Anayama Nobukimi (穴山信君)

Nobukimi ANAYAMA/Baisetsu ANAYAMA was a military commander during the period of warring states.


He was born in 1541 as the legitimate son of Nobutomo ANAYAMA. His childhood name was Katsuchiyo. His mother was the daughter of Nobutora TAKEDA and sister of Shingen TAKEDA. His wife, Kenshoin (the legal wife of Baisetsu ANAYAMA), was the daughter of Shingen TAKEDA. At the midpoint of his life, he became a priest and called himself Baisessaifuhaku. He was also known as Saemon TAKEDA. He was one of the twenty-four Generals of Takeda.

The Anayama clan received favorable treatment as a member of the Takeda family even before the era of Shingen. The Anayama clan was a leader among the kindred, having had marital relations with the Takeda clan for generations; besides, having granted the cognomen Takeda, the clan was a family of pedigree. Residing at Shimoyama-jo Castle (the present-day Honkoku-ji Temple in Yamanashi), their territories included: the Kawachi area (southern area of Kaikoma County, the present-day Minobucho, Minamikomagun County area); part of the Nishiyatsushiro County (the present-day Shimobe, Minobucho, Minamikomagun County area); and Anayama in the northern part of the Koma County (the present-day Nakadamachi and Anayamamachi area in Nirasaki City). In the southern area of the Koma County and Yatsushiro County, they possessed a gold mine operated independently by the Anayama clan, which had broken away from the head of the Takeda family.

Nobukimi ANAYAMA took part in the major battles by Shingen, such as the Battle of Kawanakajima. In 1569, the Takeda clan conflicted with the Gohojo clan over Suruga Province--Nobukimi ANAYAMA remained at Okitsu-jo Castle after the main unit of the Takeda army retreated to Kai, and provided a foothold when the Takeda clan again invaded Suruga.

After that, he was appointed the keeper of Ejiri-jo Castle as the successor to Masakage YAMAGATA. The castle was commonly known as Sunshu tandai (shogunal deputies in Sunshu). He excelled at domestic affairs, building a town under Ejiri-jo Castle and developing a transportation route in order to promote a commercial policy. He often took part in diplomacy as well.

After the death of Shingen

After the death of Shingen, he was constantly in conflict with Shingen's cousin Katsuyori TAKEDA; although he once took part in the Battle of Nagashino, he pulled out of the battle without asking for consent. It was said that Masanobu KOSAKA was angered at this and proposed to Katsuyori that he should have Nobukimi commit seppuku (suicide by disembowelment), but Katsuyori dismissed the idea, fearing that the family might become divided if he punished Nobukimi, a leading figure among the kindred (according to "Koyo Gunkan" --record of the military exploits of the Takeda family).

In the subjugation of Takeda by Nobunaga ODA in 1582, Nobukimi betrayed Katsuyori at the last minute and collaborated with Nobunaga through Ieyasu TOKUGAWA (some say he had been in contact with Tokugawa for several years). According to one theory, he collaborated based on the condition of the approval of his former territories (territory of Ejiri in Kawachi) and survival of the Takeda family.

Other than conflicts with Katsuyori, the reason for the betrayal was said that the coup incident by Yoshinobu TAKEDA played a role (his brother Nobukuni took sides with Yoshinobu, leading to suicide), or that his wife Kenshoin suggested to her husband that her real son Nobuharu ANAYAMA (Katsuchiyo) was more suitable as the head of the Takeda family (Nobuharu was three-quarters Takeda clan blood) rather than Katsuyori who was from a line of the Suwa clan--but all such theories lack conclusive evidence. In any case, Nobukimi's betrayal shocked Takeda's warlords and became one of the reasons for the fall of the Takeda clan.

Nobukimi's last moments

After the war, he went to the capital (Kyoto) with Ieyasu to thank Nobunaga for approving his territory. When the Honnoji Incident occurred while they were sightseeing in Sakai City (Osaka Prefecture), they tried to quickly return to Kai, but according to "Mikawa Monogatari" (Tales from Mikawa), as Nobukimi's party was carrying a lot of money and goods, they went a separate way for fear they might be robbed by Ieyasu's attendants; however, they were consequently attacked by natives who were holding up lost samurai along the Kizu-gawa River (near Yamashiro-Ohashi Bridge in the present-day Kyotanabe City, Kyoto Prefecture), and Nobukimi was killed.

One theory holds that Ieyasu TOKUGAWA ordered to kill Nobukimi, but after the incident, Ieyasu had Nobukimi's legitimate son Nobuharu take over as the head of the family, and besides, treated Nobukimi's wife Kenshoin with respect. At the time, Ieyasu was on verge of death, so he couldn't have had the time to plan the assassinations of others; therefore, this theory lacks credibility.

The Anayama clan line ended in 1587 with the sudden death of the legitimate son Katsuchiyo ANAYAMA (childhood name of Nobuharu TAKEDA).


Because he betrayed Katsuyori at the last minute despite being a Takeda family member, Nobukimi ANAYAMA had a negative reputation alongside Yoshimasa KISO, who was also the son-in-law of Shingen but switched sides to the Oda family, and Nobushige OYAMADA, who committed betrayal just before the fall; however, Hachiro SATO gives him a favorable appraisal, justifying his daring decision to turn away in order to sustain the family name, while Toshifumi YANO believes that the relationship between the Takeda clan and local samurai lords such as Anayama and Oyamada was a coalition government, and that with the fall of Takeda family, Nobukimi broke away from the perspective of an individual feudal lord.

[Original Japanese]