Saturday, January 10, 2015

Tanba Kameyama Castle -Reason of rebellion-

Tanba Kameyama Castle

-Reason of rebellion-



Name: Tanba Kameyama castle (Tanba Kameyama-jo)
Place: Aratsukacho Kameoka city, Kyoto
Type: Hill Castle
Built: 1579
Remaining remnants: Stone walls and moats 

Brief History

Tanba Kameyama castle (丹波亀山城, formal name is Kameyama castle but to distinguish from Kameyama castle in Mie prefecture, it is often called as Tanba Kameyama castle) from is located at the a hill in the center of Kameoka city. Kameoka area is a small flat land places at 20 kilometer northwest of Kyoto city, and directly connected to Kyoto city by Kizugawa river. Due to its geographical condition, Kameoka area is an entrance from Sanin area to Kyoto region, and along with Yamazaki area which was the gate from Sanyo region, and important point to guard Kyoto city from westward.

Continued from Sakamoto castle

Kameoka area at Muromachi era

Tanba province to which Kameoka area belonged was governed by Hokokawa clan in Muromachi era, but after the battle of Onin (1467-1477) which Hosokawa clan became one party, Hosokawa clan significantly lost their authority and power of local lords increased. Kameyama area was held by Naito clan at Yagi castle, a deputy governor of Tanba country, but was expelled by Hatano clan in the former half of 16th century. 

In the middle of 16th century, Nagayoshi Miyoshi (1522-1664) sent Nagayori Matsunaga (?-1565), a younger brother of Hisahide Matsunaga (1510-1577) who was an important general of Nagayoshi, then Nagayoshi captured Yagi castle and married with Naito clan people. 

But after 1560's Miyoshi clan lost their power and Nagayoshi also died at the battle against local lords, then his son Tadayoshi Naito (1550-1626, known as his Christian name Jyoan Naito) barely kept Yagi castle and Kameoka area. But in 1578, Tadayoshi escaped from Yagi castle before the invasion of Mitsuhide Akechi (1528-1582), a regional commander of central ruler Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582), and Naito clan was extinguished as a warlord.

Build of Tanba Kameyama castle

By 1579, Mitsuhide destroyed all strong local lords such as Hatano clan at Yagami castle or Akai clan at Kuroi castle then united Tanba province. Mitsuhide newly built a castle at a hill named Kameyama near the Kizugawa river, the moved from Sakamoto castle and used it as his main residence. To strengthen his governance, Mitsuhide placed his relatives or important retainers to branch castles, such as Hidemitsu Akechi (1536-1582) at Fukuchiyama castle, Mitsutada Akechi (?-1582) at Yagami castle or Toshizo Saito (1534-1582) at Kuroi castle.

In 1580, Ishyama Honganji temple which resisted over 10 years finally surrendered to Nobunaga. After that, Nobunaga suddenly expelled Nobumori Sakuma (1528-1582) who was the commander of Ishiyama Honganji encirclement force consist by many lord of Kinki region. Nobunaga gave Mitsuhide to the command right to these small lords of Kinki region, and along with Hosokawa clan already belonged to Mitsuhide, Mitsuhide controlled most part of Oda army at Kinki region. Mitsuhide also deeply participated in the politics of Nobunaga, and executed huge military parade held at Kyoto city in 1581. At this time, Mitsuhide was a highest retainer of Nobunaga and virtually a chancellor.

Power and fear of Mitsuhide

As above Mitsuhide's power became unparalleled among Oda clan, but there was also anxious element for the future of Mitsuhide. Originally Mitsuhide planned to the expansion into Sanin region, but Hideyoshi Hashiba (1537-1598, later Hideyoshi Toyotomi), a regional commander of Sanin area who faced Mouri clan, captured Tajima province (north part of Hyogo prefecture) and shut the front of Akechi territory. 

Mitsuhide also had a relationship with Motochika Chosokabe (1539-1599), a warlord of Tosa province (Kochi prefecture) and who aimed at a unification of Shikoku island. Oda government at first made friendship with Chosokabe clan as a restraint to Miyoshi clan, then Mitsuhide coordinated both clan and let the daughter of Toshizu Saito to marry with Nobuchika Chosokabe (1565-1587). 

But after the fall of Miyoshi clan, expansion of Chosokabe clan became a threat to Oda clan, and Oda clan start to suppress Chosokabe clan. Negotiation of both clans was broken, and in 1582 Nobunaga decided to across to Shikoku island subjugate Chosokabe clan. This Shikoku region army was lead by Nobutaka Oda (1558-1583), the third son of Nobunaga and Nagahide Niwa (1535-1585), an important general of Nobunaga.

Nobusumi Tsuda (1555-1583), a son in law of Mitsuhide participated in this troop but Mitsuhide was separated from Shikoku direction. After the conquest of Chugoku region and Shikoku island another expedition to Kyushu island is expected, but this might be mainly performed by Hideyoshi and Nobutaka who might have next area.

Further, as mentioned before, Nobunaga easily expelled Nobumori Sakuma who was one of the oldest retainer and had the largest army in Oda clan. Nobumori was expelled just after Honganji temple surrendered and his target disappeared, thus even though Mitsuhide's talent was far above Nobumori, Mitsuhide might felt fear about the future of him and his son.

Situation just before incident of Honnoji

In February 1582, utilizing the betrayal of Yoshimasa Kiso (1540-1595), a local lord of Kiso area (Nagano prefecure) under Takeda clan, Nobunaga decided to slash Takeda clan, along with his ally Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616) who struggled with Takeda clan many years. The vanguard of Oda army led by Nobutada Oda (1557-1582) easily captured Takato castle (Takato town), a final defense line of Takeda clan, and roll into Kai province (Yamanashi prefecture), a main territory of Takeda clan. Within one month, Katsuyori Takeda (1546-1582), the last leader of Takeda clan was killed with his son, and Takeda clan ruined.

Nobunaga arrived at Kai country after the fall of Takeda clan, and returned to his residence Azuchi castle being entertained by Ieyasu. As a reply, Nobunaga planned to invite Ieyasu to Azuchi castle and carefully serve him, then ordered Mitsuhide to do so. Mitsuhide prepared perfect settings and waited Ieyasu.

But at the same time, in the western front Hideyoshi Hashiba faced Mouri clan from 1577. Mouri clan was a strong warlord and at first Hideyoshi experienced tough fight, but Hideyoshi gradually restored his situation and pushed Mouri clan. In 1581, Hideyoshi captured Tottori castle, a secure fortress of Sanin region, by starving tactics and captured east half of Sanin region. 

Next year Hideyoshi made total offence in Sanyo area, and encircled Bicchu Takamatsu Castle (Okayama city). Bicchu Takamatsu castle was a secure castle guarded by wide marsh, but utilizing this terrain Hideyoshi built a large embankment and made flood attack to the castle. Main force of Mouri clan came to this area to release the castle, but obstructed by Hideyoshi army and water, they could only stay near the castle.

Plan of coup d'etat by Mitsuhide

Seeing this situation, to make final settlement, Hideyoshi asked arrival of Nobunaga as a reinforcement at the middle of May. Nobunaga agreed this view and decided to go to Bicchu Takamatsu castle, then ordered Mitsuhide to accompany him. Mitsuhide returned to Tanba Kameyama castle and prepared his army.

But at this time Mitsuhide had a will of coup d'etat against Nobunaga. In May 18, Mitsuhide had a Renga (type of Japanese poem prepared by several person by turn) party with nobles and Shinto priests at Atago shrine, and it is said that the Mitsuhide made the following poem that "Time is now. Rain starts to fall in May". This was a normal poem but in the Japanese of the poem Mitsuhide seems to declare his will to seize the authority, and attendee of this Renga party was later investigated by Hideyoshi. 

Anyway Mitsuhide planned his coup d'etat pretending leave to Bicchu Takamatsu castle. On the other hand, Nobunaga arrived at Honnoji temple in Kyoto city, where he used as a lodge in Kyoto city with small guards at May 29. His son and successor Nobutada Oda (1557-1582) also stayed at Myokakuji temple, near Honnoji temple. Nobunaga had tea parties with nobles, merchants and cultural peoples.

Reason of rebellion

From past to now, many person discuss about the cause of this coup d'etat. There is an idea of "fraud triangle" for accounting and internal control. It means that fraud occurs when these three conditions allows, it mean opportunity, pressure (necessity) and justification. 

Opportunity is relatively clear. Around this period, major part of soldiers and generals faced enemy at each front, and there was a military vacuum around Kyoto area except for the army of Mitsuhide. Nobunaga originally grew his guard named Horoshu, but along with the expansion of territory these guards promoted to generals and were allocated to the castles. 

Especially occupation of former Takeda territory required many generals as Nobunaga killed most part of Takeda generals, thus Nobunaga input many close generals to the occupied area. It is said that Nobunaga planned to grew next guard from local lords of Omi province (Shiga prefecture), but this was just started and did not work.

Furthermore, both of Nobunaga and his successor Nobutaga stayed at same place with only small number of soldiers. It was an inexcusable matter from the perspective of crisis management.

Move to the next, pressure or necessity. Historically the following matters are discussed as a necessity of coup d'etat;

1) Personal grudge against Nobunaga, such as continuous scolding for failure or death of Mitsuhide's mother at Yagami castle when Nobunaga broke the agreement to save Hatano clan
2) Mitsuhide's fear for future territory tranfer or purge same as Nobumori Sakuma
3) Order from the Imperial Household, to prevent Nobunaga to become a new emperor
4) Order of ex shogun Yoshiaki to the former retainer Mitsuhide
5) Plot by other large retainer of Nobunaga, such as Ieyasu Tokugawa or Hideyoshi Hashiba (Toyotomi) who feared future purge after the unification of Japan
6) Change of diplomatic policy against Chosokabe clan in Shikoku island as mentioned above. Mitsuhide who lost face tried to keep friendship with Chosokabe clan, or Chosokabe clan faced excursion of Oda army urged Mitsuhide to revolt
7) Just as a general at turbulent age, Mitsuhide utilized best opportunity to become the ruler

Finally regarding to the Justification, to oppose to the innovation of Nobunaga, Mitsuhide had to insist the continuation of old tradition. This was useful to attract nobles in Kyoto city, but old powers already lost power and did not work actually any more.

Mitsuhide did not clarify the reason of coup d'etat and died just after that, thus the precise reason is still not clarified. The reason might be a complex, but one was surely the fault and carelessness of Nobunaga, and another might be the fear of ancient regime after the unification of Japan by too innovative Nobunaga.

Process of incident of Honnoji

In June 1, Mitsuhide started Kameyama castle, but did not move to eastward which is the direction of Chugoku region and turned to eastward, for the direction of Kyoto. It was reasonable for the meeting of Nobunaga and Mitsuhide at Kyoto, and Mitsuhide totally controlled the information. At the midnight of that day, Mitsuhide entered Kyoto city and surrounded Honnoji temple, and in early morning Mitsuhide started his assault. 

According to Shincho Koki, an official biography of Nobunaga, Nobunaga at first there was a quarrel between soldiers, but later knew this was the revolt by Mitsuhide, Nobunaga told "I have to accept". Nobunaga resisted to dominant Akechi army with bow and spear for a while, but later being wounded Nobunaga entered inside the building and killed himself. Nobunaga ordered to burn down the building, thus the body of Nobunaga was not discovered.

Akechi army who beat Nobunaga next attacked Nobutaga at Myokakuji temple. There was a possibility of escape, but fearing the fate at being captured, Nobutada moved to the nearest residence of prince and besieged. But finally being outnumbered by Akechi army, Nobutada and his generals all died in the residence. Only Nobutada's son Sanposhi (1580-1605, later Hidenobu Oda) was lead by his granduncle Nagamasu Oda (1547-16t22) and left Kyoto city then survived. Now most famous coup d'etat in Japanese history was accomplished, and Nobunaga died just before the unite of Japan. This is called as "Honnoji no Hen" (本能寺の変, incident of Honnoji).

Kameyama castle under Toyotomi government and Edo Shogunate

After the incident of Honnoji, Mitsuhide temporally seized the hegemony, but only 10 days after Mitsuhide was defeated at the battle of Yamazaki by Hideyoshi Hashiba (1537-1598) quickly returned from Bicchu Takamatsu castle to revenge his master. Mitsuhide was killed at the way of escape to Sakamoto castle, and Tanba Kameyama castle was also fell with the live of Mitsuyoshi Akechi (1569-1582), the eldest son of Mitsuhide.

After the death of Mitsuhide, Tanba Kameyama castle was quite important castle for the rulers. Hideyoshi Toyotomi who became the ruler of Japan placed his relative or trustable generals at Tanba Kameyama castle, such as Hidekatsu Hashiba (1568-1586), an adopted son of Hideyoshi, or Geni Maeda (1539-16t02), one of five magistrates of Toyotomi government. Ieyasu Tokugawa who seized the hegemony after the death of Hideyoshi also thought important of this castle, ordered Takatora Todo (1556-1630) to renovate this castle into a modern one.

The main body of Tanba Kameyama castle spread a 200 meter long hill beside the river terrace of Katsuragawa river. Backside of the castle was guarded by the slope of river terrace and water moat, and the front side of the castle including castle town was guarded by two layer of water moats. As a old generation of modern castle, main area consist of several small and winding areas. 

Takatora built a five story main tower at the top of the hill, and this tower was a simple exterior without any decoration roof in 1609. This style is said as "Soto Gata" (tower style) and became popular in Edo era. As a military equipment simple tower style is better than former complex style main tower considering view angle from the tower or survivability for cannon, and Edo Shogunate hated splendid style of Oda or Toyotomi era.

Afterward of castle

Tanba Kameyama castle was kept by hereditary retainers of Edo Shogunate until the end of Edo era, but subsequent to Meiji revolution the castle was abolished. In 1920's a religious organization named "Ohmoto" bought the castle site as their main temple, but this organization was thoroughly suppressed by the government and the ruin of the castle was destroyed by the government. After WW2, castle site was returned to the organization and now used as their main temple. A magnificent main tower base still remains, but entrance is prohibited to religious reason. The shape of the castle is barely kept at the hill, and outer moat of the castle still remain at the backside of the hill and used as a park.

Continue to Shoryuji castle

Related Castles

Sakamoto Castle -Uprising from wanderer to regional commander-
Fukuchiyama Castle -Castle protected critical location to Kyoto-
Yagami Castle -Resistance and death of Hatano clan-
Shoryuji Castle -End of only 10 days hegemony-

Pictures (click to enlarge)

Important Notice:

Site of Tanba Kameyama castle is used as a sacred place of religious organization "Ohmoto", and to enter the former central area it is necessary to be purified by their priest. It is only just simple purification without any charge, but to avoid trouble it is strongly recommended to visit with Japanese (inside of main tower basement is off limit).

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