Takenomata Yoshitsuna


Takenomata Clan


Echigo Province

Lifespan:  Daiei 4 (1524) to 6/3 of Tenshō 10 (1582)

Other Names:  Tarō (common)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Lieutenant of Outer Palace Guards of the Right Division, Lieutenant of Imperial Guards of the Right Division, Governor of Mikawa

Clan:  Takenomata

Lord:  Uesugi Kenshin → Uesugi Kagekatsu

Father:  Takanomata Tametsuna

Siblings:  Yoshitsuna, Toshitsuna (?), Chikahide

Children:  Katsutsuna, daughter (wife of Yasuda Akimoto)

Takenomata Yoshitsuna served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.  He was a retainer of the Uesugi clan and member of the Agakita Group in Echigo Province.

In 1561, at the Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima, Yoshitsuna followed Uesugi Kenshin and was recognized for his valiant fighting despite losing his cavalry armor.  Thereafter, he continued to serve in numerous battles including in response to an uprising by a powerful retainer of the Uesugi in an event known as the Revolt of Honjō Shigenaga.

The death of Kenshin in 1578 triggered a succession struggle known as the Otate Conflict.  During this event, Yoshitsuna sided with Uesugi Kagekatsu, who prevailed over Uesugi Kagetora.  Together with Shibata Nagaatsu and Saitō Tomonobu, Yoshitsuna engaged in negotiations with Takeda Katsuyori.

In the second month of 1582, the Oda army decimated the Kai-Takeda clan.  In the third month, Shibata Katsuie led 40,000 men to invade Etchū Province in furtherance of Nobunaga’s plan to exert control over the Hokuriku region.  Yoshitsuna was assigned to defend Uozu Castle in Etchū.  After the Oda surrounded the castle, the two sides fought from the third to sixth months of 1582 in an event known as the Siege of Uozu Castle.  With a garrison of 3,800 men, the Uesugi forces fought valorously, but owing to other threats to his territory, Uesugi Kagekatsu was unable to send reinforcements.  As the prospect of defeat became inevitable thirteen commanders in the castle, including Yoshitsuna, took their own lives at once.


Generations later, a descendant of Yoshitsuna served as a mentor to Uesugi Tsunanori, a daimyō in the Dewa-Yonezawa domain.  Other descendants included Takenomata Yoshihide, the founder of a cadet family known as the Takenomata-Nishi family, and Takenomata Masatsuna, the righthand man of Uesugi Yōzan (the ninth head of the Dewa-Yonezawa domain) during a revolution of the political and economic aspects of the domain system in the middle Edo period.