Friday, October 19, 2012

Sengoku Jidai - Commemorating the 4th Battle of Kawanakajima

In the history of great rivalries, none compare to that of Takeda Shingen of Kai and Uesugi Kenshin of Echigo during the Sengoku Jidai - The Warring States Period. During the year 1561, the Takeda and Uesugi Clans massed their armies and battled on the Kawanakajima plain in Shinano near present day Nagano. To date, there have been many films and Taiga Drama (television) that depicted this pivotal battle which is still studied by military colleges around the world to this day. From the folding screen photo one can see Uesugi Kenshin (left) attacking Takeda Shingen (center). The Uesugi Clan lost over 3000 men and the Takeda 4000 men with no clear winner. For all their battles, much of their wars ended in a draw. But in the end the two rivals had deep admiration and respect for each other. During one such famous moment, The Takeda of Kai had been the subject of a salt boycott which at that time was the only means of preserving food. Uesugi Kenshin ordered his men to send a secret caravan of horses carrying a stabilizing supply of the preservative to save his arch rival. Uesugi Kenshin was quoted "Wars are to be won with swords and spears, not with rice and salt." In that instance, Uesugi Kenshin exemplified the standard for Samurai Nobility. It is difficult to imagine the scope and scale of these 100,000 man armies of the Warring States Period. As Takeda fans, we at American Mishima often promote films from of the Takeda. But one of the better films we can recommend of these two great rivals which in particularly depicts a somewhat romanticized vision of the Uesugi Clan and the violence of the Battles at Kawanakajima can be seen in the following clip from the 1990 Cinematic Masterpiece Ten to Chi to - or as they call it here: HEAVEN & EARTH 
It is truly a majestic film capturing The Warring States Period in all it's scope and grandeur. But don't take our word for it. See it for yourself and become immersed in the great historical dramas of the Sengoku Jidai! Enjoy!

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