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  Famous Uesugi Generals  




Uesugi Kenshin
Danjô no Shôhitsu
Kenshin was the daimyô of the Uesugi from 1545 to 1578. He was first known as Nagao Kagetora and assumed control of Echigo by forcing his elder brother Harukage to adopt him after a bitter civil war. He later compelled Uesugi Norimasa, his former overlord, to adopt him as well - and thus became 'Uesugi'. He was a devout buddhist but fought almost constantly with the Takeda and Hôjô clans. He visited Kyoto in 1559 and in 1561 was named kanto-kanrei. He invaded Etchû in 1560 and would advance as far west as Kaga in 1577, clashing with Oda forces before dying of illness in 1578. Kenshin was well-respected as a general and as a leader. According to legend, news of his death prompted Oda Nobunaga to say, "the empire is now mine.".
Uesugi Kagenobu
?? ??
Kagenobu was a relative of Kenshin and was known at first as Nagao Kagenobu. He was a respected retainer under Kenshin and saw combat at Kawanakajima and in the Kanto. After Kenshin's death he supported Uesugi Kagetora and was killed during the Ôtate no ran.
Nagao Masakage
Echizen no kami
Masakage was Kenshin's brother in law, though he had initially fought against him in support of Nagao Harukage. He later became Kenshin's retainer but may have been assassinated on Kenshin's orders. He was the father of Uesugi Kagekatsu.
Uesugi Kagekatsu
?? ??
Kagekatsu assumed control of Echigo after a civil war (the Ôtate no ran) with Kagetora in 1578-79. He saw the Uesugi's western holdings lost to the Oda and later submitted to Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Hideyoshi transferred Kagekatsu to Aizu in 1598 and named him one of the five regents tasked with protecting the Toyotomi legacy. He was on the losing side in 1600 and had his lands greatly reduced as a result, being made to trade in Aizu for Yonezawa. He was present at the Osaka Castle Campaigns, where he distinguished himself. Kagekatsu was remembered as a dour and humorless man who was both ambitious and calculating.
Uesugi Kagetora
?? ??
Kagetora was the 7th son of Hôjô Ujiyasu and was adopted by Uesugi Kenshin in 1569 and married a sister of Uesugi Kagekatsu. In 1578, Kagekatsu provoked a war with him over inheritance issues and at length forced him to commit suicide.
Amakasu Kagemochi
Ômi no kami
Kagemochi distinguished himself at 4th Kawanakajima in 1561 and later fought the Oda.
Amakasu Kagetsugu
Bingo no kami
Kagetsugu was active in the service of Uesugi Kagekatsu.
Ayukawa Kiyonaga
Settsu no kami
Kiyonaga served both Nagao Tamekage and Uesugi Kenshin, fighting at Honjo Castle in 1539 and later at 4th Kawanakajima (1561).
Honjô Shigenaga
Echizen no kami
Shigenaga was one of the Uesugi's most experienced - and most troublesome - retainers. He submitted with his lands to Takeda Shingen in 1568 but was later forgiven - only to defy Kenshin over the war against the Oda in 1577. Shigenaga nonetheless went on to serve Kagekatsu. He was the owner of a famous blade by Masamune.
Honjô Hidetsuna
Hidetsuna was active in Kenshin's campaigns in the Kanto and defended Numata Castle in 1573. He supported Uesugi Kagetora in the Ôtate no ran in 1578 and was later forced to flee to Aizu by Uesugi Kagekatsu.
Irobe Katsunaga
?? ??
Katsunaga was one of Kenshin's most respected men and fought at 4th Kawanakajima (1561) and Sano in Kôzuke (1563), which he was afterwards given. He died while on the way to confront the rebellious Honjo Shigenaga.
Jojo Masashige
Aki no kami
Masashige was a son of Hatakeyama Yoshimune and fled to the Uesugi domain as a result of turmoil within Noto Province. He served Uesugi Kenshin and later Kagekatsu with distinction and was active in the fighting with the forces of Oda Nobunaga in Etchû. He was married to Uesugi Kagekatsu's younger sister.
Kakizaki Kageie
Izumi no kami
Kageie assisted Uesugi Kenshin in his campaign to secure control of Echigo, and then became famous as the leader of the vanguard at 4th Kawanakajima (1561) whose men killed Takeda Nobushige. In 1570 his son son Haruie was sent as a hostage to Odawara Castle when Kenshin and the Hôjô struck a peace treaty. Sadly, Kageie was accused of conspiring with Oda Nobunaga in 1575 and was put to death. His son Haruie might have commited suicide at the same time, for he was succeded by a younger son, Noriie.
Kawada Nagachika
?? ??
Nagachika was originally from Ômi Province but joined Kenshin when the latter was visiting Kyoto in 1559. He was active in the Uesugi's Etchû and Kanto campaigns and acted as something of a diplomat from time to time. After Kenshin's death the Oda family attempted to bribe Nagachika away from the Uesugi but he refused. He defended Matsukura Castle in Etchû and clashed with the advancing Oda armies before dying of illness in 1581.
Kitajô Takahiro
Aki no kami
Takahiro was a vassal of Uesugi Kenshin though he twice opposed Kenshin's leadership at the instigation of Takeda Shingen (1554, 1567). He later supported Uesugi Kagetora in the Ôtate no ran and was afterwards forced to flee Echigo. He served Takeda Katsuyori until the fall of the Takeda in 1582, at which point he joined Takigawa Kazumasa of the Oda (who had penetrated Kôzuke). When Takigawa was forced to retreat from Kôzuke that same year, Takahiro dropped out of sight. The Kitajô and Môri were related through a shared anscestor: Ôe Hiromoto.
Kitajô Kagehiro
Tango no kami
Kagehiro was a son of Takahiro and held land in Kôzuke Province. He joined his father in supporting Uesugi Kagetora in the Ôtate no ran but in the course of a battle with pro-Kagekatsu men ended up being run through with a spear.
Kojima Motoshige
Motoshige was at first a vassal of the Jinbo of Etchû, then joined Uesugi Kenshin sometime after 1560. He held Toyama Castle and battled with Etchû ikko-ikki in 1572. He later sided with the Oda but lost Toyama to them nonetheless.
Kojima Yatarô
?? ??
Yatarô first served Nagao Tamekage, then Uesugi Kenshin. He was known as a fearsome warrior and was nicknamed 'Devil Yatarô'. He is perhaps best remembered for an incident that occured during a battle at Kawanakajima: Yatarô was sent to the Takeda headquarters as a messanger and found himself set upon by a guard dog. Without blinking he calmly held the dog down and delivered his message to Shingen. Once he was done, he quickly dispatched the animal with his bare hands and left.
Murakami Yoshikiyo
Suo no kami
Yoshikiyo was at first a daimyô in Shinano province and clashed with Takeda Shingen for a decade, winning the Battle of Uedahara in 1548 but suffering losses after that. When his castle was captured by the Takeda around 1550 he went for the support of Uesugi Kenshin, whom he assisted in the fights at Kawanakajima.
Nakajô Fujikasuke
Echizen no kami
Fujisuke held Tosaka Castle in Echigo and sided with Uesugi Kenshin during the latter's attempts to wrest Echigo from his elder brother. He fought at 4th Kawanakajima (1561) and was given a commendation for his bravery there. He died without a son and so was succeded by a son of Yoshie Kagechika, Kageyasu.
Nakajô Kageyasu
Echizen no kami
Kageyasu held Tosaka Castle in Echigo. A son of Yoshie Kagechika, he succeded Nakajô Fujisuke in 1574. He supported Uesugi Kagekatsu in the Ôtate no ran and was later to die fighting Oda forces at Uzu Castle in Etchû Province.
Naoe Kanetsuna
?? ??
Kanetsuna held Yoita Castle in Echigo and served Uesugi Kenshin as a councillor throughout the latter's career
Naoe Kanetsugu
?? ??
Kanetsugu was a son of Higuchi Sôemon Kanetoyo and served Uesugi Kagekatsu. He was largely responsible for the Uesugi manuevers against Tokugawa's allies in the north. He captured Hataya Castle but was defeated at Hasedo Castle. After the Uesugi were transferred to Yonezawa in 1601, Kanetsugu recieved an income of 60,000 koku but soon after retired.
Okuma Tomohide
Bizen no kami
Tomohide served Uesugi Kenshin in the latter's efforts to take control of Echigo from his elder brother Harukage. He became a noted Uesugi retainer but rebelled in 1556. His rebellion did not go as planned, but he managed to escape to Etchû Province and took up service with Takeda Shingen around 1563. He led troops under the command of Yamagata Masakage and was loyal to the Takeda to the end in 1582. He was killed near Temmokuzan by Oda forces.
Saitô Tomonobu
Shimotsuke no kami
Tomonobu held Akata Castle in Echigo. He fought in Uesugi campaigns in Etchû, the Kanto, and Shinano under Kenshin and later supported Uesugi Kagekatsu in the Ôtate no ran. He was considered one of the most capable of the Uesugi generals.
Samponji Sadanaga
Iyo no kami
Sadanaga was famed for his skills as a warrior, and especially for his actions at 2nd Kawanakajima (1555). He later supported Uesugi Kagetora in the Ôtate no ran and fled when the latter commited suicide in 1579. His younger brother Kagenaga remained in Uesugi service but was killed at Uzu Castle in June 1582.
Shibata Naganori
Owari no kami
Naganori was the son of Shibata Tsunasada and served Uesugi Kenshin from the latter's earliest campaigns onward. He later supported Uesugi Kagekatsu in the Ôtate no ran but died of illness in 1580.
Shibata Shigeie
Inaba no kami
Shigeie was a younger brother of Shibata Naganori. He served Uesugi Kagekatsu in the Ôtate no ran but was afterwards dissatisfied with his reward and joined Oda Nobunaga. Years after the fact, Kagekatsu later led an army out and destroyed him.
Suda Chikamitsu
?? ??
Chikamitsu, like Murakami Yoshikiyo, was a Shinano daimyô who lost his lands to Takeda Shingen and joined Kenshin around 1550. He later acted as a guardian to Sanada Yukimura when the latter was sent as a hostage to the Uesugi by Sanada Masayuki in 1585. His sons included Mitsumune and Nagayoshi.
Suibara Takaie
Hitachi no suke
Takaie was the son of Ôseki Awa no kami Chikanobu. He was a noted retainer of both Uesugi Kenshin and Uesugi Kagekatsu, with a career streching from 4th Kawanakajima (1561) to the Osaka Winter Campaign (1614).
Takemata Yoshitsuna
?? ??
Yoshitsuna was a retainer of Uesugi Kenshin and later, Uesugi Kagekatsu, whom he assisted in the Ôtate no ran. Later, Yoshitsuna was named as one of the defenders of Uzu Castle in Etchû; when Uzu fell to the Oda, Yoshitsuna commited suicide.
Usami Sadamitsu
Suruga no kami
Sadamitsu was for years one of Uesugi Kenshin's chief retainers, having supported him in his war for control of Echigo. He drowned in 1564, apparently in the process of murdering Nagao Masakage on Kenshin's orders.
Yamayoshi Toyomori
Toyomori became a hatamoto of Uesugi Kenshin around 1569 and was responsible for negotiating a peace treaty with the Hôjô in 1570. He was entrusted with the defense of Kasugayama while Kenshin was away fighting in 1572 and died of illness in 1577.
Yasuda Akimoto
Kazusa no suke
Akimoto was the son of Yasuda Etchû no kami Kagemoto and served Uesugi Kenshin. He later supported Uesugi Kagekatsu in the Ôtate no ran but afterwards commited suicide, possibly in protest of the small reward given him for his services. He was succeded by a younger son named Yasumoto.
Yasuda Nagahide
Jibu Shôsuke
Nagahide was a trusted retainer of Uesugi Kenshin and recieved a commendation for bravery at 4th Kawanakajima (1561). He later supported Uesugi Kagekatsu in the Ôtate no ran.
Yoshie Kagesuke
Kagesuke supported Uesugi Kagekatsu in the Ôtate no ran. He and his brother Sukekata (1537-1582) were later tasked with defending Uzu Castle in Etchû and commited suicide when that place fell to Shibata Katsuie and Sasa Narimasa in June 1582.