Battle of Kuisegawa
Date: 9/14 of Keichō 5 (1600)
Location: In the environs of the Kuise River near Akasaka in Mino Province
Synopsis: After forces led by Tokugawa Ieyasu of the Eastern Army entered Mino Province, Shima Kiyooki (Sakon) of the Western Army planned an attack in an effort to defeat the enemy and boost the morale of his own forces. Following an initial skirmish, he drew forward battalions from the Eastern Army to ensnare them in an ambush that resulted in a short-lived victory for the Western Army on the eve of the Battle of Sekigahara.
The Battle of Kuisegawa occurred on 9/14 of Keichō 5 (1600) near Akasaka in Mino Province. This was one of many preliminary clashes leading to the decisive Battle of Sekigahara between the Eastern and Western armies.
On 9/14, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the supreme commander of the Eastern Army, led his forces to Akasaka in Mino. This raised fears among members of the Western Army, causing some of the soldiers to flee. Concerned about the situation, Shima Kiyooki (Sakon), a chief retainer of Ishida Mitsunari, advised that steps be taken to achieve a victory to restore the morale of the soldiers. A decision was then made to launch a surprise attack against the Eastern Army.
The Kuise River ran in-between Ōgaki Castle and Akasaka in an area of dense forests. Kiyooki had one battalion set-up an ambush in the forest while the others crossed to the other side of the river and, in front of the battalion led by Nakamura Kazuhide of the Eastern Army, began to cut-down the crop fields. This triggered a response from the Nakamura battalion beginning with small skirmishes. Before long, another battalion in the Eastern Army led by Arima Toyouji joined the fray which escalated into a battle. After a while, Kiyooki feigned defeat and began to retreat, enticing the opposing forces to chase after them. The pursuing forces from the Eastern Army were then attacked from the flanks by the troops waiting in ambush, resulting in significant losses. This resembled an effective strategy of the Shimazu clan known as tsurinobuse deployed in the Battle of Okitanawate in 1584.
In addition to Kiyooki, Akashi Teruzumi of the Ukita family participated in the defeat of the battalions from the Eastern Army. In this battle, Noisshiki Sukeyoshi, a chief retainer of the Nakamura family, was killed in action along with as many as 40 losses by the Eastern Army. This preliminary clash ended in victory for the Western Army which then headed toward the main Battle of Sekigahara on 9/15.
Owing to changes in the path of the river, the site where the forces crossed the river cannot be determined so there is no designation of an ancient battlefield. In 2019, a board with an overview of the battle was installed in the area.