So, we’ve had the Chosokabe clan and we’ve had the Date clan, leading you guys to frantically speculate as to which clan may be being revealed next. Those who guessed correctly, well done – it’s the Uesugi!
The Uesugi are proud of their Buddhist faith. They can recruit and maintain warrior monks far more cheaply than any other clan. They can also recruit much better fighting monks and more effective monk agents than any other clan. Despite this religious solidarity, the history of the Uesugi is not tranquil. The current Uesugi leaders were originally the Nagao clan of Echigo, and were vassals to the Yamanouchi faction of the Uesugi clan. The Nagao fought alongside their masters against the Ogigayatsu, another part of the Uesugi clan, in a bitter dispute.
The Yamanouchi, weakened by a war with the Hojo, were forced to seek help from the Nagao lord, Kagetora. His “help” included adopting the name of Uesugi, and taking control of the whole Uesugi clan! Just to make matters even more complicated, Uesugi Kagetora (as he now called himself) changed his name again to Uesugi Kenshin. He was an adherent of Bishamonten, the war god and took Buddhist vows. He then stepped down in favour of his brother, who proved to be staggeringly divisive and unpopular. Kenshin returned to power and now contemplates the future. There is much struggle yet to come if the clan is to be secure and an Uesugi is ever to be shogun!
There are Uesugi rebels in Echigo itself, and to the south there is unfinished business is the shape of the Yamanouchi clan of Kozuke province. Luckily, there are peaceful relations with the Ashina clan of Fukushima, and the Mogami clan of Uzen province, but both of these areas have resources, wood and stone respectively, which could be of considerable use. In keeping with the religious bent of the Uesugi, Kozuke province has a tradition of philosophical scholarship that could be harnessed to the Kenshin’s purposes. A navy might also prove useful, as Sado, off the coast of Echigo, has plentiful gold deposits.