Portrait of Yamamoto Kansuke
|Died||October 18, 1561|
Yamamoto Kansuke (山本 勘助, 1501 – October 18, 1561) was a Japanese samurai of the Sengoku period. He was known as one of the "Twenty-Four Generals of Takeda Shingen". Also known by his formal name, Haruyuki (晴幸). He was a brilliant strategist, and is particularly known for his plan which led to victory in the fourth battle of Kawanakajima against Uesugi Kenshin. However, Kansuke never lived to see his plan succeed; thinking it to have failed, he charged headlong into the enemy ranks, dying in battle.
Kansuke's origins are not known for certain, but he is believed to have originated from Ushikubo, a town in Mikawa Province, which was then under the suzerainty of the Imagawa clan.He came to Kai and began to serve Takeda Shingen in 1543, receiving a position as an infantry commander (ashigaru-taishō 足軽大将). Legend says that Kansuke was blind in one eye and lame, but a fierce warrior and military strategist nevertheless. In various works of art, he is depicted holding a naginata as a support for his weak leg. Kansuke was also involved in bringing the defeated Suwa Yorishige's daughter to Shingen as a concubine.
He led the Pincer movement at the fourth Battle of Kawanakajima, but as he believed it to be a failure, he charged into the enemy ranks,being killed in action with his two chief retainers, Osaragi Shōzaemon (大仏庄左衛門) and Isahaya Sagorō (諫早佐五郎). Kansuke's adopted son Yamamoto Kanzō Nobutomo, was killed at the Battle of Kawanakajima.
Kansuke was an ancestor of Yamamoto Yaeko of Aizu, a famed Bakumatsu period woman warrior.
The Heihō Ōgisho (兵法奥義書), a treatise on strategy and tactics attributed to Kansuke, is included in the Takeda family chronicle, the Kōyō Gunkan .In it, he focuses particularly on the strategic behavior of individual warriors.
For more information on Yamamoto Kansuke, see People of the Sengoku period in popular culture.
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