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|First Appearance:||Samurai Warriors|
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April 19, 1579
Kagetora Uesugi is Ujiyasu's seventh biological son. He entered the Uesugi for a political marriage, and he was allegedly the most favored of Kenshin's adopted sons. After Kenshin's death, he is best known for dying in a civil conflict with his brother, Kagekatsu, in the fight to decide a proper successor.
Role in GamesEdit
Kagetora appears at Tetorigawa in the third title, where he and Kanetsugu head towards the northwest fortress. His only use in the battle is to gain a tactical bonus of cutting Toshiie's health in half. He joins forces with Katsuyori for the civil war against his brother in Aya's Moushouden Story Mode. During the stage, Kagetora is portrayed as a stern commander who is easily panicked by his brother's supporters. He is grateful for his mother-in-law's aid, yet he is unaware that she sides with him primarily to test her disciple's convictions not due to her faith in him.
The fourth title first introduces him during the Kantō chapter as Saburō Hōjō. He is Lady Hayakawa's younger brother who thinks highly of his family. Young, impetuous and eager to please, Saburō charges head first into danger during the fight against Kenshin. The player is asked to save him from the Uesugi troops. After the battle to defend Kantō concludes, Saburō becomes a political hostage to the Uesugi as a part of a peace treaty. Ujiyasu bluntly explains that it is for the sake of Hōjō followers.
During the Uesugi chapter, the idea of being abandoned by his biological father upsets him to the point he wishes to commit suicide. Kenshin stops Saburō from throwing his life away and gives the sullen lad a place to call home by adopting him. Antagonistic ties between the two families end when he is known as Kagetora Uesugi. As he helps his new family fight at Kawanakajima and Tedorigawa, Kagetora is moved by Kenshin and Aya's kindness towards him and wishes to repay them. Yet he feels slightly jealous of Kagekatsu since he has the honor of being biologically related to them and struggles to communicate with his stern faced brother.
When Kenshin suddenly dies to illness, the fight for the successor commences. Using his family alliances to his advantage, Kagetora hails for reinforcements from Ujiyasu, Katsuyori and Masamune. He is surprised yet moved when Aya comes to support his siege of Kasugayama Castle, realizing that her comfort is meant to cushion the blow of his inevitable defeat. Resolving himself to his fate, Kagetora rides into battle when Aya is defeated and falls against Kagekatsu's forces. With his dying breaths, he thanks his brother for letting him die with his Uesugi pride and roots.
In Samurai Warriors 4-II, his role is limited to Hayakawa's story where he reprises his role during the invasion of Kanto, but Otate is playable on his army's side, where although their forces have the upper hand due to the Hojo's aid, the Takeda's betrayal along with constant ambushes led by Masayuki's forces lead kagetora to retreat to the southwest and escape his brother's wrath. With the help of the Hojo forces, he escapes, only for Kai and Hayakawa to later find out he was betrayed by some of is retainers and cut down at his own castle. He is also mentioned in passing in Kagekatsu's opening cinematic.
Kagetora recurrently appears alongside the Uesugi in the first two instalments during their battles at Kawanakajima, Nagashino and at the Wuzhang Plains. In the third game, Kagetora acts as Aya's replacement officer.
Throughout the series, Kagetora has below average stats across the board. He has no outstanding troop proficiencies and is lower than his brother in everything. Kagetora's saving grace is often his high Morality stat, which guarantees his unfailing loyalty to any lord who recruits him. His adoption to Kenshin and his death to Kagekatsu's forces are often included into the series as historical events.
Nobunaga no Yabou 201X features the Uesugi civil conflict for succession as a limited-time event. Kagetora is a refined and well-spoken leader who supposedly opposes Kagekatsu with an army of UMA and loyal Uesugi veterans. Events play similar to history, with Kagetora calling upon the Takeda and Hōjō forces to reinforce his efforts.
When the fighting comes to a head near the UMA portal, the Uesugi brothers then confess to Matsuri that the entire Uesugi civil conflict was originally meant to be staged. The brothers agreed that either brother was a worthy successor to Kenshin and couldn't decide the leader amongst themselves. Their indecisiveness led to a rift with the Uesugi retainers that neither brother wanted. To negate future aggressions and unify them, the brothers started a civil conflict and agreed that the loser would lose their head. The UMA compounded what was supposed to be a compact contest into a engrossed battlefield, which the brothers regret yet exploit to emphasize who is more worthy to lead the Uesugi.
Kagetora ultimately loses and concedes defeat. He privately reunites with Kagekatsu to congratulate him and offers his head, lightly chiding his younger brother when he protests. Since it is their last time together, he helps Kagekatsu and the SLO agents retake Samegao Castle so they can seal the UMA portal. Once the UMA are expelled, Kagetora requests that his brother set fire to the castle and bids him a fond farewell. Sparing his brother from the act of personally killing him, Kagetora decides to accept his death by staying within the burning castle.
During the second playthrough of the event, it's revealed that the mystically revived Kenshin, Ujiyasu, and Shingen reunite with him. They praise his decision to forfeit leadership for the good of the Uesugi yet chastise his neglect towards his family. Not only is he harming his younger brother through his actions, he is forsaking the safety of his wife and child. Kagetora states his stoic acceptance of his death, but Kenshin and Ujiyasu's paternal wishes to see him live weakens his resolve. The three fathers work together to rescue Kagetora's family from the UMA while Kagetora assists his younger brother. When Kagetora bids his final farewell to Kagekatsu, he is actually staging his death. With the help of his fathers, Kagetora renounces his samurai name to live a quiet and peaceful life.
Guruguru Dungeon Nobunyaga has Kagedora act as one of the key characters in the Uesugi legacy event. Unlike his quiet brother, Kagedora is vocal, cold and authoritative. He specializes in creating strategies under Nyanshin's tutoring. Immediately after his adopted father dies, Kagedora arranges for the Hōjō and Mikeda to aid his war against his brother. He proclaims to the public that his adoption into the Uesugi was a ruse set up by the Hōjō; Kagedora is following his biological father's orders to take over the Uesugi.
After the protagonist pesters him to make peace with Kagekyatsu twice, Kagedora privately confides to him/her that he thinks fondly of his brother and the Uesugi. He wanted to live the rest of his days supporting his brother. However, Kagedora can't bring himself to forsake his Hōjō roots and suspects that his biological ties may someday stir havoc in the Uesugi. Kagedora staged his rebellion to prevent that possibility and to teach Kagekyatsu the trials of leadership. He dies while thanking his brother.
Much to the protagonist's dismay, there is nothing he/she can say or do to prevent Kagedora's death. When the magical teabowl warps him/her back to the Oda, he/she wonders if Kagedora was happy in his final moments.
- Ryosuke Kanemoto - Samurai Warriors 4
- "Foe you may be, but your calculations are extraordinary. I applaud you, Kanetsugu."
Uesugi Kagetora was Hōjō Ujiyasu's seventh or eighth son. His mother was Tooyama Yasumitsu's daughter whose father originally served the Hōjō and accompanied his grandson to Echigo. His first wife was Hōjō Genan's daughter. His other wives include Seien-In (Nagao Masakage's eldest daughter) and Myōtoku-In (Yasumitsu's younger adoptive sister). Kagetora sired two sons and two daughters, his eldest son being known under the name Dōmanmaru.
During his childhood, Kagetora was raised at the honorary temple of his great-grandfather, Sōun. Living the distant life of a priest, he was known as Shūsaidō during this time. His other argued childhood names include Shūsaimaru or Sannomaru. According to the Kanhashū Kosenroku, he briefly left his temple dwellings once to serve as a hostage to the Takeda. Other records and common opinion instead note that he was adopted by one of his great-grandfather's brothers, Genan, in 1569. He was married to his adopted father's daughter and gained a closer connection with the Tooyama clan.
Research for Kagetora is muddled at this point with Hōjō Ujihide. Both figures shared a vague background history, resided in Edo, and were both adopted into the Uesugi. During the early Edo period, it was commonly assumed that Ujihide was Kagetora's adult name with the Hōjō. Recent research has drawn doubt on the claim, however, due to no historical records associating Kagetora with the name and the number of conflicting records which distinguishes them as separate individuals. In reality, there are no records which actually calls Kagetora "Hōjō Saburō" either. This name was created by later generations to distinguish Kagetora from Ujihide. While stories claim that it is a homage to his biological father, a definitive origin of the Saburō nickname is also unclear.
What is known for certain was the collapse of relations between the Hōjō and Imagawa in mid-1569. Seeking to expand their territory in the east and oppose their ties with the Takeda, the Hōjō sought a non-aggression pact with the Uesugi called the Etsuso Armistice. The present head of the clan, Hōjō Ujimasa, was ordered to send his son, Kunimasumaru, for adoption to the Uesugi. For one reason or another, Ujimasa had his doubts about sending one of his children and sought to compensate by asking for a hostage. Despite not being a part of the main Hōjō branch, Kagetora was chosen to ease the tension over the alliance. He was promptly designated to be Kenshin's adopted child and sent to the Uesugi in early 1570.
By April the same year, Kagetora was given an audience with Kenshin. He was transferred to Kasugayama Castle within the same year. The Hōjō son was known as Kagetora by this point. His biological ties were disfavored when the Hōjō sought to restore their broken ties with the Takeda soon after. When Ujiyasu perished, Kenshin decided to keep Kagetora as his adopted son rather than send him back to the Hōjō.
Kagetora is popularly romanticized as the only son who Kenshin personally accepted and loved the most. Similar to Kenshin in his youth, Kagetora was known for his physical beauty and was said to have born with his mother's charming features. The lord was said to have related with the youth and his childhood history with the monks pleased him. It is fabled that Kenshin specifically granted his son his own name from his youth (Kagetora) as a show of his favoritism. He was also the first of Kenshin's adopted sons to be accepted as an Uesugi after his adoption, beating his later brother by five years. Kenshin's true thoughts for Kagetora, however, remains unrecorded and unknown.
Kenshin's health suddenly failed and he died in 1578. His desired successor is an unsolved mystery for modern historians. Since Kagetora conducted the religious rituals for Kenshin's death and the new year ceremonies, many people believe that he was originally designated as heir. Modern documentations of the family even note that Kagetora was the only son at the time who was formally listed under the Uesugi name. Letters and documents of the time period, however, questions the validity of this belief as none of the known writings specifically address Kagetora as clan head. Kagetora's notable absence of military experience also lessens the possibility of his title.
Regardless of whether he was the legitimate heir or not, aggressions between Kagetora and his brother arose mere weeks after their father's passing. Family accomplices who were close to Kenshin in the battlefield mainly sided with Kagekatsu; Kagetora's supporters were external neighbors who came from the south and east, including individuals from the Hōjō, the Daibōji, and Date Terumune. Military conflicts between the brothers are not formally recorded, but it is believed that the brothers fought several miniature wars throughout Echigo. According to a retainer of the Ashina clan, the brothers were locked in an unmoving stalemate in April.
By May 1578, Kagetora assembled approximately 6,000 soldiers to surrounded the outer rim of Kasugayama Castle, seeking to claim Kenshin's family possessions and proof of his inheritance. Kagetora's allies soon surrounded Kagekatsu with an army of 20,000. With various allies keeping Kagekatsu at bay, Kagekatsu then held himself within the Uesugi Manor with his wife and children and requested the aid of the government offices for the Head of Kantō, Uesugi Norimasa. As such, the noblemen dispute is often dubbed the Otate War by later generations, its namesake being the offices which were constructed for Norimasa and used by Kenshin. The war began largely in Kagetora's favor.
Using the family alliance to his advantage, Kagetora called upon Takeda Katsuyori for aid and his army neared the edges of Echigo in June. To counter Kagetora's movements, Kagekatsu simultaneously repelled Katsuyori's forces at his headquarters, Sakato Castle, while increasing Kasugayama Castle's defenses. With each passing day, Kagetora's numbers waned and his allies fell to Kagekatsu. Failing to overtake Kagekatsu's defenses, Katsuyori and his retainers called for peace talks between the two brothers. Both sides were in an uneasy stalemate.
Tokugawa Ieyasu's August invasion of Suruga eventually called away Takeda support, and relations between the siblings once again suffered. Kagetora was saved from his brother by the Hōjō reinforcements in September. As it neared winter, however, the unfamiliar snowy conditions and the Kagekatsu's staunch defenses ended the Hōjō's aggressions. The offensive side's supplies for Kasugayama Castle's siege were becoming barren. During February 1579, his brother's forces then laid siege to the head offices of Kantō to corner Norimasa. Kagekatsu's army drew ever closer to breaking Kagetora's encampment.
Wanting to end the conflict, Norimasa advised the siblings to agree on a treaty. Kagetora was asked to send his eldest son, Dōmanmaru, as a hostage to Kagekatsu. Obliging to the order, Dōmanmaru was sent. According to fables and legends, either Kagekatsu refused the offer or his retainers disagreed with the "pandering". The nine year old boy was either ordered to be executed or was assassinated. When Kagekatsu's troops set fire to the head office, Kagetora, his family, and his few remaining vassals retreated in either February or March 1579.
Planning to flee to Odawara Castle, they rested during their plight at Sameoka Castle and were sheltered by the castle lord, Horie Munechika. Munechika had previously saved his lord with an army of 10,000. After the fire at Kantō, however, his faith in Kagetora dispersed and he soon defected to Kagekatsu. During the violent rebellion within the castle, Kagetora committed suicide with his father-in-law, Tooyama Yasumitsu. He was 26 years old at the time of his death.
Although Kagekatsu emerged as the victor of the family conflict, Kagetora's resistance and his affairs within the east took a sizable chunk of resources from the families who were involved. The Uesugi were particularly drained by the civil dispute.