Sanada Nobushige, also known as Yukimura, emerged as one of the most illustrious samurai of the Sengoku Period. Born as the second son of Sanada Masayuki and younger sibling to Sanada Nobuyuki, he was originally named Nobushige and acquired the moniker "Yukimura" only through later Edo period tales. Renowned as the "Crimson Demon of War" due to his blood-red banners and armor, he earned titles such as "Japan’s Greatest Warrior" and even the "Last Sengoku Hero" among his contemporaries.

As a youth, he was sent by his father as a hostage to the Uesugi clan, later returning to serve Toyotomi Hideyoshi directly. Nobushige married Aki-hime, the daughter of Otani Yoshitsugu, who was adopted by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Throughout his life, Nobushige displayed remarkable bravery and strategic prowess in various battles, notably defending Ueda Castle against multiple Tokugawa sieges. Despite being vastly outnumbered, he valiantly held off Tokugawa forces, earning admiration and respect.

Following the Battle of Sekigahara, where the Sanada family was divided between the Western and Tokugawa forces, Nobushige and his father were stripped of their domain and exiled to Mt. Koya. Despite this setback, Nobushige continued to resist the Tokugawa, participating in the Winter Siege and Summer Campaign of Osaka Castle. He constructed the formidable Sanada Maru, a crescent-shaped fortress, and led fierce defenses against overwhelming Tokugawa forces.

Tragically, during the Summer Siege of Osaka, Nobushige, exhausted from relentless battles, faced defeat. Despite his valiant efforts, he succumbed to his injuries under a pine tree in the grounds of the Yasui Shrine, allowing a Tokugawa samurai named Nishio Nizaemon to claim his head. Nobushige's death dealt a significant blow to the morale of the Osaka troops, marking the end of an era. Today, a statue commemorates his valiant spirit beneath the solemn shade of the shrine's pine tree.

See also 

  • Yasuke


    Yasuke, an African page, arrived in Japan in 1579 as the attendant of the Italian Jesuit missionary Alessandro Valignano. Before the arrival of the Englishman William Adams, it is thought that Yasuke was possibly the inaugural non-Japanese samurai, arriving about twenty years earlier.

    Read more …

  • Yamanami Keisuke


    Yamanami Keisuke, the second in command of the Shinsengumi, a special police force during the late Edo period, shocked many when he performed seppuku on March 20, 1865, at the age of 32.

    Read more …

  • Yamamoto Kansuke


    Yamamoto Kansuke, renowned as a samurai strategist and one of Takeda Shingen's esteemed 24 Generals, hailed from the Mikawa region, known for breeding formidable warriors. Despite physical challenges—blindness in one eye, lameness in one leg, and a malformed hand—Kansuke embarked on a warrior's pilgrimage in his twenties. Traveling across the land, he honed his skills in strategy, tactics, castle construction, and warfare, engaging in various swordsmanship schools and forms.

    Read more …

  • Yamaga Soko


    Yamaga Soko was a multifaceted figure in Japanese history, renowned as a strategist, philosopher, and scholar. Later in life, he became a ronin, leaving a significant mark on the understanding of the Tokugawa period samurai.

    Read more …

  • William Adams - Miura Anjin


    William Adams, also known as Miura Anjin, holds the distinction of being one of the few non-Japanese individuals granted samurai status. Born in Gillingham, Kent, England in 1564, Adams embarked on a remarkable journey that led him to become an influential figure in Japanese history.

    Read more …

  • Wakisaka Yasuharu


    Wakisaka Yasuharu held the position of daimyo over Awaji Island before ruling over Ozu in Iyo Province. His significance in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 cannot be overstated.

    Read more …

  • Ukita Hideie


    Ukita Hideie was born as the second son of Ukita Naoie, the ruler of Okayama Castle. Tragically, Hideie's father passed away when he was just nine years old, thrusting him into the responsibilities of leading the castle, clan, and domain. Prior to his father's demise, the Ukita clan had aligned with Oda Nobunaga. After Nobunaga's assassination during the Honno-ji Incident, Hideie remained loyal to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, whose ties were further solidified through marriage.

    Read more …

  • Uesugi Kenshin


    Uesugi Kenshin stands out as one of the most formidable daimyo of the Sengoku period, presenting the sole substantial challenge to Oda Nobunaga's quest for dominance.

    Read more …