Takenaka Shigeharu (Hanbei)

Takenaka Shigeharu

Takenaka Shigeharu (Hanbei)

Starting out his career as a retainer for Saito Yoshitatsu, Hanbei was a Japanese Samurai during the Sengoku period in the 16th century. He was better known as Takenaka Shigeharu.

He was the son of Takenaka Shigemoto. He was best known for leading troops against the Asai clan of Omi by request of the Rokkaku.

Later on, the Oda clan also requested him to take the lead. Shigeharu witnessed the fall of Inabayama Castle in 1567. He was also present during several Oda campaigns that includes battles against Azai and Asakura. This took place three years after the fall of Inabayama.

Takenaka Shigeharu was born in Mino, the modern-day Gifu. Although his other name was Hanbei, he was not known by this name.

As a young man, he was a military genius and was considered brilliant. However, he was sickly. He was also effeminate, as some historians said.

All Knowing Hanbei

Legends are told about Takenaka Shigeharu that he was dubbed as an all knowing Hanbei. He was known for being witty. He traded his knowledge with his friend Kanbei.

His life has inspired even fiction. He was given other accolades and was featured these fictional series and titles:

  • Blazing Wind
  • Strategist Takenaka Hanbei
  • One of the characters in the game Samurai Warriors 3
  • Warriors Orochi 3
  • His female version can be found in the Ambition of Oda Nobunaga as it appears in the Sengoku Basara series

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Takenaka Shigeharu: Gifu Castle Takeover

Despite being sickly, he was able to take the Gifu Castle. He was insulted for his effeminate ways by a Samurai from this castle. The said samurai urinated on him when he passed below one of the turrets.

He placed his grievance with Saito Tatsuoki, the lord of the castle. However, the Samurai who dishonored Shigeharu remained unpunished. His complaints fell on deaf ears.

With that, he retaliated by pretending to visit his sick brother. He entered through the entrance to pretend an attempt on taking the life of Saito Tatsuoki.

This caused Tatsuoki to be confused. He thought that he was attacked by an army and took a plight fleeing for his life. He abandoned the castle and his men. It was easy for Shigeharu to take the castle without a lot of effort.

Accomplishments Of Takenaka Shigeharu

Takenaka Shigeharu served the Saito clan that lived in the Mino Province. He plotted an uprising that took over the clan’s castle in Mount Inaba. He came to the aid of Oda Nobunaga’s forces during the Siege of Inabayama Castle.

Because of these accomplishments as a strategist in the battlefield, he caught the attention of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. He was so inspired about the awesome feats that Takenaka Shigeharu had done.

As a result, Hideyoshi asked Shigeharu to join his force to work as a military strategist. Shigeharu was excellent at his job. His exceptional talent in this field contributed a lot to Hideyoshi.

Along with Shigeharu, another great strategist named Kuroda Kanbei also served under Toyotomi Hideyoshi as an adviser.

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Takenaka Shigeharu From Active Duty to Illness

When Takenaka Shigeharu retired from active duty, he was given the task of caring for the son of his friend and co-adviser under Hideyoshi: Kuroda Kanbei.

His ally was sent by Nobunaga on a mission against the Araki clan. Takenaka Shigeharu was sick. This explained why the boy was left in his care.

Kuroda was captured by the Araki clan. This made Oda Nobunaga think that this man had deserted him and turned against him. In anger, Nobunaga ordered Shigeharu to kill the boy.

However, Hanbei tried to save the life of his friend’s son by waiting for his master to calm down. The boy’s life was spared in the process.

Next Generation

The military adviser died of sickness. During the time, Toyotomi Hideyoshi attacked the Mori clan in the Chugoku region. Meanwhile, the Miki Castle was placed under siege.

He was carried in a palanquin due to his poor health. He had left Hideyoshi during the campaign to regain his health in Kyoto. He was with Hideyoshi when he died at his side.

Shigeharu’s son, heir and successor continued to serve Hideyoshi just as his father did. During the Battle of Sekigahara, he valiantly fought side by side with Tokugawa Ieyasu.

As a reward, he was given lands in Bodaisan. This secured his future that the Takenaka family was able to move from an old castle to the new Iwate Castle.

This castle was also known as Morioka Castle. This Hirayama-style castle was constructed in 1611. It was once the seat of the Nanbu clan. This domain included the Sekigahara Village.

Today, Morioka Domain can be found in the Mutsu Province. This is located at the Tohoku region of Northern Japan at the Iwata Prefecture.

In the mid-19th century, Takenaka Shigeharu’s descendant Takenaka Shigekata served as commander of the Tokugawa forces that were at Fushimi during the Battle of Toba-Fushimi.

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Takenaka Shigeharu In Fiction

Takenaka Shigeharu and his partner Yoshitaka Kuroda worked together as strategists. Being brothers at war, this inspired fictional characters Hanbei and Kanbei This was to emphasize the idea that each was a part of a whole.

Hanbei when translated means half while Kanbei is official. These characters were created to stand out with a personality of their own.

In the anime, his character has its favorite weapon of choice which is the bladed compass. He is depicted to be of average stature for a Japanese guy standing 5 feet and 3 inches tall.

Takenaka Shigeharu, the character was in alliance with such clans like Takenaka, Saito, Oda, and Hashiba or Toyotomi. He appeared in such popular games like Pokemon Conquest, Sengoku Musou, as well as Warriors Orochi.

Just like his profile, his anime character spends a lot of time napping and was lazy. His character is somebody who thinks that life should be lived in a slower pace.

He is able to lure his enemies in thinking that he is a weakling because of his childlike appearance and frail looks.

Image Source: 不明。 [Public domain]