Date Masamune - Background

Background

Date Masamune was the eldest son of Date Terumune, born in Yonezawa Castle (in modern Yamagata Prefecture). At the age of 14 in 1581 Masamune led his first campaign, helping his father fight the Sōma family. In 1584, at the age of 17, Masamune succeeded his father, Terumune, who chose to retire from his position as daimyo. The Date family was founded in the early Kamakura period by Isa Tomomune, who originally came from the Isa district of Hitachi Province (now Ibaraki Prefecture). The family took its name from the Date district (now Fukushima Prefecture) of Mutsu Province, which had been awarded to Isa Tomomune by Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first Kamakura shogun, for his assistance in the Genpei War (1180–85) and in Minamoto no Yoritomo’s struggle for power with his brother, Minamoto no Yoshitsune. Masamune's army was recognized by its black armor and golden headgear.

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