Japanese hero/ine

(historical) 2/3
Kamakura era-Age of wars

Kamakura era

The general who took the administration which had been borne by the noble and started the reign by the warrior. He became the founder general of the Kamakura shogunate. Although it is certain he was a great man, the reputation in posterity is not good , because he killed many relatives and controled state with power.


The warrior of the Heian last stage. The name in infancy was Ushiwakamaru.
He was the famous general who excels in archery, horsemanship and was rich in wit. He annihilated the political rival Heike family in" the battle of Dannoura" for helping his elder brother, Minamotono Yoritomo. However, the excellent talent invited the jealousy and distrust of Yoritomo, and finally he was killed as Genji's enemy.

The mind of most Japanese is sympathetic to the loser Yoshitsune who were killed by his brother even when he was young , not to the winner Yoritomo who established the Kamakura shogunate.
Yoshitsune was turned the legend as an artless, wise, brave and good-looking young samurai.
The word of "hougan biiki" means sympathy for the weaker man. This "hougan" is the official title of Yoshitsune.


Yoshitsune's name in infancy.
He continued the training to jump over the flax that grows from day to day near the Kuramadera (Kurama Temple), and he got remarkable jumping ability.
One day he encountered the violent priest called Benkei on the Gojou Ohashi (Gojou Bridge), and he made Benkei his servant.


illustrated by Fujiki Yuriko
The beautiful wife of Kisono Yoshinaka. She could use strong bow and could ride on wild horse well like men. She was famous as an excellent combatant.


The beautiful wife of Minamotono Yoshitsune. Before marriage, she was a Shirabyoushi (dancer in male attire).
As she escapes, she got astray with her husband and was caught by Yoritomo. She sang the song to admires Yoshitsune before this enemy.

Muromachi era

The general who opened the Muromachi shogunate.


Beeing born as a son of the emperor, he entered into Buddhism when he was a child. He was very wise and frank simultaneously . He is famous as an expert of jokes, so Japanese in posterity call him "Ikkyu san" familiarly. It is conceivable that he was a kind of fallen priest in fact who denies any authority , and was married to a blind woman.

Age of wars

The general in the age of wars.
In his youth, he was thought a great idiot with many eccentric conducts. It means that he was too big person to be understood easily by people. He took competent and faithful subordinate a lot by his charisma, and caused decisive action based on the view point of the general situation.
At "The battle of Okehazama" he broke the great Imagawa with the surprise by small forces. Also, inputting a lot of guns to the battle with Takeda, he changed the structure of the battle after.
He was a rare Japanese who had a global view. Many scholars thinks that the foreign policy after would have changed entirely with actual if he unified Japan.
However, he was resented by Akechi Mitsuhide, one of his subordinates whom he often bullied. Akechi attacked Nobunaga in Honnouji (Honnou Temple). He died in the red flame.


The general in the age of wars. Hiyoshimaru was his name in infancy.
He was a common foot soldier at beginning. In a cold day, he was holding Nobunaga's sandals in his chest to warm. Seeing it, Nobunaga liked Hideyoshi and promoted him. He was the faithful subordinate of Nobunaga thereafter.
He seemed resembling a monkey.
As soon as he knew that Nobunaga had been killed, he returned foremost from the post and ruined Akechi Mitsuhide who was a criminal. He succeeded the policy of Nobunaga and unified Japan.

He is the hero of the typical success story that people like. Because he became the top leader of a nation, although he was born in a poor family.


The general in the age of wars. Takechiyo was his name in infancy. He went through hardships from the young time, although he was born as the son of the lord of a castle. He was sent to the enemy's territory as a hostage for the political tactics. This experience made him a prudent human being.
Although he was the almost same generation with Nobunaga and Hideyoshi, he became the ruler of a nation at last after two died. Because he was already sixty years old or so then, he is famous as a very patient person.
The Edo shogunate that he made foundation terminated the age of wars and brought about peace in Japan , and thereafter it continued for 260 years.

People use the metaphor of the silent bush warbler to compare the characters of three great generals. They say, if the bush warbler in cage does not sing, Nobunaga will kill it right away , Hideyoshi will make it sing with power, and Ieyasu will wait for it to sing by itself.


The general in the age of wars. He was one of Oda Nobunaga's subordinates. There were many cases he was scarred honor by this head. The grudge made him attack Nobunaga at the Honnouji at last. However, the period when he was the top of the nation was shorter than two weeks, because he was defeated by Hideyoshi who returned. " Mikka denka" that means the successful man in a moment is his nickname after death.
Although he was a traitor, many Japanese are not able to hate him completely because the pride is important. Usually a sensitive and good-looking actor plays his part in the play.


The general in the age of wars. When Toyotomi Hideyoshi wanted to drink in the temple which he visited, Mitsunari served a lot of lukewarm tea in the 1st cup to heal the thirst early, a little hot tea of half in the 2nd and only a little of hot tea in the 3rd to taste slowly. The attention was praised and became the servant of Hideyoshi. He took an active part by intelligence even more by bravery. He was faithful in a Toyotomi family even after the death of Hideyoshi. He was defeated by Tokugawa Ieyasu at "the battle of Sekigahara" and died.


The general of the eastern country in the age of wars. His right eye became blind when he was a child, so he was puting on a black eyepatch. He called himself "Dokuganryu" that meant a dragon with one eye. He thought about overseas and sent messengers to the Pope. He was the excellent lord who made Sendai rich. He was subject to Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu.

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