Battle of Higashi-Iwakura


Western Army


Eastern Army

Date:  9/1 to 10/2 of Ōnin 1 (1467)

Location:  Higashi-Iwakura in the environs of Kyōto in Yamashiro Province

Synopsis:  Forces from the Eastern Army attempted to enter Kyōto by a circuitous route, but were detected by a unit from the Western Army, which initiated attacks, only to be repelled by the fierce fighting of the soldiers in the Eastern Army.  After the Western Army withdrew, the soldiers in the Eastern Army advanced to their main base in Kyōto.

Commanders:  Ōuchi Masahiro

Forces:  Unknown

Losses:  Unknown

Commanders:  Akiba Motoaki, Uragami Norimune

Forces:  Unknown

Losses:  Unknown

The Battle of Higashi-Iwakura occurred from 9/1 to 10/2 of Ōnin 1 (1467) in Higashi-Iwakura in Yamashiro Province.  This was one of the early battles comprising the Ōnin-Bunmei War waged between the Western and Eastern armies.

From 5/26 to 5/27, at the Battle of Kamigyō, the Eastern Army secured the palace of the shōgun known as the hana-no-gosho, acquiring the status of an army serving on behalf of the Muromachi bakufu.  This meant the Western Army was characterized as a rebel force, and orders were issued to pursue and eliminate them.  On 7/20, however, Ōuchi Masahiro responded to calls from Yamana Sōzen, the commander-in-chief of the Western Army, by landing with his forces in Hyōgo in Settsu Province and, on 8/23, marching to Kyōto, raising the spirits of the soldiers in the Western Army.  This triggered a sense of crisis in the capital.  Ashikaga Yoshimi (the commander-in-chief of the Eastern Army) absconded, while Emperor Gohana-zono (102nd) and Emperor Gotsuchi-mikado (103rd) vacated the Imperial Palace to take refuge in the shōgun‘s palace.  Owing to their advantageous position, the Western Army initiated attacks and, on 9/1, Hatakeyama Yoshinari set fire to and toppled the Sanbō Temple defended by Takeda Nobukata.   On 9/6, orders from Ashikaga Yoshimasa (the shōgun) for a ceasefire were disregarded by the Western Army and, on 9/13, troops occupied the Imperial Palace.

On 9/14, a retainer of Hosokawa Katsumoto (the head of the Eastern Army) named Akiba Motoaki and a retainer of Akamatsu Masanori named Uragami Norimune traveled to Kyōto.  During the eighth month, these individuals acted upon orders of Katsumoto in a failed attempt to block in Settsu Province the Ōuchi army from marching to Kyōto.  They pursued the Ōuchi army to Kyōto but the Shimogyō District was almost entirely occupied by the Western Army so gave-up on a direct confrontation.  The forces circumvented the center of the capital by heading east via the Tō Temple.  On 9/16, after setting-up a camp on a mountain behind the Nanzen Temple in Higashi-Iwakura in the environs of Kyōto, the forces were detected by the Western Army.  From 9/18, the Western Army commenced attacks on Mount Nanzenji.  The soldiers in the Eastern Army fought back fiercely.  On 10/2, the Western Army halted the attacks and returned to Kyōto.  Meanwhile, the forces of the Eastern Army took a roundabout course to enter Kyōto from the north, and, after passing-by the Goryō Shrine, finally arrived at the main base of the Eastern Army.  Owing to this conflict, the Nanzen and Shōren temples were burned.

Hosokawa Katsumoto and Akamatsu Masanori were pleased to meet their respective retainers again, but, after occupying the Sanbō Temple and the Emperor’s Palace, the Western Army exercised control over the Shimogyō District while the Eastern Army was cornered in its base in the Kamigyō District, including the hana-no-gosho, or shōgun‘s palace, the Shōkoku Temple, and the residence of Katsumoto.  On 10/3, the Western Army further rode their momentum by attacking the Kamigyō District, triggering the Battle of Shōkoku Temple.