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Muneyoshi Yagyū

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Muneyoshi Yagyū
Muneyoshi Yagyu (NAT)
Character Information
Clan(s)/Alliance(s): Yagyū
Tsutsui
Matsunaga
Weapon Type:
sword
Unit Type: Male samurai
First Appearance: Samurai Warriors 2
Historical Information
Real name:
Munetoshi Yagyū
Sekishūsai Yagyū
Shinzaemon
Japanese name:
柳生 宗厳
柳生石舟斎
新左衛門
Born:
1527
Died:
May 25, 1606

Muneyoshi Yagyū is one of the famous swordsmen of the Sengoku era. He is known for mastering the fighting style called Shinkage-ryū which he passed on to his son Munenori Yagyū, who in turn made it the official fighting style of the Tokugawa Shogunate.

Role in GamesEdit

Muneyoshi appears in Kessen III in chapter eight at the Punishment of Matsunaga, fighting for his liege. He can be, however, convinced to change sides and join Nobunaga if he is defeated in a rampage. Muneyoshi's specialty is in leading sword units, joining with some of the games' most elite troops and abilities.

Historical InformationEdit

Yagyū Muneyoshi was born to Yagyū Ietoshi in Yagyū village of Yamato province. His childhood name was Yagyū Shinsuke. During his later childhood, Muneyoshi watched his father and other clan members fight under Kisawa Nagamasa against the invading Miyoshi Nagayoshi. These fights turned against their favor, leading Nagayoshi to turn Tsutsui Junsho against Muneyoshi's home village. Although only fifteen at the time, Muneyoshi joined in the defense, holding out with the rest of the village for three days even after the water supply had been cut.

Defeat by the Tsutsui meant that Muneyoshi would now serve as their vassal, a role he filled for eight years. Despite being a defeated enemy forced to serve a new master, Muneyoshi's abilities on battle received praise for his service. Muneyoshi himself spent his free time during these years training his mind and spirit through the martial arts and Buddhism, increasing his reputation. Although carrying out his duties to the Tsutsui with noted ability, Muneyoshi never forgot the Tsutsui's role in his clan’s defeat, biding his time to return the favor.

That opportunity presented itself when Matsunaga Hisahide broke free from the Miyoshi clan and attacked Yamato province to make it his own in 1559. Muneyoshi and the rest of the Yagyū gladly sided with this new warlord, Muneyoshi once again proved his ability on the battlefields to retake Yamato. As a reward for his efforts, Hisahide gave them their village back. Muneyoshi now had good enough reputation for his ability in a sword fight to begin receiving challenges by swordmasters, including his most famous duel with Kamiizumi Hidetsuna.

The details of Muneyoshi and Hidetsuna are disputed. one theory is Muneyoshi fought Hidetsuna directly, while another claims that he instead dueled Hidetsuna's cousin, Hikita Bungoro. Regardless of who he dueled, it is generally accepted that he lost the duel and proceeded to become Hidetsuna's pupil. This tutelage went on for a year, hosting his master at Yagyū village for the duration. Muneyoshi mastered Hidetsuna's training during this time, receiving one final challenge from his master to achieve on his own, answer the difficult question of to win a duel without a weapon. When Muneyoshi next saw his former teacher, he provided an acceptable answer and earned the right to operate as an independent teacher of Shinkage-ryū.

When Oda Nobunaga made his way towards the capital, Muneyoshi followed Hisahide into Nobunaga’s service. As a result, Nobunaga appointed him an attendant for the Shogun, Ashikaga Yoshiaki. During this service, Muneyoshi joined in the Shogun’s anti-Nobunaga alliance under Hisahide. He was ordered to attack Tsutsui Junkei, his long standing rival, attack that ended in total failure, just like the rest of the anti-Nobunaga efforts. Muneyoshi followed Hisahide back to Nobunaga's side when he surrendered again to avoid punishment.

By 1577, when Hisahide betrayed Nobunaga for the last time, Muneyoshi had retired from service as a commander in battle, preferring to work from his home village as an instructor of Shinkage-ryū. He would do good for himself in this position until Hashiba Hideyoshi's land reforms confiscated most of his family's wealth as payment for taxes considered not rendered on one of his major fields. The major saving grace for Muneyoshi came from Tokugawa Ieyasu, who took Muneyoshi's son, Munenori as his principle sword combat instructor after a demonstration of his style's ability between the aged Muneyoshi and Ieyasu himself.

Muneyoshi finally managed to earn his lands back including Yagyū village in 1600 through his service rendered to Ieyasu during the Battle of Sekigahara which Munenori led in his stead. Muneyoshi died just a few years later in 1606, having ensured both his children and remaining grandchildren were secured financially with jobs under important leaders of the rising Tokugawa Shogunate.

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