Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Death of Takeda Shingen, Part 2

Two more sources on Takeda Shingen have details on his death - "Takeda Shingen" by Isogai Masayoshi, and "Takeda Gunki" by Kobayashi Keiichiro. They indicate that he collapsed soon after the Mikatagahara campaign, probably late in the 12th month of 1572, indicating a long-standing illness. The siege of Noda castle took place early in 1573. The castle fell in the middle of the 2nd month. Apparently the only "record" of Shingen being "shot by a sniper" come from Tokugawa documents, which could have been changed to give the Tokugawa the credit for killing Shingen. As it stands, Shingen did not die until the 12th day of the 4th month, fully 2 months after the fall of Noda castle. It is unlikely there is a connection. These two sources also state that Shingen had been ill for a long time, and his closest advisers were aware of his illness - aware enough to in fact be worried about him. It also goes on to say that it was an "internal illness" (肺肝 - as opposed to an injury). Another interesting fact is that although Shingen had given up meat completely in a show of religious abstinence around 1563, by the 2nd month of 1573 (around the fall of Noda castle) he began eating fish and poultry for his health. He obviously was in poor health for a while before Noda castle, and the "sniper" theory just doesn't fit. As for stomach cancer due to alcoholism - Shingen wasn't exactly known for alcoholism, but I can't rule it out (yet).


  1. Stomach cancer has no direct relationship to alcoholism. However, there is an undicovered component in Japanese food that provokes beginning of stomach cancer. Currently, Japenese people have the highest incidence of this type of cancer.
    Alcoholism may lead to liver chirrosis, which results in dilution of oesophageal veins that may lead in its turn to death from bleeding. This is likely what happened with Uesugi Kenshin. In his case esophageal haemorrage seems coincided with hemorroidal bleeding frm the same reason - chirrosis.

  2. Has anyone considered beriberi? as it could explain his weakening and fainting spells, as well as the tachycardia and heart failure that ultimately ended in death. His weakened immune system, combined with a very probable lack of dental hygene could easily explain the mouth abscess and loss of teeth