Sunday, October 5, 2014

Urado Castle -Downfall and disappearance of regional ruler-

Urado Castle

-Downfall and disappearance of regional ruler-



Name: Urado castle (Urado-jo)
Place: Urado Kochi city, Kochi
Location: 33.4972180846715, 133.5720241963529
Type: Hill Castle
Built: Originally in 15th century, expanded in 1590's
Remaining remnants: Clay walls and dry moats 

Brief History

Continued from Oko castle

Urado castle (浦戸城) is located at Uradoyama hill on small peninsula at the mouth of Urado bay, about 5 kilometer south of central Kochi city. The castle site separates outer sea and Urado bay with small straight, then it was suitable place to manage water transportation of this area and base of naval force. This castle located at next of Katsurahama beach, a famous sightseeing place of beautiful curving beach.

Urado castle was originally build as a base of Motoyama clan. In 1562, Chosokabe clan beat Motoyama clan at the battle of Nagahama, and seized Urado castle. After that Urado castle had been used as a naval base nearly 30 years.

Potential conflict between Motochika and Hideyoshi

Motochika Chosokabe (1539-1599), a warlord of Tosa country (Kochi prefecture), virtually united Shikoku island by 1584, after the battle over 20 years. But at the same time, Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598), former regional commander of former ruler Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582), suppressed the confusion after the death of Nobunaga and approached to next ruler. 

Motochika who did not want strong ruler opposed to Hideyoshi and supported his enemies, but after the battle of Komaki Nagakute in 1584, Hideyoshi conciliated his strong rival Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616), a warlord of Suruga country (Shizuoka prefecture), and started his action to unite whole Japan.

In 1585 spring, Hideyoshi at first attacked Kii country (Wakayama prefecture), which was governed by monks and local lords and at the opposite shore of Shikoku island. Facing 100,000 army of Hideyoshi, monk army was annihilated and Kii country was occupied only in two months.

Start of Shikoku campaign

Hideyoshi who could remove danger at backside next aimed at Shikoku island. Motochika watched this situation and negotiated with Hideyoshi by ceding some territory, but negotiation was broke down and Hideyoshi started his campaign against Chosokabe clan.

Hideyoshi attacked Shikoku country with over 100,000 soldiers from three directions. Toward Iyo country (Ehime prefecture), large army of Mouri clan which subordinated to Hideyoshi marched. Ukita clan and other generals located at Chugoku region attacked Sanuki country (Kagawa prefecture), under supervision of Hideyoshi's military staff Yoshitaka Kuroda (1546-1604, famous as Kanbe). Main force of Hideyoshi lead by Hidenaga Toyotomi (1540-1591) and Hidetsugu Toyotomi (1568-1595), younger brother and of nephew of Hideyoshi, crossed Osaka bay to Awa country (Tokushima prefecture).

On the other hand, Motochika only had 30,000 soldiers, and as a defensive side Motochika had to divide forces to every major bases. Motochika stayed Hakuchi castle (Tokushima prefecture) which was the connecting point of four countries of Shikoku island, and strengthened major castles of each front.

Hideyoshi army started operation in May 1585, and tactical situation processed under quite dominant of Hideyoshi. In Iyo country, Mouri army defeated Kaneko clan, the strong local lord of Chosokabe side, and occupied whole country in one month. 

Process of Shikoku campaign and surrender to Hideyoshi

At Sanuki country, Toyotomi army easily occupied Kioka castle (current Takamatsu castle) and neighbor castles. Motochika originally planned to lure Hideyoshi army into Ueda castle at the end of narrow valley and destroy, but Yoshitaka Kuroda penetrated  this plan and changed the army to Awa country ignoring Ueda castle. It is said that Yoshitaka provoked Motochika that it was incredible that such man of shallow intelligence united Shikoku country, and Motochika regretted to face Yoshitaka.

Awa country was the expected target thus Motochika placed reliable generals and large troops. Main force of Motochika stand Ichinomiya castle (Tokushima prefecture) over 20 days and once Hideyoshi planned to command army directly, but Hidenaga shut the waterline of the castle and finally Ichinomiya castle opened in July. 

Motochika still intended to have a decisive battle against Hideyoshi, but his commanders recommended to surrender then Motochika finally made peace with Hideyoshi. As a result of treaty, Motochika only kept Tosa country and other territories were confiscated. Motochika lost most part of his achievement for 20 years.

Expansion of Urado castle

Motochika who became the feudal lord of Toyotomi government, newly build modern castle with stone walls at Otakayama hill, the place of current Kochi castle in 1588 and moved from former residence Oko castle. But current central Kochi area was low wetland and there was a danger of flood. Motochika was also expected to operate neval forces by Hideyoshi, thus Motochika significantly expanded Urado castle and used as his residence in 1591.

Urado castle consists of over 10 terraces spread over the hill. Central area at the top of hill was a square of 100 meter length and a three story main tower with stone wall basement existed. Other part of the castle are simple flat terraces separated by clay wall and dry moats, and still kept the shape of medieval castle. Total length of the castle reached 500 meter, and Motochika's residence located at the north hillside of the castle.

Trouble of Chosokabe clan

After the defeat by Hideyoshi, further trouble occurred at Chosokabe clan. In 1586, Motochika was ordered by Hideyoshi to support Otomo clan, a warlord of Bungo country (Oita prefecture) which was attacked by Shimazu clan, a warlord of Satsuma country (Kagoshima prefecture). Motochika marched to Bungo country with Hidehisa Sengoku (1552-1614), general of Hideyoshi and Masayasu Sogo (1554-1587), former enemy of Motochika. 

Next year Hideyoshi army faced Shimazu troops at Hetsugigawa river, but due to the reckless command of Hidehisa Toyotomi army suffered fatal defeat before the ambush of Shimazu clan. Nobuchika Chosokabe (1565-1587), the successor of Motochika died in the battle along with Masayasu Sogo, and Motochika was once reported missing in the battle. Hidehisa ran away from the battlefield, and later expelled taking responsibility.

After the death of Nobuchika, Motochika planned to choose his fourth son Morichika Chosokabe (1575-1615). But major retainers supported second son Chikakazu Kagawa (1567-1587) or Chikatada Tsuno (1572-1600), and internal conflict occurred between both supporters. During this conflict Motochika purged retainer including his brothers, and this fact significantly weakened authority and ability of Chosokabe clan. 

End of former ruler of Shikoku island

Motochika died in 1599, and Morichika succeeded the leader position. But due to the disorder of succession Chosokabe clan could not decide clear policy and faced at the battle of Sekigahara, a conflict between Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616), the largest lord under Toyotomi government and Mitsunari Ishida (1560-1600), the chief administrative staff of Toyotomi government. Chosokabe clan belonged to Ishida side under the course, but did not fought at the battle and returned to the country. Morichika tried to apologize to Ieyasu who won at the battle, but also killed Chikatada probablly fearing the change of the leader. However as Chikatada was close to Ieyasu, furious Ieyasu confiscated Tosa country and Chosokabe clan became an end as a warlord.

Expelled Morichika lived at Kyoto city, and participated in the battle of Osaka castle between Ieyasu and Hideyori Toyotomi (1593-1615), the son of Hideyoshi, in 1614 and 1615. Morichika bravely fought at Toyotomi side, but after the defeat of Hideyori Morichika was captured and executed along with his son. House of the ruler of Shikoku country disappeared in the history just 30 years after its peak.

After the expel of Chosokabe clan, Kazutoyo Yamauchi (1545-1605) was appointed as a governor of Tosa country by Edo shogunate. Kazutoyo entered Urado castle and suppressed revolt of former Chosokabe retainers. Later Kazutoyo built Kochi castle utilizing former Otakayama castle and moved in 1603, then Urado castle was abolished.

Currently the shape of the castle was lost by development, but ruin of main tower basement still remain along with moved stone walls of central area. It is not clear if the beautiful view from the castle could cure deep heartbreak of Motochika or not.

Related Castles

Oko Castle -Castle of regional hero who united Shikoku island-
Kochi castle -White elegant buildings on secure stone walls-

Pictures (click to enlarge)

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