Thursday, April 3, 2014

Kaneyama Castle -Rowdy young lord of Sengoku era-

Kaneyama Castle

-Rowdy young lord of Sengoku era-



Name: Kaneyama castle (Kaneyama-jyo)
Alias: Torimine jyo (Torimine castle)
Place: Kaneyama Kani city, Gifu
Type: Mountain castle
Built: Originally in 1537, expanded in 1570's
Remaining remnants: Gate (moved), stone walls, clay walls and moats

Brief History

Kaneyama castle (兼山城) is located on Kojyosan mountain next to Kiro river in Kaneyama town, Gifu prefecture. Kaneyama area is northeastern end of Nobi Plain and where Kiso river flow into plain. It is diverging point of Masuda kaido, a road from Mino province to Hida province from Nakansedo road, and also close to Inuyama city, northeastern base of Owari province.

In 1537, Masayoshi Saito (1516-1548), pupil of Dosan Saito, the governor of Mino province, built a castle in this place. When Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582) captured middle area of Mino province including Kaneyama castle in 1565, Nobunaga placed his general Yoshinari Mori (1523-1570) as a commander of Kaneyama castle.

In 1570, when Oda clan suffered from encircling enemies, Yoshinari protected Usayama castle (Shiga prefecture) from overwhelming army of Asakura and Azai clan which tried to intrude into Kyoto city, but died in the battle. To reward his loyalty, Nobunaga appointed Nagayoshi Mori (1558-1584) as a commander of this castle, and also have lead local lords of eastern Mino country. Beside this, Nobunaga also hired Nagayoshi’s three younger brothers as pages, but owing to this later these three brothers were involved in the incident of Honnoji which was a coup d'etat by his general Mitsuhide Akechi (1521-1582) occurred in 1582 and all died.

Rowdy young lord of Sengoku era

Nagayoshi was a brave general and also a quick temper. Sometimes he killed Nobunaga’s soldiers guarding gate or brieges to pass forcibly, but Nobunaga did not punish him. He also rage about in battlefields with his favorite spear named “Ningen Mukotsu”, means easily pierce human bones. When he attacked Takato castle during campaign against Takeda clan, his gunners shoot people in central area indiscriminately from the top of the roof of buildings at next area, and made breakthrough.

After the fall of Takeda clan in 1582, Nagayoshi was appointed as a governor of northern Shinano province (Nagano prefecture) and moved to Kaizu castle (current Matsushiro castle). For his entrance there was a revolt against him, but Nagayoshi suppressed them mercilessly and called as “Oni Musashi”, it means demon.

But several months later, his master Nobunaga died in the incident of Honnoji, and local lords of northern Shinano province again oppressed to Nagayoshi who lacked support from central government. Similarly, Hidetaka Kawajiri (1527-1582), a governor of Kai province (Yamanashi prefecture) appointed by Nobunaga same as Nagayoshi, was assaulted by local rebellions and died.
In response to this, Nagayoshi abandoned Kaizu castle and retreated to the border to Mino country utilizing sons of local lords kept as hostage in advance, and finally killed all of hostages as a revenge of their rebellion. Furthermore, he had to go through the territory of Kiso clan, thus he assaulted castle of Kiso and captured son of leader, and safely passed (this time Nagayoshi returned this hostage). This seems cruel but if he did not so he might be killed in this time.

Battle of Komaki Nagakute and Nagayoshi's death

Two years later, there arise a conflict between Hideyoshi Toyotomi, nobunaga’s successor and Nobukatsu Oda (1558-1630), second son of Nobunaga. Taken over hegemony by Hideyoshi, Nobukatsu allied with Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616), former ally of Nobunaga and a large lord to resist against Hideyoshi. Nobukatsu had Owari province and Hideyoshi grasped Mino country, thus north part of Owari province suddenly became the battlefield. Expecting for further expansion, Nagayoshi supported Hideyoshi with Tsuneoki Ikeda (1536-1584), Nagayoshi's father in law.

In 1584, Tsuneoki crossed Kiso river and occupied Inuyama castle (Aichi prefecture). In response to this, Ieyasu occupied vacant Komakiyama castle and reformed it, to use as his position. Remaining sand walls and moats surrounding at halfway of the hill and hillside were built at this time. Ieyasu besieged Komakiyama castle and faced dominant Toyotomi army.

In the situation of deadlock, to change the situation, Hideyoshi planned to attack Mikawa country (eastern part of Aichi prefecture), the backward and native place of Ieyasu by a detached force consisted of Hidetsugu Toyotomi (1568-1595) a nephew of Hideyoshi, Tsuneoki and Nagayoshi. Tsuneoki and Nagayoshi rushed into enemy territory, but this plan was seen through by Ieyasu then detached force was captured by Tokugawa army at Nagakute. Divided from main troops, Nagayoshi and Tsuneoki bravely fought but finally died in the battle.

Before the battle Nagayoshi left his last will and testament stating that in case of my death, Kanayama castle is to be governed by other general and his brother Tadamasa Mori (1570-1634) should not succeed Mori clan. Nagayoshi lost his father and all brothers except for Tadamasa in battle or accident, thus he considered continuation of Mori clan.
But it was impossible to confiscate territory of Mori clan which fought and died for him, Hideyoshi ignored this will and admitted Tadamasa to succeed his house.

Afterward of the castle

After the battle of Sekigahara, Tadamasa was transferred to Kaizu castle (Matsushiro Castle, Nagano prefecture) in northern part of Shinano province. and finally moved to Bicchu province (Okayama prefecture) and built Tsuyama castle.

Kaneyama castle was abolished this time, and buidings and materials were used for expansion of Inuyama castle. Now broken stone walls remains around central area, and basement of combined gate (Masugata) was also kept. Stone wall covers front area exists as original. Additionally, main gate of Zuisenji temple (Inuyama city) uses old gate of Inymana castle, and it is said that that gate was originally one of Kaneyama castle and reused at Inuyama castle.


60 minutes walk from Meitetsu Hiromisen line Akechi station. 20 minutes drive from Tokai-Kanjo Expressway Kani-Mitake interchange. 

Related Castles

Inuyama Castle -Nobunaga's 13 year struggle to unite Owari province-
Komakiyama Castle -Unexpected reuse at 15 years later- 
Usayama Castle -Starting point of modern style Japanese castle-
Matsushiro Castle -Important base used at fatal battle of two rivals-
Tsuyama Castle -Huge castle located in inland area-

Pictures (click to enlarge)

No comments:

Post a Comment