Takeda Shingen was one of the Big Three of late Feudal Japan
, alongside his legendary rival Uesugi Kenshin
, and Hojo Ujiyasu. Said to be of unparalleled genius, rivaling Zhuge Liang
as one of history's greatest strategists, Shingen is notable in that he was the first of the two great northern warlords, Kenshin being the other, who made their bid against Oda Nobunaga
, only to die under mysterious circumstances before he could properly crush his opponent. His nickname
was "Tiger of Kai", to contrast with
Kenshin, the "Dragon of Echigo". His army was also well known for their cavalry units, called the strongest of their time.
He's noted for often being painted with a war fan. This is mostly taken from a story that supposedly took place during the fourth battle of Kawanakajima: Kenshin snuck into Shingen's camp, sword ready to kill him, but then Shingen deflected all his attacks with a nearby fan.
He made his bid to the capital earlier than the rest, in late 1572, and the first to get in his way was none other than Tokugawa Ieyasu
, currently an ally of Nobunaga. Shingen trounced Ieyasu pretty badly at the winter battle of Mikatagahara, forcing him to retreat, but Shingen failed to kill him. While continuing the march in the spring, however, Shingen fell ill and eventually died en route (some say that he was sniped by a rifleman when he was by himself and listening to flute music being played from the enemy camp), to be succeeded by his son Katsuyori, who while a good war general, wasn't as capable a daimyo, resulting into a disastrous battle at Nagashino where Nobunaga utilized his muskets to utterly annihilate the otherwise invincible Takeda cavalry. Needless to say, the Takeda fell into ruins after that day
, and Katsuyori eventually committed seppuku
in shame. Shingen's death propelled his rival Kenshin to make his own bid for the capital, managing to defeat Nobunaga once
before he also died suddenly.
Aside from his cavalry, intellect, war fan and rivalry with Kenshin, Shingen is also known for inventing the phrase/motto "Fuu-Rin-Ka-Zan
" (風林火山). Borrowed from Sun Tzu
's Art of War
, it translates as "swift as the wind, silent as the forest, fierce like fire, strong like a mountain." There's also some nasty rumors that Shingen kept boiling pots around his camp, probably to punish prisoners of war. Considering the turbulent times, such a degree of ruthlessness was not uncommon.
Takeda Shingen in fiction:
- Takeda Shingen's death and its aftermath is fictionalized in Akira Kurosawa's 1980 film Kagemusha.
- The enemy of Uesugi Kenshin in the 1990 film Heaven and Earth.
- Leader of the Takeda clan in the videogame Shogun Total War
- A playable character in the Samurai Warriors series. As usual, he has his legendary rivalry with Kenshin, and is shown to be a Deadpan Snarker. Also there's one historical misinterpretation, in that Sanada Yukimura is amongst his army. While historically Yukimura never served the Takeda, his predecessors (Masayuki, for example) did. His weapon? That infamous paper fan of his.
- Shows up as Ground-type nation Terrera's warlord in Pokémon Conquest. Teamed with Rhyperior and eventually Groudon, he's still shown as being Uesugi Kenshin's friendly rival. He's also portrayed as carrying his infamous paper fan.
- Sengoku Basara had Shingen become more-or-less the Big Good, a hugely muscular and Hot-Blooded old man with a gigantic axe (shaped like a war fan) and, aside from his rivalry with Kenshin, he's Crazy Awesome to a fault (like riding two horses at once, up a vertical wall). He also employs Yukimura as his ward, submitting him to Training from Hell, and they often enjoy a memetic exchange of punches and wrestling moves while yelling each other's names. "YUKIMURA!" "OYAKATA-SAMA!" "YUKIMURA!!" "OYAKATA-SAMA!!" "YUKIMURA!!!" "OYAKATA-SAMA!!!" (rinse and repeat)
- In Onimusha: Soul, Shingen appears as one of the selectable warlords, but surprisingly he's on the side of the Genma demons, the bad guys. Furthermore, a "demon hunt" (as in: demons hunting for people as if they were game) was mentioned in the second game as being hosted by "Takeda".
- As with every other name in Japanese history, genderflipped in Sengoku Otome, where she's Playing with Fire and Blowing You Away. Despite Friendly Enemy Kenshin still being featured, it's Shingen who gets the Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons treatment. Don't worry: she's still got the goddamn war fan, though.