Shibata Katsuie, also called Gonroku, was born in Kamiyashiro village, Owari, now located in Meito-Ku, Nagoya City. Initially, he pledged allegiance to Oda Nobunaga's younger brother, Oda Nobukatsu, and participated in Nobukatsu's scheme to usurp his elder brother's power. Katsuie led the charge against Nobunaga in the Battle of Ino in 1556 but was defeated. While Nobunaga had his younger brother executed, Katsuie was spared. Despite their past conflict, Katsuie became one of Nobunaga's commanders, earning a reputation for bravery and loyalty.

Katsuie's military career was marked by notable victories, such as his escape from the besieged Chokoji Castle during the Battle of Anegawa in 1570, where he demonstrated exceptional leadership by destroying the remaining water urns to prevent retreat. After this, he was tasked with establishing himself in Echizen Province (modern-day Fukui Prefecture) and constructed Kitanosho Castle, boasting a nine-story keep, the largest in Japan at the time.

Following Nobunaga's assassination at Honnoji in Kyoto, Katsuie engaged in battles with Uesugi Kenshin's forces and participated in the siege of Matsukura. His involvement prevented him from joining the pursuit of Akechi Mitsuhide, Nobunaga's killer.

During the Battle of Shizugatake, Katsuie supported Oda Nobutaka, Nobunaga's third son, as heir against Hideyoshi's preferred successor, Samboshi. Snowed in and facing Hideyoshi's advancing armies, Katsuie retreated to Kitanosho Castle. In the face of imminent defeat and encircled by Hideyoshi's troops, Katsuie commanded his daughters and wife, Oichi (interestingly, Nobunaga's sister), to seek refuge under Hideyoshi's protection.However, Oichi refused, and in a tragic end, Katsuie and Oichi committed seppuku together, with Katsuie initiating a fire that consumed Kitanosho Castle along with their bodies.


See also 

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    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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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