Seven Mounted Soldiers of Abe
The Seven Mounted Soldiers of Abe were members of a band of bushi based in the environs of Kakijima in the Abe District of Suruga Province during the Sengoku period. The band originally served under the Imagawa clan, the sengoku daimyō based in Sunpu in Suruga. After the decline of the Imagawa, the members served under the Takeda, followed by the Tokugawa clan.
Led by Asakura Arishige (who came to Suruga from Echizen after being ousted in an internal struggle), the soldiers arose from local clans such as the Ishigaya, the Kanō, the Sugiyama, the Suetaka, and the Umino. Later, in the Edo period, certain members became hatamoto, or direct retainers of the Edo bakufu. Although these soldiers were said to have served below the Imagawa, the Takeda, and the Tokugawa clans, there are varied historical accounts with respect to their activities and the members comprising the group. According to one Edo period account presented to the Ishigaya clan based on original works from the eldest son of Kanō Kurōbei, who served as a student of yabusame, or traditional equestrian archery, in Asama in Sunpu in Suruga Province, the Seven Mounted Soldiers of Abe included:
Kanō Kurōbei (the village of Ochiai)
Sugiyama Jinzaemon (the village of Tawaramine)
Umino Sōemon (the village of Gojima)
Ishigaya Jūrōzaemon (the village of Ashikubo)
And, according to another source, the members included:
Sugiyama Kotarōemon (the village of Tawaramine)
Ishigaya Yahei (the village of Ashikubo)
Kanō Yahachirō Tomohisa (the village of Ochiai)
Suetaka (Unknown) (the village of Muraoka)
Asakura Rokubei Arishige (the village of Kakijima)
Umino Yahei Motosada (the village of Nakano)
Others included a member of the Ōishi clan of Kamiochiai and an unnamed person from the village of Ushizuma.
After the Takeda took over Suruga from the Imagawa, the Seven Mounted Soldiers of Abe served under Takeda Shingen, the sengoku daimyō of Kai Province. The soldiers made numerous contributions on the battlefield including at the Siege of Oyama Castle in Tōtōmi Province, in Kai Province, and in Takatō at Kawanakajima in Shinano Province. The men were recognized with sealed letters of commendation from the Takeda family.
Among the members, those from the Ishigaya and Suetaka clans became hatamoto in the Edo period, the Kanō clan served as lower-ranking retainers of the Kishū-Tokugawa family (of Kii Province), and the Asakura and Umino clans remained as local samurai.