Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Komaru castle -Record of suppression-

Komaru Castle

-Record of suppression-



Name: Komaru Castle (Komaru-jyo)
Place: Gobuichicho Echizen city, Fukui
Type: Hill Castle
Built: 1575
Remaining remnants: Stone walls and dry moats

Brief History

Komaru castle (小丸城) is located on a small hill at the east part of current Echizen city. Echizen city is the south border of Echizen plain, and applicable to a gate from Tsuruga area into Fukui area.

This area is said as the birthplace of Emperor Keitai (?-?), who moved to Kinki region and succeeded Imperial Household in early 6th century, and is a direct ancestor of current Emperor. The hill itself is small but protruding to marsh (current rice field), it is a suitable place to build a castle. Komaru castle was built by Narimasa Sasa (1536-1588), a general of Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582) in 1575, as his residence after the conquest of Ikko Ikki at that year.

Ikko Ikki uprising in Echizen country

In 1471, priest Rennyo (1415-1499), the leader of Ikkoshu (one denomination of Japanese buddhism) held his residence at Yoshizaki Gobo (at the north border of Echizen country) and started to propagate to people in Hokuriku region. As Ikkoshu was enthusiastic and strongly seek for salvation, thus Ikkoshu became a large social movement of this era. Due to its character Ikkoshu believers formed a military group named Ikko Ikki (Ikkoshu uprising) against oppression from other denomination or rulers, and fiercely conflicted with opponents. In 1478 Renyo moved to Kinki region, but Hokuriku region was still a strong area of Ikkoshu.

In Echizen country, Asakura clan, the governor of the country, succeeded to control Ikko Ikki by military power and conciliate. But after the extinction of Asakura clan was Nobunaga Oda in 1573, utilizing internal conflicts between new governors appointed by Nobunaga, Ikko Ikki group captured Echizen country in 1574, supported by Ishiyama Honganji temple, head temple of Ikkoshu at Osaka and colleagues of denomination in Kaga country (Ishikawa prefecture), next to Echizen country and already kept by Ikko Ikki. As Nobunaga faced enemies in different fronts, he once just watched this situation.

But due to conflict between local people and high class priests sent from head temple or Kaga country, there arose internal battle inside the group and they significantly lost their power. On the other hand, Nobunaga defeated Ikko Ikki in Nagashima area (Mie prefecture) and Takeda clan respectively in 1575, and now could centralize his army to Echizen country.

Suppression of Ikko Ikki by Nobunaga

Same year, Nobunaga started to invasion to Echizen country by large army from all direction of the country. Facing large army of Nobunaga, weakened and inexperienced Ikko Ikki army easily collapsed, and Nobunaga could capture whole country in short time. Nobunaga thoroughly oppressed remaining Ikkoshu believers, and placed Katsuie Shibata (1522-1583), his veteran general, as a governor of this country. Three generals including Narimasa were attached to Katsuie to help him, and these three lords got the territory at southern part of Fukui plain. Narimasa held current Echizen city area, and built his own castle at current place.

Komaru castle was not a large castle, but its central area was covered by stone walls and thought to have a main tower. Secondary area and third area located next to central area, and whole part of castle were surrounded by moats and marsh. But in 1581 along with the expansion of territory Narimasa became a commander of Toyama castle, and Komaru castle was abolished only after five years from construction.

In 1932, during the investigation of this castle, a roofing block used for a turret was discovered. At the backside of this block, there was a sentence stating Toshiie Maeda (1538-1599), another general of Oda army under Katsuie Shibata, killed many Ikkoshu believers when Oda army occupied Echizen country. The purpose of this block is also describe to record the fact for future leader, and it is thought to be written by surviving craftsman who believed Ikkoshu. In that sense, the intention of this person are achieved as intended.

Now the site of castle became ruin but a built in stone gate and stone walls of connecting path remain. Terrain of castle including clay walls and trace of moats also exist, and we can still grasp rough shape of the castle.

Related Castles

Toyama Castle -Pride and honor resisted to ruler-

Pictures (click to enlarge)

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