Tadakatsu Honda
Personal Information
Born: March 17, 1548
Place of Birth: Mikawa Province
Died: December 3, 1610
Cause of Death: Unknown
Place of Death: Edo Province
Style name: 本多 忠勝
Served: Tokugawa
Participation(s): Battle of Anegawa
Battle of Mikata ga Hara
Battle of Nagashino
Battle of Sekigahara

Tadakatsu Honda was one of the Tokugawa Four Heavenly Kings. It is said that he fought 60 battles and was never injured once. Tadakatsu fought with the legendary spear Tombo-Giri.


Military CareerEdit

Tadakatsu Honda served Ieyasu Tokugawa all his life, and fought in nearly all of his battles. He is regarded as one of the best generals of the Tokugawa and of the Sengoku era.[1] Tadakatsu first served Ieyasu as a page and later as a first-rate warrior. He led troops in the second rank of Ieyasu's army at Anegawa, where the Oda and Tokugawa fought the Azai and Asakura. In the actions immediately preceding the Battle of Mikatagahara, troops under Honda, along with Tadayo Okubo, made contact with the advancing Takeda army and were able to escape due to Tadakatsu's skillful leadership.

In the Battle at Mikatagahara, Tadakatsu commanded troops in the left wing of Ieyasu's army and fought with the warriors of Masatoyo Naito.[2] He commanded in the front line in the battle of Nagashino in 1575, and appears in the Nagashino screen in his famous helmet ornamented with wooden antlers and with a large Buddhist rosary over his shoulder.[3] During the crossing of Iga, Tadakatsu Honda sent Hanzo Hattori to the Iga men to agree to guide them. Thi Iga men did not only guide them along back roads, but also to provide them with an escort.[4] His finest moment came in the Komaki Campaign in 1584. Left with at Komaki while Ieyasu departed to engage Toyotomi troops at Nagakute, Tadakatsu observed a huge host under Hideyoshi Toyotomi himself move out in pursuit. With a handful of men, Tadakatsu rode out and challenged the Toyotomi army from the opposite bank of the Shonai River. Hideyoshi Toyotomi, who outnumbered Honda perhaps 50 or 60 to 1 was said to have been struck by the bravery of this warrior, and ordered that no harm come to him, his men, or Yasumichi Ishikawa, who accompanied him on this bid to buy time for Ieyasu.[5]

In 1586 Tadakatsu accompanied Ieyasu on a trip to Kyoto and was given the title Nakatsukasa-taiyu.[6] In 1590 Tadakatsu was created daimyo of Otaki in Kazusa worth 100,000 koku.[7]Tadakatsu accompanied Ieyasu in the Siege of Odawara castle. Tadakatsu commanded troops at the Battle of Sekigahara[8] and after recieved Kuwana in Ise worth 150,000 koku.[9]


Tadakatsu passed away in 1610, considered one of Ieyasu's most loyal retainers and perhaps his toughest general.[10]



Dynasty Black: One of Tadakatsu Honda's favorite mounts. It was given to him by Hidetada Tokugawa. It is the horse he rode at Sekigahara leading the eastern army to victory.


Tonbo-Giri: His fighting prowess was so great that his weapon of choice, the spear named Tonbo-Giri (Dragonfly Cutter), became known as one of the "Three Great Spears of Japan". It is said that when a dragonfly mistakenly tried to land on it it fell to the ground cut in half.





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  1. Samurai Archives, Honda Tadakatsu
  2. Samurai Archives, Honda Tadakatsu
  3. Samurai Source book, Stephen Turnbull pg.38
  4. Samurai Archives, Hattori Hanzo
  5. Samurai Archives, Honda Tadakatsu
  6. Samurai Archives, Honda Tadakatsu
  7. Samurai Source book, Stephen Turnbull pg.38
  8. Samurai Archives, Honda Tadakatsu
  9. Samurai Source book, Stephen Turnbull pg.38
  10. Samurai Archives, Honda Tadakatsu