The Re-enactment of the Battle of Kawanakajima 10/28/2018
October 2018 I was fortunately given the opportunity to participate in “The Re-enactment of the Battle of Kawanakajima,” an annual event, which was hosted by Fuefuki-shi. The Battle of Kawanakajima is one of the most memorable events in Japanese military history between the Takeda clan and the Uesugi clan. I felt honoured to be apart of this event.
Born in sunny Manila, Philippines.
Currently studying in Waseda University under the International Liberal Studies Program. In her spare time, she enjoys having fun with friends, especially Karaoke. She loves travelling and trying new things in new places. Her travel goal is to go to all the continents in the world.
Arriving at the meet-up venue, I was first greeted by the hundreds of samurai outfits laid all around the floor. There were 6 teams all-in-all, each under a different commander. The team and I decided my friend, Colter, to be the commander of our team called “Watanuki.” His armour was heavy and tough, and he carried the team flag on his back.
My samurai costume was more simple, which I was grateful for, seeing Colter struggle with the weight of his armour. Nevertheless, it was definitely difficult to put on (and take out when using the bathroom 笑笑). But the moment everything was on, I felt powerful and prideful like a samurai.
Shortly after, there was some picture taking with our “boss,” Uesugi himself. The actor was dressed in a blue, flashy wardrobe with blonde hair to top it off (the Takeda clan’s leader was dressed in red with brunette hair). Although I knew that everything was just a performance, Uesugi really stayed in character with his powerful voice and stance: I was very impressed, and this helped greatly set the warriors into fighting-mode.
Once rehearsals finished and lunch break was done, each team shouted a battle cry to Uesugi before marching into the battlefield. I was greeted by locals coming into the event, shouting “ey ey oh!” And telling us, “頑張れ！”
ー it was very encouraging.
The battlefield was breathtaking and grand. There was a river that separated the audience and the performers with only a bridge to connect both lands. Crossing the bridge, we prepared for our battle.
The battle was very thrilling: we ran, we fought, and we died. The atmosphere helped me let loose and easily get into character. Volunteers would felt the same way shouting “hiiiiiiyaaas!” And hitting others’ swords and spears: I could feel the fight within me. Additionally there were a show of battles between actors on the ground, actors on horses, and actors with cannons. Meanwhile, a narrator narrated the whole story, which made the experience not only entertaining but educational. If Japanese is unfamiliar, I guarantee “The Battle of Kawanakajima” will be your next Google search.
This experience overall was one of the best living in Japan: the perfect mix of cultural, educational and entertaining. I highly recommend everyone to participate in the next re-enactment: whether as an audience or volunteer.
The Re-enactment of the Battle of Kawanakajima