Date Masamune, renowned as the "One Eyed Dragon of the North" or Dokuganryu, was a formidable figure of the Sengoku period. He held the title of lord over Sendai and was distinguished for his tactical brilliance, fearless combat skills, and exceptional leadership. Amongst samurai circles, he was known for his loyalty, ethical conduct, ruthless determination, astute administration, and ambitious pursuits.

Born in Yonezawa Castle, now in Yamagata Prefecture, Masamune was the son of Date Terumune, the lord of Mutsu. Smallpox claimed his right eye during childhood, prompting its removal. This led his mother to deem him unfit to inherit leadership of the clan, advocating for his younger brother Kojiro instead. Matters took a dark turn when she attempted to poison Masamune, compelling him to take drastic measures. He had to end his brother's life to secure his own survival and maintain control.

Following his father's retirement, Masamune ascended to lead the Date clan, expanding its influence by conquering neighboring domains while consolidating his own. When the Hatakeyama clan couldn't resist Masamune's advances into their territory, they appealed to his father for intervention. Unable to rein in his son, Terumune was taken captive. Masamune, upon receiving this grim news during a hunting expedition, pursued the kidnappers and executed his own father on Terumune's orders. As further retribution, he ordered the families of the kidnappers to be tracked down, tortured, and executed.

In 1590, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the nation's ruler, demanded Masamune's participation in the Siege of Odawara. Initially resistant, Masamune's eventual compliance angered Hideyoshi. Expecting execution for his initial defiance, Masamune presented himself before Hideyoshi, displaying no fear. To everyone's surprise, Hideyoshi spared his life, sensing potential use in the future. Masamune went on to demonstrate his loyalty during Hideyoshi's Korean campaigns.

Given lands at Iwadeyama by Hideyoshi, Masamune transformed the area into a thriving economic and political hub over 13 years. His financial acumen later turned Sendai from a modest fishing village into a prosperous city.

After Hideyoshi's passing, Masamune shifted his allegiance to Tokugawa Ieyasu, who granted him the Sendai Domain, purportedly yielding one million koku, though the actual output was 640,000 koku.

In the lead-up to the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Masamune supported the Tokugawa cause by engaging the Uesugi clan in the northern regions, enabling Ieyasu to focus on the growing Western allied forces. Although absent from the battlefield, Masamune's contributions greatly aided the Eastern victory.

After the Battle of Sekigahara, Date Masamune, along with 52,000 of his samurai and their families, moved from Iwadeyama to the village of Sendai.

Here, Masamune launched numerous public projects to enhance the land and embellish the Tohoku region, turning it into a sought-after tourist destination. He fostered trade, permitting foreign missionaries and traders to operate within his domain. He even utilized foreign shipbuilding techniques to construct the Date Maru, which embarked on Japan's inaugural diplomatic mission to the Philippines, Mexico, Spain, and Rome for an audience with the Pope, and to secure trading privileges with various nations along the route.

Masamune fathered 16 children, including two illegitimate ones, with his wife and seven concubines. His attire was characterized by relatively plain black armor and a distinctive helmet crest resembling a large, thin crescent moon. He is often depicted wearing a sword guard in place of an eye patch. Date Masamune passed away at the age of 68 on June 27, 1636.

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