Uesugi Kenshin |Dragon of Echigo in samurai periodⅠ

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Kenshin Uesugi武田信玄

(1530-1578)He was a samurai in Echigo (present Niigata prefecture). He is really famous for a loyal samurai and a rival of Shingen Takeda who was the strongest samurai. He believed that he was a reincarnation of Bishamonten (God of fight). He demanded his subordinates to regard Kenshin as Bishamonten. Uesugi family often visited Bishamon hall in the Kasuga castle for swearing something. One day, some samurais tried to give his word to Bishamonten for being a follower of Kenshin but they could not go to Bishamon hall. At that time, Kenshin said to them, “You should swear in front of me because I am a Bishamonten.” And then the samurais swore in front of Kenshin.

With the power of Bishamonten, Kenshin won a lot of battles. The one of the most important turning points was the time he was 23 years old. Kenshin got a position of Kantou kanrei under a general who governed Kanto area. At that time, Kenshin tried to defeat Houjou family who was the strongest group in Kanto area. With 8,700 soldiers, Kenshin headed for Odawara where Houjou had stayed. On the way, Kenshin encouraged many samurais to follow him. Finally, the troops hold 115,000 soldiers. There was no samurai who could lead such number of soldiers except for Kenshin. He already had charismatic skill at attracting people.

If you choose one important battle in his life, it is Battle of Kawanakajima in which Kenshin fought against Shingen Takeda five times. In 1553, Shingen tried to invade Shinano but Murakami who was targeted by Shingen and people who lived in Kawanakajima asked for Kenshin’s help. Some of them didn’t have any relations with Kenshin but He headed to kawanakajima because of his loyalty and justice. In first half of kawanakajima battle, Kenshin and Shingen were just confronting each other but they started to fight in forth battle because Kenshin needed to make this battle finish shortly. Kenshin attacked to Shingen with his sword but Shingen blocked Kenshin’s attack with his military leader’s fan. Kenshin just laughed on his horse and went back to his camp. Eventually, there was no winner and loser in this battle. Kenshin’s attack which didn’t care about losing his life represents his loyalty and personality as a samurai. As you read about Kenshin so far, he devoted his life into defeating Shingen but he was particular about killing Shingen only in the battles.


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