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Most dates are given in their western equivalents for the sake of clarity for western readers. However, when dates are listed by their contemporary reckoning, they are given as follows: era name and the year of that era, followed by the month and day, thus, Eiroku-3 6/1 would be the 1st day of the 6th month of the 3rd year of Eiroku. Eiroku-3 6 would indicate the 6th month of the 3rd year of Eiroku. Where a month alone is indicated, e.g., the 10th month, that, too, is to be considered by the contemporary reckoning (and not, in this case, October by the Gregorian calendar.) There really isn’t any simple way to convert these dates into their Gregorian equivalents, although a very rough rule of thumb is to add between 20 and 30 days. For instance, Takeda Shingen, by contemporary Japanese reckoning, died on the 12th day of the 4th month of the 4th year of Genki. By our reckoning, he died on 13 May 1573. However, note that his rival Oda Nobunaga was killed on the 2nd day of the 6th month of the 10th year of Tensho, or, 21 June 1582. That’s may give one a sense for the complexities of date conversion.

Names are, of course, rendered in the traditional Japanese manner, with the family name preceding the given name. It might also be remembered that a samurai of the 16th Century often changed his name at least twice during his life. For the most part, individuals within the dictionary are listed by their most well-known given name (and not Buddhist names or titles; e.g., Takeda Shingen is listed under Takeda Harunobu.) Individuals are listed within the context of their family. Where the tree of a given family provides more than one entry in the dictionary, the first entry for that family name (whether an entry for the family itself or a specific member) is given in upper case letters, with following entries being rendered in standard lettering. Members of the same family are entered wherever possible in the order of their generation.

After each samurai’s name is listed, I have included a generalized descriptor. These are included for ease of reference and are quite simplified. Some of them are obvious; however, a few of these descriptors might require some clarification. The descriptor, Lord of… indicates that the individual was the supreme power within a given province or provinces (most place names given in descriptors are provinces.) On the other hand, if an individual has a descriptor that reads, ‘Shinano warlord’, he held power within Shinano Province but was not a dominant force. The descriptive word ‘retainer’ is the most generalized and makes no effort to differentiate between official retainers of a given family and those who ought, technically, to be considered ‘vassals.’ My feeling was that this would overcomplicate the purpose of the descriptor line. Generally, more specific data on the individual’s status may be found within the text.

Under the line listing the lifespan of the individual (if known) are listed such titles as the author of this dictionary has to this point gathered. Both titles and Japanese words listed within the text are given in italics for the sake of clarity.

Although this compilation is presented with all good and earnest intentions, it must nonetheless be considered the work of an amateur historian and so be taken in that light. Given the immensity of the subject, and the rather large number of conflicting details surrounding the lives of even some of the more famous sengoku figures, errors or omissions are inevitable. As time goes by, I hope to identify and rectify any egregious lapses on my part as I continue to add to the Dictionary. On the same token, I have made every effort to sort out reliable data from information which might better be described as folklore (even at the expense of drying up the text a bit.) On occasion, I have hazarded an opinion of my own, these usually coming at the end of an entry and easily identifiable as such.

This project is intended as an offering to those interested in the subject and as a small token to the viewers of the Samurai Archives, who have patiently endured and supported what has been an at times painfully slow building process on the website, always at the mercy of marriages, births, divorces, laziness, etc. All my thanks!



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