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Uesugi
Uesugi-mon
Historical Information
Located at: Tamba Province (Echigo during the Azuchi-Momoyama period)
Served:
Crest(s)/Banner(s): Two flying swallows in bamboo (pictured)
Nagao clan's crest: nine suns with three tomoe
Kenshin's standard: the first character in Bishamonten (毘, bi)
Kenshin's standard: the flag of divine appointment
Kenshin's standard: open fan horse insignia
Kenshin's standard: the suspended and chaotically written dragon character (龍)
Talent(s): Warrior clan (prized swords and cavalry during Kenshin and Kagekatsu's time)
Major Figure(s): Norizane, Kenshin, Kagekatsu, Kagetora, Harunori, Kuninori

The Uesugi clan (上杉氏, Uesugi-shi or Uesugi-uji), sometimes romanized as the Uyesugi clan, is one of the few samurai families from ancient times to remain active in Japan today. For Samurai Warriors, they are represented in gray or white clothing.

The clan's origins date as far back as the Fujiwara family and their ancestors were from the Kanjujiryu branch of the clan. The clan's founder was the second son of Fujiwara no Kiyofusa, Uesugi Shigefusa. He started the Uesugi name when he moved to Ayabe, Kyoto in the Kyoto Prefecture. Specifically, he changed his family name to the particular part of land under his command, Uesugi Town. His sons chose various paths after his passing and spread across the countryside in different places. There are at least eight different branches of the family, some of whom lasted longer than others or merged into other branches or clans. A few branches include the Yamaura-Uesugi, Fukuya-Uesugi, Sanponji-Uesugi, Hachijo-Uesugi and the Jojo-Uesugi. The most famous branches would be the Yamanouchi-Uesugi and Yonezawa-Uesugi.

Kenshin was known for being fond of his various war banners and was said to have used them to signal the tide of battle. For instance, he would ride with his horse insignia while marching his army into battle. When he wanted his army to charge, the banners would then switch to the "dragon" flags. His Bishamonten standard was said to have been reserved for his entrances and victory marches.

Clan HeadsEdit

The following clan heads also list those present in the Yonezawa domain (Kagekatsu's descendants).

  1. Shigefusa
  2. Yorishige
  3. Norifusa
  4. Noriaki
  5. Norikata
  6. Norisada
  7. Norimoto
  8. Norizane
  9. Noritada
  10. Fusaaki
  11. Akisada
  12. Akizane
  13. Norifusa (1467~1525)
  14. Norihiro
  15. Norimasa
  16. Terutora (Kenshin)
  17. Kagetora / Kagekatsu
  18. Sadakatsu
  19. Tsunakatsu
  20. Tsunanori
  21. Yoshinori
  22. Munenori
  23. Munefusa
  24. Shigesada
  25. Harunori (Yōzen)
  26. Haruhiro
  27. Narisada
  28. Narinori
  29. Mochinori
  30. Noriaki
  31. Takenori
  32. Kuninori (April 18, 1943 ~ present)

Kuninori is an astronautical engineer. In 1981, he was a professor at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science and taught there for over twenty years. In 2003, he moved to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and helped jump start various laboratories. He formerly retired in 2006.

Other FiguresEdit

  • Norimasa
  • Norifuji
  • Norishige
  • Tōmanmaru
  • Katsuchika
  • Akitaka
  • Yamaura Kagekuni
  • Hatakeyama Yoshiharu
  • Kira Yoshitaka
  • Yoshi Nobunori
  • Matsudaira Tadanori
  • Niwa Nagahiro

LadiesEdit

  • Seganin (Toragosen) - Kenshin's biological mother
  • Sentoin (Ayahime/Ayagozen) - Kenshin's older sister, Kagekatsu's mother
  • Seienin (Hanahime) - Nagao Masakage's sister, Kagetora's second wife
  • Myōtokuin - Kagetora's concubine
  • Kikuhime - Takeda Shingen's sixth daughter, Kagekatsu's wife
  • Keiganin - Yotsutsuji Kintō's daughter, Kagekatsu's concubine

Major VassalsEdit

Four Guardian Kings of UesugiEdit

The Four Guardian Kings of Uesugi (上杉四天王) were highly valued by Kenshin and were recognized as mighty men. It's unclear if these men were historically called as such during their lifetime.

  1. Kakizaki Kageie
  2. Naoe Kagetsuna
  3. Usami Sadamitsu
  4. Amakasu Kagemochi

Seventeen Generals of EchigoEdit

The Seventeen Generals of Echigo (越後十七将) was a group of vassals highly valued by Kenshin. The origin of the group's name is unknown and, while Kenshin did trust these men, the organization was not named as such during his lifetime. The title likely originated during the Edo period.

  1. Arakawa Nagazane
  2. Meshimori Settsunokami
  3. Usami Sadamitsu
  4. Kojima Yataro
  5. Kakizaki Kageie
  6. Amakasu Kagemochi
  7. Karasaki Samanosuke
  8. Saito Tomonobu
  9. Shigiyama Suōnokami
  10. Shidō Tewanokami
  11. Takanashi Masayori
  12. Naoe Kanetsugu
  13. Naoe Kagetsuna
  14. Nagai Tanbanokami
  15. Honjō Shigenaga
  16. Yasuda Yoshimoto
  17. Momoi Settsunokami

Twenty-Five Generals of UesugiEdit

The Twenty-Five Generals of Uesugi (上杉二十五将) were renowned men who served Kenshin. According to the Uesugi Shōshikaki, these men were apparently recognized and praised by the shogunate. As with the Four Guardian Kings, it's disputed if the group's name existed during their lifetimes.

  1. Nagao Masakage
  2. Nagao Kageaki
  3. Usami Sadamitsu
  4. Niitsu Katsusuke
  5. Kanezu Yoshimoto
  6. Kitajo Kagehiro
  7. Irobe Nagazane
  8. Honjō Saneyori
  9. Honjō Shigenaga
  10. Amakasu Kagetsugu
  11. Suibara Chikanori
  12. Saito Tomonobu
  13. Yasuda Yoshitomo
  14. Takanashi Yorikane
  15. Kakizaki Kageie
  16. Chisaka Kagechika
  17. Naoe Kagetsuna
  18. Takenomada Yoshitsuna
  19. Iwai Nobuyoshi
  20. Nakajō Fujisuke
  21. Sanponji Kagenaga
  22. Shida Yoshihide
  23. Oguni Yorihisa
  24. Kaji Harutsuna
  25. Yoshie Sadanaga

Other VassalsEdit

  • Ayugawa Kiyonaga
  • Ayugawa Morinaga
  • Irobe Katsunaga
  • Kaji Harutsuna
  • Ueno Ienari
  • Ōkuma Tomohide
  • Kawada Nagachika
  • Kitajō Takahiro
  • Suibara Takaie
  • Osaki Yasutsugu
  • Shibata Naganori
  • Shida Yoshitoki
  • Shitadaira Yoshinaga
  • Takenomada Kiyotsuna
  • Yamayoshi Toyomori
  • Nakajō Kageyasu
  • Yasuda Nagahide
  • Yasuda Kagemori
  • Yasuda Akitomo
  • Yoshie Munenobu
  • Ōishi Tsunamoto
  • Nagao Terukage
  • Nagao Narimasa
  • Nagao Ujimori
  • Jinbo Nagamoto
  • Jinbo Ujiharu
  • Jinbo Naganari
  • Kojima Motoshige
  • Shiina Yasutane
  • Mekui Kagetaka
  • Yusa Tsugemitsu
  • Taihōji Yoshikatsu
  • Taihōji Yoshioki
  • Kuragano Naoyuki
  • Kamiizumi Nobutsuna
  • Fujida Nobuyoshi
  • Yamaura Kagekuni
  • Jojo Masashige
  • Sanponji Sadanaga
  • Uesugi Kagenobu
  • Nagao Akikage
  • Katō Danzō
  • Maeda Toshimasu

Family CreedEdit

Kenshin wrote sixteen articles for his clan to follow. Presently, these articles are inscribed on a stone tablet near the Uesugi Jinja. Here are rough translations of each line.

  1. First, when one is not gaining something, one must train their body.
  2. First, one most always love and respect us without fail.
  3. First, when one desires something, one must always choose the morally conduct path.
  4. First, one must never doubt those who hold personal secrets.
  5. First, one must always rescue others if one is haunted by spirits.
  6. First, when one does not create an error, one will earn other's awe.
  7. First, if one sees wrongdoing, one must discipline others.
  8. First, one should never be covetous or bend into other's flattery.
  9. First, when one is angered, one must be willing to listen to words and reason.
  10. First, one must always be capable to endure any changes.
  11. First, if one's heart is clouded, one must be gentle and quiet.
  12. First, one must never regret one's bravery.
  13. First, if one is caught in an underhanded trick, one must wait for fortune to smile upon them.
  14. First, one must always honor their ties to others during a time of mourning.
  15. First, when one is not leisurely, one will seek to gain people's kindness.
  16. First, if one gives into trickery, people will see fault with one.

Myths and TheoriesEdit

Female Kenshin (NAT)

Female version of Kenshin in Nobunaga no Yabou Tendou.

Due to Kenshin's unique characteristics, there are a few myths and legends surrounding him. Here are two of the popular ones.

Kenshin had a lover?Edit

Popular since the Edo Period, several people claim that Kenshin wasn't a complete celibate and had a few lovers during his lifetime. A few of which are said to include Osen (Kanetsugu's wife)'s older sister, Kanetsugu, and one of Konoe Sakihisa's younger sisters.

One of the most well known maidens was said to have been Isehime, the daughter of Chiba Unemu. Sometime after Kenshin had sent troops to Kanto, he held her hostage to gain her father's cooperation. While keeping her in his care, however, Kenshin was said to have grown fond of her and both of them grew to love each other. When Kenshin proposed keeping her as a concubine, Kakizaki Kageie strongly opposed the decision and the idea was dropped. Therefore, she was sent to Seiryu-ji and died years later. Since she doesn't exist in many historical materials, she is likely fictional.

Kenshin was a woman?Edit

Since Kenshin was said to have had fair skin and little interest in women, the theory that Kenshin was actually a woman has been floating around. It was popularized in modern times by the historical novelist, Tomeo Yagiri, who was also famous for claiming that Nobunaga was not assassinated by Mitsuhide.

Yagiri claimed in his 1968 novel that fighters in the Spanish Civil War used a 15th~16th century abbey as a fort. The abbey belonged to a Spanish missionary named Gonzalez who went to Japan for nine years. They found a journal entry regarding Gonzales' visit to Kagekatsu and reported that he was visiting his mother. Yagiri concluded that the figure in question was actually Kenshin based on circumstantial claims regarding his height, personality, and whereabouts at the time. While it is a fictional story, it has since been harshly criticized and dissected by modern historians for its historical inaccuracies. Even with critics protesting the possibility, there are a few supporters of the concept since women ruling clans was not entirely out of the question during the time period; such was the case with Tachibana Ginchiyo, Ii Naotora, Otsuya no Kata and others.

GalleryEdit

External linksEdit

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