Saturday, October 12, 2019

Anjo Castle -Long journey to Pax Tokugawana (3) change of main family-

Anjo Castle

-Long journey to Pax Tokugawana (3) change of main family-



Name: Anjo castle (Anjo-jo)
Place: Anjocho Anjo city, Aichi
Type: Flat castle
Built: Middle of 15th century
Remaining remnants: Clay walls 

Brief History

Continued from Part 2

Anjo castle (安城城) is built over slight elevation at the edge of Hekikai Plateau, at 2 kilometer southeast from current Anjo city central. Currently utilizing vast flat area and geographical location near to Nagoya area, Anjo area prospers by large size farming and factories of automotive industries.

But before irrigation by Meiji waterline built in 19th century, Anjo plateau had been a barren land. Among that, castle area faced two small valleys with water source which were suitable for rice cultivation. In addition, Anjo area was a crossing point of Yahagi-gawa river where is at the middle of straight road between Nagoya city and Toyohashi city, passing Yamanaka-goe pass, Even now many roads and rails go near the castle.

Origin of Anjo castle

Precise year was unknown but Anjo castle was built in the middle of 15th century by local lord Hatakeyama clan. Originally old Anjo castle was built at about 500 meter west from current Anjo castle, which was inside of the valley and close to water source as a residence of the lord of small manor.

But along with the development of Hatakeyama clan as the lord of broader area, they built their new main base, Castle area itself is a peninsular like height plunged into muddy area then easy to defend, and it can grasp old Tokaido road and Yahagi-gawa river, which mean both of land transportation and river transportation.

However, just at the same time, Matsudaira clan which was the local lord of Matsudaira area in the north part of current Toyota city and ancestor of Tokugawa clan which established Edo Shogunate, started expansion toward south. In the middle of 15th century, Matsudaira clan captured Iwatsu castle (Aichi prefecture) in the north part of current Okazaki city and ascended into Okazaki plain.

Capture of Anjo castle by Matsudaira clan

In the period of Nobumitsu Matsudaira (1404?-1488?) who developed Matsudaira clan from small lord of mountainous area to lord of broader area and was recorded as third leader of Matsudaira clan, the battle of Onin, a huge and long battle divided most part of major governors of Muromachi Shogunate, occurred in Kyoto city in 1467. 

At this time Matsudaira clan belonged to Eastern army which was lead by Hosokawa clan, but Hatakeyama clan at Anjo area which was the opposite of Yahagi-gawa river supported opposite Western army. Matsudaira clan had justification to expand their territory.

Utilizing this situation, Nobumitsu planned to proceed to Anjo area and attacked Anjo castle. According to the record, Nobumitsu intentionally held festival near the castle, and guard of Anjo castle left the castle to see it and only noncombatant remained the castle. Looking at this Nobumitsu made sudden attack to the castle and fell it in 1471.

Nobumitsu placed his third son Chikatada Matsudaira (1431-1501) as the lord of Anjo castle. Chikatada established Anjo Matsudaira clan using the name of area, and fought against local lord of north area such as Nakajo clan or Suzuki clan at current Toyota city and broke them at Itano area, in the north part of current Okazaki city. At newly captured area branch family such as Ogyu Matsudaira clan or Takiwaki Matsudaira clan were established.

Assault of Imagawa army and change of main family

Chikatada also built Daiju-ji temple, a clan temple of Matsudaira clan at the ground of his former residence. Originally the temple was built to commemorate the victims in the battle, but later along with the development of Anjo Matsudaira clan it became a clan temple of whole Matsudaira clan. Chikatada also built Iga Hachimangu Shrine, and established current religious tradition of Okazaki city.

After Chikatada, his third son Nagachika Matsudaira (1473-1544) became the leader of Anjo Matsudaira clan. Main family of Matsudaira clan still existed at Iwatsu castle, but in the beginning of 16th century, Imagawa clan, the warlord of Suruga province (middle part of Shizuoka prefecture) let their commander Sozui Ise (1432-1519, later Soun Hojo)  assault Matsudaira clan from eastward.

Sozui was an excellent commander and held 10,000 army, then main family of Matsudaira clan suffered fatal damage. But Nagachika could preserve his army at the opposite of Yahagi-gawa river restrained Imagawa army surrounding Itatsu castle from backward. Further, Toda clan which was the major local lord of Toyohashi area seemed to leave Imagawa clan at backside, then Imagawa army gave up the siege and returned.

Matsudaira clan barely survived this severe crisis, but main family of Iwatsu castle did not have person and power to control whole clan any more. On the other hand, the reputation of Anjo Matsudaira clan which contributed to counterattack significantly rose, and leader of Matsudaira clan changed to Anjo Matsudaira clan. Anjo castle became the main base of Matsudaira clan.

Strucure of Anjo castle

Anjo castle consist of central area and surrounding areas. Central area of the castle is a rectangular one of 60 meter long and 30 meter wide, which is now used as the ground of a temple. The ground level of central area is about 5 meter height from surrounding area, and formerly clay wall surrounded whole line but currently remains only western line.

Secondary area is a small height at the south of central area, which is used as a ground of a shrine. Originally it might be a larger area equivalent to central area, but because of the expansion of dry moat between central area and secondary area and build of thick clay wall, size of secondary area decreased and character as buffer area became strong.

At the north of central area ahead of road, there was a north entrance area and ground of turret remained as small height. At the west of central area where is used as a museum was a corridor area, especially to make side attack to the enemy approaching to north gate. Total size of the castle is about 200 meter long and 100 meter wide.

Capture by Oda clan

Matsudaira clan used Anjo castle as their main base for 20 years, but Kiyoyasu Matsudaira (1511-1535), the grandson of Nagachika Matsudaira, moved to Okazaki castle (Aichi prefecture). Matsudaira clan once united most part of Mikawa province (eastern part of Aichi prefecture) under Kiyoyasu, but after the assassination of Kiyoyasu its power significantly declined.

Under this situation, Nobuhide Oda (1511-1552), the substantive governor of Owari province (western part of Aichi prefecture) and father of Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582), and Yoshimoto Imagawa (1519-1560), the leader of Imagawa clan, both aimed Mikawa province from west and east.

In 1540, Nobuhide intruded into Mikawa province and captured Anjo castle and suppressed Hirotada Matsudaira (1529-1549) at Okazaki castle. In response to this Hirotada subordinated to Yoshimoto and sent his son Takechiyo (later Ieyasu Tokugawa) to Imagawa clan as a hostage, but Nobuhide captured Takechiyo by buying over Toda clan who coordinated this hostage.

Recapture and afterward

In 1548, Nobuhide tried to capture Okazaki castle and send large army to Okazaki area, and Yoshimoto also sent reinforcement army lead by his important general Priest Taigen Sessai (1496-1555). Both armies fiercely fought at Azukizaka, a hilly area at the south of Okazaki castle, and Imagawa army broke Oda army at the battle.

In 1550, Imagawa army lead by Taigen Sessai attacked Anjo castle and fell it, the captured Nobuhiro Oda (?-1574), the eldest son of Nobuhide and commander of Anjo castle. Nobuhiro and Takechiyo were exchanged, and as Hirotada died in 1549, Imagawa clan virtually seized Mikawa province under the name of Takechiyo.

Anjo castle remained 10 years but once abolished at the peace between Nobunaga Oda and Ieyasu Tokugawa after the battle of Okehazama occurred in 1560. But Anjo castle might be reformed as a last defense line to Okazaki castle, when Ieyasu Tokugawa fought against central ruler Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598) in 1584, along with Iwatsu castle.

Now all building was lost but structure of the castle slightly remains as the ground of temple and shrine. Muddy area around which was the source of the defense of the castle was lost by land reclamation, and castle site now exist in the vast rice field. But comparing current terrain and old picture of the castle carefully, the castle where was the main base of Matsudaira clan and target of struggle emerges.

Continue to Part 4


20 minutes walk from Meitetsu Nisho-sen line Minami-Anjo station. 30 minutes drive from Ise-Wangan Expressway Toyota-Minami interchange to parking of Anjo History Museum.

Related Castles

Iwatsu Castle -Long journey to Pax Tokugawania (2) expand to Okazaki plain-

Pictures (click to enlarge)

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