Saturday, 19 September 2009

The hero of Nagashino!



Okudaira Sadamasa defended Nagashino castle with his garrison of 500 men against the Takeda assaults for 12 days. Then finally when he saw smoke rising from behind the siege lines he sallied out with what was left of his garrison. They charged into the remaining beseigers and killed 200 of Kosaka Masazumi's men.
The Okudaira were a Mikawa family and originally retainers of the Tokugawa, but they had been forced to join Takeda Shingen, who held his wife and younger brother as permanent hostages in Kofu which was the takeda headquarters.
With the death of takeda Shingen, Sadamasa decided to rejoin his old masters the Tokugawa. He marched his men out of the Takeda castle of Tsukide. When news of his betrayal reached Takeda Katsuyori, he had Sadamasa's family crucified. This act unsurprisingly made Okudaira Sadamasa into a bitter enemy of Katsuyori, Which Tokugawa Ieyasu used to his advantage by appointing Sadamasa to strategically placed Nagashino castle. The castle controlled the movements from Takeda territories into Mikawa province. His appointment guaranteed a stubborn resistance should the Takeda ever try to take Nagashino castle.
Sadamasa took part in the final campaign against Takeda Katsuyori in 1582, which led to his defeat and suicide at the battle of Temmokuzan.
I was unable to find any contemporary pictures of Sadamasa, so I have been able to go to town and dress him very much as the hero he was. Around his chest he wears a hotoke-do hammered and lacquered to resemble a human torso. On his head he wears a "bumpkin" helmet, which incorporates horsehair styled to look like a peasants hairstyle. his mon (heraldic device) is a red ichiwa fan on white. Sadly my painting makes it look more like an apple....