Sanada Yukimura

From Academic Kids

Sanada Yukimura (真田 幸村 Sanada Yukimura, 1567 to May 7, 1615) was a Japanese samurai, second son of the Sengoku period daimyo Sanada Masayuki. His proper name was Sanada Nobushige (真田信繁, Sanada Nobushige).


In 1575, the Battle of Nagashino claimed the lives of two of Sanada Masayuki's brothers. Masayuki, previously serving Takeda Shingen and Takeda Katsuyori as a retainer, inherited the Sanada clan and left for Ueda Castle. Yukimura also went, taking the Sanada name as well.

By 1582, the Oda-Tokugawa forces had destroyed the Takeda clan. The Sanada clan initially surrendered to Oda Nobunaga, but after the Incident of Honnoji, it became independent again, drifting between stronger daimyo such as the Uesugi clan, the Hojo clan, and the Tokugawa clan. Eventually, the Sanada clan became a vassal of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

In 1600, Tokugawa Ieyasu rallied various daimyo to attack Uesugi Kagekatsu. The Sanada clan complied as well, but when Ishida Mitsunari decided to challenge Ieyasu, Masayuki and Yukimura joined the western forces, parting way with Masayuki's eldest son and Yukimura's brother, Nobuyuki, who joined the eastern forces.

The Sanadas retreated to and fortified Ueda Castle. When Tokugawa Hidetada marched a sizeable army on the Nakasendo, the Sanadas resisted and were able to fight back Hidetada's 40,000 men with only 2,000. Hidetada lost focus and never showed up on the battlefield, where the Battle of Sekigahara was fought, a mistake that put the Tokugawa clan in jeopardy.

Because of this, Tokugawa Ieyasu wanted to execute the Sanadas, but because of Nobuyuki's contribution, they were spared and instead exiled to Kudoyama in Kii Province. Masayuki died there. Twelve years later, as the relations between the Toyotomi clan and Tokugawa shogunate worsened, the Toyotomi clan started to recruit ronin in preparation for war. Yukimura escaped from Kudoyama and entered Osaka Castle to answer the call.

During the Winter Siege of Osaka, Sanada Yukimura built fortifications along the south of Osaka Castle at its weak points. From there, he fought the Tokugawa forces with groups of arquebusiers.

The next year, during the Summer Siege of Osaka, Yukimura decided not to fight defensively, but to attack the Tokugawa forces head-on. His charges were so ferocious that he purportedly reached Tokugawa Ieyasu's main camp several times. It is said Tokugawa Ieyasu was almost ready to commit suicide, but this is most likely a fabrication of later generations.

However, greatly outnumbered by Tokugawa forces, Yukimura's forces were eventually defeated. According to The Life of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu by A.L. Sadler, in his intense fight against the wavering Echizen troops Sanada was wounded and completely exhausted when one Nishio Nizaemon of the Echizen army rode at him. At this point he is said to have exclaimed, "I am Sanada Yukimura, an adversary no doubt quite worthy of you, but I am too exhausted to fight any more," and allowed himself to be killed.

Legend and popular depiction

A fact about Sanada Yukimura is that in contemporary historical sources and personal letters penned by himself, he was never referred to as Yukimura. During the Edo period, a military novel referred to him as Yukimura, and this name has since been popularized by subsequent plays, books, novels, and different media of entertainment (e.g. Samurai Warriors, in which Yukimura is a playable character, his bodyguards (the Sanada Ten Braves are taken and formed into a single character by the name of Kunoichi).

A theory is that Yukimura is a combination of Masayuki (his father) and Date Tsunamura.

A legend says that Yukimura had ten heroes who took active part at the battles of Osaka Castle. They were called the Sanada Ten Braves(真田十勇士, Sanada Jūyūshi), a group of ninja, and consisted of the following members:

ko:사나다 노부시게


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