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The Samurai Castle Master (Hardback)

Warlord Todo Takatora

Military > Biographies Military > Frontline Books

By Chris Glenn
Frontline Books
Pages: 272
Illustrations: 20 mono in central plate section
ISBN: 9781399096584
Published: 12th December 2022



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When the samurai warlord and respected castle architect Todo Takatora died in 1630, the funeral attendants responsible for preparing his body were shocked to note that there was not a single part of his body not scarred or disfigured by sword, spear, glaive or matchlock gun wound.

Todo Takatora lived a life that unfolds like a drama. Born to a small landholding samurai family, the maverick youth worked his way to the top, becoming one of the most successful of daimyo warlords. He had served on the front lines of some of the most violent of battles, turning points that forged the nation. In a land and time in which loyalty was held dear, he changed his allegiances a record seven times, serving a record ten lords, more than any other samurai in history. Because of this, he has long been held in contempt by the Japanese.

Standing 190cm tall in a time when the average Japanese man stood between 150 to 165 cm, Todo Takatora was a giant among men. He died aged 74, when the normal life span was around 50. He was also the finest, most innovative of castle architects, responsible for the design and construction of over 30 of the strongest, most innovative Japanese castles and structures, and influencing samurai castle construction across Japan.

In explaining his life, his reasons for having served so many lords, his achievements in battle and in castle design, his political and personal ideals and how these attributes were shaped during the course of his adventurous life, this book will reveal the man, and show why Takatora deserves the epithet of National Hero.

In this fascinating biography, the first ever published in the English language, Chris Glenn explores Todo Takatora’s remarkable, and influential, life, the battles he fought in, the political intrigues he was part of, as well as detailing the magnificent castles he built.

"Although field battles are mentioned, the focus remains on sieges and fortifications. You'll certainly pick up info about Japanese castles and how long it took to build, rebuild, and siege them - and the master of how to accomplish much in a short period of time: Todo Takatora. Enjoyed it."

Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

If you are interested in medieval warfare in Japan then I can recommend this book as something different and worth reading.

Read the Full Review Here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

Chris Glenn has produced an excellent history of the political and military conflicts within which is embedded the first biography of Takatora, published in English, which attempts to set the record straight about him, using historical documents and diaries.

Norfolk Family History Society - 'The Ancestor' magazine

ARTICLE: 'The Samurai Castle Master': Long-maligned samurai gets overdue redemption


The Japan Times

As featured in

The Bookseller

About Chris Glenn

CHRIS GLENN is an Adelaide, Australia, born bilingual radio DJ, TV presenter, helicopter pilot, narrator, historian, lecturer and copywriter. He first visited Japan as a Rotary Exchange Student in 1985, spending a year in Sapporo, returning to Japan in 1992. A researcher of samurai history and culture, he is a member of the Japan Armor and Weapons Research and Preservation Society, and the Japan Castle Research Society. He was apprenticed to a traditional samurai armour craftsman from 1994, and is a collector of samurai arms and armour. Chris holds Shodan rank in Kendo, and studied Owari Yagyu Shinkage and Enmei Ryu kobudo, traditional combat techniques. A resident of Nagoya, Japan since 1993, he serves as the Sekigahara Tourism Ambassador, the Nagoya Tourism, Cultural and Exchange Special Ambassador, and the Omi Tourism Ambassador. He has had numerous books on Japanese castles and battles published in both Japanese and English. Called upon by various local and national government agencies as an advisor and committee member, he remains active in researching, preserving and promoting Japanese history and culture.

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