Lifespan: Tenbun 16 (1547) to 5/4 of Kanei 9 (1632)
Name Changes: Genjirō → Katsuno Nobumasa → Sanada Nobumasa → Sanada Nobutada
Other Names: Ichiemon-no-jō, Oki-no-kami
Title: Governor of Oki
Lord: Takeda Shingen → Takeda Katsuyori → Uesugi Kagekatsu → Hōjō Ujinao → Tokugawa Ieyasu → Gamō Ujisato → Tokugawa Ieyasu → Tokugawa Hidetada → Tokugawa Iemitsu
Father: Sanada Yukitsuna
Adoptive Father: Katsuno 昌世
Mother: Kyōunin (younger sister of Kawara Takamasa)
Siblings: Nobutsuna, Masateru, Masayuki, Nobutada, Kanai Takakatsu, Kiyoaki (?)
Wife: Baba-dono (daughter to Baba Nobuharu)
Children: Yukimasa, Nobukatsu
Sanada Nobutada served as a bushō from the Sengoku to early Edo periods.
Nobutada was born as the fourth son of Sanada Yukitsuna, a retainer of the Takeda clan. Later, he founded a cadet family of the Sanada (separate from the Sanada family who served as daimyō of the Matsushiro domain in Shinano Province during the Edo period). Nobutada has three older brothers, Sanada Nobutsuna, Sanada Masateru, and Sanada Masayuki.
Similar to Masayuki, Nobutada was sent from an early age to Kōfu as a hostage of the Takeda. Upon orders of his lord, Takeda Shingen, Nobutada was adopted by Katsuno 昌世 and inherited the prominent family name of the Katsuno of Kai. He was invested with the title of Governor of Oki and served as a commander of spear-wielding ashigaru, or lightly armed foot soldiers. He then called himself Katsuno Ichiemon-no-jō Nobumasa. According to a chronicle of the Takeda known as the Kōyō gunkan, he led a cavalry unit of fifteen soldiers and another unit of ten foot soldiers.
In the first month of 1571, Shingen toppled Fukasawa Castle in Suruga Province defended by Hōjō Tsunashige. In the course of this assault, Nobutada played an important role and took away the war flag attached to the back of Tsunashige’s armor during battle. Similar to Masayuki, Nobutada served as a magistrate for the Takeda family. He issued a license for a residence addressed to the head of the Ninomiya Shrine and dated 6/25 of Tenshō 7 (1579). He served as a mainstay of the band of retainers of the Takeda family.
After the Takeda clan was extinguished by the Oda clan in the third month of 1582, Nobutada reverted to the surname of Sanada and adopted the first name of Nobutada.
Initially, he affiliated with the Uesugi clan and was positioned at Makinoshima Castle but, in the seventh month of 1582, after Hōjō Ujjnao advanced to Kawanakajima in Shinano, he colluded with his older brother, Masayuki (who was on the side of the Hōjō) in a plot to turn-over the castle to the Hōjō army. He was then ousted by Yamada Ukon-no-jō who opposed the deal. In the ninth month, when Masayuki switched his allegiance from the Hōjō to the Tokugawa, he acted as a go-between and then served Tokugawa Ieyasu. He received a fief of 5,000 koku from the Tokugawa family which was later increased to 10,000 koku. On the grounds that he was not contributing that much, he became a rōnin, or wandering samurai.
According to one theory, during the Conquest of Odawara, Nobutada enabled the capture of Musashi-Edo Castle without bloodletting, and, thereafter, was dissatisfied with the reward from Ieyasu so departed from his service.
Later, via Ikeda Terumasa, Nobutada served Gamō Ujisato in Aizu-Wakamatsu for a fief of 5,000 koku. Another former retainer of the Takeda, Sone Masatada, also served for the Gamō clan. In 1591, in an event known as the Revolt of Kunohe Masazane, Nobutada and Masatada participated in the battle to subdue the rebels. In 1595, the death of Ujisato led gave rise to a succession struggle known as the Gamō Disturbance so, in 1598, Nobutada returned to the service of Tokugawa Ieyasu in Kai for a fief of 4,000 koku.
In 1600, at the Battle of Sekigahara, and in 1614 at the Siege of Ōsaka, Nobutada served as a messenger and, for his contributions, received an increase of 1,200 koku to his fief which then totaled 5,200 koku.
Thereafter, he served the Tokugawa family as a direct retainer of the bakufu. On 5/4 of Kanei 9 (1632), he died of illness. He was eighty-six years old. His grave is at the Ryūgan Temple in the town of Nagasaka in the city of Hokuto in Yamanashi Prefecture.
From the era of his son, Sanada Yukimasa, his descendants served as hatamoto, or direct retainers of the Edo bakufu, for generations. His descendants were divided into four lineages, with two of these surviving until the Meiji Restoration.
Following the decimation of the Takeda clan, Nobutada acted separately from the main branch of the Sanada family. In addition to serving as an intermediary between the Tokugawa and the Sanada, he continued to provide information under Masayuki and, in his capacity as a member of a cadet family, willingly continued efforts for the survival of the main branch of the Sanada.
During the Siege of Ōsaka, there is a story that Tokugawa Ieyasu ordered Nobutada to offer Sanada Nobushige (who was aligned with the Toyotomi) a fief of 100,000 koku in Shinano which Nobushige turned down. Under an alternate theory, the orders were given to Sanada Nobuyuki and the offer was for 400,000 koku in Shinano. Moreover, there is a story that Nobutada was sent to confirm the appearance of Nobushige (in case his head was later captured), but according to other sources he did not know whether it was Nobushige. At the time of the Siege of Ōsaka, he is said to have been farsighted from age.