Sponsored by BANDAI
Five military commanders from Japan’s famed Sengoku jidai (Warring States period) have begun being sold! Notable figures such as Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and Date Masamune are all available prizes from Bandai’s Samurai Figure Collection! This set in particular focuses on military commanders who aspired to unite all of Japan under their banner.
In addition to the previously named three, the remaining two commanders are Kuroda Kanbei and Sanada Yukimura. Each of the five figures are prominent figures from the Warring States period.
For those who aren’t entirely well-versed in Japanese history, these five samurai had large roles during the Warring States period. Considering they’re also the five samurai that are being featured, there’s even more reason to get to know them.
First, is Kuroda Kanbei, a chief strategist and adviser to Toyotomi Hideyoshi who was respected by his warriors for his bravery and loyalty. Kuroda Kanbei had ties to Himeji castle, which is famous for being a beautiful white castle, that, when looked at from the right angle, resembles a dove spreading its wings. This is often also interpreted as a symbol for peace. Kuroda Kanbei actually was involved in the construction of quite a few famous castles, such as Nagoya castle, Osaka Castle and Hiroshima castle.
Next is the second daimyo during the Warring States period to have actually united Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Once the loyal retainer to the first great unifier, the infamous Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi was a distinguished warrior and politician. Taking power after avenging his former lord, Hideyoshi led a unified Japan for more than a decade before passing away, but not before leaving a large impact on the country and the reason as to why Osaka Castle exists.
Date Masamune was an exceptional tactician, who, for his iconic missing eye was also nicknamed the “One-eyed dragon”. After coming to power, he soon after went on to conquer various neighboring territories after being betrayed by one of his retainers. Known for being an aggressive and ambitious leader, his allies were also suspicious of him, but he would prove to be a valuable asset in later conflicts. Under the Tokugawa Shogunate, Date Masamune would be awarded with various lands, including Sendai, which he made his home later in life. Turning it into a large and flourishing city.
Of course, it wouldn’t be right to talk about the Warring States period without talking about Tokugawa Ieyasu. The final person to unite all of Japan and create the system that Japan would follow all the way up to the 19th century. His path to become Shogun was not easy, but he only held the title for two years. While abdicating and giving his son the title, Tokugawa Ieyasu would continue to be the one who held the real power. Until his death, Tokugawa Ieyasu would continue to consolidate his power so that there was no question as to who really ruled Japan.
Last but not least is Sanada Yukimura, a very famed samurai for his fighting prowess. It even earned him the nickname, “Crimson Demon of War” and “The Last Sengoku Hero”. The praise does not end there though. He had also been called “A hero who may appear once in a hundred years” and the “Number one warrior in Japan”. Yukimura is often associated with Osaka Castle for being the leading general on the defensive side during the Siege of Osaka. In a valiant effort, he defended a small fortress he had created and fended off Tokugawa’s 30,000 troops with his mere 7,000. It was not to be though, as the overwhelming numbers of the to be Tokugawa Shogunate would not be stopped. The attacking Tokugawa side would suffer many losses because of Yukimura. If that’s not impressive enough, he would also come to battle against another hero of the time, Date Masamune who was mentioned earlier above. After prolonged intense fighting Yukimura retreated due to various wounds and exhaustion. It was there that he met his end, but remains to be enshrined as a heroic figure. His location of death is even marked with a statue of him.
Historically there is no doubt the significance of each of these figures during the Warring States period and the role they played in relation to the unification of Japan. It’s no wonder that Bandai chose to create figures for the five of them. Each figure is 1/35th life size which makes each figure about 4.5cm to 5.5 cm tall. They’re all making heroic poses with greatly detailed armor that is characteristic to what they might have worn when they were alive. There are two versions, a statue version which make them a nice metallic grey color, and regularly colored versions that depict their armor as it might have looked. Definitely a nice souvenir to take home and even more so if you’re a fan of the Sengoku period.
Where to get it:
- The museum shop of Osaka castle
Address: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo-ku, Osaka 540-0002,Osaka Prefecture
- Inside of Himeji Castle: Nishinomaru Shop
- Inside of Himeji Castle: Himeji Tourism and Convention Bureau Shop
- Kakiuchi Store
Address: 68 Hommachi, Himeji 670-0012, Hyogo Prefecture
- Inside Hikone Castle: Honmaru Store
- Inside Hikone Castle: Kane-no-maru Store
Address: 1-1 Konkicho, Hikone 522-0061 , Shiga Prefecture
- Nijo Castle Shop
Address: 541 Nijojo-cho, Horikawa-nishiiru, Kyoto 604-8301, Kyoto Prefecture
- Ueda Castle Tourism Hall
Address: Ninomaru, Ueda 386-0026 , Nagano Prefecture
- Kinkazan Ropeway Mountain Base Shop
Address: 18 Tenshukaku, Kinkazan, Gifu, Gifu Prefecture
- Castle Tower Shop
Address: 6-1 Jonai, Odawara 250-0014, Kanagawa Prefecture
Marutake Industry Chiyoda Store:
- 1st floor of shop in Chiyoda
Address: 2-1-15 Sotokanda, Chiyoda 101-0021, Tokyo Prefecture
Tokyo Sky Tree:
- 4th floor of Sengoku Dama Shop
- Gotochi Pins Plus
Address: 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida 131-0045, Tokyo Prefecture