Saturday, July 18, 2015

Shoryuji Castle -Time to treason (14) end of 10 days hegemony-

Shoryuji Castle

-Time to treason (14) end of 10 days hegemony-



Name: Shoryuji castle (Shoryuji-jo)
Place: Shoryuji Nagaoka-Kyo city, Kyoto
Location: 34.91818697342771, 135.7006135011031
Type: Flat Castle
Built: 15th century
Remaining remnants: Stone walls, clay walls and moats 

Brief History

Continued from Part 13

Shoryuji castle is located at the merging point of Obatagawa river and Inukawa river, in Nagaokakyo city at southwest of Kyoto city. 

The site of Shoryuji castle is a mouth of narrow path of Yamazaki area between Kyoto city and Osaka city, and an important point to defend the enemy marched this narrow path from west side. Even today there are many rivers such as Yodogawa river or Katsuragawa river around here, and in old days rivers and marshes might obstruct the movement of enemy. 

Origin of Shoryuji castle

Precise year is unknown but Shoryuji castle might be built by the end of 16th century, on and after the battle of Onin occurred at Kyoto city from 1467 to 1477. Around 1500 Hosokawa clan, a high class retainer of Muromachi Shogunate, defeated their rival Hatakeyama clan and built their virtual government at Kinki region, and Shoryuji castle might be kept by Hosokawa clan. 

Later Nagayoshi Miyoshi (1522-1564), a major general of Hosokawa clan, overcame Hosokawa clan and built his own virtual government. Under Miyoshi clan, Tomomichi Iwanari (1519-1578) who was an important retainer of Miyoshi clan held Shoryuji castle, and lead Miyoshi clan after the death of Nagayoshi.

But in 1567, Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582), the warlord of Owari province (western half of Aichi prefecture) who also seized Mino province (Gifu prefecture), marched to Kyoto city with Yoshiaki Ashikaga (1537-1597), a younger brother of Yoshiteru Ashikaga (1536-1565) who was assassinated by Miyoshi clan. 

High class retainer of Shogunate supported wandering Shogun

Nobunaga had overwhelming army easily occupied Kyoto city and next attacked Shoryuji castle, then Tomomichi Iwanari escaped and Shoryuji castle was captured by Oda clan. Nobunaga gave Shoryuji castle to his retainer Fujitaka Hosokawa (1534-1610).

Fujitaka was a branch family of Hosokawa clan, and served to Shogun from youth with his plenty knowledge of administration and culture. When Yoshiteru Ashikaga was assassinated, Fujitaka let Yoshiaki escape and accompanied with his exile toward Asakura clan which was the warlord of Echizen province (Fukui prefecture). 

During his wandering Fujitaka acknowledge with Mitsuhide Akechi (1528-1582), and arranged alliance between Yoshiaki and Nobunaga with Mitsuhide. Fujitaka served to both of Yoshiaki and Nobunaga, and reformed Shoryuji castle into a major base to guard Kyoto city.

Structure of Shoryuji castle

Shoryuji castle is built at a small height at the north of merging point of two river like Y letter, thus the structure of the castle is a triangle facing below. The central area of the castle is a rectangular area of 100 meter long and 60 meter wide, and a stretch was built at its southeast corner to guard the main gate at the middle of south line. This central area is protected by over 10 meter water moat, and lower half of clay wall were covered by stone walls.

Another area called Numatamaru was attached at the west of central area, and other areas spread at the south of these two areas. Additionally, outer barrier consist of clay wall and dry moat spread at 200 meter north from the central area, to shut the castle area from north. Total size of the castle was about 400 meter long square, and it was comparatively large castle around this area.

Relationship between Hosokawa clan and Mitsuhide Akechi

At first Nobunaga and Yoshiaki worked together, but gradually Nobunaga who hoped to exercise his power and Yoshiaki tried to recover the authority of Shogunate became opponent. In 1573, when Nobunaga expelled Yoshiaki from Kyoto city and extinguished Muromachi Shogunate, 

Fujitaka chose to serve to Nobunaga under coordination of Mitsuhide. Fujitaka was attached to Mitsuhide who became the regional chancellor of Kinki region, and in 1578 Tadaoki Hosokawa (1563-1646), the eldest son of Fujitaka, married with Tama (1563-1600), the daughter of Mitsuhide and later called as her Christian name Garasha.

Fujitaka activated at many battles under Mitsuhide, and was appointed as a governor of Tango province (north part of Kyoto prefecture). But in June 1582, Mitsuhide made a coup d'etat against Nobunaga called as "Honnoji no Hen" (incident of Honnoji), and forced Nobunaga and his successor Nobutada Oda (1557-1582) to suicide. 

Coup d'etat close to success

Oda government lost its leader and successor with many officers and collapsed, thus this coup d'etat seemed to succeed. Mitsuhide donated huge amount to the Imperial household to seize authority, and captured Kyoto city and vacant Omi province (Shiga prefecture) including Azuchi castle (Shiga prefecture) which was the main base of Oda clan.

At that time Oda clan had five regional army, which were Kinki region army lead by Mitsuhide, Chugoku region army under Hideyoshi Hashiba (1537-1598) faced Mouri clan, Hokuriku region army commanded by Katsuie Shibata (1521-1583) fought with Uesugi clan, Kanto region army of Kazumasu Takigawa (1525-1586), and Shikoku island army built under Nobutaka Oda (1558-1583) and Nagahide Niwa (1535-1585) which were just about to start toward Shikoku island to fight with Chosokabe clan.

Mitsuhide planned that it would take a long time for such other regional army facing each enemy to start fight with Mitsuhide, and establish and rationalize his new government during this gap. Actually Shikoku island army which was the closest to Kyoto was just formed and collapsed hearing the news of coup d'etat, and Nobutaka and Nagahide only could stay at Osaka castle to guard them. 

Hardship of other regional armies

Mitsuhide planned that it would take a long time for such other regional army facing each enemy to start fight with Mitsuhide, and establish and rationalize his new government during this gap. Actually Shikoku island army which was the closest to Kyoto was just formed and collapsed hearing the news of coup d'etat, and Nobutaka and Nagahide only could stay at Osaka castle to guard them. 

Hokuriku region army under Katsuie was second closest and had large army, but fought with Uesugi clan just fall Uozu castle (Toyama prefecture) and forced all Uesugi general to suicide, then he could not agree with Uesugi clan.

Katsuie also had to prepare the rebellion of Ikko Ikki group once defeated by long fierce battle by him. Kazumasu Takigawa just entered to new territory at far distant Kanto region and had no time to organize local lord, then was defeated by Hojo clan at the battle of Kanna-gawa river and escaped to his original territory losing everything.

Quick and big return of Hideyoshi from Chugoku region

However, Hideyoshi Hashiba who siege Bicchu Takamtsu castle (Okayama prefecture) by flood attack could made peace with facing Mouri clan concealing the death of Nobunaga, and quickly returned to Kinki region in one week with whole army latter called as “Chugoku Ogaeshi (big return from Chugoku region)”. 

Looking at this quick return of Hideyoshi with large army, small lords around Osaka area other than Shikoku island army such as Tsuneoki Ikeda (1536-1584) or Shigetomo Takayama (1552-1615), watched situation and decided to support Hideyoshi. Hideyoshi quick return prevent Mitsuhide to earn time to establish his own rationality and gather the army.

Not only that, generals attached to Mitsuhide such as Fujitaka or Jyunkei Tsutsui (1549-1584) who was the governor of Yamato province (Nara prefecture), left Mitsuhide and turned to Hideyoshi. Jyunkei looked at the situation at Horaga-toge pass between Yamato province and Kyoto city, and from that Horaga-toge means having two strings in Japanese. Fujitaka and Tadaoki temporally dissoluted Tama and confined her. Finally Hashiba army reached to 40,000 soldier and far exceed Akechi army only had 15,000.

Defeat at the battle of Yamazaki

Looking at this situation, Mitsuhide reluctantly returned to Kyoto city, but now Hideyoshi had over double size army of Mitsuhide and had a legitimacy to make revenge of his master. To spare the difference of the army, Mitsuhide decided to ambush Hideyoshi at the narrow path of Yamazaki, and reformed Shoryuji castle and Yodo castle just behind of Yamazaki. Mitsuhide placed his headquarter at Shoryuji castle.

On June 13rd, just 11 days after the coup d'etat, Hideyoshi and Mitsuhide fought at the place of Yamazaki. As Toshizo Saito (1534-1583), the vanguard of Akechi army securely guarded its front line, Hashiba army tried to detour from both side passing Tennozan mountain and Yodogawa river. Both army fiercely fought at the side of Tennozan mountain, and because of this fact, Tennozan means critical moment or place in Japanese.

Under unfavorable situation Akechi army well stand the frontline, but in addition to the cumulative damage, a fresh force Hashiba army attacked Akechi army from its side. Finally Akechi army could not stand and collapsed, then Mitsuhide once retreated to Shoryuji castle.

End of 10 days hegemony and Akechi clan

But Shoryuji castle was a small flat castle and could not defend overwhelmin Hashiba army long time then Mitsuhide left the castle in the midnight and tried to escape to his main base Sakamoto castle (Shiga prefecture). 

However on the way, at the bamboo forest of Ogurusu at the southward of Fushimi area, Mitsuhide was assaulted by bounty hunting local pheasants died there. Mitsuhide's hegemony ended only after 11 days from its capture.

After the battle, Hidemitsu Akechi (1536-1583) who was an important retainer of Mitushide and kept backside killed relatives of Mitsuhide and himself at burning Sakamoto castle. And eldest son of Mitsuhide died at Tanba Kameyama castle attacked by Hashiba army, thus Akechi clan completely disappeared from history. Contrary to this, by winning the battle Hideyoshi Hashiba opened his way to next ruler 

Afterward of the castle

After the battle of Yamazaki, Shoryuji castle was once disposed. In 1633, Naokiyo Nagai (1591-1671) was appointed as a lord of Nagaoka domain, and used Shoryuji castle as his residence. But in 1649 Naokiyo was transferred to the lord Takatsuki castle (Osaka prefecture), and Shoryuji castle was finally abolished. 

Now all building of the castle was lost but square shape of the central area is well remained. Central area and Numatamaru area was reformed as a historical park, and part of outer barrier remains at Koutari shrine at the north of central area. Even though well shaped, limited size central area with clay wall shows misjudgment of Mitsuhide who had to rely on his small castle against huge Hashiba army.

Continue to Part 15


15 minutes walk from JR West Kyoto-sen line Nagaokakyo station. 10 minutes drive from Meihan Jidoshado Expressway Oyamazaki interchange.

Related Castles

Tanba Kameyama Castle -Reason of rebellion-
Yodo Castle -Two castles of powerful two ladies-

Pictures (click to enlarge)

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