Search glossary

Akechi Mitsuhide (明智光秀)
1526 - 1582

Title: Hyuga no Kami
Also known as: Koreta Mitsuhide

A talented general and poet who belonged to the inner circle of Oda Nobunaga's vassals. He later ambushed Nobunaga at Honnou Temple in 1582, killing both Nobunaga and his heir, Oda Nobutada. Akechi Mitsuhide then proclaimed himself the new shogun, but soon clashed against Toyotomi Hideyoshi's forces and was defeated in the Battle of Yamazaki only 13 days later. He was killed en route to his stronghold of Sakamoto Castle in the village of Ogurusu by a bandit with a bamboo spear (though an alternate theory states that he was not killed but became a monk instead).

All-Hanshin Giant (オール阪神巨人)

A comedy duo formed in 1975 of the team of All-Giant and All-Hanshin. Their name is based on a pun: because of the 9 inches' height difference between them, they are the Giant and a Half ("half" is pronounced "hanshin", which is also homonym to the name of a baseball team, Hanshin, traditional rival of the Giants in the Japanese baseball Central League.)

Amakasu Kagemochi (甘粕景持)
? - 1604

Also known as: Amakasu Nagashige (甘粕長重)
Title: Oumi no Kami

A vassal of the Uesugi Clan whose valor was on par with that of Kakizaki Kageie. He served as rear guard in the Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima, and his daring in battle was such that even Takeda Shingen praised him, saying, "Is Kenshin in the rear guard?"

After Uesugi Kenshin's death, he supported Uesugi Kagekatsu in the Otate no Ran.

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.

Asakura Kagetane (朝倉景胤)
? - 1575

A vassal of the Asakura Clan of Echizen, he surrendered to Oda Nobunaga upon the destruction of the clan, but later joined the Ikkou-ikki of Echizen along with Asakura Kagetake, another former Asakura vassal. In 1575 he was killed along with Kagetake after being defeated again by Nobunaga.

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.

Ashikaga Yoshiaki (足利義昭)
Dec. 5, 1537 - Oct. 9, 1597

Ashikaga Yoshiaki was installed by Oda Nobunaga as the 15th shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate after the death of his brother Ashikaga Yoshiteru, the 13th shogun in 1565 followed by the death of their cousin, Ashikaga Yoshihide, in 1568.

At first Yoshiaki was grateful towards Nobunaga, but began to chafe at remaining a puppet to him. He secretly communicated with Kennyo of Hongan Temple and Takeda Shingen about the formation of an anti-Nobunaga coalition. The coalition was later joined by such generals as Azai Nagamasa, Matsunaga Hisahide, and Miyoshi Yoshitsugu.

However, Yoshiaki was driven out of Kyoto in 1573 by Nobunaga after the death of Shingen, effectively ending the Ashikaga Shogunate.

Ashikaga Yoshiteru (足利義輝)
1536 - 1565

The 13th shogun of the Ashikaga Shogunate, Ashikaga Yoshiteru became shogun at the age of 11 and reigned from 1546 to 1565. During a period when the shogun was a puppet to the powerful daimyo around him, Yoshiteru was nevertheless respected for his displomacy, and many famous daimyo such as Oda Nobunaga and Uesugi Kenshin traveled to the capital to pay their respects.

Yoshiteru committed suicide in Kyoto when Matsunaga Hisahide invaded with Miyoshi Yoshitsugu and overran his few personal troops.

Ashina Morioki (蘆名盛興)
1547 - 1575

17th head of the Ashina Clan, Ashina Moriuji's son and heir. His wife was the daughter of Date Harumune.

Morioki became the head of the clan in 1561 upon his father's retirement, but he died early (possible causes were illness, alcohol poisoning, and defeat in battle) and left the clan without an heir.

Ashina Moritaka (蘆名盛隆)
1561 - 1584

Also known as: Heitarou (平太郎), Nikaidou Moritaka (二階堂盛隆)

18th generation lord of the Ashina Clan who was adopted by Ashina Moriuji to continue the family line. He was originally the son of Nikaidou Moriyoshi and a hostage of the Ashina Clan, but was adopted into the clan when Ashina Morioki's early death left the clan without an heir.

However, he was very unpopular with the Ashina retainers after his succession, and was assassinated at the age of 24.

Afterwards, his widow took the clan in hand. He had two daughters, one of whom became the wife of the next clan head, Ashina Yoshihiro

Ashina Moriuji (蘆名盛氏)
1521 - 1580

Also known as: Shishisai (止々斎)

Son of Ashina Morikiyo and 16th generation lord of the Ashina Clan who probably became head of the clan around 1537, which is around the time that he married a daughter of the Date Clan and formed an alliance with Tamura Takaaki.

He expanded the domain of the Ashina and did much to improve the clan's economic condition, thereby bringing about the golden age of the Ashina.

Moriuji turned over the rule of the clan to his heir Ashina Morioki in 1561 and retired to Iwasaki Castle, shaving off his hair and taking the name of Shishisai. However, he retained power over political and military affairs.

In 1575 when Ashina Morioki died without an heir, and because Moriuji had no other heirs, he adopted a hostage of the clan: Nikaidou Moritaka, the son of Nikaidou Moriyoshi, and married him to Morioki's widow. Moritaka then became Ashina Moritaka and the next clan head.

Moriuji died in 1580 at the age of 60. With him ended the golden age of the Ashina; a mere 9 years later, the clan would be destroyed by Date Masamune.

Ashina Yoshihiro (芦名義広/蘆名義広)
1575 - 1631

Also known as: 盛重, 義勝

Second son of the daimyo Satake Yoshishige, he became the 20th head of the Ashina Clan when he married Ashina Moritaka's daughter. However, he lost the Ashina lands to Date Masamune after the betrayal of one of the Ashina's key vassals at the Battle of Suriagehara in 1589. He then fled to Hitachi and was later given land there by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Ayukawa Morinaga (鮎川盛長)

Son of Ayukawa Kiyonaga, master of Oobasawa Castle, vassal of Uesugi Kenshin. Though descended from the same family as the Honjou Clan, the Ayukawa Clan took the side of the Uesugi family and fought the Honjou Clan when it repeatedly rose against Uesugi, though the Ayukawa Clan usually lost its battles.

In the Otate no Ran, when the Honjou Clan supported Uesugi Kagekatsu, Morinaga turned to Uesugi Kagetora, though the Ayukawa Clan lost again to the Honjou Clan. Morinaga was immediately allowed to return to serve Kagekatsu.

Bandou Eiji (板東英二)

Bandou Eiji was a pitcher with the Chunichi Dragons from 1959 to 1969 before becoming a television entertainer, hosting several variety and game shows throughout his career.

Chevalier (シュバリエ)

Lady Cäcilie's attendant who takes charge of Rick on board the Captive of Love luxury cruiser. Yuuri's only description of him is that he is blond.

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.

Daigo-tennou (醍醐天皇)
885 - 930

The 60th emperor of Japan, who ascended to the throne at the age of 12 upon his father Emperor Uda's abdication and reigned for 33 years. He abdicated in 930 due to illness and entered the Buddhist priesthood. He died shortly after.

Daihouji Yoshiuji (武藤義氏)
1551 - 1583

Also known as: Mutou Yoshiuji (武藤義氏)

Head of the Dewa Daihouji Clan, son of Daihouji Yoshimasu. The Daihouji supported the Uesugi Clan in the background. In order to repel invasion by Mogami Yoshiaki, Yoshiuji formed an alliance with the Date Clan in 1574, but it failed. He later fostered good relations with Oda Nobunaga for the same purpose, but when Nobunaga died in 1583, he was betrayed by vassals in collusion with Yoshiaki and was killed.

Yoshiuji was known for his prowess in battle and fought in many campaigns, but neglected administration of his own lands. He was also prone to violent behavior, and was called a bad lord by his people.

Date Hidemune (伊達秀宗)
1591 - 1658

First-born son of Date Masamune who could not inherit his father's position as head of the Date Clan because his mother was a concubine. Hidemune became the founding lord of Uwajima-han in Iyo Province.

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.

Date Shigezane (伊達成実)
1568 - 1646

Cousin of Date Masamune, second-in-command of Sendai-han, eldest son and heir of Date Sanemoto and the daughter of Date Harumune (who were originally uncle and niece). He entered Date Masamune's service from childhood and was later decorated for his role in many of the clan's wars.

In 1595, due to dissatisfaction over reward for the Imjin War, Shigezane left Masamune and fled to Mount Kouya.

In 1600, during the Battle of Sekigahara, Uesugi Kagekatsu offered Shigezane an exorbitant reward to become a vassal of the Uesugi Clan, but he refused, saying "I would never serve a vassal house." (Uesugi Sadazane, the last of the Uesugi Clan bloodline to be lord of Echigo, once wanted to adopted Shigezane's father, but the Date Clan refused. If the adoption had taken place, Shigezane would have become the lord of Echigo after his father, and Kagekatsu, as one of the Nagao Clan, would have been a vassal under Shigezane's service.)

Shigezane returned to Masamune's service in autumn of 1600, and later served in the new Shogunate in important roles.

Shigezane's prowess in battle was acknowledged by various daimyo of the age. (He was called 'Date Shigezane the Brave', and he, along with 'Katakura Kagetsuna the Wise', were named 'the twin jewels of the Date'.) He also wrote a famous history of Date Masamune, called the 'Shigezane Chronicles'.

Date Tadamune (伊達忠宗)
1600 - 1658

The second-generation lord of Sendai-han, 18th head of the Date Clan, second son of Date Masamune. His mother, Megohime, daughter of Tamura Kiyoaki was the legal wife of Date Masamune, making Date Tadamune his father's eldest legitimate son. He became the lord of Sendai-han at 38 after his father's death.

He raised Sendai-han's social status greatly during his governance, and was called 'the wise enterprising lord'. He died at the age of 60 and was entombed in the Kansenden.

Date Terumune (伊達輝宗)
1543 - 1585

Date Terumune became the 16th head of the Date Clan at the age of 17. He retired from that position in favor of his eldest son, Date Masamune, in 1584.

In 1585, he was kidnapped by a neighboring clan, Hatakeyama Yoshitsugu under pretense of asking for Terumune's help in intercession with Masamune. Masamune caught up with the Hatakeyama before they reached their own castle, and Terumune was killed in the struggle.

Date Tsunamune (伊達綱宗)
1640 - 1711

Titles: Mutsu no Kami, Mimasaka no Kami

Third-generation lord of Sendai-han, 19th head of the Date Clan, sixth son of Date Tadamune. His mother was the sister of the emperor's mother, making Tsunamune the emperor's cousin. He became the heir after the death of his elder brother, Date Mitsumune.

He was given to dissipation, which later lead to a rebellion to put his two-year-old eldest son, Date Tsunamura, in his position. However, there are theories that it was a pretense for the Shogunate, which was watching him closely. He was a person of refinement who left behind great works of art, poetry, calligraphy, laquer, and sword.

He died in Edo of cancer of the larynx, and was entombed in the Zenouden.

Date Tsunamura (伊達綱村)
1659 - 1719

Also known as: Kamechiyo

20th head of the Date Clan who took that position at the age of two after his father, Date Tsunamune, was disposed. His uncles Date Munekatsu and Date Muneyoshi acted as regents. After ten years of conflict and discontent, Aki Muneshige, a relative of the Date, made a formal complaint to the capital. Aki Muneshige was killed during the investigations, but Munekatsu and Muneyoshi were punished and Tsunamura confirmed as the proper head of the clan.

Edoya Nekohachi III (江戸屋猫八)
Oct. 10, 1921 - Dec. 10, 2001

Edoya Nekohachi III was an actor and comedian, well known for his imitations of animal sounds such as chickens and crickets. His father, Edoya Nekohachi I, was also a master imitator.

Fujimaru Katsutoshi (藤丸勝俊)
? - 1582

Also known as: 新助

He began serving Uesugi Kagekatsu after he abandoned his own fortress, which was under attack by Asakura Souteki. He later died in the Battle of Uozu.

Fukuzawa Yukichi (福澤 諭吉)

Fukuzawa Yukichi was a Japanese author, writer, teacher, translator, entrepreneur and political theorist who is regarded as one of the founders of modern Japan and a leader of the Meiji Restoration.

He learned Dutch, then English after Commodore Perry arrived in Japan and traveled to the US and Europe as envoy for the Tokugawa Shogunate. His writings about these travels, Seiyou Jijou (Things Western), became best-sellers, and he was regarded as Japan's foremost expert on the West. His works were preeminent during the Meiji Period, and in them he emphasized the importance of understanding the principle of equality of opportunity, study as the key to greatness, and individual strength. These works greatly aided the pro-modernization forces of Japan during the period of unrest in the last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate and motived the Japanese people to embrace change.

Fukuzawa's portrait appears on the 10,000-yen note and was the only figure to remain after the banknotes redesign in the early 2000s.

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.

Go-Daigo-tennou (後醍醐天皇)
1288 - 1339

The 96th emperor of Japan, whose reign from 1318 to 1339 was a rocky one; he became emperor at the age of 29, tried to overthrow the Kamakura Shogunate, was exiled, became emperor again after capturing the Kamakura Shogunate with the support of Ashikaga Takauji (destroying the Houjou Clan in the process), began a restoration aimed at making him the most powerful ruler in the East, was chased out of Kyoto by Ashikaga Takauji, and established the Southern Court in Yoshino in 1336 in opposition to the Northern Court established by Ashikaga in Kyoto. He died of illness in 1339.

Hakone Hachiri no Hanjirou (箱根八里の半次郎)

Hakone Hachiri no Hanjirou is the title character of a song popularized by Hikawa Kiyoshi and means "Hanjirou of Hakone's 8 ri." It was originally a poem composed by Mizumori Hideo.

Hatakeyama Yoshitsugu (畠山義継)
1552 - 1585

A Mutsu warlord who, hard-pressed by Date Masamune, asked for the intercession of Date Terumune, Masamune's retired father. However, he kidnapped Terumune at swordpoint instead. He was later killed by Masamune for his double-cross.

Hayashiya Konbei (林家こん平)
Dec. 3, 1943

Also known as: Kasai Mitsuo (笠井光男), Kon-chan, Konbei-Shishou

Hayashiya Konbei is a comic story teller and performed on the show "Shouten," a Japanese TV comedy program with has been broadcast since 1966 and is the second-longest running TV show in Japan.

Higuchi Kanetoyo (樋口兼豊)
? - 1602

Title: Iyo no Kami

A Sengoku-era warrior and vassal of Uesugi Kenshin (he originally served Nagao Masakage at Sakato Castle).

He supported Uesugi Kagekatsu in the Otate no Ran after Kenshin's death and was appointed master of Noumine Castle for his military exploits. His eldest son, Higuchi Kanetsugu (Naoe Kanetsugu), also supported Kagekatsu.

He was succeeded by his third son Higuchi Hidekane upon his death.

Honjou Hidetsuna (本庄秀綱)

Son of Honjou Saneyori who, like his father, served Uesugi Kenshin. He was made master of Numata Castle.

After Kenshin's death, he took Uesugi Kagetora's side in the Otate no Ran. He escaped just before the surrender of the castle to Uesugi Kagekatsu. Afterwards, he continued to oppose Kagekatsu with Kanamari Chikatsuna of Sanjou Castle. In 1580, when Tochio Castle fell, he fled into the Aizu.

Honjou Saneyori (本庄実乃)
1511? - 1575?

Also known as: Honjou Yoshihide (本庄慶秀)

A vassal of the Nagao/Uesugi Clan from the time of Nagao Harukage. He was one of Uesugi Kenshin's teachers in military strategy and played a large role in Kenshin's growth to adulthood.

He wielded tremendous power as one of Kenshin's most trusted advisors along with Naoe Sanetsuna. There are theories that he died in 1575 or followed Kenshin in death in 1578.

His son, Honjou Hidetsuna, also served Kenshin.

Honjou Shigenaga (本庄繁長)
1540 - 1614

Title: Echizen no Kami

One of Uesugi Kenshin's most experienced but most troublesome retainers. His father, Honjou Fusanaga, was the head of the Honjou Clan, but his castle was stolen away by his younger brother Ogawa Nagasuke just before Shigenaga was born. He died soon after. Shigenaga became the head of his clan at a very young age with his uncle as his guardian. Shigenaga was said to have a strong, daring temperment from childhood. On the 13th anniversary of his father's dead, he had his uncle Nagasuke seized and drove him to suicide, thereby taking back the real power of the clan.

Though in the beginning he was hostile towards Nagao Kagetora (Uesugi Kenshin), whom his uncle had supported, he became one of Kenshin's vassals in 1558 and fought in many of his battles, including the Battles of Kawanakajima. However, Shigenaga had a strong tendency towards independence; in 1568 he schemed with Takeda Shingen to declare his independence from Kenshin. The rebellion was put down by Kenshin, and Shigenaga surrendered with the intercession of Ashina Moriuji. His son and heir Honjou Akinaga was given as hostage, and Shigenaga was forgiven.

After Kenshin's death, he initially supported Uesugi Kagetora in the Otate no Ran, but surrendered to Uesugi Kagekatsu and later served him.

Horie Munechika (堀江宗親)

Title: Suruga no Kami

A vassal of the Uesugi Clan, master of Samegao Castle.

At the outbreak of the Otate no Ran after Uesugi Kenshin's death, he fought on the side of Uesugi Kagetora with his troops. After the surrender of the clan's main castle, Kasugayama Castle, to Uesugi Kagekatsu, he welcomed Kagetora and his family into Samegao Castle, from which they would attempt to escape into Sagami. But by the time they entered the castle he had already made a secret pact with Yasuda Akimoto to set fire to the outer citadel once Kagetora was in the castle and evacuate. Kagetora and his wife and children committed suicide during Kagekatsu's general offensive thereafter, ending the war.

There have been no records found of what happened to Horie Munechika after the war other than the fact that his territory was seized.

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 Ujimitsu (北条氏光)
? - Oct. 13, 1590

Houjou Ujimitsu was the eighth (maybe ninth)-born son of Houjou Ujiyasu (or possibly his younger brother Houjou Ujitaka), seventh son to survive childhood, younger brother of Houjou Ujimasa, Houjou Ujiteru, Houjou Ujikuni, Houjou Ujinori, and Houjou Saburou (Uesugi Kagetora). His wife was the daughter of Houjou Genan, (formerly wife of Saburou), and he was adopted by Genan as inheritor to the Musashi-Kodukue territory.

Ujimitsu served in the border defense between Suruga and Sagami. After the Siege of Odawara in 1590, he was exiled along with the rest of the Houjou to Mt. Kouya, and died there under house arrest.

His son Houjou Ujinori became a direct vassal to Tokugawa Ieyasu.

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 Ujitada (北条氏忠)
? - May 8, 1593

Also known as: Sano Ujitada

Houjou Ujitada was the sixth-(possibly seventh-) born son of Houjou Ujiyasu (or possibly his brother Houjou Ujitaka), fifth son to survive childhood, younger brother of Houjou Ujimasa, Houjou Ujiteru, Houjou Ujikuni, and Houjou Ujinori, and older brother of Houjou Saburou (Uesugi Kagetora) and Houjou Ujimitsu. (There are also theories that he was the son of Houjou Ujitaka, Ujiyasu's younger brother). He married Jousan'in (sp?—乗讃院), daughter of Sano Munetsuna in 1586 upon Munetsuna's death in battle against Nagao Akinaga and became the head of the Sano Clan. (Later, however, the Sano Clan was absorbed by the mighty Houjou.)

During the Siege of Odawara, Ujitada barricaded himself in Odawara Castle. After the battle, he followed Houjou Ujinao to Mt. Kouya and later lived a reclusive life in Izu. After his death in 1593, Toyotomi Hideyoshi allowed his uncle-in-law Sano Fusatsuna to assume the title of clan head of the Sano Clan.

Houjou Ujitaka (北条氏隆)

Houjou Ujitaka was the son of Houjou Tsunashige and grandson of Houjou Gen'an. He was the master of Kuno Castle in Sagami.

In January 1570, when Ujitaka's father died, Houjou Gen'an adopted him as heir in place of Uesugi Kagetora, who was adopted into the Uesugi Clan by Uesugi Kenshin.

After the destruction of the Houjou Clan, Ujitaka followed Houjou Ujinao to Mt. Kouya. He later served the Ikoma Clan of Takamatsu-han and became a monk, though he resided in Kyoto.

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.