Takeda Clan
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Takeda Clan
Takeda clan
Takeda mon.svg
The emblem (mon) of the Takeda clan
Home provinceKai
Parent houseSasa Rindo.svg Minamoto clan ()
FounderMinamoto no Yoshikiyo
Final rulerTakeda Katsuyori
Current headNone
Founding year12th century
Ruled until1582, defeat by Oda Nobunaga
Cadet branchesAki
Matsumae clan
Nanbu clan
Yanagisawa clan
Got? clan
Ogasawara clan
Miyako Todomaru clan
Akiyama clan

The Takeda clan (, Takeda-shi) was a Japanese clan active from the late Heian period until the late 16th century. The clan was historically based in Kai Province in present-day Yamanashi Prefecture.[1][2] The clan was known for their honorable actions under the rule of Takeda Shingen, one of the most famous rulers of the period.


  • Four diamonds (pictured)
  • Four diamonds surrounded by a solid ring
  • Two cranes bowing their heads together
  • A centipede
  • Hanabishi (three vertical flowers)
  • F?rinkazan (a battle standard with the writing: "?", which literally means: "Wind, Forest, Fire, Mountain".)
  • The Tai (?) character

Major figures

Nobushige, Nobumitsu, Nobuyoshi, Nobutora, Harunobu (Shingen), Katsuyori



The Takeda were descendants of Emperor Seiwa (858-876) and are a branch of the Minamoto clan (Seiwa Genji), by Minamoto no Yoshimitsu (1056-1127), brother to the Chinjufu-sh?gun Minamoto no Yoshiie (1039-1106). Minamoto no Yoshikiyo (c. 1075 - c. 1149), son of Yoshimitsu, was the first to take the name of Takeda.

Kamakura to early Azuchi-Momoyama periods

In the 12th century, at the end of the Heian period, the Takeda family controlled Kai Province. Along with a number of other families, they aided their cousin Minamoto no Yoritomo against the Taira clan in the Genpei War. When Minamoto no Yoritomo was first defeated at Ishibashiyama (1181), Takeda Nobuyoshi was applied for help and the Takeda sent an army of 25,000 men to support Yoritomo. Takeda Nobumitsu (1162-1248), helped the H?j? during the J?ky? War (1221) and in reward received the governorship of Aki Province. Until the Sengoku period, the Takeda were shugo of Kai, Aki and Wakasa provinces.

Sengoku period

Immediately prior to the Sengoku period, the Takeda helped to suppress the Rebellion of Uesugi Zensh? (1416-1417).[3]Uesugi Zensh? (d. 1417) was the kanrei chief advisor to Ashikaga Mochiuji, an enemy of the central Ashikaga shogunate and the Kant? kub? governor-general of the Kant? region. Mochiuji, lord of the Uesugi clan, made a reprisal against the Takeda clan in 1415. This reprisal began a rivalry between the Uesugi and Takeda clans which would last roughly 150 years until the destruction of the Takeda clan at the end of the Sengoku period.[4] While this rivalry existed, the Takeda and the Uesugi still had a huge amount of respect for one another.

Takeda Shingen

Takeda Harunobu (1521 – 1573) succeeded his father Nobutora in 1540 and became shugo lord of Kai Province in present-day Yamanashi Prefecture. In this period the Takeda began to quickly expand from their base in Kai Province. In 1559, Harunobu changed his name to the better-known Takeda Shingen. He faced the H?j? clan a number of times, and most of his expansion was to the north, where he fought his most famous battles against Uesugi Kenshin. This series of regional skirmishes is known as the Battles of Kawanakajima. The battles began in 1553, and the best known and severest among them was fought on September 10, 1561.[5]

Shingen is famous for his tactical genius, and innovations, though some historians have argued that his tactics were not particularly impressive nor revolutionary. Nevertheless, Shingen is perhaps most famous for his use of the cavalry charge at the Battle of Mikatagahara. The strength of Shingen's new tactic became so famous that the Takeda army came to be known as the kiba gundan (?), or 'mounted army'. Up until the mid-16th century and Shingen's rise to power, mounted samurai were primarily archers. There was already a trend at this time towards larger infantry-based armies, including a large number of foot archers. In order to defeat these missile troops, Shingen transformed his samurai from archers to lancers.

Decline of the Takeda clan

Gold coin of the Takeda clan of K?sh? () in the 16th century, an early example of Japanese currency

Shingen died in on May 13, 1573, at age 53 from illness.[6][5] His son Takeda Katsuyori (1546-1582) effectively succeeded Shingen though the nominal head of the family was his grandson Takeda Nobukatsu, Katsuyori continued Shingen's aggressive expansion plan south and westward and was initially successful, briefly achieving the largest extent of Takeda rule, however he was defeated in the Battle of Nagashino in 1575 by Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu.

After Nagashino, the Takeda clan fell into sharp decline as it had lost many of its most notable samurai during the battle. Katsuyori's position within the clan also became precarious (as he did not fully inherit the clan leadership position); in 1582, two of his relatives defected to the Oda/Tokugawa alliance and Nobunaga succeeded in destroying the Takeda clan shortly thereafter. The campaign saw most of the Takeda followers simply abandoning Katsuyori and the other Takeda family members to their fate. The clan was effectively eliminated, although descendants of the Takeda clan would take prominent positions in the Tokugawa shogunate, established in 1603.[5]

Modern period

Takeda is also a fairly common family name in modern Japan, though it is unlikely that everyone with the Takeda name is descended from this noble house (several divisions of the family have the Takeda name).

In fact, most of the real descendants of the Takeda had a different name when they created a cadet branch. During the Tokugawa period, several daimy? families were direct descendants of the Takeda.

In 1868, these daimy? families were :

Cadet branches

Site of Mariyatsu Castle, base of the Kazusa Takeda clan, Kisarazu, Chiba Prefecture

Three major branches of the Takeda clan were established across Japan along with other smaller branches. Due to the establishment of cadet branches, the main Takeda clan in Kai Province is also referred to as the Kai Takeda clan. All the cadet branches of the Takeda clan were ended shortly after the defeat of the Kai Takeda clan by Oda Nobunaga.[2]

Aki Takeda

The Aki Takeda clan, established in Aki Province in the present-day western part of Hiroshima Prefecture.[1]

Wakasa Takeda

The Wakasa Takeda clan was established in Wakasa Province in present-day southern Fukui Prefecture in approximately 1440. The Wakasa were an offshoot of the Aki Takeda clan.[1] The Wakasa Takeda were known for their patronage of the arts and developing the Takeda school of military etiquette.[2]

Kazusa Takeda

The Kazusa Takeda clan, established at the beginning of the Sengoku period in Kazusa Province in the present-day central area of Chiba Prefecture. Along with the Satomi clan of Awa Province in the southern part of present-day Chiba Prefecture the two clan replaced the dominance of the Chiba clan in the region. The Kazusa Takeda are also known as the Mariyatsu Takeda, a reference to their base of power, Mariyatsu Castle.[1]

Clan literature

The K?sh? Hatto, composed at some point in the 15th century, is the code of law of the Takeda family, while the K?y? Gunkan, composed largely by K?saka Masanobu in the mid-16th century, is an epic poem recording the family's history and Shingen's innovations in military tactics.

Important members of the Takeda family


  • Takeda Nobutora - Shingen's father
  • Takeda Shingen - one of Japan's most famous warlords, Shingen expanded his domains greatly, and became one of the major powers in the country for a time. Known for his massive sense of honor in battle.
  • Takeda Katsuyori - Shingen's son, Katsuyori commanded his father's armies after his death, and saw the fall of the Takeda family.
  • Takeda Nobushige - Shingen's younger brother, held their father's favour to be heir of the clan, continued to support his older brother throughout his life, he also wrote the Ky?j?ky? Kakun, a set of 99 short rules for Takeda house members.
  • Takeda S?kaku (1859-1943) was the restorer of the Dait?-ry? Aiki-j?jutsu school of j?jutsu, and the first to teach the art outside of the Takeda family.[7]

Popular culture

Takeda is a playable faction in Shogun: Total War and Shogun 2.

Takeda is a playable nation in Europa Universalis IV.

Takeda Shingen and his peasant doppelgänger are the main subjects of Kagemusha, directed by Akira Kurosawa. The film was partly financed and produced with the help of Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, who were shocked to discover that Kurosawa had difficulty securing funding in his native country.


  1. ^ a b c d "Takeda-shi ()". Kokushi Daijiten () (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved .
  2. ^ a b c "Takeda family". Encyclopedia of Japan. Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved .
  3. ^ "Uesugi Zensh?, Rebellion of". Encyclopedia of Japan. Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved .
  4. ^ "Uesugi family". Encyclopedia of Japan. Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved .
  5. ^ a b c "Takeda Shingen". Encyclopedia of Japan. Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved .
  6. ^ E. Deal, William (2007). Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan. Oxford University Press US. pp. 44-45. ISBN 0-19-533126-5.
  7. ^ "Takeda S?kaku (?)". Nihon Jinmei Daijiten (?) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved .

Further reading

  • Ogino, Shozo, The History of Kyushu. Japanese Publishing.
  • Sansom, George (1961). A History of Japan: 1334-1615. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  • Turnbull, Stephen (1998). The Samurai Sourcebook. London: Cassell & Co.
  • Turnbull, Stephen (2002). War in Japan 1467-1615. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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