Amari Torayasu (- 1548)

Amari Torayasu
Amari Torayasu


Amari Torayasu uma jirushi (personal banner) Uma jirushi

Amari Torayasu was a retainer of Takeda Nobutora and later Takeda Shingen. He fought in several battles; at Nirasaki (1538 or 1541, against a coalition of Shinano warlords) his troops drove back an attack by Suwa Yorishige's hatamoto (bodyguard). At the battle of Sezawa (1542, again against a force from Shinano) he was injured fighting the troops of Murakami Yoshikiyo. According to one source, soldiers under his command killed Kasahara Kiyoshige, commander of Shiga castle, thus finally bringing Saku district under undisputed Takeda rule. He was killed at the Battle of Uedahara (1548) when the Takeda confronted the formidable Murakami Yoshikiyo in sole command.

3 days after the battle - which was the first real defeat of Shingen's career - Shingen sent for Torayasu's 13-year old son Amari Masatada. He thus took over as commander of his father's forces at a very early age even by samurai standards.

Parenthetically, the Battle of Uedahara is perhaps most famous for being the first battle on Japanese soil which saw arquebuses actually influencing the outcome of the conflict. The resourceful Shinano warlord Murakami Yoshikiyo had just come into contact with the Takeda, who were vigorously expanding through Shinano. According to the Koyo Gunkan, Yoshikiyo gave this report to Uesugi Kenshin: "As defence against the horsemen I chose 200 skilled marksmen out of the army and to 150 I gave five well-made arrows and a bow. And to the remaining 50 ashigaru I gave firearms...with three bullets per man. They were ordered to shoot when they were told and then to discard them and fight with their swords. I ordered the gunners to fire after the arrows had been shot, and placed an officer in charge of every five men." These were Chinese arquebueses, inferior to European models.
Shingen gradually pushed Yoshikiyo out of Shinano, forcing him to go to the great Echigo warlord Uesugi Kenshin, thus setting the stage for the Kawanakajima series of campaigns.

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Amari Torayasu uma jirushi (personal banner) Amari Torayasu uma jirushi (personal banner)

Amari Torayasu follower sashimono The sashimono (back banner) used by Amari Torayasu's followers was probably pretty identical to his uma jirushi. I have made his unit banners (nobori) in the same style, with somewhat elongated fields of contrasting colours. I have no direct evidence for this, however.


Amari Torayasu
Amari Torayasu leading a scouting party

Amari Torayasu
I know nothing of Amari Torayasu's armour and appearance; the figure used is a mounted bow-wielding samurai made by Irregular Miniatures. Here Torayasu holds the flank while Yamagata Masakage's troops storm forward.

Amari Torayasu
Amari Torayasu, without sashimono (back banner) far left on the base

Amari Torayasu
Amari Torayasu "in the middle of the pack", which I suppose is quite descriptive of his career as well. Though perhaps not brilliant, he served the Takeda by loyal service.

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