Monday, March 17, 2014

Hachimanyama Castle -Castle built by purged successor of Hideyoshi-

Hachimanyama Castle

-Castle built by purged successor of Hideyoshi-



Name: Hachimanyama castle (Hachimanyama-jo)
Alias: Omi-Hachiman jo
Place: Omi Hachiman city, Shiga
Location: 35.14452438349574, 136.08133086411993
Type: Mountain castle
Built: 1585
Remaining remnants: Stone walls and moats

Brief History

Hachimanyama Castle (八幡山城) is located on Hachimanyama mountain at Omi Hachiman city. Omi Hachiman city is a commercial town facing Lake Biwako, and located only a few kilometer from Azuchi castle, the residence of Nobunaga Oda.

Hachimanyama Castle was built by Hidetsugu Toyotomi (1568-1595), a planned successor of current ruler Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598) at 1585. Hidetsugu was originally a son of Hideyoshi's elder sister, Tomo. As born in a house of low class pheasant and his father died in early years, Hideyoshi did not had relatives could be core of retainers, thus Hideyoshi had to scrape same and younger generation relatives.

Becoming a successor of Hideyoshi

Hidetsugu was grown up with Hideyoshi, and sent to Keijyun Miyabe (1528-1599), a general of Azai clan as a hostage, to let him change to Oda side. After returned from Keijyun, in 1582, Hidetsugu was adapted to Miyoshi clan, a declined but traditional house of Awa province (Kagawa prefecture) aiming at future campaign to Shikoku island.

Fatally for this period, but not only Hideyoshi did not have sufficient relatives, but also he were almost sterile. Hideyoshi’s first son Hidekatsu was born in 1570 during Nagahama castle period, but he did only in 6 years old, and there had been no other children for long time.

During the process of becoming the ruler after the accident of Honnoji at 1582, in which his master Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582) was killed by his general Mitsuhide Akechi (1528-1582), Hideyoshi had to decide his successor to show the continuation of his government. Hideyoshi’s younger brother Hidenaga Toyotomi (1540-1591) was an upright and talented general, but his age was close to Hideyoshi and not suitable for successor. Thus Hideyoshi finally chose Hidetsugu as his successor, and let him prepare for succession.

Supported by Hideyoshi’s experienced generals such as Yoshimasa Tanaka and Kazutoyo Yamauchi, Hidetsugu worked as a commander in battles to unite Japan by Hideyoshi. Once seriously defeated against Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616) at the battle of Komaki Nagakute in 1583 and scolded by Hideyoshi, Hidetsugu managed campaigns against the local clans and religious armies in Kii country (Wakayama prefecture), and a campaign against Chosokabe Clan in Shikoku Island both in 1585. 

In this year he was appointed as a lord of Omi country, and built a new castle at the top of Hachimanyama mountain and named it as Hachimanyama castle. It is thought that there was a main tower on the mountain, and a magnificent palace of Hidetsugu at hillside. The castle had an outer moat connecting to Lake Biwako directly used for a canal, and building and people were transferred from abolished Azuchi castle. Hidetsugu is said to make efforts to develop the city.

Hidetsugu continuously engaged in the campaign against Shimazu clan in Kyusyu in 1588, and worked well in the campaign against Hojyo clan including attack of Yamanaka castle in 1590, then received large territory in Tokai region. Finally in 1591, Hidetsugu became an adopted son of Hideyoshi and succeeded Kanpaku status, the highest of permanent noble status from Hideyoshi, then became the successor of Hideyoshi both in name and reality.

Purge and death of Hidetsugu

But Hidetsugu’s days of glory did not last long. In 1591, Hidenaga Toyotomi, his uncle and who devotedly supported Toyotomi government died, and coordinator in the government was lost. Two years later Hideyori Toyotomi (1593-1615) was born between Hideyoshi and Princess Yodogimi in 1593, and Hideyoshi suddenly started to think succession to his real son. 

But the position of Kanpaku was not hereditary, and Hideyoshi hold the name of Taiko (ex Kanpaku) but did not have any authority legally (In 10th centuries people of noble Fujiwara clan exercised power as Sessho after resignation from Kanpaku, but this was stem from the position of father in law of the current emperor, not from ex-Kanpaku itself). Thus Hideyoshi could not force Hidetsugu to hand over Kanpaku position to Hideyori, and further Hidetsugu already had many his own sons.

Hideyoshi and Hidetsugu coordinated about succession by marrying between Hideyori and Hidetsugu’s daughter, but couldn’t solve it and there were doubt and suspicions between both sides. Finally in 1595, Hideyoshi forced Hidetsugu to suicide, and killed all wives and children of Hidetsugu.

As above Hideyoshi could succeed his position to his own son, but also had to pay heavy price for this. Firstly, when Hideyoshi died at 1598, Hideyori was only 6 years old children thus he could not make any action to stop usurpation of Ieyasu Tokugawa, the largest lord. Secondly, Hideyoshi had to punish Hidetsugu’s subordinates, mainly consisted of Hideyoshi's old retainer who were royal to Hideyoshi. 

At last, large lords such as Mogami clan who let their daughter married with Hidetsugu and killed, abandoned Toyotomi clan after the death of Hideyoshi. Due to such reasons, Toyotomi clan lost their hegemony after the battle of Sekigahara at 1600, and extinguished in 1615, just after 17 years from the death of Hideyoshi.

Hachimanyama castle was used after Hidetsugu’s movement to Tokai region, but totally demolished along with his death, as if to erase his existence. But the town had been a center of commerce after that, and many traditional merchants' houses still remain.  Now the building of Zuiryuji temple which was established by his mother was transferred to the ruin of the castle.


20 minutes walk from JR West Tokaido Honsen line Omi-Hachiman station to hillside lift station next of Himure Hachimangu Shrine. 30 minutes drive from Meishin Expressway Ryuo interchange to hillside. 5 minutes lift ride or 30 minutes walk from hillside to hilltop castle.

Related Castles

Azuchi Castle -Isolated Heaven of Nobunaga-


Pictures (click to enlarge)

No comments:

Post a Comment