Sanada Yukimura in a videogame, 2005


Sanada Yukimura was one heck of a guy. In fact, like the three generations of the Yagyu samurai (click here for story and pictures), the Sanada clan as a whole was incredible.

Yukimura's dad, Lord Sanada Masayuki, was the first of the Sanadas whose records went glitteringly on until he died. His idea of being the head of the clan was to get fiercely independent, even if independence wasn't in vogue in 16th century Japan. He got to pick a side at last, but this was done in the characteristic Sanada way -- he fortified his HQ and said "Okay, wait --" to the most powerful warlord of the time (whoever this be), and he meant wait. It is remembered that 14 years had elapsed before the Sanadas went to Osaka to join the Chief Minister Toyotomi Hideyori in his battle against the Tokugawa clan (click here for story and pictures of the decisive battle of Sekigahara, and here for the battle of Osaka).


Sanada clan's crest, and their estate in Ueda.
The Sanadas are related to Lord Uesugi Kagekatsu.
Click the pic for story and pictures.

Click here for detailed and complete maps of Japan, all the provinces and warlords' domains, including the Sanada clan's territory.


That was done after Sanada Masayuki received a yummy offer from the Shogun, Tokugawa Hidetada, to be Governor of the province of Shinano in 1614. This was a lucrative offer. He and his clan would get a warranty to survive for the next 254 years of the Tokugawa regime.

Sanada Masayuki refused the offer. Instead, he told his son Yukimura to pack up and fight in Osaka.

That's where Sanada Yukimura earned the legendary reputation of being for the underdogs, and be so inimitably. Actually it was his daddy who made every choice, but computer games' designers can't make a palatable RPG with any character over 50 years old.


The real thing: Sanada Yukimura
in an 18th century portrait

An American dollmaker in 2002
depicted him trampling on the
Tokugawa banner.
In the battle in 1615 he broke the lines of defense of Tokugawa Ieyasu's 3 times in a single day; Ieyasu got nightmares about him since.


Sanada Nobuyuki, the other famous son of Masayuki's, fought for the Tokugawas because he was the son in-law of Tokugawa best General Honda Heihachi (click here for story and pictures). He already joined the Tokugawa army in 1600 at their greatest battle ever, the Sekigahara (click here for this).


Sanada Yukimura in
another videogame, 2003


Sanada Yukimura died in the battle of Tennoji, 1622. The legend survives in 21st century thanks to the pop culture.

Sanada Nobuyuki survived the war and got a pay rise. But that was all that he got, besides being a footnote to his brother's bio in 21st century.

Click here for a movie in which the Sanada clan are the antagonists; Sanada Masayuki and Yukimura versus a dazzling ninja girl; that ninja girl killed Sanada Masayuki, and so on.




Araki Mataemon in the movie

Araki Mataemon was one of the few legendary swordsmen in his days, yet he got so scanty coverage in 21st century and I have no idea why. He was reputedly very good-looking in a brawlish way, and he was as good as Miyamoto Musashi and Yagyu Munenori in this art -- the latter was formerly his mentor. Only those dabbling in real-life swordsmanship revere Araki today. He got his own style. His reputation was such that in 20th century and back his rare appearance in pop culture was as a bad guy, just because all of his opponents in duels ended up dead.


Araki clan crest

Araki Mataemon in 18th century prints

Araki Mataemon's grave in 2002;
only swordspersons visit this place.
It is no ordinary tourist destination.




1584 - 1645

Miyamoto Musashi's movie images after 2000

Too much has been said about Miyamoto Musashi, the masterless samurai that wandered around Japan after the Sekigahara battle that installed Tokugawa clan to supremacy (click here for story and pictures).

He got huge monuments, too, in real life


The real man is like this

Mifune Toshiro as Miyamoto

The most familiar image of Miyamoto,
on the jacket of Yoshikawa Eiji's overweight tome.

Well, I don't even like Miyamoto Musashi. He is here only because he was one of the legends under the Tokugawan regime; he almost became Tokugawa Hidetada's personal tutor in martial arts, although in the war he fought for Toyotomi Hideyori. (Click here for story and pictures.)




For story and pictures of Amakusa Shiro Tokisada -- leader of the Shimabara Christian rebellion against Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu -- and the fate of the Underground Church of Nagasaki, plus pictures and profiles of famous Japanese Roman Catholic samurai and warlords of 16th-17th century :





T H E----T O K U G A W A----C L A N----H A S----S O M E T H I N G----T O----D O----W I T H---T H E S E

Honda Heihachi   Sanada Yukimura   Miyamoto Musashi   Oda Nobunaga   Sasaki Kojiro
Asano Naganori   Ishida Mitsunari   Toyotomi Hideyoshi   Oishi Kuranosuke   Yagyu Munenori
Tokugawa Ieyasu   Tokugawa Iemitsu   Tokugawa Hidetada   Tokugawa Tsunayoshi   Yagyu Jubei
Matsudaira Nobutsuna   Takeda Shingen   Tokugawa Yoshinobu   Toyotomi Hideyori   The 47 Ronins
Amakusa Tokisada   Uesugi Kagekatsu   Imagawa Yoshimoto   Kobayakawa Hideaki   Ukita Hideie
Mori Terumoto   Maeda Toshiie   Sekigahara Battle   The Minamoto Clan   The Shinsengumi
Sakai Tadatsugu   Tokugawa Ancestors   Osaka Battle   Shimabara Revolt   Nemesis




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