Belonging to the early-modernist Japan, the Samurai were both renowned as the gilt-edged members of the society and as the champions of fierceness and loyalty. With their courage and bravery, with their eternal strive for a noble cause; they curbed the history and culture of Japan. There is a lengthy number on the list of Samurai that existed at that time; anyhow, this is a list of the 10 most famous ones in Japanese history:

Shimazu Yoshihisa

His roots trace back to Satsuma Province. Briefly married with his aunt, Shimazu was a strong advocate for the unification of Kyushu. After his clan and he took over, Shimazu was able to enjoy leading and governing the island for quite some time. He won many a great wars which earned him great popularity among the war lords in the days of the Sengoku period. Additionally, he brought many a victories home to his people but was eventually defeated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and went on living a peaceful and serene life as a Buddhist monk.

Date Masamune

Since he was little, Date felt a sense of inferiority simply because he lost his eyesight in the right eye due to the smallpox. It was that kind of a complex and inferiority that forced him to train harder in order to prove himself as a potent fighter. In character he was ruthless and not prone to mercy and forgiveness. Therefore, when his clan’s foes kidnapped his father, he got so angry that slaughtered all the people involved in the kidnapping but he killed even his own father in the attempt to gain a fair punishment for his enemies. Later on, he emerged as the leader of the clan Date and faithfully served under the governing of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Uesugi Kenshin

Uesugi Kenshin was the frontman and the leading force of the Nagao clan. He was additionally known as the Dragon of Echigo. Tageda Shingen whom he fought with, was his rival and opponent for a long time. They would often indulge into combat where Uesugi won several times. Not only that he was an estimable warrior, but he was also a fair administrator. He did not however, agree with the policies of Oda Nobunaga and was openly against his campaign. Unfortunately, the story behind his death has still not been revealed to the world.

Tokugawa Ieyasu

Renowned for his intellect rather than a fighting ability, he was the man who won the Battle of Sekigahara against the Toyotomi clan in 1600, thus becoming the first Tokugawan to ever govern the country up until 1868. In achieving all of the above, it is important to mention that what made all of that possible was his association and close alliance with Oda Nobunaga. Finally, Ieyasu is praised for having established peace in Japan after many years of turmoil.

Hattori Hanzo

He is regarded for his fighting skills which proved why he is so popular nowadays. Hattori Hanzo used to be a ninja, which was rather peculiar at the time. With that, he became the inspiration for many fictitious warriors that appeared in literature. Nevertheless, he served in all due respect to Tokugawa Ieyasu and completed his duties as a leader of the Iga clan.

Takeda Shingen

The Tiger of Kai overthrew Oda Nobunaga back then but did not stop there. He also confronted Uesugi Kenshin in the fourth battle of Kawanakajima. He was a mighty warrior but also wrote poetry throughout his life. Sadly enough, his death has not been clarified yet. He died in 1573, is all we know.

Honda Tadakatsu

The Dragonfly cutter as he was reputed participated in the Battle of Sekigahara, a battle that potentially changed Japan’s history. He had a preference for the spear as a weapon he most frequently used. Honda was a fierce warrior whom many found to be relentless and terrifying because he fought a lot and never lost a battle. There were Four Heavenly Kings of Tokugawa and he was one of them.

Miyamoto Musashi

Very early on, he sharpened his fighting techniques. His very first duel was at the age of 13. Throughout his life, he was able to work on his abilities and develop. Because of his early start, he was a sword fighter many looked up to. That is the reason why, he wrote “The Book of Five Rings” which elaborates on how to master the sword-fighting through illustrations and sketches. One of his most famous battles was the one with Sasaki Kojiro in 1612. Last but not least, he is the samurai who defeated the clan of Toyotomi and ever since is regarded to be among the most famous warriors of the history of Japan.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Due to being a crafted warrior, he was able to gain power and to succeed Oda Nobunaga after his death. Even though he was coming from a poor family, he was able to climb up the social hierarchy and lead Japan from 1585-1598 thanks to his remarkable swordsmanship. He failed at taking over Korea and China despite his many attempts. He did not achieve the Shogun life nor was his clan able to live on after his death. Anyhow, he should be regarded as one of the advocated for territorial expansion.

Oda Nobunaga

He is the most celebrated Samurai warrior in Japan because he propagated unification among Japanese people. He led Kyoto at the time and gained power by killing Yoshimoto Imagawa in 1560. Oda Nobunaga was a striking warrior who deemed honor to be essential. Once Akechi Mitsuhide who was his general, turned his back on him, he set fire to the temple he was living in and solemnly committed a suicide.