Japanese: ‘new rice paddy’; mostly found in western Japan. The most famous Nitta family took the name from their residence in Kōzuke (now Gunma prefecture). They descended from Minamoto no Yoshishige (died 1202), who was also the ancestor of the Tokugawa. One descendant, Nitta Yoshisada (1301–38) was the major opponent of Ashikaga Takauji in the latter's bid for the Shogunate, in which Takauji was confirmed the year of Yoshisada's death in battle. At this time there was a schism in the imperial family, with rival emperors ruling from separate courts. Takauji supported each side in turn, as it suited him politically, but Yoshisada is to this day revered as the champion of the southern (considered ‘legitimate’) court. Alternative readings of the surname are Arata (mostly found in the Ryūkyū Islands) and Shinden.