Jōun Takahashi
Joun Takahashi (NATS)
Character Information
Clan(s)/Alliance(s): Ōtomo
Weapon Type:
Unit Type: Male Samurai
Significant Battle(s):
Iwaya Castle-Tachibanayama Castle
First Appearance: Samurai Warriors 2: Xtreme Legends
Historical Information
Real name:
Yoshihiro Shigetada
Takahashi Shigetane
Takahashi Jōun
Japanese name:
吉弘 鎮理
高橋 鎮種
高橋 紹運
September 10, 1586
Jōun is his Buddhist name.

Jōun Takahashi is Muneshige's biological father who is fabled to have been one of the greatest warriors to have ever lived in Kyūshū. His strength and perilous character were said to have rivaled Dōsetsu Tachibana. The two warriors were allegedly on good terms with one another, but their relationship was said to have soured after Muneshige's adoption. He is best known for his last stand against Shimazu troops at Iwaya Castle.

His Nobunaga's Ambition counterpart is twenty-first place in Gamecity's character popularity ranking for 2015. He placed sixteenth in the Nobunaga no Yabou Taishi poll for most favorite father.

Role in GamesEdit

Samurai WarriorsEdit

Jōun is already dead in the main series but is briefly mentioned during Muneshige's first narrative chapter in Samurai Warriors 3. His death inspires his son to avenge him by joining the Toyotomi forces with Ginchiyo. Its Empires spin-off highlights Jōun's death during Yoshihiro's historical route. His survival through the player's intervention negates Muneshige and Ginchiyo's personal event to avenge him.

He is alive during the fourth title and serves within the Ōtomo ranks. Jōun proudly fights by Dōsetsu's side during the fight at Shimantogawa. He later commands the Ōtomo defense during the battle of Mimikawa, easily earning Yoshihiro's respect with his cool countenance and leadership. As the lord of Iwaya Castle, Jōun decides to defend it against the Shimazu conquerors, ordering Muneshige and Ginchiyo to escape to Tachibanayama Castle. Before the battle commences, he shares a last drink with Muneshige, skeptical that Takakage's reinforcements will suffice as aid. While he harshly tells his son that their family ties ended with his adoption, he gently orders Muneshige to respect his wishes and not join him in death. Jōun perishes fighting against Yoshihiro's forces within Iwaya Castle.

Nobunaga's AmbitionEdit

Within the Nobunaga's Ambition series, he tends to be Dōsetsu's foil for stats and troop proficiency. If his comrade specializes in infantry in one entry, then he will specialize in cavalry. If Dōsetsu has a lower Leadership stat in one title, Jōun will be his superior. Both generals have high War and Leadership ratings, making them a solid pair for any player who starts with the Ōtomo. Jōun is especially suited for battle due to his tendency to have average Intelligence and poor Political stats. Tendou gives him maximum Loyalty and a special cinematic for his historical death poem.

He is known under an alternate –sometimes argued to be correct– spelling of his Buddhist name, Shōun, in the series's online adaptation and was mainly featured within the early Kyushu story arcs. Shōun was a level 60 samurai general who specializes in offensive tactics and powerful one-handed sword blows. He was depicted as a tact and stoic veteran, again as a contrast to the jovial Dōsetsu. He no longer exists within current expansions of the MMORPG.

Guruguru Dungeon Nobunyaga depicts Shōun's last battle in the Tachibanya event. He rides ahead of Muneshige's forces to meet the Siamazu invasion, determined to stand his own against the swarm. He dies before Muneshige can reach him. The protagonist resets time and hurries within his castle to speak to him. Shōun spares a few moments to pass on his wishes to the messenger, telling him/her to focus on the Tachibanya and Ōtomo's security. He is last seen charging with his last set of men towards the Siamazu, distracting them so the protagonist can safely escape.


  • "That tears it! Those mongrels will rue the day they faced my might in battle!"
"Calm yourself, Lightning God. Our troops need to recuperate first."
"Wind God! You dare to impose your judgment on me?! You expect me to sit here and rot?!"
"...This is no time to quarrel. Wait here with me until we are truly needed."
~~Akitsura Betsuki and Jōun; 100man-nin no Sengoku Musou

Historical InformationEdit

Takahashi Jōun was the second son of Yoshihiro Akitada, an Ōtomo family retainer who first served Ōtomo Sōrin's father, Yoshiaki. His mother is not known and nothing within historical records lists her possible family background. His first adult name, Shigetada, was made as a literal combination of Ōtomo Yoshishige and his father's given names.

Jōun's first claim to fame was helping his father and older brother, Shigenobu, subjugate the rebellious Ōtomo retainer, Takahashi Akitane. After five or six grueling years of political and military conflict –which included the direct intervention of the Ryūzōji and Mōri forces, Akitane was stripped of his lands and exiled from Kyushu. His departure would have left an open window of opportunity for an invasion from the Mōri's navy had the Takahashi family retainers not vehemently voiced their protest to Sōrin. Since Akitane's legitimate heir perished due to illness, Sōrin hastily assigned the position of clan leader to Shigetada. Renamed Takahashi Shigetane, he was given charge of Iwaya and Hōmanzan Castles. His responsibilities were later extended to assist Tachibana Dōsetsu with governing the veteran's post at Chikuzen Province.

Prior to these years of warfare, Jōun was promised to wed Saitō Shigezane's daughter (or younger sister). Akitane's riots had kept them apart, however, so their wedding was postponed until some time after Jōun inherited the Takahashi clan. Once he sought for his bride's hand, the Saitō family was embarrassed to answer his inquiry since she succumbed to smallpox in his absence, and her visage remained scarred from the illness. According to legends and folklore, they even requested that the marriage be dropped. In response to their concerns, Jōun allegedly stated, "I did not fall in love with her because of her appearance. I agreed to this engagement because I am attracted to the goodness within her heart. Her face as it is now shall not affect my feelings for her." The marriage was approved by her relatives, and stories describe the lovers to be highly devoted to one another. Jōun took no concubines, and his wife was purportedly worshiped as a pious motherly figure with his retainers.

In 1578, the Ōtomo suffered a heavy loss at Mimikawa, triggering more military conflicts with the Ryūzōji, the Shimazu, and Akizuki Tanezane on three fronts. Jōun was stationed at one of their points of assault, Chikuzen Province, and collaborated with Dōsetsu to fight the invaders back. The general was known for stalling the Akizuki, Harada, and Tsuku clans with his tactics and staunch defenses, allowing neither rival to gain much foothold within the province. He allegedly did so through heavy guerrilla warfare. Alternatively, it has been said that his tactics and bravery were capable of turning the tides of battle. Jōun would feign retreat, arrive at a particular checkpoint, and then launch a devastating ambush on his unwitting foes. In either case, tales of his cunning courageousness began during this time.

It is widely believed that their close working relationship was one of the main reasons why Dōsetsu later asked to adopt Jōun's eldest son, Munetora, in 1581. At first, Jōun protested. The reasons for his hesitation remain unknown yet the myths and legends are varied. One argues that it was because he distrusted Dōsetsu, while another says it was because he was jealous of him. The popular story has Jōun concerned that Dōsetsu would not treat his son as a rightful son or heir to the Tachibana clan. Once he was assured, Jōun agreed to the terms and gave his son a sword as a parting gift.

When Ryūzōji Takanobu was on his last knees against the Shimazu in 1584, Sōrin sought to take advantage of his weakened vanguard by ordering his retainers to retake Chigoku Province. Jōun and Dōsetsu were largely successful in their campaigns, but their situation worsened rapidly when many of the elderly Ōtomo generals perished to illness, leaving an army of untrained soldiers in their wake. Dōsetsu himself became victim to disease in 1585. A portion of the young recruits, who were displeased with their meagerly pay and living expenses, rebelled against their masters. Jōun had to halt his campaign in Chigoku in order to help with subjugation efforts. He and the main leader of these forces, Chikushi Hirokado, agreed to a political marriage between their children to seal a peace treaty.

Most of the praise for Jōun lies within his actions in 1586. The Shimazu assembled an army of approximately 50,000 to demolish the severely weakened Ōtomo, and Jōun stood in their path at Iwaya Castle with a measly army of 763. Despite the hopelessness of his situation and the Shimazu's repeated pleas for his submission, Jōun refused to surrender or retreat. In one such famous exchange, an exasperated Shimazu Tadanaga implored to him, "Why would you continue to disgrace Buddha by wasting yourself away for a heinous Christian lord? Your bravery has been proven tenfold. Surrender!" To which, Jōun replied,

Vin1 When I pledged my loyalty to my lord, I became a being who would waste away whatever life within me to prevent my lord's bereavement of this world. Without a care for whatever fame or reputation it may grant me. I have such men within my ranks, and the Shimazu have men who feel the same. A samurai who forgets his oath of obligation and fealty is no better than a savage beast. Vin2

His words were said to have impressed even the Shimazu army, but it didn't end their conflict. Historians generally agree that by this time, Jōun and his vassals remained at the castle to act as decoys for Tachibana Mountain Castle's safety, where his wife and sons were stationed and awaiting Toyotomi assistance. The defenders were able to stall approximately 27 days due to the Shimazu troop's apparent unwillingness to fight at their fullest and Jōun's defensive tactics. Legends describe the grounds of the castle to be so drenched in blood that the moats of Iwaya Castle were crimson.

The siege came to a close when Tadanaga and his retainer, Ijuin Tadamune, finally decided to storm the castle with an army of 20,000. The castle defenders were gravely overwhelmed and fabled to have been slaughtered to the last man. Jōun himself was said to have been heavily wounded before his death, fighting seventeen soldiers before meeting his demise (either in battle or by suicide). He died when he was 39 years old. A legend states that the Shimazu's entry was only made possible by bribing an elderly peasant woman –people who Jōun ordered to be defended– to lead them into Iwaya Castle. She was later burned alive by the other villagers for her treachery.

When Jōun's head was brought to Tadanaga, he was additionally given a final note written by his foe with the words, "This too is a sign of loyalty. Take it and understand." After reading it, Tadanaga fell out of his seat and openly wept at the sight. He mourned, "We have killed a truly magnificent warrior. Master Jōun was a god of war personified. And now there is no one in the land who could match his military accomplishments or his distinguished character. If we were friends, he would have been the best friend I could ever hope to have." Afterwards, his final stand would be heralded by Toyotomi Hideyoshi as a metaphoric reason for Muneshige's bravery.

His wife became a nun at Sōun-In after his death. He had two sons and four daughters. His second eldest son, Munemasa, briefly inherited the clan until he adopted the Tachibana name (Tachibana Naotsugu). Jōun's branch of the Takahashi ended with the family change, but the clan itself continued under Takahashi Mototane's branch. They remained daimyō until 1613 when the clan was stripped of their samurai caste under the laws of the new shogunate.