Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Asahina Yasutomo

Asahina Yasutomo (1538 -) Yasutomo was an officer under the Imagawa clan. After the Imagawa was greatly defeated at the Battle of Okehazama, he was one of very few retainers who still stood strong with the Imagawa. When his new lord, Imagawa Ujizane, the son of Imagawa Yoshimoto, was about to lose his castle to the Takeda, due to his betrayal, Yasutomo surrendered the castle so that his lord's life would be spared.
Okabe Motonobu (d. April 25, 1581), also known by his common name Gorobei, was Japanese samurai of the Sengoku period, in the service of the Imagawa clan. The second son of Okabe Chikatsuna, he became a senior retainer of the Imagawa, following in his father's footsteps. After his lord Imagawa Yoshimoto was killed at the Battle of Okehazama, he kept fighting and even retrieved his lord's corpse. Following the clan's collapse he switched allegiance to the Takeda clan and defended Takatenjin Castle. He died in 1581 when he was attacked by Tokugawa forces under Honda Tadakatsu.
Ii Naomori (1506–June 12, 1560) a retainer of the Japanese clan of Imagawa in the Sengoku period of the 16th century. Following the Battle of Okehazama during the year of 1560, Naomori ended up being killed in battle when trying to protect his lord, Imagawa Yoshimoto following the rain mist strategy attack led by Oda Nobunaga. It is also known that Naomori was the grandfather of the famous Ii Naomasa, one of Four Guardians of the Tokugawa.
Honda Tadakatsu (1548 – December 3, 1610), also called Honda Heihachirō , was a Japanese general (and later a daimyo) of the late Sengoku through early Edo period, who served Tokugawa Ieyasu. Honda Tadakatsu was a man of peerless might, and one of the Tokugawa Four Heavenly Kings
native of Mikawa Province in Japan, he lived during the Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo periods. Ieyasu promoted him from daimyo of the Ōtaki han (100 000 koku) to the Kuwana han (150 000 koku) as a reward for his service. In addition, his son Honda Tadatomo became daimyo of Ōtaki. In 1609, he retired, and his other son Tadamasa took over Kuwana. His grandson, Tadatoki, married the granddaughter of Tokugawa Ieyasu, Senhime. Despite his years of loyal service, Tadakatsu became increasingly estranged from the Tokugawa shogunate (bakufu) as it evolved from a military to a civilian political institution. This was a fate shared by many other warriors of the time, who were not able to make the conversion from the chaotic lifetime of warfare of the Sengoku period to the more stable peace of the Tokugawa shogunate.
Such was Honda's reputation that he attracted from the most influential figures in Japan at the time. Oda Nobunaga, who was notoriously disinclined to praise his followers, called him "Samurai among Samurai". Moreover, Toyotomi Hideyoshi noted that the best samurai were "Honda Tadakatsu in the east and Tachibana Muneshige in the west". Even Takeda Shingen praised Honda, saying that "[h]e is a luxury of Tokugawa Ieyasu".
Tadakatsu is often referred to as "The Warrior who surpassed Death itself" because he never once suffered a significant wound, despite being the veteran of over 60 battles by the end of his life.[
Honda Tadakatsu is generally regarded as one of Tokugawa Ieyasu's finest generals, and he fought in almost all of his master's major battles. He gained distinction at the Battle of Anegawa (1570), helping in the defeat of the armies under the Azai and Asakura clans along with Tokugawa's ally, Oda Nobunaga. Tadakatsu also served at Tokugawa's greatest defeat, the Battle of Mikatagahara (1572), where he commanded the left wing of his master's army, facing off against troops under one of the Takeda clan's more notable generals, Naito Masatoyo. Although that battle ended in defeat, Honda Tadakatsu was one of those Tokugawa generals present to exact vengeance upon the Takeda at the Battle of Nagashino (1575). Honda commanded a rank of musketeers as the combined Oda-Tokugawa forces annihilated Takeda Katsuyori's army, partly thanks to the skillful use of ranked muskets, as they fired in cycling volleys. One would fire while another was reloading and another was cleaning the barrel of the musket. This enabled the muskets to fire without stopping, destroying the Takeda army. This was the first example of this highly effective tactic that the world had seen.
Honda Tadakatsu was present at the Battle of Sekigahara (1600), where Tokugawa Ieyasu's forces defeated the western alliance of daimyo under Ishida Mitsunari, allowing Tokugawa to assume control of the country, bringing the Sengoku era to a close.
Tadakatsu seems to have been a colourful figure, around whom a few legends have sprung up - it is often said that of all the battles in which he served, he never once received a wound. His helmet, famously adorned with deer antlers, ensured that he was always a recognizable figure on the field of battle. His horse was known as Mikuniguro. His fighting prowess was so great that his weapon of choice, the spear named Tonbo-Giri (or crimeajewel Dragonfly Cutter, the name coming from a legend where the tip of the spear was so sharp that a dragonfly that landed on it was cut in two), became known as one of the "Three Great Spears of Japan".
Hattori Hanzō ( 1542 – December 23, 1596), also known as Hattori Masanari was a famous samurai of the Sengoku era.
Hanzō, the son of Hattori Yasunaga, was born a vassal of the Matsudaira (later Tokugawa) clan, and served Tokugawa Ieyasu; he would later earn the nickname Oni-Hanzō (Devil Hanzō?) because of the fearless tactics he displayed in his operations. His nickname distinguishes him from another Tokugawa samurai, Watanabe Hanzō, called Yari-Hanzō ( Spear Hanzō?).
Though Hanzō was born and raised in Mikawa Province, he often returned to Iga Province, home of the Hattori family. He was an extremely skilled swordsman, tactician and spearman. Onmyodo, a Chinese system of divination propagated in Kyoto by Abe no Seimei, had been brought from the capital. The village of Yagyū, along the Kyoto-Nara border, was home to a venerable school of sword technique. The Hōzōin temple in Nara supported a unique school of spear fighting, the Hōzōin-ryū.
Hattori, who fought his first battle at the age of 16, went on to serve at the battles of Anegawa (1570) and Mikatagahara (1572), but his most valuable contribution came in 1582, following Oda Nobunaga's death.
Hattori Hanzō died in 1596 at the age of fifty-five of natural causes. However, there is a popular legend that a ninja, Fūma Kotarō, killed Hanzō in battle.
He was succeeded by his eighteen-year-old son, whose name was also Masanari, though written with different kanji. His son was given the title "Iwami-no-Kami" and his men would act as guards of Edo Castle.
To this day, artifacts of Hanzō's legacy remain; the Tokyo Imperial Palace (formerly the shogun's palace) still has a gate called Hanzō's Gate, and the Hanzōmon subway line which runs from central Tokyo to the southwestern suburbs is named after the gate. Hanzō’s remains now rest in the Sainen-ji temple cemetery in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The temple also holds his favorite spears and his ceremonial battle helmet.

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