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Samurais

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Art, Wars and warfare

Miyamoto Musashi

Miyamoto Musashi , also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke or, by his Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku, was a Japanese swordsman, philosopher, writer and rōnin. Musashi, as he was often simply known, became renowned through stories of his excellent and unique double-bladed swordsmanship and undefeated record in his 61 duels. He was the founder of the Niten-Ichi-Ryū-School or Nito-Ichi-ryū style of swordsmanship and in his final years authored The Book of Five Rings , and Dokkōdō. Both documents were given to Terao Magonojō, the most important of Musashi's students, seven days before Musashi's death. The Book of Five Rings deals primarily with the character of his Niten-Ichi-Ryū-School in a concrete sense e.g. his own practical martial art and its generic significance; The Path of Aloneness on the other hand, deals with the ideas that lie behind it, as well as his life's philosophy in a few short aphoristic sentences.

Wars and warfare

Tokugawa Ieyasu

Tokugawa Ieyasu was the founder and first shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, which effectively ruled Japan from the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Ieyasu seized power in 1600, received appointment as shōgun in 1603, and abdicated from office in 1605, but remained in power until his death in 1616. His given name is sometimes spelled Iyeyasu, according to the historical pronunciation of the kana character he. Ieyasu was posthumously enshrined at Nikkō Tōshō-gū with the name Tōshō Daigongen (東照大権現). He was one of the three unifiers of Japan, along with his former lord Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Wars and warfare

Sasaki Kojirō

Sasaki Kojirō , often anglicised to Kojirō Sasaki, was a prominent Japanese swordsman widely considered a master of his craft, born in Fukui Prefecture. He lived during the Azuchi–Momoyama and early Edo periods and is most remembered for his death while battling Miyamoto Musashi in 1612.

Wars and warfare

Yasuke

Yasuke was a retainer of African origin who served under the Japanese hegemon and warlord Oda Nobunaga in 1581 and 1582.

Wars and warfare

Hattori Hanzō

Hattori Hanzō , also known as Hattori Masanari or Hattori Masashige , was a famous samurai of the Sengoku era, credited with saving the life of Tokugawa Ieyasu and then helping him to become the ruler of united Japan. Today, he is often a subject of varied portrayal in modern popular culture.

Politics, Wars and warfare

Saigō Takamori

Saigō Takamori (Takanaga) was one of the most influential samurai in Japanese history and one of the three great nobles who led the Meiji Restoration. Living during the late Edo and early Meiji periods, he has been dubbed the last true samurai. He was born Saigō Kokichi, and received the given name Takamori in adulthood. He wrote poetry under the name Saigō Nanshū. His younger brother was Gensui The Marquis Saigō Tsugumichi.

Wars and warfare

Minamoto no Yoshitsune

Minamoto no Yoshitsune was a military commander of the Minamoto clan of Japan in the late Heian and early Kamakura periods. During the Genpei War, he led a series of battles which toppled the Ise-Heishi branch of the Taira clan, helping his half-brother Yoritomo consolidate power. He is considered one of the greatest and the most popular warriors of his era, and one of the most famous samurai fighters in the history of Japan. Yoshitsune perished after being betrayed by the son of a trusted ally.

Wars and warfare

Tomoe Gozen

Tomoe Gozen was a late twelfth-century female samurai warrior (onna-bugeisha), known for her bravery and strength. She married Minamoto no Yoshinaka and served him in the Genpei War and was a part of the conflict that led to the first shogunate in Japan.

Wars and warfare

Takeda Shingen

Takeda Shingen , of Kai Province, was a pre-eminent daimyō in feudal Japan with exceptional military prestige in the late stage of the Sengoku period.

Wars and warfare

Date Masamune

Date Masamune was a regional ruler of Japan's Azuchi–Momoyama period through early Edo period. Heir to a long line of powerful daimyōs in the Tōhoku region, he went on to found the modern-day city of Sendai. An outstanding tactician, he was made all the more iconic for his missing eye, as Masamune was often called dokuganryū (独眼竜), or the "One-Eyed Dragon of Ōshu".

Wars and warfare

Uesugi Kenshin

Uesugi Kenshin was a daimyō who was born as Nagao Kagetora, and after the adoption into the Uesugi clan, ruled Echigo Province in the Sengoku period of Japan. He was one of the most powerful daimyōs of the Sengoku period. While chiefly remembered for his prowess on the battlefield, Kenshin is also regarded as an extremely skillful administrator who fostered the growth of local industries and trade; his rule saw a marked rise in the standard of living of Echigo.

Wars and warfare

Hijikata Toshizō

Hijikata Toshizō was the Japanese Vice-Commander of Shinsengumi, a great swordsman and a talented military leader who resisted the Meiji Restoration.

Wars and warfare

Okita Sōji

Okita Sōji was the captain of the first unit of the Shinsengumi, a special police force in Kyoto during the late shogunate period. He was one of the best swordsmen of the Shinsengumi.

Wars and warfare

Amakusa Shirō

Amakusa Shirō , also known as Amakusa Shirō Tokisada (天草四郎時貞), often romanized as Shirou led the Shimabara Rebellion, an uprising of Japanese Roman Catholics against the Shogunate. They were defeated and Shirō was executed at the age of 17, his head displayed on a pike near Nagasaki. Since the late 20th century, he has been featured in popular culture as a character in numerous manga, anime and video games.

Wars and warfare

Ishida Mitsunari

Ishida Mitsunari was a Japanese samurai and military commander of the late Sengoku period of Japan. He is probably best remembered as the commander of the Western army in the Battle of Sekigahara following the Azuchi–Momoyama period of the 16th century. He is also known by his court title, Jibu-no-shō (治部少輔).