In the early 16th century, the most formidable samurai cavalry army was the Takeda. At that time, it was a mighty military force that always won victory on the battlefield. At the head was Takeda Shingen, who had two sons. It was the sons who continued his work after the death of their father. The main task was to capture Mikawa, which belonged to Tokugawa Ieyasu. However, everything did not go according to plan. The power and strength of the Takeda army, which everyone feared, changed dramatically in the second half of the 16th century.

Brave Warrior Tori

In early May 1575, an army of 15,000 soldiers led by Takeda Katsuyori entered Tokugawa territory. The first thing the warriors did was to surround Yoshida Castle. However, the castle became the first obstacle to the conquest, as the soldiers could not destroy it. Then they began to move north, with the goal of encircling Nagashino Castle. And at this stage, the Takeda army was also expected to be defeated. This moment went down in history as the Battle of Nagashino.

Torii Suniemon managed to escape from the castle. This is a brave ashigaru who was able to break out of the castle and call for reinforcements from the Tokugawa. His story of escaping from the castle is unique. The brave warrior left the castle, swam across the fast river, bypassing the nets that were placed by the enemy, and then ran 35 km to Okazaki. Requesting reinforcements from the allies, Tori returned to Nagashino. However, while trying to get back to the castle, he was captured by the enemy.

Tory was tied to a wooden cross and put on display across the river from the castle. The enemy ordered Tori to tell the men that the castle had been surrendered and there would be no reinforcements. However, the brave warrior did not follow the order. From a height, he examined his samurai, who were located on the observation towers, and shouted loudly: "People of Nagashino castles do not give up, reinforcements are on their way, wait a bit." For this, the Takeda soldier stuck a spear in Tori's stomach.

One of the Takeda detachments was so surprised by the courage and devotion of Torii that an order was given to design a battle flag with the image of the crucified. The posthumously glorious warrior was promoted to the rank of full hereditary samurai. His efforts led to the most famous samurai battle, the Battle of Nagashino.

A week later, reinforcements arrived at the site of the main battle. These were the Tokugawa forces and allied Oda. The total number of soldiers numbered 38 thousand.

Combat equipment of the samurai Oda

The combat equipment of the Oda samurai also deserves special attention. They carried not only a tool, armor, but also a long thin wooden log. In this case, from these wooden logs, the Oda warriors managed to build almost 2 km of a wooden palisade on the western side at the foot of the hilly area.

The Battle of Nagashino between the armies took place on May 21, 1575. Takeda's army was the first to attack. In front were the horsemen, and behind them were the infantry. However, their movement was not as fast as it should have been. At first the army was slowed down by the soft, muddy rice paddies, then much time was spent crossing the Rengo River. After that, the Takeda army had to go through several more rice fields before reaching the log fence that was built by the Oda samurai.


Behind the fence, 3,000 Oda soldiers were waiting for them. Each soldier was armed with a matchlock gun. It is worth noting that a gun of this type was brought to Japan only 30 years ago before the start of a big battle. The arrows of Oda very quickly killed the opponent with a powerful shot.

After the first line of attack was destroyed, Katsuyori quickly sent out a second wave of samurai. However, just a few seconds later they were also killed by heavy rifle fire. The commander was greatly shocked, but did not give up his positions. He tried again to line up the lines of the troops, but they were also completely slanted.

Thus, in this great battle, the power of firearms won. In this battle, the correct tactics chosen by General Nobunaga also played. He became a true innovator. First of all, he was well aware of the shortcomings of throwing weapons and, taking advantage of this, managed to properly line up his shooters. To do this, he placed them in small groups of 3 around the barricades. After the first shot, the second line took aim and fired. By this time, the first line had time to reload and was ready to continue the battle. Thus, a volley of fire constantly occurred.

The second blow was delivered by ashigaru foot soldiers. As soon as the Takeda samurai approached the palisade, he was immediately stopped by the ashigaru foot soldiers. They had long spears.

In this big battle, Takeda continued to actively attack, and Oda continued to shoot and fight. The battle lasted over 8 hours. The result of a massive battle: 10 thousand dead Takeda samurai and 6 thousand soldiers of the allied forces. The Takeda clan, which was very formidable, was destroyed. And 7 years after this battle, an inglorious end awaited him.

See also

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    The Battle of Azukizaka, also known as the Battle of Bato-ga-hara, occurred in 1564, as Tokugawa Ieyasu aimed to quash the emerging threat of the Ikko-ikki, a coalition of monks, samurai, and peasants strongly opposed to samurai rule.

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  • Battle of Osaka


    Upon Toyotomi Hideyoshi's death in 1598, Japan entered a period of governance by the Council of Five Elders, with Tokugawa Ieyasu wielding the most influence. Following his victory over Ishida Mitsunari in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Ieyasu effectively seized control of Japan and disbanded the Council. In 1603, the Tokugawa shogunate was established in Edo, with Hideyoshi's son, Toyotomi Hideyori, and his mother, Yodo-dono, permitted to reside at Osaka Castle. Hideyori was granted a significant fief valued at 657,400 koku but remained confined to the castle for several years. As a means of control, it was arranged for Hideyori to marry Senhime, the daughter of Hidetada, in 1603, who had ties to both clans. Ieyasu aimed to establish a strong and stable regime under his clan's rule, with only the Toyotomi, led by Hideyori and influenced by Yodo-dono, posing a challenge to his ambitions.

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  • Battle of Shizugatake


    The Battle of Shizugatake, occurring during Japan's Sengoku period, unfolded between Toyotomi Hideyoshi (then known as Hashiba Hideyoshi) and Shibata Katsuie in Shizugatake, Omi Province, spanning two days from the 20th day of the fourth month of Tensho 11 (equivalent to June 10-11, 1583, on the Gregorian calendar). Katsuie, supporting Oda Nobutaka's claim as successor of Oda Nobunaga, engaged in a succession dispute within the Oda clan, ultimately favoring Hideyoshi.

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  • Battles of Kizugawaguchi


    The pair of Kizugawaguchi Battles took place during Oda Nobunaga's endeavors to besiege the Ishiyama Hongan-ji in Osaka. Serving as the stronghold of the Ikko-ikki, a coalition of warrior monks, priests, and farmers in opposition to Oda's rule, the Hongan-ji posed a formidable challenge. To counter the Ikko-ikki's attempts to supply the fortress and break the siege, Oda commanded Admiral Kuki Yoshitaka to organize a blockade against their allies' fleets. Among the opposition were influential families, notably the Mori Terumoto from the Mori clan in neighboring provinces.

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  • The Battle of Okehazama


    In the year 1560, Imagawa Yoshimoto, a formidable warlord who held dominion over the provinces of Suruga, Totomi, and Mikawa, gathered a mighty army of 25,000 men. His objective was to march upon Kyoto, challenging the increasingly feeble and ineffectual Ashikaga shogunate for control of Japan. The army traced its path along the Tokaido highway, crossing from Mikawa into Owari province, recently unified by the local warlord, Oda Nobunaga.

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  • The Battle of Komaki and Nagakute


    The series of conflicts in 1584 known as the Battle of Komaki and Nagakute unfolded between the armies of Hashiba Hideyoshi (who later assumed the name Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1586) and those of Oda Nobukatsu and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Prior to this, both Hideyoshi and Ieyasu had served under Oda Nobunaga without encountering any clashes, making this their sole period of hostility. While the history predominantly recalls the two major battles, the event is sometimes referred to as the Komaki Campaign.

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  • The Battle of Mikatagahara


    The Battle of Mikatagahara occurred during Japan's Sengoku period and pitted Takeda Shingen against Tokugawa Ieyasu. This clash took place on January 25, 1573, in Mikatagahara, Tōtōmi Province. Shingen launched an assault on Ieyasu's forces in the Mikatagahara plains, north of Hamamatsu. This engagement happened within the context of Shingen's campaign against Oda Nobunaga, as he sought a passage from Kōfu to Kyoto.

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  • The Battle of Sekigahara: Decisive Shift in Japanese History


    Taking place on October 21, 1600, in what is now Gifu prefecture, Japan, the Battle of Sekigahara marked a turning point at the culmination of the Sengoku period. Tokugawa Ieyasu's forces clashed with a coalition led by Ishida Mitsunari, loyal to Toyotomi, with many clans defecting before or during the battle, ultimately leading to Tokugawa's triumph. This battle, the largest in Japanese feudal history, holds paramount significance and paved the way for the Tokugawa shogunate's establishment.

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