Takeda Katsuyori (jap. 武田 勝頼; b. 1546; April 3, 1582) was a Japanese daimyō of the Sengoku period who assumed leadership over the Takeda clan after the death of his famous father and legendary commander Takeda Shingen.
However, he was not as tactically skilled as his father and led the Takeda to their worst defeat, bringing their significant role in Japanese history to an abrupt end.
He is one of the most tragic figures in Japanese history because, despite the outstanding importance of his clan in his youth, and, despite all his efforts, he had to witness its downfall.
Katsuyori, born Suwa Shirō (諏訪 四郎), later Suwa Katsuyori, defeated his mother's Suwa clan and appointed Takatō Castle as his seat of power. After his older brother Takeda Yoshinobu died, Katsuyori's son Nobukatsu became leader of the Takeda clan, allowing Katsuyori to take actual control.
After the death of his father Shingen, he took charge of the family and fought with Tokugawa Ieyasu at Takatenjin in 1574 and Nagashino in 1575.
He took Takatenjin Castle, which not even his father had been able to do before; which secured him the support of the Takeda clan, but he suffered a terrible defeat at Nagashino, which was due to one of the first recorded uses of fire volleys by the enemy infantry.
Oda Nobunaga had about 3000 arquebuses at his disposal and ordered his infantry to entrench behind palisades and fire in rows one after the other. This allowed him to defeat the superior Takeda cavalry and kill a third of all 24 Takeda generals, which was an irretrievable loss for them.
This was the decisive defeat for the rest of the Three East Pact between the Takeda, Hōjō, and Imagawa clans (whose leader Imagawa Ujizane had by this time turned against his former allies). As a result, the Three Empire Unifiers were able to annex or destroy the remaining sovereign principalities and usher in the Edo period.