180 cm (5'11")
|5th Weapon:|| |
Furin Kazan/Enlightenment (2:XL~3:XL)
|6th Weapon:|| |
Fūrin Kazan Banner
|Moveset Type:|| |
|Playable Debut:||Samurai Warriors|
|Real name:|| |
|Japanese name:|| |
December 1, 1521
May 13, 1573
|Shingen is his Buddhist name.|
|Personal Item:|| |
Takeda War Fan
Shingen Takeda is the nineteenth head of the Takeda clan and influential leader of his region, Kai Province. During his conquests in the eastern regions of Japan, he clashed with several prominent historical figures. After his death, Shingen has been romanticized as a masterful strategist and a thorough study of Sun Tzu, even going as far to adopt the Fūrinkazan as his banner. Folklore has him act as Kenshin's rival and his polar opposite, thus leading to his nickname the Tiger of Kai. His son and successor is Katsuyori.
Samurai Warriors fans voted him to thirty-eighth place out of forty characters in Gamecity's Sengoku Musou 3: Empires character popularity poll. For the Samurai Warriors 4 poll, he placed fifty-third.
Role in GamesEdit
- "He planned even for his own death. Shingen Takeda, I honor you."
- ~~Nobunaga Oda; Kessen III
Shingen is a renowned diplomat and strategist who rules over Kai Province. At war with his neighbor Kenshin, they trade blows at Kawanakajima. Upon his victory, Shingen routs his rival and decides to expand his conquests for the entire land. In order to do so, he plans to march towards the capital and negotiate with the Imperial Court. The Hōjō vehemently disagree with his decision and cut ties to Kai by refusing to ship salt. He solves his dilemma with Ujimasa by personally infiltrating Odawara Castle. Whilst in the castle, he treats Kenshin to a duel as thanks for supplying the demanded salt for his people. Shingen begins his march to the capital once the Hōjō fall, entering in Mikawa with ease. Nobunaga schemes to stop him at Nagashino yet Shingen's patience and careful planning obliterates the rifles set against them. As Nobunaga flees to Azuchi Castle, Shingen's army surrounds the position to lay siege to Nobunaga. Desiring Mitsuhide's defection into his forces, Shingen orders his men early in the battle to spare him. Simultaneously, Kenshin arrives to observe his rival's methods and challenges Shingen to achieve victory without losing any of his generals.
If Shingen fails to protect his men and Mitsuhide, he will regrettably resort to brutality in order to slay the Oda clan. Kenshin is disappointed by his rival's performance and begins to find displeasure with his company. After Nobunaga's downfall, he leads his army to battle Kenshin once more at Kawanakajima. Concluding their battle with a one-on-one match, Kenshin is taken prisoner within the Takeda camp. Shingen mirthlessly admits that he isn't as adequate with war as his rival, requesting Kenshin's assistance with creating the new land. Amused to hear such a confession, a freed Kenshin agrees to work beside him as his better.
A Shingen who guards his people impresses Kenshin and is merciful towards Nobunaga's men. Allies with Kenshin due to mutual respect, Shingen and his united army pursue the Oda's regrouped forces at Yamazaki. He shouts to Nobunaga that he intends to stake everything on this battle, stating that his entire family and his vassals will commit suicide if they suffer defeat. Although offering the notion for a surrender, his opponent is fascinated with the idea of witnessing thousands of deaths at once and declares war instead. Resolute to have his men live, Shingen waits for a fog to descend on the field to render the Oda rifles useless. Striking his foe down, he asks for Nobunaga's assistance in the world of prosperity he has planned. Nobunaga, seeing the elder man's vision as folly, chooses to kill himself and await Shingen in hell. Reflecting on his foe's words, Shingen hopes Nobunaga and the departed will someday see the benefits of constructing a new land of peace.
Following his chivalrous contests with Kenshin at during the fourth battle at Kawanakajima, Shingen is disappointed by his performance during the second title. Traveling alone to evaluate his faults, he simultaneously decimates the pirates invading his territory. Facing the reality of the war-torn land from the encounter, he decides to establish peace by marching towards the capital and creating a new government. Opposed to his decision is Ieyasu who stands with his army at Mikatagahara. Easily routing the Tokugawa army, he and his men pursue Ieyasu. Here he meets Sakon, a wandering strategist who Shingen gladly accepts. Though terrifying the capital with his impeding march, Shingen decides to turn the army back towards Kai and fakes his own death. His ruse lures Nobunaga away from the capital; both he and Ieyasu perish at Nagashino against Shingen's tactics. Quickly announcing his new ideas at his destination, Kenshin rides to challenge him once more. Joyfully accepting to settle their differences, they fight at Sekigahara. Interrupting the battle to avenge their lords' deaths, the Oda and Tokugawa remnants, Nagamasa, and Yoshikage join forces with Kenshin. Convincing his rival that strategy surpasses strength, he happily shares a drink with him and his closest generals as the land's new shougun.
His dream mode is an extension of his story mode where Kenshin and him proceed to conquer the remaining parts of the land. Left only with Kyushu, they join forces to defeat the Shimazu and remnants of the Oda clan.
In a time before Nobunaga rises to power, Shingen is described as one of the great powers in Kantō in Samurai Warriors 3, sharing the right with Kenshin and Ujiyasu. Leading his prized cavalry into battle, he holds the strong desire to someday rule the land. When Ujiyasu invades Mikawa, he threatens Yoshimoto's position in Suruga. Hurrying to Yoshimoto's aid, Shingen and his vassal Sakon rout Ujiyasu's troops while additionally beating back Kenshin's army. Though the beaten Ujiyasu rants that he hates Shingen, they agree to compromise with one another for the sake of their lands and people. Both generals and Yoshimoto then form an alliance with one another to honor their respective territories. With his borders in the south secured, Shingen heads to deal with Kenshin at Kawanakajima, facing him in an enjoyable fourth encounter. Though the victor of the battle, the struggles he has with Kenshin continue.
After Yoshimoto's death at Okehazama, the alliance between the three families falls apart and the fighting in Kantō resumes. Hoping to bring an end to the conflicts in the region for his own dreams of conquest, Shingen leads an attack on Odawara yet withdraws after several days within the siege. Waiting for him along the pass in Mimasetōge are Ujiyasu and his sons, surrounding his army from all sides. Kenshin, intent on a rematch, also appears with his troops to trap Shingen. Beating the odds against him to claim victory, Ujiyasu offers his head if Shingen agrees to spare his men. Shingen instead uses this opportunity to inform his rivals about his ambitions for conquering the land. Ujiyasu, though mocking it as "clichéd", encourages him to fulfill it as he is confident that the three powers can keep each other in check.
Leaving his new friends to safeguard Kantō, he marches towards the capital to rule the land. Ieyasu, fearing the approaching cavalry, tries to intercept but falls quickly at Mikatagahara. To pay his respects to the Mikawa generals who desperately fought for Ieyasu's escape, Shingen spares him and asks him to join his vision. Making haste towards the capital, Nobunaga's army faces him at Nagashino without Ieyasu's aid. During the conflict, he faces the combined strategies of Kanbei and Hanbei to invade the Oda main camp. Eventually, Kenshin and Ujiyasu arrive to assist his last march for ruling the land. Happy to create a new land together with his two comrades, he shares a friendly drink with both of them.
Samurai Warriors 4 Shingen begins the main narrative as an indomitable force in the east. He starts in an alliance with Yoshimoto and a rival to the Uesugi. Both forces have engaged one another three times at Kawanakajima and seek to end their battle on the fourth battle. Shingen's troops march from the northeastern front at Kaizu Castle. Regardless of the version, Shingen orders his troops to divide into two squadrons to surround the Uesugi in a pincer. He leads the march from Kaizu Castle yet his movements are read by Kenshin. Shingen realizes he has at a disadvantage and orders a retreat. His younger brother, Nobushige, sacrifices himself to protect Shingen. Nobushige's death triggers Shingen's withdraw from the area and invigorates his desire to grant peace to the common folk. Shingen shares his personal lamentations for his brother's fate with Nobuyuki, hoping to prepare the youth for the parallel he foresees with Yukimura's own end.
Shingen promptly begins his march towards the capital. With Yoshimoto's death at Okehazama, he decides to relinquish his alliance with the Imagawa since they are the quickest route towards the capital. His forces invade Suruga. The Takeda's attack on Ujizane Imagawa provokes antagonistic ties with the Hōjō. When Shingen is forced to withdraw from their reinforcements, Ujiyasu's sons try to exploit his weaknesses by attacking Takeda territory. The veteran reads their movements and attempts to crush his adversaries at Mimasatōge. He fails due to Ujiyasu's intervention yet the Imagawa and Hōjō have suffered immense losses due to these conflicts.
Since his rivals in the east have weakened, Shingen uses this opportunity to press onwards towards the capital. This time he invades Mikawa and crushes Ieyasu's resistance. His forces give chase to the fleeing Ieyasu at Mikatagahara, and the desperate Tokugawa forces impress the pursuers with their fatalistic courage. After the battle, Nobuyuki voices his confusion regarding the Tokugawa's actions to Shingen. The veteran explains their loyalty to Ieyasu's vision to tie into a cautionary message of Yukimura's gallant and grim devotion to duty. When the elder Sanada brother refuses to fully accept his prognosis and leaves, Shingen feels his time has ended and apologizes for his failure. His predictions come true several months later when he collapses within the ally camp. The Sanada siblings inherit his dream upon his death.
When Orochi first arrives into the new world and conquers Shu, Kenshin and Shingen decide to unite their strengths to resist him. They challenge Orochi at Kawanakajima. He lures the Orochi troops in the south to target their main camp, luring them into Hachimanbara. Trapping them with a fire attack and ambush from his troops, he stays guard at Zenkouji throughout the battle. He and his troops escape capture from their defeat.
During the first title, he tests Nobunaga's worth by appearing at Honnōji. Teasing him and Xiahou Dun, Shingen peacefully takes once the Orochi army flees. Both he and Kenshin stall the Orochi forces lead by Cao Pi and Sun Quan at Nagashino. Shingen relies on his cavalry to sneak behind enemy front lines, ordering that the horsemen be prevented from being detected. Claiming victory against the overwhelming odds, they ride together to support Nobunaga's charge at Wu Zhang Plains. With Da Ji subdued and Orochi dead, he parts ways with his rivals after their victory.
In the second title, he gladly agrees to help Sakon in his goal to hunt down the Orochi remnants and acts as a wizened commentator to his younger disciple's decisions. While on the search for more allies, he and Kanetsugu try to convince Masamune to join their forces at Chang Ban. Although he fails to win their opponent's favor, his strategies impress their enemy's strategist, Sima Yi; the addition of the former Wei strategist into their ranks is their reward for their gamble. Shingen later appears on the fields of Sekigahara to guard the main camp in the south. When Keiji's ambush party enters his domain, he easily counters with an ambush of his own.
He shares his dream stage with Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang. The master strategists coordinate their tactics to counter Sima Yi's army. Supported by Yukimura, Shingen's personal task in the battle is countering Kenshin's movements. He also suggests a fire attack on the boats, but both his teammates are already well prepared and put the plan into action.
Shingen led his troops around the dimensional realm in Warriors Orochi 3's original timeline. When Hydra emerged, the massive serpent forces defeated and scattered the Takeda army. His whereabouts are not verified after his defeat. When the coalition return to Da Ji's past and alter history, Shingen allies with Kenshin to oppose them at Shizugatake, thinking that the warriors have fallen under Da Ji's influence. The veteran general respects their resolve after he witnesses their prowess and amends his opinions.
Unwilling to accept servitude to the demon at the time, Shingen coordinates his efforts to helping the coalition obtain the firepower they need to defeat Hydra at Osaka Castle. Impressed by the assembly of generals they have gathered, Shingen then formerly joins the coalition. He later helps Jia Xu's plan to gain Dian Wei's trust.
Shingen and his massive army appear as an optional foe in the third Kessen. When he is defeated, he dies while he is covered by the Takeda flag (later parodied in Samurai Warriors 2). If the players don't choose to fight him, Nobunaga will receive a report of Shingen dying due to illness. Should they do choose to fight Shingen, he will leave only one officer to join Nobunaga, Joki Kaisen.
Shingen's soul is freed by the protagonist in Toukiden: The Age of Demons after they defeat Kueyama. He emerges during his/her dream to reminisce about his previous life. During his lifetime, Shingen was fighting Kenshin at Kawanakajima. Just when he had planned the perfect strategy to trump his opponent, the demon suddenly appeared and devoured Shingen. He accepts his death without regret, joking that it saved him the trouble of having to face Kenshin again. Wondering about his rival's whereabouts, Shingen gladly lends the protagonist his strength to pass the time.
Designers wanted Shingen to wield his weapon to add variety and to also popularize the historical incident where Shingen fended off his rival with his war fan. To emphasize Shingen's cunning and reliance on strategy, they also added the extra element of his sword being chained to his hilt in the first game. Like Kenshin, his design also resembles various statues made in his image but his mask is considered to be his particular trademark for the series. His revamp for the second game keeps these ideas and alters them to make him the "grappler character" for the game. Although it is hard to see, the Takeda family crest also adorns his back.
Since his previous appearances kept his chest armor hidden underneath his clothing, Shingen's fourth design was made with the intents of showing it. Little else was done to dramatically alter his design. Designers want to keep him and other characters his age relatively the same to keep a purposeful generation gap within the cast. Nariann drew his concepts for this title.
Jolly yet armed with a sardonic wit, Shingen is a wizened and charming elder who has seen his fair share of wars. While no one has seen his entire face, his outgoing nature hardly keeps his thoughts from being a mystery to others, often bellowing a hearty laugh in the Japanese dub. Aware of his age, he tends to joke about teaching a lesson to the "youngsters" around him. His endless supply of tactics and eagerness to change makes him a liable danger to his rivals for power. In spite of his reputation, he strives to create allies at every opportunity and avoids annihilating his opponents whenever possible. He admires his own people greatly, apologizing to them if they fall due to his carelessness or choosing to avoid bloodshed if too many of his men are defeated.
To him, Kenshin is an interesting, young oddity who has the potential to surpass him someday. Their encounters keep him entertained, even if he takes small jabs at Kenshin for calling him "Nemesis". He extends the same regard towards Ujiyasu, though the latter retorts that Shingen's too old-fashioned to be his friend. Accepting the negative comments Ujiyasu throws at him, he nevertheless thinks fondly of their ties together. He finds promise with Sakon's progress, choosing to have the younger man join as a result.
Shingen is symbolized by his insignia, the kanji for "master" (師) and yellow ginkgo leaves in the Samurai Warriors series. His second weapon is noted to be his personal war fan. His fourth weapon in the first game is named Kokushi Musou.
Shingen's titles in Samurai Warriors 2 are "Strategist", "Scholar of War", "Tiger of Kai", "Elder Tiger", "Master of War", "Omnipotent", and "Strategic Mastermind" (in the Xtreme Legends expansion).
Fūrinkazan is a four character phrase that references lines found within Sun Tzu's Art of War. A rough translation of the version Shingen is said to place on his war standards is: "Move as swift as the wind, become as silent as the forest, invade and plunder as fire, immovable as the mountain". Art of War notes two other references attached to the mountain allusion, noting shadows for hiding and a clap of thunder. The phrase is used as an idiom for advancing and retreating troops. Troops should be as quick as possible when they advance; if they are needed to wait, they should be wary and remain quiet as possible. When first attacking, the troops should be fierce as possible. If the situation turns and retreat is needed, the troops should take cover and take a solid defensive position. When directing the counteroffensive, the movement must be sudden and unpredictable.
Historically, Shingen is not the first general in Japan to use Fūrinkazan since Kitabatake Akiie in the Nanbokuchō period did the same. The idea of attaching Shingen with Fūrinkazan is largely believed to be a popular tale from the Edo Period, believed to have began based on the accounts of Kitabatake in Jinnō Shōtōki and gunki-monogatari mentioning him. The heroic Kitabatake allegedly shares traits with the heroic image of Shingen and a parallel years later was made between them. Shingen's war banners were fashioned in respect to Kitabatake and not due to his alleged interest with Sun Tzu's Art of War. Fūrinkazan became a popular affiliation for Shingen in fiction as a result; there isn't much historical evidence to suggest that he actually used it as a banner for his troops. The insignia forms the namesake for his third, Normal, Power, and Speed weapons in the Samurai Warriors series. His Normal types perform the idiom in sequence, his Power versions strive to devastate, and his Speed types aim for haste.
Ninigi acts as the namesake of his fifth weapon in the first game, his fourth weapon in the second game, and his Unique in the third. He appears in Japanese mythology as Amenooshihomimi and Takuharachijizuhime's son and Amatersu's grandson. Sent by his grandmother to bring peace to Nakatsu Kuni, Ninigi descended to create a palace at Hyuga-no-Kuni-Tarachiho-no-Mine. With the Three Sacred Treasures (Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi, Yasakani-no-Magatama, and Yata-no-Kagami) and an ear of rice from the heavenly Takamagahara, Ninigi cultivated the land and helped usher it to prosperity. The people rejoiced and thanked their savior. He is mainly attributed as a peaceful god of abundance or plentiful richness, seeking to embellish a healthy bond between heaven and earth. Shingen's weapon is named specifically after Ninigi's descent to the world from heaven, tenson kōrin. Before preceding, Ninigi had to console the expertise of several gods with different sets of expertise. With their support, he was able to locate a suitable entrance to Nakatsu-no-Kuni, received the three treasures, and was able to marry his wife.
His fifth weapon is named after the four character idiom, Fushō Fumetsu. It means to enter a state when one neither lives nor destroys, to become unchanging or enter immortality. Under the Buddhist contexts of the idioms' origin, it can also mean to enter a state of all-knowing by observing the very state of the world. Shingen's sixth weapon literally translates to "Great Truth". He can clearly explain his intents by using sounds and doesn't need words for others to understand him.
- Richard Epcar - Samurai Warriors, Kessen III (English-uncredited)
- Lateef Martin - Samurai Warriors 2 (English)
- Neil Kaplan - Warriors Orochi series, Samurai Warriors 3 (English-uncredited)
- Daisuke Gōri - Samurai Warriors (last work being Pachislot Sengoku Musou ~Moushouden~) and Warriors Orochi series (Japanese)
- Ryūzaburō Ōtomo - Samurai Warriors 3: Xtreme Legends ~ present, Warriors Orochi 3, CR Sengoku no Arashi ~Nobunaga no Shou~ (Japanese)
- Hidekatsu Shibata - Kessen III (Japanese)
- Mugihito - Nobunaga's Ambition Online (Japanese)
- Hisao Egawa - Sengoku Pachislot Nobunaga no Yabou ~Tenka Sousei~
Live Action PerformerEdit
- Keiji Muto - Sengoku Bushou Matsuri
- Kentarō Kanesaki - as Mikeda Shingen in Butai Nobunyaga no Yabou (Nyan)
- See also: Shingen Takeda/Quotes
- "The people are your castle, your ramparts, your moat. Protect them, and they shall protect you."
- "Have your people contact my people, maybe we can stab at each other over tea!"
- "Hey, Kenshin, thanks for the salt."
- "Ha ha ha! You could use a few years of experience."
- "Quick, pretend I'm saying something profound!"
- "Kenshin was an excellent enemy. He should make an even better friend."
- "The dragon and the tiger clash. Which side will destiny favor?"
- "I advance in the name of peace, fight in the name of honor."
- "Whoever moves first in this battle loses... so nobody move."
- "Ah, Hanzo. Have you come to tell me something spooky about shadows and darkness?"
- "Winning Ticket and I are magnificently breathtaking!"
- "It matters not how many men you throw at me! I will kill them all!"
- "And what if I threw kittens at you, Tadakatsu? Would you kill them, too?"
- ~~Tadakatsu and Shingen; Samurai Warriors 2
- "You two struggle with each other like fire and water. But fire and water can accomplish great things when they work together. If only you would unite your talents... You could boil your enemies like meat tossed into a scalding stew."
- "Never! Honor and dishonor can never work together!"
- "And I'll never get along with that imbecile! I refuse!"
- "Blast! I was hoping to use that metaphor to get you two to make my lunch."
- "Ieyasu, didn't I say we're allies now? You don't have to be so skittish around me."
- "I am presently aware of this... But when I remember the terror the Takeda cavalry have wrought upon me in the past, I can't help myself."
- "Most people forget their failures right away. But you're the type who moves on while never forgetting their mistakes. Drats, if only I had a son who was like you. Then I wouldn't have to worry about the future."
- ~~Shingen and Ieyasu; Sengoku Musou 3: Empires
- "That mask is nice... It makes you look real tough!"
- "I know. And frankly, you yourself have a face made to be hidden under a mask..."
- ~~Xu Zhu and Shingen; Warriors Orochi
- "You are the one who saw through my plans? ... I hate to admit it, but you were brilliant."
- "Oh, you flatter me. I am not fit to share a battlefield with you, my lord. You wouldn't consider using your magnificent skills against Da Ji and Kiyomori, would you?"
- "I should like to challenge you again. But for now, I will aid you."
- ~~Sima Yi and Shingen; Warriors Orochi 2
- "Master Sun Jian, a simple riddle for you. How is it possible to capture the tiger on a painted screen?"
- "Capture a painted tiger? I'm not entirely sure..."
- "Simple. Just draw a cage around it!"
- ~~Shingen and Sun Jian; Warriors Orochi 3
- "My battle with fate ends this day... Hide my death for three or four years... Bolster the defenses of our land... Nobunaga Oda is not the fool we thought and yet his time will come. He will weaken. That is the time you must head to the capital. Let the Takeda banner fly... free."
- ~~Shingen on his death bed; Kessen III
|Keys:||Normal Attack •||Charge Attack •||Musou •||Jump/Mount|
- , (), (), (): Shingen charges for a while, then unleash an elemental attack in front of him, based on the kanji appearing on the background of his weapons. It can be a gust of wind, a whirl of leaves, a fire column or a quake. Regardless of the element, the longer you tap the button, the more powerful the attack will be.
- , , (), (), (): Shingen slice his enemies, sends them flying and starts punching them from the ground while moving forward and ends up with a powerful fist. Can also damage grounded enemies caught in the middle.
- , , , (), (), (): After slicing the enemies twice, Shingen brings his fan down as he crouches and starts ramming his enemies, stunning them or even sending them flying. Then he poses, casting a damaging aura.
- , , , , (), (), (): Shingen slices the enemies three times before charging up a powerful shockwave. The more the button is pressed, the larger and stronger it will be.
- , , , , , , , : Shingen attacks alternating fan slices and punches while moving forward, culminating in a spinning attack.
- , : Stomps on the ground.
- , : Slashes with his fan.
- : Starts moving forward slowly, swining his fan from right to left and viceversa. The true musou adds the final moves of his normal attack.
Samurai Warriors 2Edit
Keeps his mounted moveset excluding his horse musou, which changes to a horse stampede. Shingen also loses the changing elements attached to his C1. His ground moveset was changed slightly due to his attack type (Special).
- , (), ():
- , , ():
- , , , ():
- , , , , ():
- , , , , (Xtreme Legends only) : Jumping twin drop kick with Shingen landing on his side. Activates his R1 + .
- R1 + : Grab and throw enemy.
- R1 + : Increase own abilities.
- Personal Skill : (Resist) Becoming stunned when musou gauge full.
- Warriors Orochi
His normal moves are the same except he has no C5 or his Level 3 Musou. His R1 moves have also changed:
- R1: Grabs his foe with both arms, then does a German suplex followed by a forward spinning piledriver; causes quakes on each slam.
- R1 (counter): Rushes forward with his hand in a short dash, then grabs the nearest foe to toss them away.
- Warriors Orochi 2
- Triple Attack 1: Launches a stream of flames raging forward.
- Triple Attack 2: Slams the ground with enough strength to shake the area.
- Triple Attack 3: Causes lava cracks to erupt the ground.
Samurai Warriors 3Edit
Same moveset as previous entry with the following changes.
- Warriors Orochi 3
- R1: Unleashes a brief tornado with a powerful fan swing and stomps to cause an explosion.
- , R1 (Ultimate only): Encloses enemies below within a tornado via an inward fan swing to the ground before causing it to explode with energy via his free hand.
Samurai Warriors 4Edit
Mighty strike is the same as Deadlock attack. Returns with the same moveset but with alterations.
- , , , , , ():
- : Finisher changes to him conjuring a pillar of fire, a miniature whirlwind and boulders to crush his airborne foes.
- Rage Attack/Musou Gokui effect: Activates Ultimate/Kaidan Musou if is used. Performs ending pose for previous if the effect ends without activating Ultimate/Kaidan Musou.
- See also: Shingen Takeda/Weapons
Samurai Warriors 4Edit
|Battle Fan (風林火山)|
|Divine Inspiration (天孫降臨)|
Rare Weapon AcquisitionEdit
- Stage: Battle of Mikatagahara (Takeda no Shou)
Takeda Shingen was born Takeda Katsuchiyo, but was later given the formal name of Takeda Harunobu. In 1551, his name was changed again when he became a monk to his well-known Buddhist name, Takeda Shingen. Shin is the contemporary Chinese pronunciation of the character nobu, which means "believe"; gen means "black", the color of intelligence and truth in Buddhism. Shingen is sometimes referred to as "The Tiger of Kai" (甲斐の虎) for his martial prowess on the battlefield. His primary rival, Uesugi Kenshin, was often called "The Dragon of Echigo" or also "The Tiger of Echigo Province". In Chinese mythology, the dragon and the tiger have always been bitter rivals who try to defeat one another, but they always fight to a draw.
Shingen was a multi-talented daimyo who was skilled in war, a competent diplomat, a patron of the arts, and a good leader in politics. He took time to care for the common folk by encouraging agriculture advancement and civil engineering. His people were taxed with two-thirds rice, one-thirds gold, which was relatively fair compared to other sections in the country. He also trusted his retainers as he made his base of operations a mansion with a single moat as opposed to a castle. Well liked by his retainers and people, Shingen had the utmost confidence in them, stating that good followers are what a daimyo really needs to create a solid defense. Like most daimyo, however, he was just as ruthless and unforgiving to his enemies in combat.
He was also quite the swinger and openly bisexual. He had three wives and several children unaccounted for from his illegitimate affairs. Altogether, he had seven sons and five daughters legally acknowledged under his name.
Harunobu was the eldest son of Takeda Nobutora, the eighteenth head of the Takeda clan and lord of the Kai province. His mother was Ooi no Kata (real name unknown) who was Nobutora's first legal wife. He was baptized as a samurai at age 15 and accompanied his father's campaign against Hiraga Genshin at the Battle of Un no Kuchi in 1536. His father was forced to retreat due to heavy snowfall yet Harunobu insisted to lead a rear guard to defend their escape. In reality, he used his troop to take the castle and succeeded with a small group of 300 soldiers. Though he took Hiraga's head and presented it to his father, Nobutora didn't give his son a lick of praise and scolded him for "acting recklessly". Harunobu was publicly disfavored by his father, as his younger brother, Nobushige, received more acknowledgment in the end.
When he learned that his father wanted to remove him from the family and place Nobushige as the head, Harunobu took action. He banded with Nobutora's generals who were impressed with his skill and sent a letter to Imagawa Yoshimoto requesting to help his plight. Yoshimoto agreed and arrested Nobutora once the two met in person. Nobutora wanted to ask for assistance against his son, but, once he saw that he had little power left to him, surrendered the clan to Harunobu. He responded by banishing his father to Suruga Province. Nobushige was allowed to stay with the family and he eventually became one of the Twenty-Four Generals of Takeda.
Harunobu's first act was to gain a hold of the area around him. His goal was to conquer Shinano Province. A number of the major daimyos in the Shinano region marched on the border of Kai Province, hoping to neutralize the power of the still-young Harunobu before he had a chance to expand into their lands. However, planning to beat him down at Fuchu (where word had it Harunobu was gathering his forces for a stand), they were unprepared when Takeda forces suddenly came down upon them at the battle of Sezawa. Taking advantage of their confusion, Harunobu was able to score a quick victory, which set the stage for his drive into Shinano lands that same year. The young warlord made considerable advances into the region, conquering the Suwa headquarters in the siege of Kuwabara before moving into central Shinano with the defeat of both Tozawa Yorichika and Takato Yoritsugu. However, the warlord was checked at Uehara by Murakami Yoshikiyo, losing two of his generals in a heated battle which Murakami won. Harunobu managed to avenge this loss and the Murakami clan was eventually defeated. Murakami fled the region, eventually coming to plead for help from the Uesugi clan.
After he had conquered Shinano, Shingen (the name he had taken in 1551) faced another rival, Uesugi Kenshin of Echigo. The feud between them became almost legendary, and they faced each other on the battlefield five times at the battles of Kawanakajima. These battles were generally confined to controlled skirmishes, neither daimyo willing to devote himself entirely to a single all-out attempt. The conflict between the two that had the fiercest fighting, and might have decided victory or defeat for one side or the other, was the fourth battle, during which the famous tale arose of Uesugi Kenshin's forces clearing a path through the Takeda troops and Kenshin engaging Shingen in single combat. The tale has Kenshin attacking Shingen with his sword while Shingen defends with his iron war fan or tessen. Both lords lost many men in this fight, and Shingen in particular lost two of his main generals, Yamamoto Kansuke and his younger brother Takeda Nobushige.
Around this time the Takeda clan suffered two internal setbacks. Shingen uncovered two plots on his life, the first from his cousin Katanuma Nobumoto (whom he ordered to commit seppuku), and the second, a few years later, from his own son Takeda Yoshinobu. His son was confined to the Tokoji, where he died two years later; it is not known whether his death was natural or ordered by his father. This left Takeda Shingen, for the moment, without an heir. However, he later had more sons, the fourth of whom, Takeda Nobumori, took control of the Takeda clan after Shingen's death.
By 1564, after he had completely defeated the Shinano Province and taken a number of castles from his rival the Uesugi clan, Shingen kept his realm fairly contained, contenting himself with a number of small raids and internal affairs. During this time he ordered the damming project of the Fuji River, which was one of the major domestic activities of the time. By this time, he's regarded as having one of the most fearsome cavalry units in the country.
After Imagawa Yoshimoto (a former ally of the Takeda) was killed by Oda Nobunaga, Shingen made a move against the weak Imagawa clan, incompetently led by Yoshimoto's son Imagawa Ujizane. Shingen and Tokugawa Ieyasu are believed to have made a pact to share the remaining Imagawa lands between them, and they both fought against Yoshimoto's heir. However, the agreement between the Takeda and Tokugawa forces quickly fell through, and after the Imagawa were no longer an issue, Shingen made a move against Ieyasu.
Last battle and deathEdit
When Takeda Shingen was 49 years old, he was the only daimyo with the necessary power and tactical skill to stop Oda Nobunaga's rush to rule Japan. He engaged Tokugawa Ieyasu's forces in 1572 and captured Futamata, and in January engaged in the battle of Mikatagahara, where he defeated, but not decisively, a small combined army of Nobunaga and Ieyasu. After defeating Tokugawa Ieyasu, Shingen stopped his advance for a while due to outside influences, which allowed Tokugawa to prepare for battle again. He entered Mikawa Province, but soon died of illness in camp. A popular legend states that he actually died to a gunshot wound, in which Shingen was sniped whilst trying to listen to delightful flute music from the enemy camp.
He was buried at Erin-ji in what is now Kōshū, Yamanashi. A festival is held in his honor in the first weekend of April at Kofu.
- In the Sengoku Jidai themed comic, Sengoku Angelique, Juilous acts as the Shingen of the cast. His full name is "Takeda Julious Shingen".
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