Sanada Masateru


Sanada Clan


Shinano Province

Lifespan:  Sixth month of Tenbun 11 (1543) to 5/21 of Tenshō 3 (1575)

Other Names:  Tokujirō (childhood), Nobuteru

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Secretary of the Bureau of the Military, Assistant Vice-Minister of the Military

Clan:  Sanada

Lord:  Takeda Shingen → Takeda Katsuyori

Father:  Sanada Yukitsuna

Mother:  Kyōunin (younger sister of Kawara Takamasa or, under another theory, the daughter of Obu Toramasa)

Siblings:  Nobutsuna, Masateru, Masayuki, Nobutada, Kanai Takakatsu, Kiyoaki (?)

Wife: [Formal] Daughter of Aiki Masatomo

Children:  Nobumasa, daughter (wife of Yumoto Saburōemon) (?)

Sanada Masateru served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.  He was a retainer of the Kai-Takeda clan.

In the sixth month of 1543, Masateru is deemed to have been born as the second son of Sanada Yukitsuna at Iwao Castle in Shinano Province, but there are alternate theories.

Masateru became an attendant to Takeda Shingen and, as the offspring of an influential retainer, was selected by Shingen to serve in an elite corps named after the centipede.  The centipedes frequently appeared in the shafts of gold and copper mines operated by the Takeda in their territory and regarded by the miners as guardian deities.  Masateru always accompanied Shingen, serving in the vanguard forces.  There is a story that Shingen said” “Hyōbu serves as my second pair of eyes.”

Shingen permitted Masateru to establish a separate family and be independent while serving as the commander of a cavalry battalion of 50 soldiers in the Takeda army.  This was separate from the corps of 200 cavalry soldiers commanded by his older brother, Sanada Nobutsuna, of the main branch of the Sanada family.  Masateru held the rank of a lieutenant general of the kokujin, or provincial landowners, in Shinano who served the Takeda.  He is surmised to have been granted landholdings in the environs of the Sanada township, but the location of his castle is unknown.  Masateru often deployed with his older brother, Nobutsuna, and also made contributions on his own.

In 1568, Masateru served with the vanguard forces during an invasion of Suruga Province.  In 1569 during the Battle of Mimasetōge, Masateru, together with Nobutsuna and Naitō Masatoyo, served valorously in the rear guard.

On the Shitaragahara battlefield during the Battle of Nagashino on 5/21 of Tenshō 3 (1575), Baba Nobuharu (Mino-no-kami) served as the general of the outermost right wing, with Nobutsuna leading the formation to the immediate left of Mino-no-kami.  Masateru took-up a position next to the left, leading another end of the forces comprising the right wing.  These forces then made a frontal assault against the left wing of the Oda army led by Sakuma Nobumori with the opposing sides contending for control of a small hill called Maruyama.  Masateru captured enemy heads but, in the midst of a valiant battle, incurred a severe injury and, together with Nobutsuna, was killed in action.  He was thirty-three years old.  There is a grave at Shitaragahara for Masateru and Nobutsuna on which is inscribed “Memorial to Sanada Hyōbu-no-jō Masateru.”

His son, Sanada Nobumasa, served the Tokugawa family, following Matsudaira Tadamasa to Echizen Province.  His descendants served the Echizen-Matsudaira family.  The Echizen-Sanada family continues to the present time.