Wise', and he, along with 'Date Shigezane the Brave', were named 'the twin jewels of the Date'.)

Kojuurou died in 1615 of illness.

Kegon no Taki (華厳滝)

Kegon Falls is a waterfall located in Nikkou, Tochigi Prefecture, which according to legend was discovered by Shoudou. It was named for the first sutra of Buddhism, the Avatamska Sutra (Kegon-kyou in Japanese). The waterfall is formed by Daiya River, the only river out of Lake Chuuzenji after it was dammed by eruptions on Mount Nantai, falling over a 97-meter cliff. Is it one of Japan's three great waterfalls.

The waterfall is also infamous for suicides, starting with an 18-year-old high school student, Fujimura Misao, who leapt from the waterfall on May 22, 1903 after writing a poem on an oak tree nearby.

kokeshi (小芥子/こけし)

Handmade painted wooden dolls with simple limbless bodies and large heads, traditionally from northern Japan.

koppashin (木端神)

Lit.: "wood chip god"; an object representation of a divine spirit made from sacred wood which can house various deities and use their powers for protective and guardianship purposes. Looks somewhat like a kokeshi (Japanese wooden doll).

Kouduke-no-kuni (上野国)

Also known as: Kouzuke-no-kuni, Joushuu (上州)

An ancient province of Japan governed by the Uesugi Clan which is now the prefecture of Gunma.

Kougen-ji (光厳寺)

Lit: "Temple of Stern Light"

Kougen-ji is the temple belonging to the Tachibana family located in Utsunomiya. It is a branch of Shingon-shu Buzan-ha and is one of the leading family-run temples of the city.

Probably fictional; (there is a <a href="" class="glossary">Kougonji Temple</a> written with the same Kanji, but it is located in Akirunoshi.)