Battle of Bakurōbuchi


Tokugawa Clan

Settsu Province

Toyotomi Clan

Date:  11/29 of Keichō 19 (1614)

Location:  The fortress of Bakurōbuchi on the shores of the Kizu River in Settsu Province

Synopsis:  In one of the clashes comprising the Winter Campaign of the Siege of Ōsaka between the Edo bakufu army and the Toyotomi army, the Toyotomi constructed Bakurōbuchi fortress to defend against the Edo bakufu forces along the Kizu River, but, owing to the absence of the commander-in-charge of the defenders after spending the night at a brothel, the fortress was overrun by the Edo bakufu forces.

Lord:  Tokugawa Ieyasu

Commanders:  Ishikawa Tadafusa, Hachisuke Yoshishige, Ikeda Tadakatsu

Forces:  5,300

Losses:  Unknown

Lord:  Toyotomi Hideyori

Commanders:  Susukida Kanesuke, Hirako Masasada

Forces:  700

Losses:  Unknown

The Battle of Bakurōbuchi occurred on 11/29 of Keichō 19 (1614) in the Kizu River Basin to the west of Ōsaka Castle in Settsu Province.  This was one of the battles occurring in connection with the Winter Campaign of the Siege of Ōsaka by the Edo bakufu army against the Toyotomi army.

In addition to a fortress at the mouth of the Kizu River, the Toyotomi forces aimed to defend the shoreline of the river by constructing another fortress at Bakurōbuchi.  Susukida Kanesuke served as the commander of 700 soldiers assigned to defend the site.  On 11/19, after the fall of the fortress at the mouth of the river, Kanesuke and his contingent remained in place.

After the army of Tokugawa Ieyasu began to assault the fortress with cannon fire, Ieyasu ordered Mizuno Katsunari and Nagai Naokatsu to dig a trench on a sandbar in the Kizu River known as Shishijima.  This was completed on 11/28.  When Katsunari informed Ieyasu, he was overheard by another retainer named Hachisuka Yoshishige.  Following the attack on the fortress at the mouth of the Kizu River, Yoshishige was camped in the same location but had his own designs to topple Bakurōbuchi before Katsunari initiated an assault.  He then told Ieyasu that the troops defending the fortress were hiding in the reeds, posing the risk of attacks with arquebus fire, so he requested permission to cut-down the reeds in the area when, in fact, this was a pretext to assault the fortress.

Ieyasu instead ordered Ishikawa Tadafusa to cut-down the reeds.  After Tadafusa completed the task, he set-up a position on Ashijima (another sandbar on the river to the south of Shishijima).  He then rained arquebus fire on the fortress at Bakurōbuchi, pinning down the defenders.  This allowed Yoshishige an opportunity to construct at night a trench at the mouth of the river in preparation for an assault on the fortress.

At dawn on 11/29, the forces led by Tadafusa attempted to cross the river to assault the fortress, but this was just when the river was at high tide so the troops could not get across.  The forces borrowed three vessels from Kuki Moritaka to cross the river to the north of Shishijima and then commenced an attack.  Meanwhile, the forces led by Yoshishige attacked from the south.

Susukida Kanesuke, the commander of the troops defending the fortress, was absent after spending the previous night at a brothel.  Consequently, the troops under his command failed to mount a proper defense and the fortress fell to the attackers.  The commander left in charge while Kanesuke was absent, Hirako Masasada, fled to hide in a field of reeds, but was found and killed by a retainer of the Tokugawa named Ikeda Tadakatsu.  Owing to his blunder, thereafter, Kanesuke was ridiculed as a “dai-dai musha.” A dai-dai is a small bitter orange used only for decoration meaning he gave the false impression of a warrior with no real value.