Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Utsubuki Castle -Results of betting-

Utsubuki Castle

-Results of betting-



Name: Utsubuki castle (Utsubuki-jyo)
Place: Nakanomachi Kurayoshi city, Tottori
Type: Mountain castle
Built: Originally 15th century, expanded in 16th century
Remaining remnants: Stone walls and clay walls

Brief History

Utsubuki castle (打吹城) is located at Utsubukiyama mountain, north of the central area of Kurayoshi city. Kurayoshi city has been a center of Houki country (western half of Tottori prefecture) from ancient era, and an entrance from Mimasaka country (northern part of Okayama prefecture). In medieval era, Yamana clan, the governor of Houki country, resided at Utsubuki castle, and Ogamo clan, a local clan stem from 12th century, actually held this area. At the beginning of 16th century, Ogamo clan merged into Nanjo clan, also a traditional local clan.

For many local small lords, selection of master was a vital problem. As they actually grasp land and people wrong decision might not necessarily lead to their extinction, but if they support winner they can survive and get larger territory, but if belonged to loser they might be confiscated their territory, expelled or punished. Even if they change to winner’s side, if its timing is too early they will be punished by former master, and it too late their change might be not evaluated, or condemned as betrayal. Some local lords divided their house into two houses and supported each masters, to continue their house irrespective to win and lose of their master.

Betting of Mototsugu Nanjo

Nanjo clan was originally small lord of this area, resided at Ueshi castle located in mountain area just apart from Kurayoshi city. At the beginning of 16th century, Tsunehisa Amago (1458-1541), a powerful warlord of Izumo country (Shimane prefecture) invaded into Houki country. Western half of Houki country was occupied by Amago county, and local lords in eastern half of Houki country including Nanjyo clan subordinated to Amago clan.

But in the same time, Nobunaga Oda (1548-1582), a warlord of Owari province (Aichi prefecture) seized central areas and rapidly grew its power. Mouri clan and Oda clan  made friendship and kept noninterference at first, but around 1578, the conflict of both power began. Nobunaga appointed Hideyoshi Hashiba (1537-1598, later Hideyoshi Toyotomi) as a commander and ordered to conquest Chugoku region.

In 1578 Hideyoshi entered Harima country (Hyogo prefecture) and started his campaign against Mouri clan. At first he suffered from continuous revolts of Miki clan at Miki castle and Murashige Araki at Arioka castle in backward, and was inferior to Mouri clan. But once suppressed these revolts, he captured Harima country and Tajima country (both Hyogo prefecture) by 1580, then started to suppress Mouri clan in earnest.

Just at that time Nanjyo clan had a trouble with Mouri clan, thus current leader Mototsugu Nanjo (1549-1593) decided to leave Mouri clan and support Hideyoshi Hashiba. In 1581, Hideyoshi sieged Tottori castle (Tottori city), and large army of Mouri clan lead by Motoharu Kikkawa (1530-1586), uncle of current Mouri leader and a brave general, advanced to middle of Houki country to save Tottori castle. But Nanjo clan held back them at Ueshi castle and Utsubuki castle, thus Mouri army could not reach Tottori thus Tottori castle fell without support.

Due to this achievement, Nanjo clan became a lord governing middle part of Houki country under Toyotomi government. As Ueshi castle, their residence, was apart from Kurayoshi town, Mototsugu expanded Utsubuki castle into a modern one to govern town. As a result, Mototsugu won his all betting.

Betting of Mototada Nanjo

After the death of Hideyoshi in 1598, there arise a conflict with Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616), the largest lord under Toyotomi government, and former Toyotomi supporting group lead by chief administrative staff Mitsunari Ishida (1560-1600). This time Mototada Nanjo (1579-1615), son of Mototsugu supported Mitsunari, probably coordinated with surrounding large powers such as Ukita clan or Mouri clan. But Mitsunari was defeated by Ieyasu at the battle of Sekigahara in 1600, and Mototada was confiscated its territory and expelled.

Later Mototada fought as Toyotomi army at the battle of Osaka castle in 1615 and 1615. Mototada attempted to betray to Tokugawa side under the condition of recovering former territory,but was detected by his colleague and killed. As a result, Mototsugu lost his territory at his first betting, and his life at second time.

Along with the expelling of Nanjyo clan, their castles including Ueshi castle and Utsubuki castle was broken. In Edo era, Kurayoshi town was governed by a local magistrate appointed by Ikeda clan at Tottori castle, and an administrative office was built near the mountain. Now the site became a park with cherry blossoms, and terrains and some broken ruin of castles remain at the mountain, along with traditional Japanese town at hillside.

Related Castles

Tottori Castle -As secure as guarding general's will-
Ueshi Castle -Mystic castle with legend of heavenly maiden-

Pictures (click to enlarge)

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