Lifespan: Tenbun 8 (1539) (?) to 3/10 of Tenshō 10 (1582)
Other Names: Kōzuke-no-suke, Uemon-no-taifu, Nobutaka
Clan: Takeda → Kai-Ichijō
Lord: Takeda Shingen → Takeda Katsuyori
Father: Takeda Nobutora
Siblings: Takeda Takematsu, Takeda Shingen, Takeda Inuchiyo, Takeda Nobushige, Nobumoto, Takeda Nobukado, Takeda Nobuaki, Nobutatsu, Takeda Sōchi, Matsuo Nobukore, Kuwakubo Nobuzane, Takeda Nobutomo, Takeda Katsutora, Jōkei-in, Nanshōi-dono (formal wife of Anayama Nobutomo), Nene Goryōnin, Kekōin (wife of Urano clan), Kame Goryōnin (formal wife of Ōi Nobutame), sister (formal wife of Shimojō Nobuuji), sister (wife of Nezu Kamihira – eldest son of Nezu Motonao), sister (wife of Katsurayama clan), Kiku Goryōnin (wife of Imadegawa Harusue)
Children: Nobunari, Nobusada, daughter (wife of Miyake Masatsugu)
Ichijō Nobutatsu served as a bushō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods. Nobutatsu served as the lord of Ueno Castle in the Ichikawa township of Kai Province.
Nobutatsu was born as the eighth son of Takeda Nobutora, the eighteenth head of the Kai-Takeda clan and sengoku daimyō of Kai Province. Nobutatsu was the younger brother of Takeda Shingen born to a different mother. He is counted among the Twenty-Four Generals of the Takeda.
Nobutatsu is deemed to be the last son of Nobutora. Under one theory, he was the ninth son. Based on genealogical records, he was the younger brother of Kawakubo Nobuzane, but, in 1582, Nobutatsu’s son, Ichijō Nobunari, adopted the official title of Uemon-no-taifu, or Master of Outer Palace Guards of the Right Division, corresponding to Junior Sixth Rank (Lower). Meanwhile, Nobuzane’s son, Kawakubo Nobutoshi, only carried the pseudonym of Shinjūrō so it is surmised that Nobutatsu was in fact older than Nobuzane.
Nobutatsu inherited the surname of the Kai-Ichijō clan founded by Ichijō Tadayori, the second son of Takeda Nobuyoshi of the Kai-Genji which clan ended in the Kamakura period. As a relative of the Takeda, Nobutatsu commanded a cavalry of 200 soldiers (or, according to another theory, 100 men) and two reserve units of ten each.
Nobutatsu was responsible for diplomacy with the Hongan Temple and powers located in the Kinai including Matsunaga Hisahide. In his last will, Shingen assigned Nobutatsu to serve as the guardian of Shingen’s son and designated heir, Takeda Katsuyori.
During battles, Nobutatsu primarily served in the rear defenses so his exploits are not known, but, along with prominent bushō such as Yamagata Masakage and Baba Nobuharu, he is considered among the seven mainstays of the Takeda army. After Shingen’s invasion of Suruga Province, he served as the chamberlain of Tanaka Castle in Suruga. In 1575, Nobutatsu served in the Battle of Nagashino and attacked the Sakuma forces breaching two lines of fence barricades. As allied forces fled in defeat, Nobutatsu, together with forces under Nobuharu, remained on the battlefield. He retreated after confirming that Katsuyori had departed from the front lines. Later, he transferred the role of chamberlain of Tanaka Castle to his son, Ichijō Nobunari, and joined Takeda Nobutaka (the son of Takeda Nobutomo) to serve as the chamberlain of Sunpu Castle.
In the second month of 1582, during the Conquest of Kōshū by Oda Nobunaga, the Tokugawa army invaded Suruga. On 3/2, the Takeda withdrew from Suruga and Nobutatsu returned to Ueno Castle. On 3/3, Katsuyori burned down Shinpu Castle and headed toward Gunuchi, resting along the way at Nobutatsu’s residence in Kōfu. Nobutatsu was surrounded at Ueno Castle by Mikawa forces under Tokugawa Ieyasu who had invaded from the same direction. On 3/10, Nobutatsu and a garrison of 300 soldiers rushed 10,000 besieging Mikawa forces and, together with Nobunari, he was killed. According to the authenticated biography of Oda Nobunaga known as the Shinchō-kōki, on 3/7 of Tenshō 10 (1582), Nobutatsu was beheaded along with Takeda Nobukado, but this is believed erroneous and instead deemed to be his older brother, Takeda Nobumoto. Nevertheless, during the collapse in Kōshū, Nobutatsu and Nobunari acted separately so there is a theory that Nobunari was one of those beheaded instead of Nobutatsu.
Residence after his demise
Based on premodern paintings, Nobutatsu’s residence was located in present-day Kitashin Itchōme in the city of Kōfu on a corner of the main north-south artery below Kōfu Castle called Ichijō Alley. On 6/2 of Tenshō 10 (1582), Oda Nobunaga died unexpectedly in a coup d’état known as the Honnō Temple Incident. Thereafter, the Tenshō Jingo Conflict erupted as neighboring powers vied for control over the former territory of the Takeda. In Kai, Hōjō Ujinao of Sagami confronted Tokugawa Ieyasu of Mikawa. Ujinao established his main base in Wakamiko in Sutama while Hōjō forces set-up in a cluster of fortresses in the Hokuto area. The Tokugawa forces occupied the area of Nirasaki on the southern end of Shichiriiwa. Ieyasu was based at the Sontai Temple in Kōfu. He then moved to Nobutatsu’s residence in Kitashin and then, on 8/8, to Shinpu Castle in Nakajō in Nakada in Nirasaki.
There is a lack of primary sources of information regarding Nobutatsu. According to the Kōyō Gunkan, a record of the military exploits of the Takeda family compiled largely by a retainer named Kōsaka Danjō Masanobu and completed in 1616, Yamagata Masakage praised Nobutatsu in stating: “Even though he is so busy, Ichijō-dono’s saddle and armaments are always new and he gathers capable rōnin (or wandering samurai) from other provinces.” He further said: “He is a handsome character who appreciates beauty.” In military affairs, it is noted that Takeda Shingen had the utmost trust in Tenkyū Nobushige (Takeda Nobushige) and Taifu Nobutatsu.