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Baba Nobuharu (1514-15 – June 29, 1575), also known as Baba Nobufusa, was a renowned Japanese samurai during the Sengoku period. He gained fame as one of the "Twenty-Four Generals of Takeda Shingen." When Takeda Shingen captured Fukashi castle (now Matsumoto Castle) in 1550, he entrusted its guardianship to Baba.

Historical records indicate that from around 1553, Baba was tasked with overseeing the Suwa region in Shinano. This area served as a borderland with the northern Daimyo and played a crucial defensive role in monitoring potential invasions from the north. Additionally, he acted as an intermediary for the Shiina family of Etchu.

In 1557, Baba took part in the Kawanakajima campaigns, leading the Takeda forces in the siege and eventual destruction of Katsurayama, a significant stronghold of the Uesugi clan.

In 1562, he received the honor of assuming the title "Mino no Kami," a position previously held by Hara Toratane, who had retired the year before and changed his name to Baba Mino no Kami Nobuharu. The Kōyō Gunkan records that Shingen frequently sought Nobuharu's counsel on matters of importance. In 1572, he played a crucial role in the Siege of Iwamura Castle against the Oda clan garrison.

During the Battle of Mikatagahara in 1573, the troops under Nobuharu's command pursued Tokugawa Ieyasu's army back to Hamamatsu fortress. However, upon seeing the gates open and braziers lit, Baba mistakenly suspected a trap and chose not to further engage the fleeing army.

Following Takeda Shingen's passing, Baba continued to serve his successor, Takeda Katsuyori. In 1575, aware of Nobunaga's involvement in the Battle of Nagashino, he advised Katsuyori to withdraw. Unfortunately, Katsuyori disregarded this counsel.

Leading the right-wing of the Takeda army in the battle, Baba met his end in combat. It is believed that he sacrificed himself to cover the retreat, allowing Katsuyori to escape the battlefield. The deaths of Baba Nobuharu, along with other valiant warriors such as Sanada Nobutsuna, Naito Masayo, and Yamagata Masakage, during the Battle of Nagashino contributed to the weakening and eventual downfall of the Takeda family in 1582.

Prior to Nagashino, Nobuharu had earned a reputation for fighting in 70 battles without sustaining a single injury. This remarkable feat has immortalized him as "Baba Mino the Immortal" or "Oni Mino the Immortal" in modern memory.


See also

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