Battle of Funada

船田合戦

Saitō Clan

Mino Province

Ishimaru Clan

Dates:  Third month of Meiō 4 (1495) to 6/20 of Meiō 5 (1496)

Location:  Mino Province

Outcome:  Saitō Myōjun (who supported Toki Masafusa as the military governor of Mino) prevailed over Ishimaru Toshimitsu (who supported Toki Motoyori), but Myōjun died in a separate battle the following year.

Commanders:  Saitō Myōjun, Toki Masafusa

Forces:  Unknown number of troops but included support from the Ise-no-kami branch of the Oda of Owari, the Asakura of Echizen, and the Kyōgoku of Ōmi

Casualties:  Unknown

Commanders:  Ishimaru Toshimitsu, Toki Motoyori

Forces:  Unknown

Casualties:  Unknown

The Battle of Funada occurred from the third month of Meiō 4 (1495) to 6/20 of Meiō 5 (1496) in Mino Province during the early part of the Sengoku period.  The conflict arose owing to a dispute between Saitō Myōjun and Ishimaru Toshimitsu in regard to the successor to Toki Shigeyori, the military governor of Mino.  Clans from the neighboring provinces of Ōmi, Echizen, and Owari were also swept-up in the conflict.

The Bunmei-Mino Conflict

In the Muromachi period, the Toki clan who had served as the military governors of Mino witnessed a waning of their power, while the Saitō, in their role as deputy military governors, rose in power, making contentious the issue of succession to the military governor.  This came to a head when, in 1456, Toki Mochimasu was forced into retirement, and Toki Shigeyori became the next military governor through the support of Saitō Toshinaga.

In 1460, after the death of Toshinaga, his eldest son, Saitō Toshifuji succeeded him as the deputy military governor.  However, he was very young, so Toshinaga’s younger brother (Toshifuji’s uncle) named Saitō Myōchin, became his guardian.  At the Ōnin-Bunmei War, Myōchin joined the western army, seized manors in Mino, expelled opposition forces, and advanced to Ōmi, Echizen, and Owari.  Although a servant of Shigeyori, he became the de facto ruler of Mino.  Myōchin’s family lineage was referred to as the Jizein family after the name of a pagoda at the Zenne Temple with ties to the family in their role as deputy military governors of Mino.

Upon the demise of Myōchin in the second month of 1480, his nephew, Saitō Toshikuni (later known as Saitō Myōjun), succeeded him as the head of the Jizein family.  Nevertheless, Myōjun’s older brother of a different mother opposed him.  After Myōjun returned, via Toki Shigeyori, manors totaling 80,000 koku that had earlier been seized by Myōchin, a battle began on 8/27 of 1480.  Toshifuji received support from the Muromachi bakufu, while Shigeyori had the backing of Myōjun.  Having lost in the eleventh month, Toshifuji attempted to flee for the protection of Rokkaku Takayori in Ōmi, but was tracked by a senior retainer of Myōjun named Ishimaru Toshimitsu and went to Kyōto instead.  This event is known as the Bunmei-Mino Conflict.

In the seventh month of 1481, the Muromachi bakufu reconciled with Shigeyori and Myōjun, but Toshifuji was not restored as the deputy military governor.  In 1487, through the intervention of the bakufu, Toshifuji did resume the role as deputy military governor, and, in 1488, returned to Mino.  However, Myōjun was the real power broker, and orders from the bakufu were conveyed from Myōjun to Shigeyori, and then to Toshifuji, so Toshifuji was dissatisfied.  Owing to his contributions in the Bunmei-Mino Conflict, in the second month of 1481, after Ishimaru Toshimitsu was granted the Saitō surname by Myōjun, he assumed the seat of a matadai, or chief official, but gradually became close to Toshifuji.

Relationship with the Muromachi bakufu

In 1487, Ashikaga Yoshihisa, the ninth shōgun, led an expedition to Ōmi in an effort to conquer Rokkaku Yukitaka (later known as Rokkaku Takayori) after the Rokkaku had repeatedly seized manors in the province, a conflict known as the Chōkyō-Entoku Expedition.  Yukitaka fled from Kannonji Castle to Kōka, while the bakufu army remained on their base in Magari for a long period of time.  Toki Shigeyori and Saitō Myōjun were viewed as allies of Yukitaka (Shigeyori’s second son was adopted by Yukitaka) so did not deploy with the bakufu army and assorted daimyō and, instead, remained in Mino.  Finally, in the third month of 1489, Yoshihisa fell ill and died during the deployment so the campaign ended and the forces withdrew.  In 1491, Yoshihisa’s successor, Ashikaga Yoshiki (Yoshihisa’s younger cousin and the tenth shōgun), led a second expedition against the Rokkaku in Ōmi.  Shigeyori and Myōjun joined, breaking ties with Yukitaka, but, once again, Yukitaka fled.  Meanwhile, while away from the capital, Yoshiki was ousted from his position as the shōgun in a coup d’état known as the Meiō Political Incident.  Yukitaka took advantage of the opportunity to oust Yamauchi Naritsuna, the military governor in Ōmi appointed by the bakufu, so the expedition failed to meet its objective.

Course of events

Having survived the Chōkyō-Entoku Expedition, events continued to unfold for Shigeyori and Myōjun.  Shigeyori favored his youngest son, Toki Motoyori more than his eldest son, Toki Masafusa, so, in the fourth month of 1493, traveled to Kyōto by himself and aimed to have Motoyori become his successor in lieu of Masafusa who had been raised as his designated successor.  Saitō Toshifuji (who sought to regain his authority) and Ishimaru Toshimitsu (who aimed to rise in stature) were sympathetic toward Shigeyori’s intentions and planned to eliminate Myōjun.

In the twelfth month of 1494, Myōjun constructed and attended the opening ceremony for the Daihō Temple in the Gujō District.  Toshimitsu conspired to assassinate Myōjun en route to the event that was scheduled to occur on the 12/9, but, owing to inclement weather, was postponed, so the plot failed.  On 12/10, he assembled troops at his base at Funada Castle, and attempted a lightening attack directly against Myōjun at Kanō Castle to the north of Funada Castle.  However, through the collusion of Nishio Naonori, Myōjun was made aware of the attack and, on 12/19, requested mediation by Shigeyori for a settlement with Toshimitsu, while Naonori was ousted.  Nevertheless, Myōjun proceeded to reinforce Kanō Castle and, in the third month of 1495, hostilities broke out between the two armies.

Battle at the Shōhō Temple

On 4/11 of 1495, Saitō Toshitsuna (the younger brother of Myōjun) led Murayama Toshishige and others to the Shōhō Temple, but Ishimaru Toshimoto (the younger brother of Toshimitsu) went from a side road to the Shōhō Temple.  Thus, the Saitō army from the north and the Ishimaru army from the south approached the same temple.  On 5/2, Toshimitsu received Saitō Toshiharu (the grandson of Toshifuji) at Funada Castle, but, on 6/6, Toshiharu suddenly died from illness.  Toshimitsu then hurriedly brought Toshifuji’s youngest son, Bishadō (who later became a monk of the Nichiren sect under the name of Nichiun) on 6/8 and Toki Motoyori on 6/11 into Funada Castle.  On 6/19, the Ishimaru forces (under Ishimaru Toshisada, a member of Toshimitsu’s family) launched a vigorous attack against the Anyō Temple that was aligned with Myōjun and defeated the Nishio clan.  The attackers then surrounded Kanō Castle, but met with a counterattack led by Nagai Hidehiro that killed over 500 troops including Toshisada, upon which the surviving forces fled in defeat.  After this victory, the Saitō army entered Shōhō Temple on 6/21 while Ishimaru Toshimoto escaped to Funada Castle.

On 6/22, Oda Tōhiro (the deputy military governor of the four upper districts of Owari) supplied reinforcements in support of Myōjun, and camped near the Anyō Temple.  On 7/1, Myōjun dispatched 3,000 soldiers including his younger brothers Nagai Toshiyasu and Nagai Toshitsuna to eliminate the Furuta clan in the Nishi District who sided with the Ishimaru.  Meanwhile, Toshimitsu sent 1,000 forces to serve as reinforcements under the command of Ishimaru Toshinobu (a family member).  Both armies engaged in battle.  The Ishimaru army lost over 130 soldiers including Toshinobu, while the Saitō lost 56 men in the course of achieving victory.

After a succession of losses, Toshimitsu lost the will to fight and, on 7/7 of 1495, burned down Funada Castle and, together with Motoyori, Bishadō, and 500 mounted soldiers, fled to Ōmi.  In the ninth month, Shigeyori retired to Kidaiji Castle and assigned to Masafusa the role as head of the family and military governor of Ōmi, finally bringing to an end the war.

Battle at Kidaiji Castle

Oda Toshisada (the deputy military governor of the lower four districts of Owari) whose son, Oda Tōsada, was married to the daughter of Ishimaru Toshimitsu, headed toward Mino, but their route was blocked by Oda Tōhiro and Toshisada died in the sixth month.  Next, Tōsada died in battle the ninth month in Mino so, in the dispute between the two branches of the Oda, Tōhiro gained the advantage.  Nevertheless, Tōsada’s younger brother, Oda Tōmura, succeeded Tōsada and fought bitterly against Tōhiro.  Myōjun sent reinforcements to Tōhiro but, after a battle on 3/23 of 1496 in which both Oda branches lost many soldiers, the two sides reconciled and ceased the warfare in Owari.

In the fourth month, while seeking a revival from Ōmi, Ishimaru Toshimitsu sent payment for military provisions to Hosokawa Masamoto (the deputy shōgun) and requested aid from the bakufu.  Toshimitsu received support for Rokkaku Takayori and Umedo Sadozane of Ise.  Sadozane was the second son of Umedo Takazane, the lord of Umedo Castle who was a natural son of Takayori adopted by the Umedo.  Toshimitsu proceeded to assemble soldiers from southern Ōmi to prepare for an invasion of Mino.  However, the prior reconciliation of the rival branches of the Oda yielded an unfavorable situation for Toshimitsu.  Prodded by his son, Ishimaru Toshitaka, he committed to the plan.  With Toki Motoyori serving as the commander-in-chief and Bishadō as the vice-commander, the Ishimaru army advanced from Ise into Tsushima in Owari, arriving at the town of Takegahana.  Another contingent entered the Tagi District to set fires and menace the locals.

Saitō Myōjun hurriedly dispatched an army led by Toshitsuna to Sunomata, but, on 5/10 of 1496, the Ishimaru army defeated the Saitō and proceeded north toward Shigeyori’s base at Kidaiji Castle.  Shigeyori first closed the gates to prevent the Ishimaru forces from entering, but after hearing from Toshimitsu’s messenger that Toki Motoyori was leading the army with the support of the bakufu, he then opened the gates and the Ishimaru army entered the castle grounds.  Upon orders from Toki Masafusa (Shigeyori’s eldest son and the military governor), Myōjun headed toward Kidaiji Castle and, in parallel, requested support from his son-in-laws, Asakura Sadakage and Kyōgoku Takakiyo.  The Kyōgoku clan arrived on 5/10 at Mount Yataka on the border between Mino and Ōmi, and sent forces from the Azai and Mitamura clans as reinforcements to Ukai.  On 5/14, the Saitō army crossed the Nagara River and, from 5/15 to 5/16, surrounded Kidaiji Castle.  On 5/17, the Owari forces dispatched by Oda Tōhiro arrived.  On 5/26, the forces from Echizen sent by Asakura Sadakage arrived to join the siege.  Rokkaku Takayori attempted to head to Kidaiji Castle in support of Shigeyori, but lost over 500 men in an encounter with the Kyōgoku army guarding the border.  Meanwhile, Umedo Sadozane (who was on the side of Myōjun) was thwarted by the Nagano clan from entering Mino.

On 5/29 of 1496, Toshimitsu sent a letter to the forces surrounding the castle, offering to commit seppuku in exchange for sparing the lives of Shigeyori and Bishadō.  Upon receiving an acknowledgement to his offer, on 5/30, Toshimitsu and Toshitaka killed themselves.  At the time, Bishadō was thirteen years old, so he was pardoned of his crimes and later entered the priesthood, adopting the name of Nichiun.  Shigeyori did not leave the castle as expected with Motoyori, but, instead, on 6/16, he departed on his own.  On 6/20, while respects were paid to Shigeyori in Kanō Castle, Kidaiji Castle was set on fire, whereupon Motoyori resigned to kill himself and a battle that spanned a year came to an end.

Aftermath

Saitō Toshifuji (who supported the Ishimaru) was forced to retire in the sixth month of 1496, and, without regaining his position, died two years later in 1498.  Shigeyori died in 1497.  Having suppressed the internal rebellion in Mino, Myōjun headed upon orders of Kyōgoku Takakiyo to eliminate Rokkaku Takayori in Ōmi, but Takayori received support from Gamō Sadahide and others so, after a standoff, the two sides settled, and Myōjun returned to Mino.  On 12/7 of 1497, during the retreat, Myōjun encountered a local uprising that escalated into a major battle in which Myōjun, his eldest son, Saitō Toshichika, and over 1000 troops died in battle.  His grandson, Katsuchiyo (later known as Saitō Toshinaga) was an infant, so his second son, Matashirō, inherited the Jizein family.  After his death, his younger brother, Hikoshirō, succeeded him and became the deputy military governor but, in 1512, came into conflict with Masafusa and was ousted from Mino, after which the Jizein family eroded.

Meanwhile, another internal conflict arose within the Toki clan.  Masafusa attempted to have his second son, Toki Yoriaki, become his successor instead of his eldest son, Toki Yoritake.  In opposition to this plan, Yoritake received the backing of Saitō Toshinaga, while Yoriaki obtained support from Nagai Nagahiro (the junior deputy military governor) and a retainer named Nagai Shinzaemon-no-jō, leading to another outbreak of hostilities in Mino.  In 1517, once the faction supporting Yoritake prevailed, those behind Yoriaki fled to Owari.  However, with the support of Hikoshirō, in 1518, Yoriaki launched a successful counter-offensive and Yoritake fled to Echizen.  Nevertheless, after Masafusa died in 1519, Yoritake’s faction saw an opportunity to launch another rebellion, and, with the support of Asakura Takakage, invaded Mino and overwhelmed Yoriaki’s faction so that Yoritake could take the seat of the military governor.  At this point, the conflict appeared over, but, in 1525,  Nagai Nagahiro raised arms again.  Five years later, in 1530, Yoritake was expelled to Echizen while the Toki clan became inconsequential having the support only of some local families.

In 1533, Nagahiro died, and after the deterioration of the Nagai clan, Saitō Dōsan came to prominence.