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The Battle of Kawanakajima
Kawanakajima in Samurai Warriors 4
Date String of battles between 1553 ~ 1564; fourth encounter: 1561
Location Kawanakajima, Shinano Province
Result Constant stream of "stalemates"; tactical victory for Uesugi but strategical victory for Takeda in the fourth encounter.
Takeda Uesugi
Shingen Takeda Kenshin Uesugi

The Battle of Kawanakajima (川中島の戦い, Kawanakajima no Tatakai) refers to the military conflicts between Shingen and Kenshin in the northern Shinano Province. Both warlords fought for their right to rule the piece of land though neither completely gained an advantage over the other.

The games focus on their oft romanticized fourth battle at Hachimanbara, Nagano Prefecture, also known as The Battle of Hachimanbara (八幡原の戦い). In the first Samurai Warriors title, it is followed by an imaginary fifth confrontation.

Role in Games[]

Samurai Warriors[]

This battle acts as the beginning for several Takeda or Uesugi related generals. In Samurai Warriors, the main focus at the start of the battle is Shingen's pincer attack. The Takeda army separates into two parties, one distracts the Uesugi army and the other circles from the east to attack Kenshin's rear. The ambush party is lead by Yukimura and Kunoichi while the defensive unit is composed of Shingen and the rest of his vassals. As the secondary unit draws closer to their objective, a heavy fog descends upon the battlefield. The visibility on the map improves once the secondary unit reaches their target. Kenshin, however, has already abandoned the position and charges the Takeda main camp. After the rivals clash their weapons, Shingen continues to defend his position. Yukimura's party hurry to their lord's aid by rushing back to Hachimanbara. Once they arrive, they can continue their pincer and surround Kenshin as he flees towards Zenkoji.

During Kenshin's scenario, he has the option to quickly dispatch both the central units as well as Yukimura, thus foiling Shingen's plan. He can also occupy Shingen's escape point, Kaizu Castle, and defend his own from being fallen to the enemy. When he defeats one of Shingen's valued generals, Kansuke Yamamoto, enemy morale plummets and Kenshin gains a winning edge. Choosing to charge towards his rival's position also gives the same effect.

The rivals meet here once more in Kenshin's upper path scenario and Shingen's lower path scenario. Their tactics focus on quickly taking their enemy's respective castle on the field. Both men must also defeat Hanzō to protect their main camp; Shingen must additionally defeat Keiji for a similar reason. If the young warriors for either side (Kanetsugu and Yukimura) are defeated, both warlords commence a lone charge for a one-on-one showdown.

The stage serves a similar purpose in Samurai Warriors 2. As opposed to centering on one particular plan, the battle is filled with several complementary tactics. Both warlords scheme to ambush the enemy main camp once the generals in the center are routed. In Kenshin's case, he has to additionally prevent the Takeda pincer formation. Once he defends his position and marches towards Shingen's base, the strategist moves his position and triggers an ambush on the Uesugi troops. An ambush troop will also await in the battlefield's foggy area. When Kenshin rescues his men, he can proceed to Shingen's position.

Unlike the first title, Shingen is the only playable character on the Takeda side who can experience this battle during his story (though this changes in the Xtreme Legends expansion with Yoshimoto's introduction). Kenshin also moves once his nemesis reaches his camp and orders his men to attack the southern Takeda garrisons at once. Kanetsugu heads with his army to siege the northern position. More hidden troops appear from the southern part of the map and need to be defeated quickly to defend the southeastern garrison. Once Shingen trumps over his rival, Kenshin grants him a final chance to face him by moving himself to the center of the field.

Kawanakajima also serves as the stage for Kanetsugu and Ieyasu's dream mode. Their scenario occurs when the Uesugi army begins their march before the Battle of Sekigahara. Though Ieyasu anticipated that Kanetsugu would be blocked by Masamune's army, the Uesugi vassal changes course straight for the Tokugawa army.

In Samurai Warriors 3, Shingen sets out to face Kenshin who had foiled the pincer strategy. Kansuke will have to be saved by his master, while Nobukado, Shingen's brother guards the main camp. Kagemochi Amakusu will try to block off the Takeda mobile unit and must be beaten to secure the path. After his defeat, Sakon Shima, leader of the mobile unit will assist. After Aya's routing, Kenshin will try to retreat to Zenkoji temple.

In Kenshin's story, he does not retreat to Zenkoji temple and will instead attack Shingen's army. Aya will support him instead of Kanetsugu Naoe. Player must defeat all officers in the center before facing Shingen. After Shingen's defeat, he will retreat to the southeastern garrison, while Sakon and the mobile unit will attack Kagemochi Amakusu. Player must defeat the mobile unit and Shingen once more without losing three allied officers.

In the Moushouden expansion, only Aya gets the battle as her second stage. The battle is pretty much Kenshin's version, except that Yukimura and Kunoichi now joins the Takeda side. Luckily, only Kenshin needs to be protected. The player can also capture the four southern base captain to make Sakon and the mobile unit lose health. Then the player can defeat Shingen to end the stage.

In Samurai Warriors 4, the battles goes the way it did in the original title, except Kenshin leaves dummies at his Mt. Saijo camp to deceive the Takeda.

In the Spirit of Sanada, the fourth battle of Kawanakajima acts as the first major campaign for Masayuki, and is the game's opening chapter.

The first part of the campaign starts with Masayuki being placed with the protection of the Takeda's supply troops, with Naiki Takanashi explaining most of the game's mechanics. Their search inadvertently leads them to a small group of Uesugi ninjas and soldiers, but Masayuki is able to deal with them. Upon reaching the northern checkpoint, he is greeted by Masatsugu Tsuchiya, who takes control of the troops.

Once the actual campaign begins, Masayuki is tasked with taking Mt. Saijo in order to provoke the Uesugi into leaving for the flatter plains, where a Takeda ambush would wait. Making use of the night and the mountain's fog, Masayuki and Naiki breeze through the garrisons in sneak attacks, but he suspects a trap when it is reported that Kenshin is nowhere to be found.

Masayuki then has the army backtrack and are ambushed by the Uesugi's ninjas and assault units. As they progress, they encounter Mitsuchika Suda and Yoshikiyo Murakami, who block the river, indicating that Kenshin had already descended before their arrival. A messenger soon arrives, asking for help defending Shingen from Kenshin's assault.

Although Kenshin's officers are defeated, the commander still charges for Shingen and disarms him, but Masayuki throws sticks of dynamite at Kenshin's horse, startling it, and forcing him back.

The next battle starts with most of the Takeda's mobile units in disarray from Kenshin's attack, and Shingen is forced to withdraw to Kaizu castle to prepare a counterattack. The battle begins with having to protect Shingen while Kansuke Yamamoto attempts to open the northern gates leading to Hachimanbara river. He is stalled, however, by Kageie Kakizaki. Upon opening the gates, Kansuke is killed. Pressing on, they rescue Masakiyo Morozumi from Yoshitoki Shida's unit. Meanwhile, Nobushige's sacrifices himself fighting the Murakami unit to clear a path for his brother.

Kenshin soon arrives to take control of the chase himself. Masakiyo and Tadatsugu Hajikano both opt to stay behind and delay Kenshin's pursuit, but are killed in the process. As Shingen makes his way to the castle, Yataro Onikojima appears and seals the northern path.

Nobutada Anayama then arrives, asking for reinforcements for Nobukado Takeda from the Kaji unit's assault. Once Nobukado's unit is saved and the Onikojima forces are defeated can the Takeda forces make it to Kaizu.

In the fourth part of the campaign, Masanobu Kosaka's unit finally arrives and attempts to sandwich Kenshin in a pincer attack, but the Uesugi troops flee to Zenkoji to prevent being surrounded. At the start, Masayuki, leading the Woodpecker Unit, must fight his way to reach the Kosaka unit and must defeat Aya, who guards the path. Making use of the overly-muddy terrain, the Takeda forces easily defeat Kagetsuna Naoe's forces move to attack Kenshin, but Aya reappears to defend her brother. Kenshin's remaining army also appear to buy their lord time by attacking Shingen's main camp, but are repelled. Content, Kenshin finally emerges to fight his rival and is defeated.

The campaign leaves a profound effect on the young Masayuki, who initially accepted the inevitable loss of life in battle, but did not realize how grave it was until he actually suffered it. He also would see his lord's unwavering conviction in spite of the loss of his prized strategist and his brother.

Warriors Orochi[]

The stage appears again during Orochi's scenario in the second game. The combined forces of Shingen and Kenshin confront Orochi here, intent to overthrow the threat to the world. Kenshin starts the battle by gradually sending his troops to attack the main camp in the north while Shingen sends Yukimura to attack the southern defenses. Dong Zhuo orders the men to save the south while repelling the Uesugi forces. As the Orochi troops venture into the southern maze, Shingen launches a fire attack and an ambush. Simultaneously, Kenshin personally leads the generals closest to him to attack the Orochi main camp. Kanetsugu then opens his garrison to lead engineers to endanger the main camp. Defeating either leader triggers an all out charge by the Orochi troops.

In Warriors Orochi, Nobunaga and his forces head towards the area to see Ma Chao struggling to save innocents from Orochi's forces led by Sima Yi. To rescue his outnumbered comrade, Huang Zhong directs Nobunaga and his troops to support Ma Chao and villagers. After defeating the Orochi officers closest to him, he asks the player to safely lead the peasants to Zenkoji. While the peasants head south to their destination, Ieyasu and Dong Zhuo appear to hunt them down and must be defeated for the peasants to continue marching forward. As the peasants head into Hachimanbara -the southern maze in the map- Sima Yi begrudgingly uses one of Zhuge Liang's tactics to ambush them. If the player saves all of the peasants, Ma Chao will be invigorated and charges for Sima Yi. He then joins the Samurai forces after the conflict. Should any peasants fall, he merely thanks Nobunaga's men for their help and parts ways.

During Warriors Orochi 4 after the event of Kyūshū, Kenshin and Liu Bei's rebel army welcomes Wu, Tokugawa, Guan Yinping, Ma Chao and Kanetsugu, go to the area to rescue the Takeda forces from the Nobunaga's wrath. The battle first starts with the rebel army joining up with Shingen, as well with Nobuyuki. Shingen then plans an attack on the area's rear while Yukimura is holding off the enemies at the front. As the rebel army's troops move through the east, Jia Xu has the Hojo troops launch an ambush.

After seeing his ambush get defeated, Jia Xu immediately opts to switch sides and begins attacking Mitsuhide's forces. Once Mitsuhide and the northern Oda forces are defeated, Nobunaga suddenly emerges to attack Yukimura's unit with the power of his snake bracelet, but Perseus arrives to attack Nobunaga. After the battle, the Takeda join the rebel army as thanks and immediately move to rescue Kagekatsu's unit, which was simultaneously attacked.

Later in the story, the Coalition must defeat Ares and Athena's forces in order to reach Zeus at Olympus. Accompanying the gods are members of Cao Pi's forces, and despite the prince's wish to have his soldiers surrender eventually, Wang Yi is too stubborn to join any side with Ma Chao in it with Pang De forced to follow. After defeating her and Pang De, Nuwa and Nene convince the maiden that she would lose any memory she had in the distorted world once things returned back to her era, including taking her vengeance, and Wang Yi finally submits along with Pang De.

During one of the side stages, Yue Jin, Ma Chao and Naomasa Ii all have a race to see who can save the stranded Ma Dai first.

Historical Information[]