Ueda Tomonao


Ueda Clan


Musashi Province

Lifespan:  Meiō 3 (1494) to 10/3 of Tenshō 10 (1582)

Other Names:  Matajirō, Sakon-no-taifu (common), Anrakusai, 安独斎宗調 (monk’s name)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Governor of Noto

Clan:  Ueda

Lord:  Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi clan → Hōjō Ujiyasu → Nagao Kagetora → Hōjō Ujiyasu

Father:  Ueda Masahiro

Mother:  Sister of Nanbada Norshige

Children:  Naganori, Norisada, Renkakuin (formal wife of Hōjō Ujikatsu)

Ueda Tomonao served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.  He was a retainer of the Gohōjō clan and served as the lord of Matsuyama Castle in Musashi Province.

Tomonao’s lineage came from an illegitimate branch of the Ueda clan descended from the nishitō, a band of bushi located in the Tama River Basin in western Musashi who were affiliated with Musashi shichitō, a larger band of bushi with familial ties based in Musashi whose influence extended into Shimotsuke, Kōzuke, and Sagami provinces from the late Heian into the Kamakura and Muromachi periods.

In 1494, Tomonao is surmised to have been born as the son of Ueda Masahiro.  Under an alternate theory, he was born in 1516.

Initially, Tomonao served the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi clan.  The Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi were less powerful than their nemesis, the Gohōjō clan.  Tomonao’s uncle, Nanbada Norishige, defended Musashi-Matsuyama Castle, but, after the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi were cornered and lost Kawagoe Castle, they established their new base at Matsuyama Castle. In the fourth month of 1546, an allied force comprised of members of the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi, Ashikaga Haruuji, and various damiyō from the Kantō launched the Siege of Kawagoe Castle, but were defeated after a nighttime assault by the Gohōjō army during which Uesugi Tomosada and Norishige were killed.  As a result, the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi family was extinguished and Matsuyama Castle fell to Hōjō Ujiyasu.  In the ninth month, Norishige’s son-in-law, Ōta Sukemasa, recaptured and moved into Matsuyama Castle.  In the tenth month, his older brother, Ōta Sukeaki, died, leaving Iwatsuki Castle absent a lord. In the twelfth month, Sukemasa assaulted Iwatsuki Castle, thereby forcibly taking over the headship of the clan, although some of the retainers who supported the Hōjō absconded for the protection of the Hōjō.  Before long, the Hōjō faction rolled back and Tomonao (to whom Matsuyama Castle was entrusted) switched sides to the Hōjō.  After the surrounding of Iwatsuki Castle in the first month of 1548, Sukemasa surrendered to the Hōjō.

Tomonao excelled in administrative affairs and was entrusted by Hōjō Ujiyasu to independently manage his territory.  Around 1550, he adopted the monk’s name of 安独斎.  Around 1559, acting in concert with Nagao Kagetora (later known as Uesugi Kenshin) who deployed to the Kantō, Tomonao revolted against the Hōjō.  In 1560, Uesugi Kenshin of Echigo led a large army to invade the Kantō, an event known as the Siege of Odawara Castle.  In the twelfth month, Ōta Sukemasa responded by serving in the vanguard of the Uesugi army, making clear his abandonment of the Hōjō in favor of the opposing Uesugi.  Seeking retribution against Sukemasa, Ujiyasu ordered repeated attacks against Iwatsuki and Matsuyama castles in Musashi.  In 1561, with the support of Kagetora, Sukemasa left Iwatsuki Castle to become the lord of Matsuyama Castle.  Thereafter, following the withdrawl by Kagetora from the Kantō, Tomonao was permitted to return to the service of the Hōjō but, bearing responsibility for the revolt, he was moved to the original location of the Ueda clan in the Chichibu District.  In 1563, the allied forces of Hōjō Ujiyasu and Takeda Shingen toppled Matsuyama Castle which fell to the Hōjō again. 

In 1569, Tomonao served in the Battle of Mimasetōge between the Takeda and the Hōjō, and, as recognition for his contributions, returned as the lord of Matsuyama Castle.  He then inherited the main branch of the Ueda clan.  In his latter years, he assigned headship of the clan to his son, Ueda Naganori, and retired.


In 1548, Tomonao, together with Nichinyo from the Jōren Temple (the family temple of the Ueda clan), donated the front gate for the Ikegami-Honmon Temple in Tōkyō, confirmed from a plaque discovered on the inside of a statue of a Buddhist deity known as Vajradhara situated at this gate.