Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Damine Castle -Empty end of family discord-

Damine Castle

-Empty end of family discord-



Name: Damine castle (Damine-jo)
Alias: Jazuga-jyo (Snake head castle), Ryunoshiro (Dragon shaped castle)
Place: Damine Shitara town, Aichi
Type: Hill castle
Built: 1470
Remaining remnants: Sand walls and moats

Brief History

Damine castle (田峯城) is located at southeast edge of Damine town, a village places at the height surrounded by Toyokawa river and its tributary, at the northeast part of Aichi prefecture. Damine area is at the middle of Ina-Kaido road goes north and south ward from Nagashino to Iwamura town in Mino province (Gifu prefecture), and also a connecting point with a road of east and west ward from the north part of current Toyota city to north part of Hamamatsu city.

Small clans among large powers

In medieval era, northeastern part of Mikawa province (east part of Aichi prefecture) was governed by small lords such as Okudaira clan, Nagashino Suganuma clan and Damine Suganuma clan collectively called as Yamaga Sanpo Shu. Suganuma clan is a strong local lord of this area came to this area in 15th century, and held around Toyokawa river by several branch houses. Damine Suganuma clan was a major stream of Suganuma clan, and built Damine castle as their residence in 1470. 

Small clans of this area including Suganuma clan changed their master based on the surrounding situation. Damine Suganuma clan once belonged to Imagawa clan, a warlord of Suruga country (middle part of Shizuoka prefecture) around 1550, but facing fall of Imagawa clan after the battle of Okehazama at 1560, they changed their master to Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616), who became independent from Imagawa clan and newly united Mikawa province.

But when Shingen Takeda (1521-1573), a warlord of Kai province (Yamanashi prefecture) and held Ina region of Shinano country (Nagano prefecture) at the next of Mikawa country, began to give pressure to Tokugawa clan, Suganuma clan subordinated to Takeda clan. But conflict between Tokugawa supporting people and Takeda supporters arose, and this was a cause of tragic family discord.

Structure of Damine castle

Damine castle spreads a small hill of about 200 meter long square. As a castle of important lord of this area, this castle is comparatively large at this area. Central area is an oval shaped area located at the top of the hill, and residence of the lord, watch tower or stable are thought to exist there. Several terraces spread from north to west slope of the hill, to guard the front side of the castle. Dry moat spread along the hill, and entrance area connected inside and outside of the castle. 

Backside of the castle is not improved but there are also several terraces. Backside of the castle is not so securely guarded became it faces steep cliff along the river.  The most inner part of the castle which was surrounded by seer cliffs and central area, is thought to keep the hostage from retainers. 

Expulsion, revenge and death

Since then Damine Suganuma clan belonged to Takeda clan, and even after the death of  Shingen in 1573, they continuously supported Katsuyori Takeda (1546-1582), the successor of Shingen. In 1575, Sadatada Suganuma (?-1582), leader of Damine Suganuma clan, served with Katsuyori for siege of Nagashino castle

But at the battle of Nagashino Takeda army suffered severe defeat by numerous matchlock gunner of the ally of central ruler Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582) and Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616). Katsuyori barely left the battlefield and returned toward Shinano province, and Sadatada accompanied Katusyori.

As Damine castle was on the way to Takeda territory then Sadatada returned to his castle with Katsuyori to stay the night. But Sadanao Suganuma, an uncle of Sadatada and Dozen Imaizumi, the vassal of clan, decided to turn to Oda side and shut the gate of the castle. Katsuyori and Sadatada could not enter the castle thus they had to further escape to Busetsu castle, 20km away from this castle.

Facing this situation, Sadatada swear revenge to betrayers. Making rumor of his death to loosen the security of the castle, one day in 1576, Sadatada assaulted Damine castle in early morning with his colleagues and retrieved it. He executed Sadanao and Dozen at the public space near the castle, and also killed about 100 people related to the revolt.

But in 1582, Takeda clan was ruined by the attack of Nobunaga and Ieyasu. 

Sadatada left Damine castle and escaped to Ina area at the southern part of Shinano province (Nagano prefecture), but knowing there is no further place to refuge, Sadatada  fought with Tokugawa army. It was said that Sadatada was executed at this time, but also said he was saved. Anyway Damine Sadanuma clan was extinguished as a local lord, but other branch house of Suganuma clan who belonged to Ieyasu continued as feudal lords in Edo era. 

Damine castle was abolished at that time, but the ruin of castle is well kept. Now imitation of buildings such as dwelling house, watchtower or main gate were built on the site, and show us former atmosphere of the castle.


30 minutes drive from Shin-Tomei Expressway Shinshiro interchange via Route 257.

Related Castles

Nagashino Castle -Castle changed fate of Takeda clan-

Pictures (click to enlarge)


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