Takeda Nobukado


Takeda Clan

Takeda Nobukado

Kai Province

Lifespan:  Tenbun 1 (1532) (or Kyōroku 1 (1528)) to 3/24 of Tenshō 10 (1582)

Name Changes:  Magoroku, Nobukado, Nobutsura, Nobuyasu, Shōyōken Nobutsuna

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Assistant Vice-Minister of Justice

Clan:  Takeda

Lord:  Takeda Shingen → Takeda Katsuyori

Father:  Takeda Nobutora

Mother:  Ōi-no-kata

Siblings:  Takematsu, Shingen, Inuchiyo, Nobushige, Nobumoto (Nobutomo ?), Nobukado, Nobuaki, Ichijō Nobutatsu, Sōchi, Matsuo Nobukore, Kawakubo Nobuzane, Nobutomo, Katsutora, Jōkei-in, Nanshōin-dono (formal wife of Anayama Nobutada), Nene-goryōnin, Kekōin (wife of a member of the Urano clan), Kame-goryōnin (formal wife of Ōi Nobutame), sister (formal wife of Shimojō Nobuuji), sister (wife of Nezu Kamihira), sister (wife of a member of the Katsurayama clan), Kiku-goryōnin (wife of Imadegawa Harusue)

Children:  Nobuzumi, Dairyūji Ringaku, Kaizenji Shuzan, 蟠翁 Bunryū, daughter (wife of Nishina Morinobu), daughter (wife of Kawakubo Nobutoshi), daughter (wife of Ogasawara Nobumine), daughter (wife of Matsuo Nobutoshi), Sukuiyama Muneharu

Portraits of parents painted by Nobukado

Takeda Nobutora


Takeda Nobukado served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.  Nobukado is counted among the Twenty-Four Generals of the Takeda.

Nobukado was born as the sixth son of Takeda Nobutora, the fifteenth head of the Kai-Takeda clan.  Nobukado was the younger brother of Takeda Shingen and Takeda Nobushige.  After entering the priesthood, Nobukado changed his name to Shōyōken Shinkō.  He was generally known as Shōyōken.

In the sixth month of 1541, his older brother, Harunobu (later known as Shingen), ousted his father, Nobutora, who sought refuge with Imagawa Yoshimoto of Suruga Province.  Harunobu then succeeded to the headship of the clan.  Harunobu invested resources in the Invasion of Shinano and, in the seventh month of 1542, attacked and decimated the Suwa clan.

Nobukado first appears in historical records from the eleventh month of 1548 when Harunobu was in the process of solidifying his governance of Suwa.  Nobukado promised to increase the fief of the Chino clan of Suwa after informing them of the ouster of the Suwa-Nishikawa Group (who rebelled against the Takeda) and the seizure of their landholdings.  He is surmised to have served as an intermediary with the Suwa Group.  In the seventh month of 1551, upon orders of Harunobu, he communicated that the daughter of Imagawa Yoshimoto (the sengoku daimyō of Suruga) would be welcomed as the formal wife of Takeda Yoshinobu.

Nobukado commanded a unit of 80 mounted soldiers.  Among retainers with the surname of Takeda, Nobukado is listed in records second after Takeda Nobutoyo (the second son of Takeda Nobushige).  In 1561, at the Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima, Nobushige was killed in action so Nobukado became the head among the retainers who were relatives of the Takeda.  At the time of the battle, Nobukado served in the rear guard and defended the main division.  In 1570, he was assigned to Takatō Castle in Shinano Province.

After the death of Shingen in the fourth month of 1573, Nobukado, as a mainstay of the family, served in important roles including as the chamberlain of Iida and Ōshima castles.  Meanwhile, his father, Nobutora, desired to return to Kai so Nobukado took custody of Nobutora and had him reside at his base at Takatō Castle.  At this time, he produced the portrait of Nobutora.  On 5/21 of Tenshō 3 (1575), during the clash at Shitaragahara at the Battle of Nagashino, Nobukado, together with Obata Nobuzane and Takeda Nobutoyo is surmised to have been positioned with the center battalion, aligning with battalions comprised of members of the Aida-Iwashita, the Yamaguchi, the Yoda, and the Ōdo-Urano clans.  Among these, members of the Ōdo-Urano clan of western Kōzuke were positioned alongside a battalion on the left wing led by Naitō Masahide, the chamberlain of Minowa Castle.  At the Battle of Nagashino, Nobukado was in the second line of attacking forces after Yamagata Masakage.

In the third month of 1582, the allied forces of the Oda and Tokugawa engaged in the Conquest of Kōshū.  When the vanguard forces of the Oda led by Oda Nobutada invaded from southern Shinano, Nobukado did not mount a meaningful resistance, abandoning Ōshima Castle and retreating to Kai.  After the war, he was apprehended during a persistent effort by the Oda army to capture remnants of the Takeda.  On 3/24, thirteen days after Takeda Katsuyori took his own life, Nobukado was murdered by Kagami Motomasa and Buzen Saijo under the command of Mori Nagayoshi on the left bank of the Tateishi-Ai River (a branch of the Ara River) in Fuchū in Kai.  He was fifty-one years old.  His grave is at the Shōyō Temple in the town of Sakurai in the city of Kōfu in Yamanashi Prefecture.

Character and anecdotes

Nobukado was known as a painter.  His works, designated as Important Cultural Assets, include portraits of both parents.  The portrait of Takeda Nobutora is kept at the Daisen Temple in Kōfu and the portrait of the wife of Takeda Nobutora, Ōi-no-kata, is kept at the Chōzen Temple.  Nobukado also painted a picture of Sugawara no Michizane (a noble from the Heian period) in a scene crossing to China.  This work is also kept at the Chōzen Temple.  In 1567, Shingen had members of his band of retainers submit written oaths of allegiance and dedicated these to the Ikushima-Tarushima Shrine.  This includes a document in the handwriting of Nobukado.

According to the Kōyō-gunkan, military accounts concerning the Takeda clan compiled in the early Edo period, Nobukado had a physique similar to Shingen and served as his body-double.  Even close associates were said to be challenged to tell them apart.  In 1573, after Shingen died of illness in the course of the Western Campaign, Nobukado served in the role of Shingen to prevent members of the clan as well as outsiders from knowing of the death of Shingen while the army marched back to Kōfu.  Based on one legend, Hōjō Ujimasa sought to confirm the death of Shingen by dispatching Itabeoka Kōsetsusai as a messenger to Kai but he was deceived by the body-double.