Kōsaka Masanobu

Kōsaka Masanobu (高坂 昌信) also known as Kasuga Toratsuna (春日 虎綱, 1527 – June 12, 1578) was a Japanese samurai warrior of the Sengoku period. He was known as one of the "Twenty-Four Generals of Takeda Shingen".[1] He is often credited as the original author of Kōyō Gunkan, which records the history of the Takeda family and their military tactics.[2]

Kōsaka Masanobu
高坂 昌信
Kōsaka Masanobu, ukiyo-e by Utagawa Kuniyoshi
Lord of Kaizu
In office
Personal details
DiedJune 12, 1578 (aged 51)
Nickname"Kosaka Danjo"
Military service
AllegianceTakeda mon.svg Takeda clan
CommandsKaizu castle
Battles/warsShinano Campaign
Battles of Kawanakajima
Kozuke Campaign
Suruga Campaign
Odawara Campaign
Battle of Mikatagahara
Battle of Nagashino


Kōsaka is known as one of the three "Danjō" that served the Takeda family, along with Sanada Yukitaka and Hoshina Masatoshi (Danjō stands for a formal title, Danjōchū; 弾正忠). Among these three, Kōsaka was known as the "Nige Danjō" (逃げ弾正; literally, the fleeing Danjō), because of his cautious commanding and skillful retreats.

In 1561, as the general in command of Kaizu castle, Kōsaka played an important role in the fourth Battle of Kawanakajima.[3] He informed Takeda via signal fires of the movements of Uesugi Kenshin's army as it approached, and then led the sneak attack up Saijo-yama in order to drive Uesugi's men down to the plain where they could be surprised by Takeda's army. Even though that tactic failed, Kōsaka led his men back down the hill, attacking Uesugi's army from the rear, turning the tide of the battle.[4]

In 1575, he led troops to protect Takeda Katsuyori's rearguard at Battle of Nagashino when the latter had been forced to retreat by the Oda-Tokugawa alliance.

Relationship with ShingenEdit

The association between Masanobu and Shingen began in 1543 as a love relationship. At the time they were 16 and 22, respectively. Such relationships were in vogue in pre-modern Japan, a tradition known as shudo. The love pact signed by the two, in University of Tokyo's Historical Archive, documents Shingen's pledge that he was not in, nor had any intentions of entering into, a sexual relationship with a certain other retainer, and asserts that "since I want to be intimate with you" he will in no way harm the boy, and calls upon the gods to be his guarantors. (Leupp, pp. 53–54)

Retirement and deathEdit

Kōsaka Masanobu is known to have openly criticized Katsuyori numerous times. Because of this, Kosaka was forced to "retire" from service in 1578 and died later from illness.


  1. ^ Internet Movie Database (IMDb), "Shingen Takeda (Character) from Kagemusha (1980); retrieved 2013-5-17.
  2. ^ Turnbull, Stephen (1987). Battles of the Samurai. Arms and Armour Press. p. 41. ISBN 0853688265.
  3. ^ "ブリタニカ国際大百科事典 小項目事典「高坂昌信」の解説". kotobank. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  4. ^ Turnbull, Stephen (1998). The Samurai Sourcebook. Cassell & Co. pp. 269–272. ISBN 1854095234.

Further readingEdit

  • Leupp, Gary (1995). Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press

External linksEdit