10 Greatest Samurai Warriors in History

If you have learned something about Japan, you must have heard of Samurai. They were actually the group of warriors who belonged to several elite classes, known for their loyalty and ferocity. They have unique presence in the history of Japan for shaping up the civilization. Samurai are known to be the epic symbols of the culture of the country. Their code of honor is beautifully ingrained in it. Several warriors wrote history with their nobility and courage.

We have listed the top 10 most popular Samurai warriors.

10. Masamune Date

He was the seventh leader of the date clan. He lost his one eye because of some reasons and his childhood was very dreadful. But he still rose to prominence with the most destructive strength in Oshu. He was known to be one of the wisest figures of the era and bitten back his ambitions to stay among the richest independent rules of all time. He was well known as the “One Eyed Dragon”. He was known for being merciless and violent. He was also one of the most horrible warriors of his time. When his enemies kidnapped his father, he stroked back by killing of all of them during the mission.

9. Shimazu Yoshihisa

Despite being the 16th leader in his dynasty, he was known as one of the most successful samurai warriors of all time. He faced several ups and downs in his life and he changed his name for 5 times and married his own aunt and one of his relatives when she died. He was truly unmatchable as a leader. With his brother, he made a plan to work to meet Kyushu.

In 1572, he defeated ITO clan in the Kizaki battle. Then, he became unstoppable. He earned several victories. He defeated Otomo clan in 1578 at Mimigawa battle, Ryuzoji in 1583 and Aso clan in 1584. His Shimazu clan controlled most of the Kyushu by the mid of 1580s. He was once asked about his secrets to success at Fushimi castle by Tokugawa Ieyasu, and he told that it was because of his brother’s efforts. When he left the castle, Tokugawa said, “This is the identity of a great leader”. He surrendered and became a Buddhist Monk after several years of achievement and glory.

8. Uesugi Kenshin

Usami Sadamitsu and some of his late father’s acquaintances approached him when he was 14. They requested him to contest his elder brother at Echigo. Initially, he was skeptical. But he finally won when he agreed. It was the first achievement of this samurai warrior. In 1577-78 winters, Kenshin decided to put ahead a grand army to keep up with his assaults in Nobunaga’s land. During that time, he was reported with bad health. After 4 days, he died.

He was also known to be the part of opposition against the campaigns of Oda Nobunaga. He was also considered a reputed administrator. He was well known as the head of Nagao clan and Dragon of Echigo where he emerged as a violent warrior.

7. Ieyasu Tokugawa

Tokugawa Ieyasu defeated the Toyotomis at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. Thereafter, he ruled the clan as the first Tokugawan Shogun till 1868. He was also the Oda Nobunaga’s ally and successor to Toyotomi Hideyoshi. He was a great warrior who ruled Japan with peace. He was also a smart ruler who was known for his intelligence in his fighting skills. He used his skills against the Toyotomi when attacking them and winning the battle to take cover of leadership.

6. Takeda Shingen

He was the great warrior and poet and he fought several battles and he won some of them. He fought in the 4th Kawanakajima battle against Uesugi Kenshin and defeated Oda Nobunaga. He was one of the warriors who accomplished the feat. The reason behind his death is still a mystery. He died in 1573 after which he assumed power. He was popular as the Tiger of Kai.

5. Hattori Hanzo

He was known to be the most popular ninja and samurai of Sengoku period. He was also popular as a tactician and expert, as well as the master of spear fighting. According to the sources, Hanzo was called in to officially end the suffering of Nobuyasu but he didn’t take the sword with his own lord’s blood. His supernatural powers like getting disappeared and appearing somewhere else define his exploits and it contributed to his prominence. He died when he was 55.

4. Miyamoto Musashi

He fought against Toyotomi clan in the war and defeated them. When he was 13, he had his first duel and he developed his combat skills since then. He is the most popular samurai warrior in Japan and wrote “The Book of Five Rings” where he defined several sword-combat techniques.

He is well known for his extraordinary swordsmanship and he was among the best warriors Japan has seen. He fought against a master swordsman, Sasaki Kojiro in a popular duel in 1612. His great fighting skills helped him to conquer several duels against his strong opponents.

3. Honda Tadakatsu

He was an epic fighter who participated in the Battle of Sekigahara which changed the Japan’s history. The spear is the most favorite weapon for him and it was known as the Dragonfly cutter. He evoked fear in his foes with his weapon. He was a well known and most feared warrior. He was well known as the “Warrior who Surpassed Death”. He is one of the top warriors in Japan. He participated in several other battles and he conquered them all. He was among the Four Heavenly Kings of Tokugawa.

2. Hideyoshi Toyotomi

He ruled most of Japan from 1585 to 1598 and he also introduced the battles to conquer China and Korea but couldn’t succeed. He didn’t achieve Shogun title in his life. After he died, his clan was also no more. He was a popular ruler and warrior and he succeeded Oda Nobunaga. He was from a poor family and he rose to prominence with his swordsmanship in the battlefields.

1. Oda Nobunaga

He was ditched by his general Akechi Mitsuhide and committed suicide and died honorably. His temple was set ablaze when he was alive. He is one of the most honored warriors in the history of Japan. He was truly a revolutionary leader who overtook Imagawa Yoshimoto. In 1560, he killed Yoshimoto and became the Kyoto’s ruler and laid the foundation stone of Japan. He was also a powerful warrior and ruler. To fight his battles, he used firearms which were rare in his time.