Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Hataya Castle -Another campaign in Eastern Japan (1) swift attack-

Hataya Castle

-Another campaign in Eastern Japan (1) swift attack-



Name: Hataya castle (Hataya-jo)
Place: Hataya Yamamobe town, Yamagata
Type: Hill Castle
Built: 15th century
Remaining remnants: Clay walls and moats 

Brief History

Hataya castle (畑谷城) is located over Tateyama hill, one of 50 meter height from hillside and next valley in Yamanobe town of Yamagata prefecture, about 15 kilometer west from Yamagata city central. 

Castle site places at long hilly area continues north and southward between Yamagata plain and the valley of Mogami-gawa river which separates from Yamagata basin and goes upstream toward Yonezawa basin bypassing the westward of the basin. There were several routes passed this hilly area, and Hataya castle existed at the middle of the one major route of such roads.

Stage of another campaign in Eastern japan

In 1600, a decisive battle of Sekigahara between Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616) and Mitsunari Ishida (1560-1600) occurred at central area of Japan. Many lords of central area joined into this decisive battle, but both side lords also fought at other regions. 

Especially in Tohoku region, three major and fateful lords unfolded earnest battle based on clear tactics, and it was an interest one compared with the battle of Sekigahara which was a simple crush of large army ended by political plot and battle of Kyushu or Shikoku island that were the capture of vacant castles.

Precise year is unknown but Hataya castle might be built in the half of 16th century, under the influence of Mogami clan. Mogami clan was a branch family of Shiba clan, a relative and high class retainer of Ashikaga clan which was the house of Muromachi Shogunate. Muromachi Shogunate places their distant relative Osaki clan and Mogami clan at current Sendai area and Yamagata area, to manage east half and west half of Tohoku region respectively.  

Front fort against Yonezawa area

Since the latter half of 15th century, Date clan which was originally the lord of Dare providence in the north part of current Fukushima prefecture, ruined Nagai clan which held Yonezawa basin and move their base there. Next Date clan aimed at Yamagata basin next to Yonezawa basin, and Mogami clan once had to subordinate to Date clan. But utilizing severe internal conflict of Date clan, Mogami clan left Date clan and grew into an independent warlord under Yoshimori Mogami (1521-1590).

At the age of Yoshiaki Mogami (1546-1614), Mogami clan expanded into the whole part of Yamagata basin utilizing plots and military power. As Date clan interrupted into internal conflict of Mogami clan between Yoshimori Mogami and Yoshiaki Mogami, fiercely fought with Date clan in cooperation with surrounding warlords, and Hataya castle might be strengthened to control the path from Mogamigawa river to Yamagata basin, along with Kaminoyama castle at another path between Yonezawa basin and Yamagata basin. 

Mogami clan also fought with Kagekatsu Uesugi (1556-1623) which was the lord of Echigo province (Niigata prefecture), for the domination of Shonai area including current Sakata city where at western coast of current Yamagata prefecture. But Mogami army suffered severe defeat at the battle of Jyugorigahara before Uesugi army in 1588 and lost that area.

Changes of circumstance

In 1590, Yoshiaki Mogami and Masamune Date (1567-1636), the leader of Date clan, both subordinated to central ruler Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598). Under Toyotomi government Mogami clan could remain as a feudal lord, but Shonai area was given to Uesugi clan which was closer to the government. Next year Date clan was moved to current Sendai area, for the suspect of instigation of the rebellion of local people who lost their territory.

Furthermore in 1598, on the death of Ujisato Gamo (1556-1595) who was the lord of Aizu Wakamatsu castle at Yonezawa basin after Date clan, Kagekatsu Uesugi moved to the large lord of Aizu basin and Yonezawa basin. Kagekatsu placed his magistrate Kanetsugu Naoe (1560-1619) as the lord of Yonezawa castle (Yamagata prefecture), and even Kanetsugu himself had large territory than Mogami clan. Uesugi clan kept Shonai area as a distant area but there was no direct communication route other than Mogami territory, thus this became the seed of conflict between Mogami clan and Uesugi clan.

After the death of Hideyoshi in 1598, Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616), the largest lord under Toyotomi government, started his action toward next hegemony, and Mitsunari Ishida (1560-1600), the chief magistrate of the government, tried to stop the movement of Ieyasu and keep the house of Toyotomi in cooperation with other large lords such as Mouri clan or Ukita clan. Among them, Uesugi clan was the strongest one and originally intended to restrain Ieyasu from backside in case of emergency. Uesugi clan gradually showed non obedience to Ieyasu and prepared armaments.

Outbreak of campaign at northeastern part

In 1600, Ieyasu ordered to attack Uesugi clan under the name of the principal lord of Toyotomi government, mobilized other lords and marched to Aizu region. As both of Yoshiaki Mogami and Masamune Date were close to Ieyasu, both clans also planned to attack Uesugi clan at the arrival of Tokugawa army. But utilizing the absence of Ieyasu, Mitsunari and his company raised anti-Ieyasu army and fell Fushimi castle (Kyoto prefecture) held by Ieyasu. Hearing this news, Ieyasu held a meeting at Oyama castle then returned his army to the central area.

By return of Ieyasu, Uesugi army became dominant in Tohoku region. At this time Uesugi clan, Date clan and Mogami clan roughly had 1,000,000Koku, 500,000Koku, 250,000 Koku (unit of rice cultivation) territory, and proportional army. Masamune Date already attacked Uesugi territory quickly agreed with Mogami clan, thus whole Uesugi army turned to Mogami territory, to connect their distant territory at Shonai area and quickly increase their territory considering next conflict with Date clan.

Once Uesugi clan captured whole Mogami region, Date clan might not be able to compete with Uesugi army any more. But considering Ieyasu and Mitsunari fought at central area, Uesugi clan had to beat Mogami clan and Date clan as soon as possible, by possible return of Ieyasu.

Total and swift operation of Uesugi army

In September 1600, Kanetsugu Naoe who became the general commander of Uesugi army started his campaign. To beat Mogami clan as quickly as possible, Kanetsugu adopted synchronous attack tactics from Kaminoyama basin where was the closest route to Yonezawa basin, cross hill attack from Mogamigawa river, and supporting attack of reinforcement army from Shonai region. As Kaminoyama castle where was the front base of Mogami clan at Kaminoyama basin thought be securely guarded, Kanetsugu sent his main troop along with Mogamigawa river and attacked castles at hilly area from westward.

On September 12, Uesugi army encircled Hataya castle. The commander of Hataya castle was Mitsukiyo Eguchi (?-1600) who was a close retainer of Yoshiaki Mogami. Mitsukiyo Eguchi was a brave general and also familiar to the culture such as Renga (Japanese traditional style poem). By this time considering the battle with Uesugi clan, Hataya castle was expanded by Mogami clan.

Hataya castle spread over a large hill and small hill at the both side of the valley, which might be a road to Yamagata basin. At hilltop, several terraces area built as a final defense point, and this area is divided by deep dry moat from backside mountains. For hillside valley, a huge U shaped hillside fort consists of clay wall and dry moat crosses the valley, which is seen like a checkpoint. In case of emergency, guardians are expected to fight at hillside fort, and if they can’t keep it retreat to hilltop area and make last stand to the enemy.

Fall of Hataya castle and afterward

Yoshiaki ordered Mitsukiyo to spare his army, and Kanetsugu also recommended Mitsukiyo to open the castle. But Mitsukiyo denied both proposal and besieged at Hataya castle. Mitsukiyo bravely fought but only had 500 soldiers, and became outnumbered by thousands of Uesugi army then Hataya castle fell in one day. Mitsukiyo shared his fate with the castle, but also gave considerable damage to Uesugi army. This fight of Mitsukiyo could be a reckless one, but might be effective to enhance the moral of Mogami army and daunt the attack of Uesugi army at next stage.

After the battle, Uesugi clan rushed into Yamagata plain and attacked Hasedo castle but could not fell it then consumed two weeks. Among this Ieyasu Tokugawa broke MitsunariIshida at the decisive battle of Sekigahara, thus Uesugi army had to give up the campaign to secure their own territory from Ieyasu who will soon return to Aizu region. Kanetsugu served as a rear guard of Uesugi army, stood fierce chase of Mogami army near Hataya castle and safely returned to Yonezawa castle.

Now no building remains but clay walls and dry moats encircled hilltop area and hillside valley still exist. Two layers of defense line shows clear will of Mogami army to hold back the enemy at this point. Now the castle ruin calmly stands in a quiet mountainous village, but line of clay wall and dry moat surely tells the fierce battle held over 400 years ago until now.


45 minutes drive from Tohoku Chuo Jidoshado Expressway Yamagata-Chuo interchange.

Related Castles

Yonezawa Castle -Castle filled with statues and monuments-
Kaminoyama Castle -Another campaign in Eastern Japan (2) miscalculation-
Hasedo Castle -Another campaign in Eastern Japan (3) time's up-

Pictures (click to enlarge)

No comments:

Post a Comment