The Sanada clan (真田氏 Sanada-shi) is a Japanese clan that long resided in the domain of Matsushiro, corresponding to modern Nagano Prefecture.
The Sanada family was originally from the village of Sanada in the Chiisagata district (小県郡) in northern Shinano, and claimed descent from the Seiwa Genji. The Sanada family was the first family of the Sanada family.
Historically, the clan emblem was founded by Unno Yukiyoshi in the early 16th century.
The Sanada were vassals of the powerful Takeda clan, contributing three generals in the famous twenty-four generals of Takeda Shingen, namely Sanada Yukitaka (father), Sanada Nobutsuna (firstborn), and Sanada Masayuki (secondborn), along with their youngest son Sanada Masateru.
Sanada Yukitaka founded the clan giving it his name in the early 16th century.
During the Sengoku period, Sanada Masayuki (1545-1611) led the clan, and his second son, the famous samurai Sanada Yukimura (1567-1615), served Toyotomi Hideyoshi from 1587 as a hostage; in 1594, he married Chikurin-in, Hideyoshi's adopted daughter, thus making himself the latter's adopted son.
At the Battle of Sekigahara, Yukimura allied himself with Ishida Mitsunari's Western Army and fought Tokugawa Hidetada at Ueda Castle, managing to keep him and his 38,000 men from reaching the main battlefield. He again opposed the Tokugawa during the siege of Osaka where he died.
Sanada Nobuyuki (1566-1658) was the eldest son of Masayuki. In 1600 he sided with the Tokugawa. He was rewarded with the castle of Ueda in Shinano province and the domain of Numata in Kozuke province, for a total value of 65,000 koku.
In 1622 Nobuyuki was transferred to the domain of Matsushiro (100,000 koku) in Shinano. His descendants remained there until the Meiji Restoration of 1868.
The Sanada clan was forced to take part in the 1868 Aizu attack with the imperial army, but refused to take custody of the Aizu prisoners.
In 1871, the last daimyō was given the title of baron.
The Meiji period ornithologist Yukiyasu Kiyosu was the son of Sanada Yukitami, the last lord of Matsushiro.