Saturday, April 5, 2014

Tsumagi castle -Time to treason (2) tough job search with wife-

Tsumagi Castle

-Time to treason (2) tough job search with wife-



Name: Tsumagi castle (Tsumagi-jo)
Alias: Kame jo (Turtle castle)
Place: Tsumagicho Toki city, Gifu
Type: Mountain castle
Built: Originally 14th century, expanded in 16th century
Remaining remnants: Clay walls, stone walls and moats

Brief History

Continued from part 1

Tsumagi castle (妻木城) is located in Tsumaki area, a small basin at southern part of current Toki city only 10 kilometer apart from the border to current Aichi prefecture. Castle site exist at the border of Mino Mikawa height which prolongs southwestward from central mountains and flat terrace of Tokigawa-river, a major tributary of Kiso-gawa river.

Tsumaki area itself is a small valley of about 2 kilometer long, but it is an important connecting point of two roads run in parallel, it mean Shita Kaido road which was an old Nakasendo road at northward and Chuma Kaido road at southward. This point was also a passing point of low height hill which separates current Tajimi area and Toki area.

Origin of Tsumaki clan and Tsumagi castle

Tsumagi castle was built by Tsumaki clan, a local lord stem from Toki clan. Toki clan is a traditional family of Seiwa Genji, it means families stem from princes of Emperor Seiwa (850-881) and had surname of Minamoto. Along with Kanmu Heishi, also traditional families divided from Emperor Kanmu (737-806), had surname of Taira, 

Minamoto clans had been regarded as a highest family of samurais. Of course Yoritomo Minamoto (1147-1199) who established Kamakura Shogunate in 12th century is a direct descendent of Minamoto clan, and Takauji Ashikaga (1305-1358), founder of Muromachi Shoghate, was also a branch clan of Minamoto clan. 

Toki clan was also an important branch family of Seiwa Genji. They prospered at Mino province in medieval era, and many branch families spread central and eastern part of the province. As branch families, there were Tsumagi clan, Akechi clan, Doi clan, Kanamori clan, Hachiya clan, Asano clan, Sengoku clan etc. 

Territory of Toki families were close to Owari province (western part of Aichi prefecture) and Mikawa province (eastern part of Aichi country) where Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582) and Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616), rulers of Sengoku era, were born. Therefore among the conflict and extinction of Toki main family and Saito clan, many above Toki branch families became retainer of Nobunaga or Ieyasu.    

Tsumaki clan became a lord of Tsumagi area in 13th century, and they built Tsumagi castle as their residence. In Muromachi era, although main family of Toki clan became weak by subjugation from Shogunate and internal conflict, Tsumagi clan kept their territory, and coordinated other Toki related families at neighborhood including Akechi clan which is about 10 kilometer apart from Tsumagi area.

Tough situation of husband after marriage

In 1545 a female of Tsumaki clan named Hiroko Tsumaki (1530?-1576?) married with Mitsuhide Akechi (1528?-1582), the successor of Akechi family. It is said that Tsumagi clan intended to cease this marriage because of face disease of Hiroko, but Mitsuhide willingly accept and married looking at her character.

However in 1556, at the conflict between Dosan Saito (1494-1546), the former governor of the province and his son Yoshitatsu Saito (1527-1561), Akechi clan belonged to inferior Dosan as the wife of Dosan was a relative of Akechi clan. But Dosan lost and died in the battle of Nagaragawa before Yoshitatsu, and Akechi clan became next target of Yoshitatsu.

In the same year, Akechi clan was attacked by overwhelming army of Yoshitatsu, and leader of Akechi clan shared his life with his main base Akechi Nagayama castle. Mitsuhide barely left burning castle, and wandered looking for his new master. It is not clear if Hiroko followed Mitsuhide or not

Unexpected trouble of Shogunate

As Akechi clan had been a direct retainer of Muromachi Shogunate, Mitsuhide might hope to be hired by Shogunate. But at this time Muromachi Shogunate significantly lost its power and diverged into two lines then fought each other. Yoshiharu Ashikaga (1511-1550), the 12th Shogun, had to leave Kyoto city and escape to Omi province (Shiga prefecture) and died there.

His son Yoshiteru Ashikaga (1536-1565), the 13rd Shogun, also had to stay at Omi province before his return to Kyoto city in 1558. Yoshiteru once coordinated with Miyoshi clan and returned to Kyoto city as Shogun, but Shogunate was quite unstable and could not hire new retainer.

Mitsuhide might approached to Kyoto city but looking at this situation the moved to Echizen province (Fukui prefecture) at northwest of Kyoto city. At this time Echizen province was governed by Asakura clan, which prospered under its leader Yoshikage Asakura (1533-1573) but had to prepare for the rebel of Ikko Ikki army.

Bare livelihood and change

According to the tale, at Asakura clan Mitsuhide showed the skill of matchlock gun which was brought to Japan about 10 years ago and started to spread as new weapon. But it seemed Mitsuhide was not hired as a general of Asakura clan, and told that Mitsuhide had a culture lived as a teacher of small private school in front of Nagasaki Shonenji temple.

Among severe economic situation, Mitsuhide had to appeal himself to Asakura clan. There is a tale that to hold tea party with high class people of Asakura clan, Hiroko sold her beautiful long hair to earn money. But the situation did not progress, and Mitsuhide became middle of 30’s when other people gradually start to retire in old days.

The situation had drastically changed in 1565. At that year, the 13rd Shogun Yoshiteru Ashikaga was killed by Miyoshi and Matsunaga army which did not like the active movement of Yoshiteru to restore the authority. Yoshiaki Ashikaga (1537-1597), the younger brother of Yoshiteru, barely escaped the assassination by Miyoshi army being supported by retainers of Shogunate such as Fujitaka Hosokawa (1534-1610) or Koremasa Wada (1530-1571).

Impatient of next Shogun candidate

At first Yoshiaki escaped to Takeda clan which was the governor of Wakasa province (western part of Fukui prefecture) but Wakasa clan significantly weakened by internal conflict at this time. Next Yoshiaki moved to Asakura clan at the next of Takeda clan and asked for assistance to Asakura clan.

Asakura clan welcomed the visit of Yoshiaki but did not raise army because of potential conflict with Ikko Ikki army and limited power considering conflict with Miyoshi or Matsunaga army and keep several nations around Kyoto city. Looking at the raise of next Shogun by Miyoshi and Matsunaga army, Yoshiaki gave up the support from Ashikaga clan and looked for next supporter.

Around this time, Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582), the warlord of Owari province (western half of Aichi prefecture) who broke overwhelming Imagawa army at the battle of Okehazama in 1600, rapidly grew to strong warlord expanding to Mino province (Gifu prefecture). Finally in 1567, Nobunaga fell Inabayama castle (later Gifu castle) and expelled Tatsuoki Saito (1547-1573), the son of Yoshitatsu Saito the captured Mino province.

Bridge of next Shogun candidate and new ruler

Looking at the rise of Nobunaga, Yoshiaki seek connection to Nobunaga to ask assistance. As Lady Nou, the formal wife of Nobunaga was daughter of Dosan and distant relative of Mitsuhide, now Mitsuhide was hired to coordinate with Nobunaga in 1567. The deal with Nobunaga well processed, then Mitsuhide moved to Mino province with Yoshiaki the served both for Yoshiaki and Nobunaga.

In autumn of 1568, Nobunaga started his march toward Kyoto city with Yoshiaki. As Nobunaga already allied with Nagamasa Azai (1545-1583), the warlord of Odani castle (Shiga prefecture), Nobunaga sent his all army toward Rokkaku clan at Kannonji castle (Shiga prefecture).

Looking at the fall of Mitsukuri castle (Shiga prefecture) which was an important branch castle of Kannonji castle only in one day, Rokkaku clan left Kannonji castle then road to Kyoto city opened to Nobunaga. Nobunaga easily captured Kyoto city in one month and pushed out remaining Miyoshi army from Kyoto area. Now Yoshiaki became 15th Shogun under the support of Nobunaga, and Mitsuhide also became formal retainer of Yoshiaki and Nobunaga after 15 years tough job search.

In spite of tough situation of Akechi clan, Tsumagi clan retained their territory under Saito clan. After the return and promotion of Mitsuhide, Tsumaki clan individually managed Tsumagi castle but worked as retainer of Mitsuhide. Under the stabilization of situation, Tsumagi castle might be improved as the main base of Tsumaki clan.

Structure of Tsumagi castle

Tsumagi castle mainly consist of hilltop castle and hillside residence. Hilltop castle formed by central area, secondary area and third area placed in line, and other many small areas at westward of these core areas. At central are there is a line of stone walls with steps which separates upper area and lower area of the castle.

Southern slope of central area is covered by natural huge rocks. At the west of corer areas there are several flat areas called as Kuraato (storage), Okamaya (kitchen) and Taiko Yagura with ruin of well. These areas are protected by line of stone walls which might be added later, and total size of hilltop castle is about 200 meter long and 100 meter wide.

Hillside residence was built after the battle of Sekigahara occurred in 1600. Utilizing the gentle slope, four layers of terraces which are about 100 meter long and 20 meter wide are built utilizing stone walls. Highest area might be used as a residence of the lord, and below the residence flat terraces continues which might be used by retainers.

Fall of Mitsuhide and continuation of Tsumaki clan

After the death of Hiroko in ill in 1576, in 1582, Mitsuhide executed a coup d’?tat against Nobunaga as an incident of Honnoji, but was defeated by his colleague Hideyoshi Hashiba (1534-1582, later Hideyoshi Toyotomi) at the battle of Yamazaki. Mitsuhide was killed on the way of escape to his main base Sakamoto castle (Shiga prefecture).

At this time Hirotada Tsumaki (1514-1582), the commander of Tsumagi castle, followed Mitsuhide and killed himself. After that Tsumagi castle was attacked by Nagayoshi Mori (1558-1584) who was the lord of Kaneyama castle (Gifu prefecture) and supported Hideyoshi. Yoritada Tsumaki (1565-1623), the successor of Mitsutada, opened Tsumagi castle and became the retainer of Mori clan.

In 1600 Mori clan moved to Shinano province (Nagano prefecture) but Tsumaki clan remained at Tsumagi castle and became small lord. In that year the battle of Sekigahara occurred, and Tsumagi clan belonged to Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616) and  faced against Tamaru clan who was the lord of Iwamura castle (Gifu prefecture) who belonged to Mitsunari Ishida (1560-1600).

Afterward of castle

As Tamaru clan was larger than Tsumaki clan, Tsumaki clan strengthened Tsumagi castle and prepared for invasion of Tamaru army. Tsumaki army stroke back the attack of Tamaru clan and captured several castle, but could not fall Iwamura castle then the situation fell in deadlock. But Ieyasu broke Mitsunari at the main battle then Tamaru clan opened Iwamura castle.

After the battle Tsumaki clan survived as small lord, but as it was smaller than the standard to build castle they built their administrative office at hillside. However in 1658, the lord of the clan suddenly died without successor thus Tsumaki clan ended its history as the lord of Tsumaki area and Tsumagi castle.

Now no building was left but structure of hilltop castle and hillside residence both remain well. Even though not so appealing but well built structure exist here and there of the castle. This resemble to the lady from Tsumaki clan who was scarcely recorded but well supported tough period of her husband quietly but steadily.

Continue to part 3


20 minutes drive from Tokai Kanjo Jidoshado Expressway Toki-Minami-Tajimi interchange. Forest road to the castles starts from backside of golf course.

Related Castles

Akechi Nagayama Castle -Time to treason (1) mysterious origin-
Kita Shirakawa Castle -Time to treason (3) protection of capital city and Shogun=

Pictures (click to enlarge)

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