|Located at:||Ueda, Shinano Province|
|Crest(s)/Banner(s):||Six coins (pictured)|
a twisted crane
a wave washed beach
|Talent(s):||Strong generals |
Powerful local clan
|Major Figure(s):||Yukitaka, Masayuki, Nobushige|
The Sanada clan (真田氏) was a powerful clan that was known to exist during the Warring States period. Many prominent generals during this time period praised their military strength and witty strategies, regarding them as prized warriors of the age. Though influential in politics and warfare, little is known regarding the clan's ancestry. They are speculated to be the combined Unno and Funno clans, families that had ties to the emperor during ancient Japan. Other sources indicate they are descendants of the Seiwa Genji, a warrior branch of the Minamoto clan.
They are popularly known for their six coin crest. It was believed that the spirits of warriors needed to pay a toll before boarding the river for the afterlife. These six coins were made to pay for one of the six paths in the Buddhist afterlife (Hell, Gaki, Chikusho -Killing brutes, Asura, Man, or Heaven). It was made to insure a "pure" passage for the wearer's spirit. According to legends, this particular crest was used whenever the clan entered battle. The emblem is usually painted in gold on red banners.
Each April at Ueda Castle, a festival for the Sanada clan is held.
Clan Heads[edit | edit source]
- Yorimasa (though his position is debated)
- Yukitaka (2nd)
- Yukitomo (Yukitami)
The current fourteenth clan head in modern times (Toru Sanada) is not a descendant of Nobuyuki as the figures listed above but rather a direct descendant of Nobushige (Yukimura). According to his family records, Chikurin-in (Yukimura's legal wife) survived Osaka Castle and her branch of the family prospered over the ages. His ancestor was one of her many children.
Other Figures[edit | edit source]
- Kanai Tadakatsu
- Nobushige (Yukimura)
- Katakura Morinobu
- Miyoshi Yukinobu
- Miyoshi Yukichika
Ladies[edit | edit source]
- Yamanote-dono - Masayuki's wife, Nobuyuki and Nobushige's mother
- Muramatsu-dono - Masayuki's eldest daughter, Oyamada Shigemasa's wife
- Seikōin - Masayuki's sixth daughter, Tsumaki Shigenao's wife
- Komatsuhime (Inahime, Onei)- Honda Tadakatsu's daughter, Ieyasu Tokugawa's adopted daughter, Nobuyuki's wife (took over Seion'in's position as the main wife)
- Chikurin-in (Akihime, Riyohime) - Ōtani Yoshitsugu's daughter, Hideyoshi Toyotomi's adopted daughter, Nobushige's wife or concubine.
- Ukyō no Tsubone - Tamayama Hidemasa's daughter, Nobuyuki's concubine
- Seion'in - Nobutsuna's daughter, Nobuyuki's concubine (originally Nobuyuki's legal wife)
- Manhime - Nobuyuki's eldest daughter, Kōriki Tadafusa's wife
- Masahime - Nobuyuki's second daughter, Sakuma Katsumune's wife
- Ryuseiin - Toyotomi Hidetsugu's daughter, Nobushige's concubine
- Hotta Okishige (Hotta Sakubei)'s daughter/sister - Nobushige's concubine (originally Nobushige's legal wife)
- Uneme (name unknown) - Takanashi Naiki's daughter, Nobushige's concubine
- name and father unknown - Nobushige's concubine, Miyoshi Yukichika's mother
- name and father unknown - Nobushige's concubine, mother of Nobushige's eighth and ninth daughters (both histories unknown)
- Kikuhime (Suhe-dono) - Nobushige's eldest daughter, Ishai Jyūzō's wife
- Ichihime - Nobushige's second daughter
- Umehime - Nobushige's third daughter, Katakura Shigenaga (Katakura Kojuro)'s wife
- Ageri no Tsubone - Nobushige's fourth daughter, Gamo Satoyoshi's wife
- Odenhime - Nobushige's fifth daughter, Iwaki Shigetaka's wife
- Oshōbu - Nobushige's sixth daughter, Tamura Sadahiro's wife
- Kane no kata - Nobushige's seventh daughter, Ishikawa Mitsuyoshi's wife
Major Generals[edit | edit source]
- Karasawa Genba
- Yazawa Yaritsuna
- Miyanoshita Tōemon
- Ayamada Shigenobu
- Tomizawa Iyo
- Suzuki Shigenori
- Netsu Nobumasa
- Ideura Morikyo
- Oyamada Shigemasa
- Kawara Tsunaie
- Maruko Sanzaemon
- Onda Moku Tamichika
- Sakuma Shōzan
- Hasekawa Akimichi
Retainer Families[edit | edit source]
Myths and Legends[edit | edit source]
The Sanada clan were the basis for many anti-Tokugawa folktales. People generally believe that a good majority of these stories originated during the Edo period and Meiji period, nearly a century after Nobushige's death. It is said that during the time when most of these tales began, people were dissatisfied with the Tokugawa shogunate's stringent and unpredictable rulings, especially regarding the "Dog Shogun", Tokugawa Tsunayoshi. Emphasizing the Sanada's last struggle against Ieyasu, they were one of the fabled "Robin Hoods" of the time period who defied the shogunate through heroism and fantasy.
Here are a few of these myths that continue to appear in Koei titles.
Sanada Ten Braves[edit | edit source]
The Sanada Ten Braves (真田十勇士, Sanada Juyushi) are ten famed men who are mentioned in a novel from the Edo period, Record of Sanada's Third Generation (真田三代記). The book coined the phrase "Sanada Trio" -the generals listed in the infobox- whom supposedly relied on ninja.
These warriors are depicted as strong heroes who loyally served Yukimura during the Osaka Campaign. Though they are fictional, some historians and readers believe that they are based on real people; monuments dedicated to the Ten Braves are going to be erected in Ueda. Their names and gender change in their many appearances, but the recognized ten are listed below.
- Sarutobi Sasuke - said to be based on Kouzuki Sasuke, one of the eleven ninja leaders from Iga. The fictional version of him is said to come from one of the fifty-three Koga families.
- Kirigakure Saizō - most likely based on Kirigakure Kaemon, a ninja who is said to have been ordered by Yukimura to protect villagers during the Winter Osaka Campaign. Voiced by Sylvia Zaradic (English) and Hiromi Nishikawa (Japanese) in Kessen.
- Miyoshi Seikai Nyudo - based on Miyoshi Masayasu, one of Yukimura's vassals.
- Miyoshi Isa Nyudo - based on Miyoshi Masakatsu, Masayasu's younger brother who was actually a vassal for the Tokugawa army.
- Anayama Kosuke - origin unknown, likely fictional. Possibly the eldest son of Anayama Nobushige, a ninja who supposedly served Masayuki and Yukimura. He's alternatively known as Yasuharu, Takechiyo, or Undon. Voiced by Mariko Kage (English) and Akemi Kanda (Japanese) in Kessen.
- Yuri Kamanosuke - origin unknown, likely fictional. Also known as Yuri Motoyuki.
- Kakei Juzou - origin unknown, likely fictional. Also known as Kakei Jubei. Speculated to be based on Kinei Rokuro.
- Unno Rokuro - believed to be based on Unno Yukisada, a possible vassal of Yukimura. The Unno clan served Takeda Shingen and three generations of the Sanada family (starting with Yukimura's grandfather, Yukitaka).
- Nezu Jinpachi - origin unknown, likely fictional. Speculated to be Azai Nagamasa's illegitimate son, Azai Iyori.
- Mochizuki Rokuro - origin unknown, likely fictional. Speculated to be based on various individuals from the Mochizuki family, such as Uemon and Jinzaemon.
Seven of these warriors appear as bodyguards in Samurai Warriors 2. Unno, Yuri, and Nezu were left out. They are included in various historical simulation titles, such as Nobunaga's Ambition and Taiko Risshiden. The Online version of Nobunaga's Ambition has updated to include them in their Ichimon no Toki event. Players can create a guild and play their own version of the Ten Braves.
Sanada Ninja[edit | edit source]
A common myth regarding the Sanada is their reliance on ninja or kunoichi troops. The origin of this particular myth is believed to come about due to Masayuki's cunning and scheming persona. Many legends state that the family raised and specially trained their assassins to carry out their reconnaissance missions. These ninja were also capable warriors, believed to possess their own superhuman abilities. Their intelligence network is said to spread across the entire country and they were ready for the Sekigahara conflict. One case states that Yukimura used a ninja imposter to survive his historical death.
While it is possible that the Sanada clan could have used ninja, their role was most likely minor and not exactly like the fictional account.
Secret Passage at Ueda[edit | edit source]
Due to the clan's resourcefulness at Ueda Castle, a fictional account states that the clan had an underground passage that led from the castle's basement to Kyoto. Only Masayuki and a few of his closest retainers knew its many entrances between the way. The myth says that the Sanada clan used this particular passageway for various guerrilla tactics against the Tokugawa men.
Historically, it would have been physically impossible to tunnel a passage as large as the legend.
External Links[edit | edit source]
- Rokumonsen - Japanese Sanada clan database
- Summarized info about the Sanada Ten Braves
- Taihei Yamashita's editorial about the creation of fictional Sanada heroism, part 2, part 3
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