The Battle of Kawanakajima
Kawanakajima (SW4)
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 GamesEdit

Samurai WarriorsEdit

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.

Warriors OrochiEdit

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.


The conflicts are given a passing mention by Kenshin in Kessen III. While his army descends from the mist, he utters that the tension at Kuzuryūgawa reminds him of these battles.

Historical InformationEdit