Dennis Darling deposited Uesugi Kenshin: a study of the military career of a sixteenth century warlord on Humanities Commons 1 year, 6 months ago
Uesugi Kenshin (1530-78) was born in Echigo (present-day Niigata Prefecture) in north-western Japan as the son of Nagao Tamekage, a high-ranking local official of the Muromachi shogunate, and he came to rule over the province at a time when the military conflicts that had ravaged the country, locally and regionally, since the middle of the fifteenth century were quickly developing into a fight for national supremacy. He himself was a very active participant in this process from the middle of the sixteenth century onwards, and his activities have earned him the reputation of being one who let himself become involved in the conflicts of the day, not out of consideration for his own interests but out of loyalty for the central authorities and the Ashikaga polity.
This reputation makes him a bit of a rarity among the warlords of that period, but in fact he seems to have been very much a man of his time. From his earliest childhood, he was used by the Funai-Nagao as a means to protect their interests, and after he had taken over the leadership of the family, he continued to do so. Thus, he did not hesitate to confront potential enemies who came too close to the borders of Echigo when engaged in military conquests in neighbouring provinces. And in time, after some years of indecision caused, apparently, by religious considerations, he would also adopt a policy of territorial expansion in order to strengthen his position as Echigo’s ruler and, ultimately, to establish a new national hegemony.