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Saigo Takamori Saigo Takamori 1828 - 1877 Samurai, Meiji Restoration leader
Shu Uemura Shu Uemura 1928 - 2007 Makeup artist and founder of Shu Uemura Cosmetics
Konosuke Matsushita Konosuke Matsushita 1894 - 1989 Founder of Panasonic
Fukuzawa Yukichi Fukuzawa Yukichi 1835 - 1901 Founder of Keio University and Jiji-Shinpō
Masaki Kobayashi Masaki Kobayashi 1916 - 1996 Film director and screenwriter
Shintaro Katsu Shintaro Katsu 1931 - 1997 Zatoichi, the blind swordsman
Kato Kiyomasa Kato Kiyomasa 1562 - 1611 Military leader and feudal lord
Tokugawa Iemitsu Tokugawa Iemitsu 1604 - 1651 Third shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty
Isao Inokuma Isao Inokuma 1938 - 2001 Judo champion
Ryunosuke Akutagawa Ryunosuke Akutagawa 1892 - 1927 Short story writer
Fujiko Fujio Fujiko Fujio 1933 - 1996 manga artist and screenwriter
Masanobu Tsuji Masanobu Tsuji 1901 - 1961 Army officer and tactical planner
Mitsuharu Misawa Mitsuharu Misawa 1962 - 2009 Professional wrestler and promoter
Yukio Mishima Yukio Mishima 1925 - 1970 Novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, critic
Sessue Hayakawa Sessue Hayakawa 1886 - 1973 Silent film star and Academy Award nominee
Eiko Ishioka Eiko Ishioka 1938 - 2012 Art director, costume designer, graphic designer
Sadao Araki Sadao Araki 1877 - 1966 General in the Imperial Japanese Army and Minister
Takahashi Korekiyo Takahashi Korekiyo 1854 - 1936 Prime Minister of Japan and Minister of Finance
Yasuhiro Nakasone Yasuhiro Nakasone 1918 - 2019 Prime Minister of Japan
Kantaro Suzuki Kantaro Suzuki 1868 - 1948 Prime Minister of Japan
Tomoyuki Tanaka Tomoyuki Tanaka 1910 - 1997 Film producer and creator of the Godzilla franc
Yusaku Matsuda Yusaku Matsuda 1949 - 1989 Action film star and television detective
Osamu Dazai Osamu Dazai 1909 - 1948 Novelist, short story writer
Isao Takahata Isao Takahata 1935 - 2018 Animator, director and producer of Japanese
Yoichiro Nambu Yoichiro Nambu 1921 - 2015 Theoretical physicist
Shintaro Ishihara Shintaro Ishihara 1932 - 2022 Governor of Tokyo
Tokugawa Yoshinobu Tokugawa Yoshinobu 1837 - 1913 The last shogun of Japan
Fumimaro Konoe Fumimaro Konoe 1891 - 1945 Prime Minister of Japan
Masa Saito Masa Saito 1942 - 2018 professional wrestler
Masahiko Kimura Masahiko Kimura 1917 - 1993 Judo champion and professional wrestler
Chuya Nakahara Chuya Nakahara 1907 - 1937 Poet, translator
Mitsuru Ushijima Mitsuru Ushijima 1887 - 1945 Commander of the 32nd Army in the Battle
Shin'ichiro Tomonaga Shin'ichiro Tomonaga 1906 - 1979 Quantum electrodynamics
Shunroku Hata Shunroku Hata 1879 - 1962 Field marshal in the Imperial Japanese Army
Hideki Tojo Hideki Tojo 1884 - 1948 General of the Imperial Japanese Army
Nobusuke Kishi Nobusuke Kishi 1896 - 1987 Prime minister of Japan
Shishaku Shibusawa Eiichi Shishaku Shibusawa Eiichi 1840 - 1931 Financier, entrepreneur, philanthropist
Ishida Mitsunari Ishida Mitsunari 1559 - 1600 Commander of the Western army in the Battle
Ito Hirobumi Ito Hirobumi 1841 - 1909 Prime Minister of Japan and genrō
Enomoto Takeaki Enomoto Takeaki 1836 - 1908 Naval officer and statesman
Isao Tomita Isao Tomita 1932 - 2016 Electronic music pioneer
Osami Nagano Osami Nagano 1880 - 1947 Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff
Shigeru Yoshida Shigeru Yoshida 1878 - 1967 Prime minister of Japan
Koji Wada Koji Wada 1974 - 2016 Singer of Digimon theme songs
Sen Rikyu Sen Rikyu 1522 - 1591 Tea master who perfected the tea ceremony
Wong Ka Kui Wong Ka Kui 1962 - 1993 Hong Kong musician, singer and songwriter
Mutsuhito Mutsuhito 1852 - 1912 Emperor of Japan and leader
Ken Takakura Ken Takakura 1931 - 2014 Yakuza and action films
Hideki Irabu Hideki Irabu 1969 - 2011 Pitcher
Hiromi Hayakawa Hiromi Hayakawa 1982 - 2017 Musical theatre
Gichin Funakoshi Gichin Funakoshi 1868 - 1957 Founder of Shotokan Karate
Tokugawa Hidetada Tokugawa Hidetada 1579 - 1632 Second shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty
Keizo Obuchi Keizo Obuchi 1937 - 2000 Prime Minister of Japan
Ishiro Honda Ishiro Honda 1911 - 1993 Director and co-creator of the Godzilla franchise
Inejiro Asanuma Inejiro Asanuma 1898 - 1960 Leader of the Japan Socialist Party
Ashikaga Takauji Ashikaga Takauji 1305 - 1358 Shogun and founder of the Ashikaga shogunate
Sugawara Michizane Sugawara Michizane 845 - 903 Scholar, poet, and politician
Minamoto no Yoshitsune Minamoto no Yoshitsune 1159 - 1189 Military commander of the Minamoto clan
Mas Oyama Mas Oyama 1923 - 1994 Karate master and founder of Kyokushin Karate
Edogawa Ranpo Edogawa Ranpo 1894 - 1965 Mystery and thriller writer
Kijuro Shidehara Kijuro Shidehara 1872 - 1951 Prime minister of Japan
Jun'ichiro Tanizaki Jun'ichiro Tanizaki 1886 - 1965 Modern Japanese literature
Shusaku Endo Shusaku Endo 1923 - 1996 Novelist and essayist
Norifumi Yamamoto Norifumi Yamamoto 1977 - 2018 Mixed martial artist and kickboxer
Takeda Shingen Takeda Shingen 1521 - 1573 Feudal lord and military leader
Norio Ohga Norio Ohga 1930 - 2011 Former president and chairman of Sony Corporation
Son Byong-hi Son Byong-hi 1861 - 1922 Third leader of Donghak (Eastern learning)
Koki Hirota Koki Hirota 1878 - 1948 Prime Minister of Japan
Korechika Anami Korechika Anami 1887 - 1945 General in the Imperial Japanese Army
Emperor Go-Sai Emperor Go-Sai 1638 - 1685 Emperor of Japan
Kirin Kiki Kirin Kiki 1943 - 2018 Actress for Japanese cinema and television
Uesugi Kenshin Uesugi Kenshin 1530 - 1578 Ruler of Echigo province and Kanto Kanrei
Maurice Paul Krafft Maurice Paul Krafft 1946 - 1991 Volcanologist
Yi Ku Yi Ku 1931 - 2005 Architect and head of the House of Yi
Hana Kimura Hana Kimura 1997 - 2020 Professional wrestler
Kobo Abe Kobo Abe 1924 - 1993 Novelist, playwright, photographer, inventor
Emperor Sakuramachi Emperor Sakuramachi 1720 - 1750 Emperor of Japan from 1735 to 1747
Akechi Mitsuhide Akechi Mitsuhide 1528 - 1582 Samurai general and assassin of Oda Nobunaga
Emperor Go-Mizunoo Emperor Go-Mizunoo 1596 - 1680 Emperor of Japan
Empress Go-Sakuramachi Empress Go-Sakuramachi 1740 - 1813 Empress regnant of Japan
Gunpei Yokoi Gunpei Yokoi 1941 - 1997 Creator of Game Boy and Game & Watch
Imagawa Yoshimoto Imagawa Yoshimoto 1519 - 1560 Feudal lord of Suruga, Totomi
Tamon Yamaguchi Tamon Yamaguchi 1892 - 1942 Naval officer and commander
Eiji Tsuburaya Eiji Tsuburaya 1901 - 1970 Special effects director, co-creator of Godzilla
Morihei Ueshiba Morihei Ueshiba 1883 - 1969 Founder of aikido
Nagisa Oshima Nagisa Oshima 1932 - 2013 Film director and screenwriter
Doppo Kunikida Doppo Kunikida 1871 - 1908 Novelist and romantic poet
Koichi Kido Koichi Kido 1889 - 1977 Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan
Emperor Kanmu Emperor Kanmu 735 - 806 Emperor of Japan
Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni 1887 - 1990 Imperial prince and army general
Sosuke Uno Sosuke Uno 1922 - 1998 Prime Minister of Japan
Inukai Tsuyoshi Inukai Tsuyoshi 1855 - 1932 Prime Minister of Japan
Satoshi Kon Satoshi Kon 1963 - 2010 Anime director and manga artist
Tomisaburo Wakayama Tomisaburo Wakayama 1929 - 1992 Playing Ogami Itto in the Lone Wolf
Saionji Kinmochi Saionji Kinmochi 1849 - 1940 Prime Minister of Japan
Shigeo Shingo Shigeo Shingo 1909 - 1990 Industrial engineer and consultant
Vasily Vereshchagin Vasily Vereshchagin 1842 - 1904 War artist
Akiko Yosano Akiko Yosano 1878 - 1942 Poet, writer, educator, social reformer
Eisaku Sato Eisaku Sato 1901 - 1975 Prime Minister of Japan
Takashi Amano Takashi Amano 1954 - 2015 Aquascaping and nature photography
Junko Tabei Junko Tabei 1939 - 2016 First woman to summit Mount Everest
Hiroo Onoda Hiroo Onoda 1922 - 2014 Imperial Japanese Army intelligence officer
Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki 1870 - 1966 Zen scholar and translator
Nichiren Nichiren 1222 - 1282 Buddhist priest and philosopher
Toshiki Kaifu Toshiki Kaifu 1931 - 2022 Prime minister of Japan
Kenji Miyazawa Kenji Miyazawa 1896 - 1933 Children's literature author and poet
Haruma Miura Haruma Miura 1990 - 2020 Actor and singer
Kiichiro Toyoda Kiichiro Toyoda 1894 - 1952 Founder and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation
Date Masamune Date Masamune 1567 - 1636 Regional ruler and founder of Sendai city
Tadamichi Kuribayashi Tadamichi Kuribayashi 1891 - 1945 Commander of the Japanese garrison at the Battle
Setsuko Hara Setsuko Hara 1920 - 2015 Actress in Yasujirō Ozu's films
Masaru Ibuka Masaru Ibuka 1908 - 1997 Co-founder of Sony
Megumi Yokota Megumi Yokota 1964 - 1994 Japanese language teacher for North Korean spies
Toyotomi Hideyori Toyotomi Hideyori 1593 - 1615 Samurai lord, last scion of the Toyotomi clan
Iwane Matsui Iwane Matsui 1878 - 1948 Commander of the expeditionary force sent to China
Hideki Yukawa Hideki Yukawa 1907 - 1981 Theoretical physicist and meson theory
Tokugawa Tsunayoshi Tokugawa Tsunayoshi 1646 - 1709 Fifth shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty
Chishu Ryu Chishu Ryu 1904 - 1993 Film actor
Dogen Kigen Dogen Kigen 1200 - 1253 Founder of the Soto school of Zen Buddhism
Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi 1894 - 1972 Founder of Paneuropean Union
Kido Takayoshi Kido Takayoshi 1833 - 1877 One of the leaders of the Meiji Restoration
Osamu Tezuka Osamu Tezuka 1928 - 1989 Manga artist, cartoonist, animator
Jigoro Kano Jigoro Kano 1860 - 1938 Founder of judo and first Asian member of the IOC
Empress Kojun Empress Kojun 1903 - 2000 Empress consort of Japan
Okita Soji Okita Soji 1802 - 1868 Captain of the first unit of the Shinsengumi
Kon Ichikawa Kon Ichikawa 1915 - 2008 Film director and screenwriter
Togo Heihachiro Togo Heihachiro 1848 - 1934 Admiral of the fleet in the Imperial Japanese Navy
Emperor Taisho Emperor Taisho 1879 - 1926 Emperor of Japan
Kenji Mizoguchi Kenji Mizoguchi 1898 - 1956 Film director and screenwriter
Ken Shimura Ken Shimura 1950 - 2020 comedy actor and TV personality
Yasunari Kawabata Yasunari Kawabata 1899 - 1972 Novelist and short story writer
Kitagawa Utamaro Kitagawa Utamaro 1753 - 1806 Woodblock printmaker and painter
Fusajiro Yamauchi Fusajiro Yamauchi 1859 - 1940 Founder of Nintendo
Ashikaga Yoshimitsu Ashikaga Yoshimitsu 1358 - 1408 Shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate
Mamoru Shigemitsu Mamoru Shigemitsu 1887 - 1957 Minister of Foreign Affairs
Koxinga Koxinga 1624 - 1662 Southern Ming general and ruler of Taiwan
Akira Kurosawa Akira Kurosawa 1910 - 1998 Film director, screenwriter, producer, editor
Daijiro Kato Daijiro Kato 1976 - 2003 Grand Prix motorcycle road racer
Kinji Fukasaku Kinji Fukasaku 1930 - 2003 Director and screenwriter of yakuza and dystopian
Shigeru Mizuki Shigeru Mizuki 1922 - 2015 Manga artist and historian
Genda Minoru Genda Minoru 1904 - 1989 Planner of the Pearl Harbor attack
Minamoto no Yoritomo Minamoto no Yoritomo 1147 - 1199 Founder of the Kamakura shogunate
Maeda Toshiie Maeda Toshiie 1538 - 1599 General of Oda Nobunaga and founder of Kaga Domain
Tokugawa Iemochi Tokugawa Iemochi 1846 - 1866 14th shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate
Emperor Tenji Emperor Tenji 626 - 672 Emperor of Japan, government reformer
Masako Natsume Masako Natsume 1957 - 1985 portrayal of Tripitaka in the TV series Monkey
Kuroda Seiki Kuroda Seiki 1866 - 1924 Western-style painter
Eiji Toyoda Eiji Toyoda 1913 - 2013 President and chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation
Satoru Iwata Satoru Iwata 1959 - 2015 President and CEO of Nintendo
Noboru Takeshita Noboru Takeshita 1924 - 2000 Prime Minister of Japan
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Top 10 Died Influential People

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  • 1. Miyamoto Musashi

    Died: 1645 A.D
    Slogan: The way is in training.

    Miyamoto Musashi was a legendary Japanese swordsman, philosopher, strategist, writer, and rōnin. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest swordsmen in history, as well as a master of various arts and crafts. He lived during the late Sengoku and early Edo periods, a time of social and political turmoil in Japan. He spent most of his life wandering across the country, challenging and defeating numerous opponents in duels, honing his skills and developing his own style of swordsmanship. He also participated in several wars and battles, serving different lords and factions. He was never defeated in any of his 61 recorded duels, some of which were against multiple adversaries or renowned masters. Musashi's most famous duel was against Sasaki Kojirō, another prominent swordsman, in 1612. The duel took place on the island of Funajima, near Kokura. Musashi arrived late, and used a wooden sword that he carved from an oar on his way to the island. He struck Kojirō on the head with a single blow, killing him instantly. Musashi then swiftly left the island, without waiting for the formalities. This duel has been dramatized and fictionalized in many works of literature, art, and film. Musashi was also a prolific writer and a keen observer of nature and human behavior. He wrote several works on martial arts, strategy, and philosophy, most notably The Book of Five Rings (Go Rin No Sho), a treatise on the principles and practice of his Niten Ichi-ryū (Two Heavens as One) style of swordsmanship, which employs both the long and the short sword simultaneously. The book is divided into five chapters, each corresponding to one of the five elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Void. It contains practical advice on tactics, techniques, and training, as well as metaphysical and ethical insights on the way of the warrior and the nature of reality. The book is considered a classic of military strategy and has influenced various fields and disciplines, such as business, politics, sports, and psychology. Musashi was also a talented artist and a versatile craftsman. He created many paintings, calligraphies, sculptures, and metalworks, often incorporating Zen and Buddhist motifs. He was especially skilled in painting birds and animals, using a minimalist and dynamic style. Some of his artworks are designated as national treasures or important cultural properties in Japan. He also designed and supervised the construction of the Akashi Castle in 1617, and the reconstruction of the Kumamoto Castle in 1637. Musashi spent his last years as a hermit in a cave called Reigandō, near Kumamoto. He continued to practice and refine his art, as well as to meditate and write. He died in 1645, at the age of 60 or 61, of what is believed to be thoracic cancer. He died peacefully, after completing his final work, The Path of Aloneness (Dokkōdō), a collection of 21 precepts on self-discipline and personal conduct. He was buried at the Musashizuka Park, where a memorial and a statue were erected in his honor. He is revered as a national hero and a cultural icon in Japan, and his legacy lives on in many forms of popular culture around the world.

  • 2. Tokugawa Ieyasu

    Died: 1616 A.D
    Slogan: The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience.

    Tokugawa Ieyasu was a Japanese warrior and the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, which ruled from 1603 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. He was one of the three "Great Unifiers" of Japan, along with his former lord Oda Nobunaga and fellow Oda subordinate Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Ieyasu was born into the family of a local warrior situated several miles east of modern Nagoya, one of many such families struggling to survive in a brutal age of endemic civil strife. His childhood was scarcely auspicious. His father, Matsudaira Hirotada, was involved in a network of shifting alliances that repeatedly drew him into battle. When Ieyasu was two years old, his mother was permanently separated from his father’s family because of one such change in alliances, and in 1547 military adversity compelled his father to send him away as hostage to the Imagawa family, powerful neighbours headquartered at Sumpu (now the city of Shizuoka) to the east. However, members of the rival Oda clan to the west waylaid his entourage, and he was held for two years before being released to the Imagawa. Conditions at Sumpu were more settled, and Ieyasu was trained in the military and governmental arts and developed a great love for falconry. In the late 1550s he took a wife, fathered the first of several sons, and began to acquire military experience by leading forces on behalf of Imagawa Yoshimoto, the clan leader. Despite his personal comfort, however, Ieyasu’s years at Sumpu had been worrisome ones. He had learned that his father had been murdered by a close vassal in 1549 (one of the events leading to his release by the Oda) and had observed helplessly from afar the subsequent disintegration of his family fortunes. In 1560 Imagawa Yoshimoto was slain during a battle with Oda Nobunaga, who was rapidly gaining power, and young Ieyasu seized the opportunity to return to his family’s small castle and assume control of his surviving relatives and vassals. He soon allied himself with Oda Nobunaga and became his vassal and general. He fought in several battles under Nobunaga's command, such as the Battle of Anegawa, the Battle of Nagashino, and the Siege of Takatenjin. He also expanded his domain by conquering neighbouring territories and building alliances with other warlords. He became one of the most powerful daimyos in Japan and a loyal supporter of Nobunaga. After Nobunaga's death in 1582, Ieyasu was briefly a rival of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who succeeded Nobunaga as the de facto ruler of Japan. However, Ieyasu soon submitted to Hideyoshi and became his ally and subordinate. He was rewarded with the Kanto region in eastern Japan, where he built his castle in the fishing village of Edo (now Tokyo). He also participated in Hideyoshi's campaigns against the Hojo clan, the Shimazu clan, and the invasion of Korea. He became the most senior officer under the Toyotomi regime and the guardian of Hideyoshi's son and heir, Hideyori. After Hideyoshi's death in 1598, Ieyasu seized power in 1600, after the Battle of Sekigahara, where he defeated the coalition of daimyos who opposed him. He consolidated his authority and received the title of shogun in 1603, establishing the Tokugawa shogunate, which would rule Japan for over 250 years. He implemented various policies to maintain order and stability, such as the strict enforcement of social hierarchy, the establishment of a bureaucratic administration system, the regulation of foreign trade and relations, and the suppression of Christianity. He also promoted culture and arts, such as the tea ceremony, Noh theatre, and painting. He voluntarily abdicated from office in 1605, but remained in power until his death in 1616. He was succeeded by his son, Tokugawa Hidetada, and was deified as Toshogu, the "Great Light of the East". He is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in Japanese history.

  • 3. Toyotomi Hideyoshi

    Died: 1598 A.D
    Slogan: If the bird does not sing, kill it.

    Toyotomi Hideyoshi was a Japanese samurai and daimyō of the late Sengoku period regarded as the second "Great Unifier" of Japan. He rose from a peasant background as a retainer of the prominent lord Oda Nobunaga to become one of the most powerful men in Japanese history. He succeeded Nobunaga after the Honnō-ji Incident in 1582 and continued Nobunaga's campaign to unite Japan that led to the closing of the Sengoku period. He became the de facto leader of Japan and acquired the prestigious positions of Chancellor of the Realm and Imperial Regent by the mid-1580s. He launched the Japanese invasions of Korea in 1592 to initial success, but eventual military stalemate damaged his prestige before his death in 1598. His young son and successor Toyotomi Hideyori was displaced by Tokugawa Ieyasu at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 which would lead to the founding of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Hideyoshi was a patron of the arts and culture, especially the tea ceremony and Noh theater. He also implemented various reforms and policies, such as the land survey, the sword hunt, the separation of warriors and farmers, and the prohibition of Christianity. He was known for his ambition, charisma, cunning, and cruelty. He was given the posthumous name Toyokuni Daimyōjin and enshrined at the Toyokuni Shrine in Kyoto.

  • 4. Oda Nobunaga

    Died: 1582 A.D
    Slogan: If the cuckoo does not sing, kill it.

    Oda Nobunaga was a Japanese daimyō and one of the leading figures of the Sengoku period. He was the Tenka-bito (天下人, lit. 'person under heaven') and regarded as the first "Great Unifier" of Japan. Nobunaga was an influential figure in Japanese history and is regarded as one of the three great unifiers of Japan, along with his retainers Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Hideyoshi later united Japan in 1591 and invaded Korea a year later. However, he died in 1598, and Ieyasu took power after the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, becoming shogun in 1603, and ending the Sengoku period. Nobunaga was head of the very powerful Oda clan and launched a war against other daimyō to unify Japan in the 1560s. Nobunaga emerged as the most powerful daimyō, overthrowing the nominally ruling shogun Ashikaga Yoshiaki and dissolving the Ashikaga Shogunate in 1573. He conquered most of Honshu island by 1580, and defeated the Ikkō-ikki rebels in the 1580s. Nobunaga's rule was noted for innovative military tactics, fostering of free trade, reforms of Japan's civil government, and the start of the Momoyama historical art period, but also for the brutal suppression of those who refused to cooperate or yield to his demands. Nobunaga was killed in the Honnō-ji Incident in 1582, when his retainer Akechi Mitsuhide ambushed him in Kyoto and forced him to commit seppuku. Nobunaga was succeeded by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who along with Tokugawa Ieyasu completed his war of unification shortly afterward.

  • 5. Kusunoki Masashige

    Died: 1336 A.D
    Slogan: Would that I had seven lives to give for my country!

    Kusunoki Masashige was a Japanese samurai of the Kamakura period who fought for Emperor Go-Daigo in the Genko War to overthrow the Kamakura shogunate and restore power to the Imperial Court. He was a brilliant tactician and strategist, who defended two key loyalist fortresses at Akasaka and Chihaya against the vastly superior shogunal forces. He was also a leading figure of the Kenmu Restoration, a brief period of imperial rule after the fall of the Kamakura shogunate. He remained loyal to Emperor Go-Daigo even after Ashikaga Takauji rebelled and tried to reverse the restoration. He attacked Takauji in Settsu at the command of the Emperor, an act of obedience that he knew would result in defeat. He died at the Battle of Minatogawa in 1336, along with his brother and many of his followers. He became a popular legend in Japan, representing loyalty and virtue, and associated with the phrase "Would that I had seven lives to give for my country!" (七生報國; "Shichisho Hokoku!"). He was posthumously awarded the highest court rank in Japan, Senior First Rank (sho ichi-i), by the Meiji government in 1880, over 500 years after his death.

  • 6. Hanzo HATTORI

    Died: 1596 A.D
    Slogan: My fate to live and die in the shadows

    Hanzo HATTORI was a famous ninja and samurai of the Sengoku era, who served the Tokugawa clan as a ninja, credited with saving the life of Tokugawa Ieyasu and then helping him to become the ruler of united Japan. He was born in Mikawa Province, but often returned to Iga Province, the home of his family. He started his training as a samurai at age eight, and became a leader of the Iga ninja at age 18. He fought in many battles, such as the siege of Kakegawa, the battle of Anegawa, and the battle of Mikatagahara. He was known for his fearless and ruthless tactics, which earned him the nickname Oni no Hanzo, or Demon Hanzo. He was also skilled in politics and strategy, and helped Tokugawa Ieyasu escape from the pursuit of Akechi Mitsuhide's troops after the death of Oda Nobunaga. He also rescued Ieyasu's family from the Imagawa clan, and helped him consolidate his power. He was loyal to Ieyasu until his death, and was succeeded by his son, Hattori Masanari, who also served the Tokugawa clan as a ninja. Hanzo HATTORI died in 1596, at the age of 55, in a fire set by his rival, Fuma Kotaro. He was buried at Sainenji, a temple that he built in Edo (now Tokyo) to commemorate Ieyasu's son, Nobuyasu. He is regarded as one of the most famous and influential ninja in Japanese history, and his legacy lives on in popular culture.

  • 7. Sanada Nobushige

    Died: 1615 A.D
    Slogan: The best way to serve the country is to be loyal to the lord

    Sanada Nobushige was a Japanese samurai warrior of the Sengoku period. He was the second son of Sanada Masayuki, a vassal of the Takeda clan. He fought alongside his father and brother Nobuyuki in many battles, such as the Siege of Ueda and the Battle of Nagashino. He became a loyal follower of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who adopted him as his son-in-law. He also married Chikurin-in, the daughter of Ōtani Yoshitsugu, another loyalist of the Toyotomi clan. He was known for his courage, skill, and strategy in warfare. He earned the respect and admiration of many warriors, including Shimazu Tadatsune, who called him the "Number one warrior in Japan". He is especially famous for his role in the Siege of Osaka, where he defended the Toyotomi clan against the Tokugawa clan. He led a small but elite force of samurai, known as the Sanada Juyushi (Ten Sanada Braves), who fought valiantly against overwhelming odds. He managed to penetrate the Tokugawa headquarters and almost killed Tokugawa Ieyasu, the shogun of Japan. However, he was eventually surrounded and killed by the Tokugawa forces. His death marked the end of the Toyotomi resistance and the Sengoku period. He is regarded as one of the greatest samurai heroes in Japanese history.

  • 8. Takeda Shingen

    Died: 1573 A.D
    Slogan: Swift as the wind, quiet as the forest, fierce as fire, and immovable as a mountain

    Takeda Shingen was a prominent daimyo, or feudal lord, who sought to control Japan in the late stage of the Sengoku, or "warring states," period. He was born as Takeda Harunobu, the eldest son of Takeda Nobutora, the ruler of Kai Province. He rebelled against his father in 1541 and took over the leadership of the clan. He then expanded his domain by conquering neighboring provinces, such as Shinano, Suruga, and Kōzuke. He was known for his military prowess and his rivalry with Uesugi Kenshin, another powerful daimyo. They fought five times at the Battles of Kawanakajima, which are considered some of the most fierce and strategic battles in Japanese history. He also fought against Oda Nobunaga, who was attempting to unify Japan under his rule. He died in 1573, allegedly from a gunshot wound he received at the Siege of Noda Castle. He was succeeded by his fourth son, Takeda Katsuyori, who failed to maintain his father's legacy and was defeated by Oda and Tokugawa Ieyasu at the Battle of Nagashino in 1575. Takeda Shingen is regarded as one of the greatest warlords of Japan and a symbol of the Sengoku period. He is also remembered for his cultural achievements, such as patronizing the arts, promoting trade, and reforming the administration of his domain. He was a devout follower of Buddhism and adopted the dharma name Shingen in 1559. He is also credited with creating the Takeda clan's famous banner, which bore the motto "Fūrinkazan" (Wind, Forest, Fire, Mountain), based on the military strategy of Sun Tzu.

  • 9. Honda Tadakatsu

    Died: 1610 A.D
    Slogan: The warrior who surpassed death itself

    Honda Tadakatsu was a loyal and brave samurai who served Tokugawa Ieyasu for most of his life. He fought in many battles and never suffered a significant wound or defeat. He was one of the Tokugawa Four Heavenly Kings, along with Ii Naomasa, Sakakibara Yasumasa and Sakai Tadatsugu. He was also a daimyo who ruled over the Otaki and Kuwana domains. He was respected by his enemies and allies alike, and was praised by Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Takeda Shingen. He retired in 1609 and died peacefully in 1610. He was buried at the Jogan-ji temple in Kuwana. His legacy lives on in his descendants, his weapons and his helmet, which became a symbol of his courage and strength.

  • 10. Minamoto no Yoshitsune

    Died: 1189 A.D
    Slogan: The strong live and the weak die

    Minamoto no Yoshitsune was a famous warrior and hero of the late Heian and early Kamakura periods of Japanese history. He was the ninth son of Minamoto no Yoshitomo, the head of the Minamoto clan who was killed in the Heiji Rebellion of 1160. Yoshitsune was spared by his father's enemy, Taira no Kiyomori, and sent to a monastery in Kyoto. There he learned swordsmanship and strategy from the monks and met his loyal follower, Benkei. At the age of 15, he escaped from the monastery and joined his half-brother, Minamoto no Yoritomo, who had raised an army against the Taira clan. Yoshitsune proved to be a brilliant military leader and won many battles for his brother, such as the Battle of Ichi-no-Tani, the Battle of Yashima, and the Battle of Dan-no-ura, which ended the Genpei War and the Taira rule. Yoshitsune became a favorite of the emperor and the court, but also aroused the jealousy and suspicion of his brother, who feared his popularity and influence. Yoritomo accused Yoshitsune of treason and sent troops to capture him. Yoshitsune fled to the north, where he was protected by Fujiwara no Hidehira, the lord of the Northern Fujiwara clan. After Hidehira's death, his son Fujiwara no Yasuhira betrayed Yoshitsune and attacked his residence at the Koromogawa no tachi. Yoshitsune fought bravely, but was outnumbered and surrounded. He decided to commit suicide rather than being captured. He killed his wife and children, and then asked his loyal retainer, Benkei, to kill him. Benkei refused and fought to the death at the gate. Yoshitsune then cut his own throat with his sword. His head was cut off and sent to Yoritomo as a proof of his death. Yoshitsune's tragic fate and heroic deeds have inspired many stories, legends, and plays in Japanese culture. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most popular warriors of Japan.

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