Search glossary

aniue (兄上)

A more formal way to address an older brother than "onii-san" or its variants; could be translated as "honorable elder brother".

Ashikaga Haruuji (足利晴氏)
1508 - June 20, 1560

Title: Koga Kubou (1535 - 1552)

Haruuji was born eldest son to Ashikaga Takamoto. He formed an alliance with Houjou Ujitsuna in 1538 and married his daughter Houjunin. However, he was hostile towards Ujitsuna's successor Houjou Ujiyasu, and formed an alliance with Ougigayatsu-Uesugi Tomosada and Yamanouchi-Uesugi Norimasa. He joined them in a attack on the Houjou in the Battle of Kawagoe Castle in 1546, the loss of which deprived him of the power of Koga Kubou. He was forced to confer that title on his second son Ashikaga Yoshiuji (whose mother was Houjunin) in 1552. Two years later, his castle at Koga was attacked by Ujiyasu, and he was confined to Hatano in Sagami. He was allowed to return to Koga Castle in 1557, but was confined to Kurihashi Castle when the coup he was planning to bring his eldest son Ashikaga Fujiuji back to power came to light.

He died in 1560 at the age of 53.

Ashino-ko (芦ノ湖)

Also known as: Hakone Lake, Ashinoko Lake, Manji Pond

Lake Ashi is a crater lake that lies along the southwest wall of the caldera of Mt. Hakone, located in Hakone Town. It is known for its beautiful views of Mt. Fuji and many hot springs.

Legend has it that during the Nara Period, when the lake was still called Manji Pond, it was home to a poisonous nine-headed dragon. In order to appease the dragon's anger, the villagers would offer maidens to it as sacrifices. Holy Priest Mangan, who had come to Mt. Hakone to practice asceticism, heard the tale and bound the evil dragon to a rock at the bottom of the lake in order to save the villagers. The dragon promised to protect the mountains and villages, and thus reformed, became a dragon god. Thereafter the villagers fed the dragon red rice instead of their daughters.

Azabu (麻布)

An upscale residential district located in Minato Ward, Tokyo.

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.

Chousokabe Motochika (長宗我部元親)
1539 - Sept. 12, 1599

Chousokabe Motochika was a daimyo of Tosa Province and 20th head of the Chousokabe Clan. He was the eldest son and heir of Chousokabe Kunichika, the 19th head. He was decorated for his first campaign at the age of 22.

After he succeeded as clan head, he took control of the entire Tosa Province, then managed to take Awa Province, Sanuki Province, and Iyo Province at the fall of the Miyoshi, Sogou, and Kouno clans, respectively. However, his hold over the four provinces lasted for just a few weeks, for he lost the three provinces he had gained in the Siege of the Four Provinces in 1585 to Toyotomi Hideyoshi (then still serving Oda Nobunaga).

During the next decade, Motochika fought several campaigns under Hideyoshi with his sons, including the Siege of Odawara in 1590 in which he led the Chousokabe Navy.

He died of illness in 1599 and was succeeded by his fourth son Chousokabe Morichika.

Chuuou Expressway (中央自動車道)

Lit.: Central Expressway
Also known as: Chuuou Route, Chuuou Highway

A tolled highway crossing central Japan that starts in Tokyo and goes through the prefectures of Yamanashi, Nagano, Gifu, and Aichi before terminating just short of Nagoya.

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.

Fudou Myouou (不動明王)

Also known as: Acala, Acalanatha Vidya-raja, The Immovable

Fudou Myouou is the chief of the Five Great Kings of Wisdom, whose direction is the center. He is the destroyer of delusion and protector of Buddhism; he is called The Immovable because he is unmoved by carnal temptations. He seeks to transform anger into salvation, and is usually depicted as a fiercely-scowling figure with a demon-subduing sword in one hand and a rope in the other. He is worshiped as a manifestation of Dainichi Nyorai.

Fuji-san (富士山)

Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan, an active volcano, and one of its "Three Holy Mountains," frequently depicted in literature and art. It is popular tourist and mountain-climbing destination.

Fukazawa-yama (深沢山)

Now known as: Shiro-yama (Castle Mountain/城山), Hachioujishiro-yama (八王子城山)

A mountain located in Tokyo, 445.5 meters in height. Houjou Ujiteru built his Hachiouji Castle at the summit. The "Hachiouji Castle Ruins Tunnel", a part of the Kenou Expressway, now passes beneath it.

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.

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.

goshinheki (護身壁)

Lit.: "wall of self-protection"; the goshinheki is a barrier constructed for an instant using spiritual energy. The goshinha is effective when maintained, but the goshinheki takes shape in the instant the caster is attacked and is a basic method of self-protection. However, its weakness is that it cannot protect the caster against 100% of the damage caused by the attack.

Hachigata-jou (鉢形城)

Hachigata Castle was a mountain castle built in Musashi Province (now Saitama Prefecture) in 1476 by Nagao Kageharu in defiance of the Yamanouchi-Uesugi Clan which his clan served when the then-clan head Uesugi Akisada passed him over for inheritance of the position of Nagao clan head in favor of his younger brother Nagao Tadakage.

Five years later, Oota Doukan of the Ougigayatsu branch attacked the castle and finally took the castle for Uesugi Akisada. During the next few decades the two branches of the Uesugi Clan fought over the castle.

After the Battle of Kawagoe Castle in 1546, the Houjou Clan became the rulers of Musashi, and Houjou Ujikuni became master of the castle in 1564. Thereafter it served as one of the bases from which the Houjou Clan controlled the Kantou.

It strategic position at an important crossroads made it a target for various attacking warlords, including Takeda Shingen in 1569 and Uesugi Kenshin in 1574, but its formidable defenses, both natural (nestled as it is between two rivers and high cliffs) and man-made, enabled it to repel all comers.

The castle withstood siege from 35,000 troops with a garrison of only 3,000 for a month during the Siege of Odawara, but Ujikuni finally surrendered on the condition that the lives of his men would be spared.

Hachiman-kami (八幡神)

Also known as: Yahata no Kami, Yawata no Kami, hachiman Daibosatsu (八幡大菩薩)

Hachiman is a Shinto God of War whose name means God of Eight Banners. He is a popular deity in Japan who is also worshiped as the god of agriculture and divine protector of the Japanese people.

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 Mototsumiya (箱根元宮)

Also known as: Hakone Gengu, Hakone-jinja Motomiya

Hakone Mototsumiya, built at the summit of Komagatake, is the rear shrine of Hakone Shrine. It was rebuilt in 1964 by Tsutsumi Yasujirou.

Hakone Ropeway (箱根ロープウェイ)

Hakone Ropeway is a funitel aerial lift located in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture connecting Mt. Souun to Tougendai on Lake Ashi. It was a single line until 2001; in 2002 it became two distinct sections: Mt. Souun to Oowaku Valley with 18 cabins/18 passengers each and Oowaku Valley to Tougendai with 30 cabins/18 passengers each. There are 4 stations on the line.

Hakone Tozan Tetsudou (箱根登山鉄道)

The Hakone Tozan Railway is a private railway company whose core lines are located in Odawara and Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture. It is a part of the large Odakyuu Group.

The company operates both rail lines and cable cars (Hakone Tozan Cable Car). Its lines were founded in 1888, and its Hakone Tozan Line is the oldest mountain railway in Japan.

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.

Hakone-Yumoto (箱根湯本)

Also known as: Hakone Onsen (Hakone Hot Springs)

Hakone-Yumoto, or Hakone Hots Springs Source, is an area of Hakone Town dotted with hot springs which goes from the foot of Mt. Hakone up to about midway. The area is a designated part of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.

The area became famous during Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Siege of Odawara, when the armies gathered from all parts of the country relieved their boredom by visiting the hot springs during the long encampment around the massive Odawara Castle.

hakonha (破魂波)

The "soul-ripping attack" with which Oda Nobunaga defeated Kagetora, said to be capable of destroying the soul itself, removing it from the wheel of reincarnation.


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 Tsunashige (北条綱成)
1515 - June 11, 1587

Also known as: Houjou Tsunanari, Kushima Tsunashige (福島綱成)

Houjou Tsunashige was born son of Kushima Masashige, a vassal of the Imagawa Clan. Most of his family was killed in battle with Hara Toratane of the Takeda Clan in 1521. A family vassal escaped with Tsunashige to Odawara, where he entered the service of Houjou Ujitsuna. His father was killed in the Iwagawa internal discord of 1536 between Imagawa Yoshimoto and his half brother Genkou Etan (there are also accounts that he escaped safely and joined Tsunashige).

Tsunashige found favor with Houjou Ujitsuna, who married one of his daughters to him and bequeathed him the Houjou name. The "tsuna" part of his name also came from Ujitsuna.

When the Houjou began fighting the Uesugi Clan in 1537, Tsunashige participated in many of battles. He continued to be a trusted commander of the clan after Ujitsuna died in 1541 and Houjou Ujiyasu became clan head. In 1546, during the siege and battle at Kawagoe Castle, he held out against an overwhelming enemy force for many months, finally achieving an astounding victory for the Houjou Clan.

In 1571 at the death of Ujiyasu, Tsunashige retired and gave over the family to his son, cutting off his hair and adopting a Buddhist name. He died in 1587 of illness.

Houjou Ujikuni (北条氏邦)
1541 - Sept. 19, 1597

Also known as: Fujita Awa-no-Kami (藤田安房守), Fujita Ujikuni (藤田氏邦)
Title: Awa-no-Kami

Houjou Ujikuni was the fourth-born son of Houjou Ujiyasu (third son to survive childhood), younger brother of Houjou Ujimasa and Houjou Ujiteru, and older brother of Houjou Ujinori, Houjou Ujitada, Houjou Saburou (Uesugi Kagetora), and Houjou Ujimitsu.

He married Ofukugozen, daughter of Fujita Yasukuni of Musashi (a vassal of the Houjou Clan who had years before submitted under attack) and was adopted as heir to the Fujita Clan. He later adopted his older brother Ujimasa's 6th son, Houjou Naosada.

Like his brother Ujiteru, Ujikuni was known for his courage and wise governance. He was entrusted with the military affairs of the front line of the North Kantou, Kouduke-no-kuni and distinguished himself in battles leading to the expansion of the Houjou territory, though was defeated at the Battle of Mimasetoge in 1569 by Shingen.

Ujikuni's quick temper was said to be one of the contributing factors to the fall of the Houjou Clan. In 1578, he poisoned his brother-in-law Fujita Juuren to ensure his own position, thus earning the hatred of his other brother-in-law, Fujita Nobuyoshi, who entered the service of Takeda Katsuyori and later Uesugi Kagekatsu.

When Odawara Castle fell to Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the Siege of Odawara in 1590, Ujikuni cut off his hair and begged for his life, which he was granted with a fief of 1000 koku in Noto. He lived until the age of 57, when he died of illness at Kanazawa in Kaga (there are also theories that he killed himself).

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 Ujinori (北条氏規)
1545 - Mar. 22, 1600

Title: Mino no-Kami

Houjou Ujinori was the fifth-born son of Houjou Ujiyasu (fourth son to survive childhood), younger brother of Houjou Ujimasa, Houjou Ujiteru, and Houjou Ujikuni, and older brother of Houjou Ujitada, Houjou Saburou (Uesugi Kagetora), and Houjou Ujimitsu. He was the master of Misaki Castle in Sagami and chamberlain of Nirayama Castle in Izu. He married Kougen'in, the daughter of Houjou Tsunashige.

As a child, Ujinori was sent to Suruga as a hostage of Imagawa Yoshimoto. It was said that he became friends with Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was also a hostage in Suruga at the time, during this period. He returned to the clan somewhere in the period between 1558-1570, and in 1571 was again sent as hostage to the Takeda Clan in Kai along with his younger brother Houjou Ujitada.

Though his brothers Ujiteru and Ujikuni were known for their diplomatic skills, Ujinori surpassed both of them. This finesse was evident in his negotiations with Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Katsuyori, and later in alliances with Tokugawa Ieyasu, Date Masamune, and the Ashina Clan. Tokugawa Ieyasu saw Ujinori as his window into the Houjou Clan, and communicated with him extensively.

Ujinori journeyed to the capital several times to negotiate with Toyotomi Hideyoshi as his brother Ujimasa's representative, but these negotiations failed, and Hideyoshi attacked Odawara Castle in 1590. Ujinori withstood siege from Hideyoshi's army for 3 months, but finally surrendered on Ieyasu's recommendation. He was also given the role of persuading his brother Ujimasa to surrender.

After the battle, Ujinori followed Houjou Ujinao to Mt. Kouya. He was pardoned in 1591 by Hideyoshi and given a territory of 2000-koku, then 6,980-koku in Kawachi and Sayama Castle in 1594. He died of illness at the age of 60, and his son Houjou Ujimori was allowed the continued governance of Sayama-han. His line continued until the Meiji Restoration.

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 Ujitsuna (北条氏綱)
1487 - Aug. 10, 1541

Also known as: Ise Ujitsuna (伊勢氏綱)

Houjou Ujitsuna was born eldest son and heir of Ise Moritoki. He became the second head of the Later Houjou Clan in 1518 upon the retirement of his father, though it is possible that his father had transferred the rule of the clan to him long before or ruled in concert with him.

Born Ise Ujitsuna, he changed his family name to Houjou after the line of regents of the Kamakura shogunate and also adopted their family crest of three fish scales (three triangles forming a large triangle) in 1523. He posthumously gave his father the name of Houjou Souun.

In Souun's time, the Houjou main castle was Nirayama Castle in Izu Province. Ujitsuna made Odawara Castle in Sagami his stronghold.

As clan head, Ujitsuna greatly expanded the Houjou Clan's influence in the Kantou. He took both Edo Castle (1524) and Kawagoe Castle (1537) in Musashi from the Uesugi Clan. He initially formed an alliance with Imagawa Ujichika in Suruga, but it broke apart upon an alliance between Suruga and Kai.

Ujitsuna collapsed and died of illness in the summer of 1541 during the long war with Suruga that followed. He was succeeded by his eldest son and heir, Houjou Ujiyasu.

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.

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.

Jinba-san (陣馬山)

A mountain located on the border between Hachiouji City, Tokyo and Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture. It was chosen as one of the 50 scenic locations of Kanagawa Prefecture.

The name of the mountain was once written with the characters 陣場 (pronounced the same), which literally means "place of encampment", and it was thus named because it was the place where the Takeda army camped during its attack on the Houjou Takiyama Castle. The name was changed to its present form with "place" replaced by "horse" in the 1950s when the Keio Corporation built a white horse at the summit to promote tourism.

Joumon-jidai (縄文時代,)

The period of Japanese pre-history from 14,000 BC to 400 BC during which the Joumon people created some of the first pottery in the world, characterized by markings made with sticks wrapped with cords.

Kabasawa-jou (樺沢城)

Also known as: Mariko-jou (鞠子城)

Kabasawa Castle is a mountain castle located in Echigo (now Niigata Prefecture) said to be the place where Uesugi Kagekatsu was born. Its inner citadel was built at the mountain summit at an elevation of 300 meters (~984 feet).

During the 14th century, the castle was the stronghold of a vassal of Nitta Yoshisada. Nagao Kagetora (Uesugi Kenshin) became master of the castle during the Sengoku Period and commanded his brother-in-law Nagao Masakage to make alterations to it.

Since Kabasawa Castle lay on the three-province highway that was the shortest distance between Echigo and the Kantou, it was used as a communications base during Kenshin's Kantou expeditions. Masakage and his wife Sentouin seemed to have lived in the castle as well, and their son (later Uesugi Kagekatsu) was born there in the fifth year of their marriage.

After Kenshin's death, Houjou Ujiteru and Houjou Ujikuni dispatched by Houjou Ujimasa to aid their brother Uesugi Kagetora in the Otate no Ran crossed Mikuni Pass and captured Kabasawa Castle. The Houjou army made Kabasawa their base from which to attack Sakato Castle, but withdrew with the advent of winter.

Kagekatsu took the castle upon his victory in the Otate no Ran. He later abandoned the castle upon receiving the 120,0000-koku territory of the Aizu from Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Kaga-no-kuni (加賀国,)

A province of ancient Japan that is today a part of southern Ishikawa Prefecture which once bordered on the provinces of Echizen, Ecchuu, Hida, and Noto. The priest Rennyo of Hongan Temple arrived in the 15th century to preach the tenets of True Pure Land Buddhism, which spread rapidly among the samurai and peasants of the region. They banded together into the Ikkou Sect to create a "Peasant's Kingdom", which lasted for a hundred years until Sakuma Morimasa overthrew it by order of Oda Nobunaga in 1580.

Three years later, Maeda Toshiie invaded the province and took it for Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The Maeda Clan ruled it thereafter, focusing on culture and art instead of military and warfare, and developed the province into the richest domain outside of Tokugawa Shogunate. Kaga was famous for its gold-leaf, inlaid work, and calligraphy, promoted by its Maeda lords.

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.

Kakizaki Haruie (柿崎晴家)
? - 1578?

Titles: Izumi no Kami

Historically: the son of Kakizaki Kageie. He was sent to Odawara Castle in Sagami when the Kenshin and the Houjou clans struck a peace treaty in an exchange of hostages with Houjou Saburou (Uesugi Kagetora). The fate of Kakizaki Haruie was unknown when his father was accused of treason. There are theories that he either died in 1575 along with his father, or that he was murdered by Uesugi Kagekatsu's faction in 1578 during the Otate no Ran.

In Mirage of Blaze: He was one of Uesugi Kagetora's most loyal followers as well as the leader of his faction in the Otate no Ran, and was killed by Uesugi Kagekatsu's followers. He is now one of the Yasha-shuu under Kagetora's command. Haruie possesses female bodies (the only member of the Yasha-shuu to do so) in search of a lover who died two hundred years ago.

Of the Yasha-shuu, he is the one who excels most at the spiritual sensing ability called reisa.

Kamiyama (神山)

Lit.: Holy Mountain; Kamiyama is the highest peak of Mt. Hakone at 1,438 meters (~4717.8 feet) and is located to the east of Lake Ashi. It has been worshiped as a sacred mountain since ancient times.

It takes around an hour and thirty minutes to hike to Kamiyama from the top of Komagatake.

Kanmurigatake (冠ヶ岳)

Komagatake is one of the lava domes in the central dome of the Hakone Volcano and stands 1409 meters (~4622.7 feet). It is located to the north of Kamiyama and Komagatake.

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.

kanshousha (換生者)

Those who possess others by driving out the soul from a body and making it theirs.

Unlike normal spirits, kanshousha cannot exchange bodies at will; they can only switch to another host body when their current body dies. Because kanshousha become the owners of their bodies, choubuku does not work on them. It is, however, still possible to exorcise kanshousha when they are in spirit-form (i.e. between possessions).