The Shizugatake no shichi-hon-yari, or "Seven Spears of Shizugatake," were seven famous Japanese warlords who distinguished themselves while fighting under Toyotomi Hideyoshi at the Battle of Shizugatake in 1583.
Although it was actually quite common to bestow this type of honor after any number of battles in Japanese history, what distinguished the Seven Spears of Shizugatake as a group is that all seven of the warriors went on to do great things, becoming top generals and major daimyo in their own right, and all seven survived the tumultuous final years of the Sengoku Era to live well into the peaceful Edo Period.
The Seven Spears were:
- Fukushima Masanori (1561-1624) - Fukushima later distinguished himself even further in the Kyushu campaign and in the capture of Chongju during the Korean campaigns, and wound up siding with Tokugawa Ieyasu at the Battle of Sekigahara.
- Hirano Nagayasu (1559-1628) - Remained one of Hideyoshi's top generals before siding with Ieyasu at Sekigahara.
- Kasuya Takenori (1562-1607) - Served with distinction in the Korean campaigns and then became the only member of the Seven Spears to side with Ishida Mitsunari at Sekigahara, but although he lost all of his lands as a result, his fame as one of the Spears caused Ieyasu to reward him a handsome annual stipend of 500 koku.
- Katagiri Katsumoto (1556-1615) - Served in Kyushu and Korea campaigns, and then was named official guardian of Toyotomi Hideyori in 1599. He remained neutral during the Battle of Sekigahara, and tried to negotiate peace between Hideyori and Ieyasu, but ultimately felt compelled to betray Hideyori and order his forces to fight for Ieyasu at the Siege of Osaka Castle in 1615, after which he committed suicide.
- Katō Kiyomasa (1562-1611) - The most famous of all the Seven Spears, Kiyomasa commanded Hideyoshi's army in Korea where his ferocity earned him the nickname "Demon General." He later played a decisive role in Ieyasu's victory at Sekigahara, for which he was rewarded with a massive fief worth 540,000 koku, and then proceeded to build Kumamoto Castle, which is now one of the most famous in Japan.
- Katō Yoshiaki (1563-1631) - No relation to Kiyomasa, Yoshiaki distinguished himself as a naval admiral, commanding Hideyoshi's fleet in the Kyushu and Odawara campaigns and in the invasions of Korea, before siding with Ieyasu at Sekigahara, for which he earned a large fief worth 200,000 koku.
- Wakizaka Yasuharu (1554-1626) - Wakizaka served under Akechi Mitsuhide before Hideyoshi, and is most famous for pretending to side with Ishida Mitsunari at Sekigahara before dramatically defecting in the middle of the battle to swing the victory over to Ieyasu, for which he was rewarded with a fief in Iyo province worth 50,000 koku.