Battle of Hijika
Dates: 2/14 to 2/27 of Kōji 2 (1556)
Location: The Okudaira battled against the Tōjō-Matsudaira and their allies at several locations including Hadanashi Castle, as well as in Ōbayashi, Asō, and Hijika Castle in the Nukata District of Mikawa Province.
Commanders: Matsudaira Tadashige, Kurio Shōgen, Matsudaira Yasuchika (also known as Matsui Tadatsugu), Yamauchi Toshihide, Maki Harushige
Casualties: Matsudaira Tadashige and others
The Battle of Hijika occurred from 2/14 to 2/27 of Kōji 2 (1556) at Hadanashi Castle, and in Ōbayashi, Asō, and Hijika Castle in Mikawa Province. This took place in the context of a large-scale rebellion by provincial families in Mikawa against the Imagawa clan. The rebellion, known as the Mikawa sōgeki, or the Furious Drama of Mikawa, ran from 1555 to 1558. The Battle of Hijika is one of three large battles in the Nukata District.
Prelude to the conflict
At the time, the Okudaira clan served the Imagawa clan who held territory primarily in Tōtōmi and Suruga provinces. Okudaira Sadayoshi, however, separated from the Imagawa. Toward the end of the Tenbun era (1532 to 1555), Sadayoshi served Oda Nobunaga who was advancing into Mikawa Province. The Ogyū-Matsudaira family supported these actions while the Tōjō-Matsudaira family opposed. This escalated into the Battle of Hijika.
The alienation of the Okudaira from the Imagawa dated back to Sadayoshi’s father, Okudaira Sadakatsu. Nevertheless, Sadakatsu did not subordinate his loyalty to the Imagawa even though, through the influence of Ōishi Yasushi, a majority of the members of the Okudaira backed Sadayoshi. Given that a majority of the family supported separation from the Imagawa, in later accounts from the Edo period, an incorrect conclusion was drawn that Sadakatsu abandoned the Imagawa.
In the Okudaira army, the main branch of the Okudaira clan was led by Okudaira Sadakatsu and Okudaira Sadayoshi, while the Hijika-Okudaira branch was led by Okudaira Sadanao. The Ogyū-Matsudaira family was led by Matsudaira Chikanori. The Asō-Matsudaira family was led by Matsudaira Masatada and Amano Kagetaka.
The Okudaira were opposed by allied forces from the Nukata-Yamauchi and Matsui families. The Takiwaki-Matsudaira were led by Matsudaira Tōnori, Matsudaira Masanori, and Matsudaira Noritaka. The Nukata-Yamauchi were led by Yamauchi Toshihide (lord of Yanaita Castle). Other supporters included Kurio Shōgen (lord of Hadanashi Castle), Takeuchi Kutōhei (lord of Ōkawa Castle) of the Nukata-Asō clan, and Maki Harushige from Miyasaki.
The Tōjō-Matsudaira family had members on both sides of the conflict, with Matsudaira Jinjirō supporting the Okudaira while Matsudaira Tadashige and Matsudaira Yasuchika were on the other side. Jinjirō was Tadashige’s older brother, and initially succeeded their father, Matsudaira Yoshiharu, as head of the family, but suddenly aligned with the Oda in opposition to the Imagawa. In 1551, Jinjirō was ousted by Imagawa Yoshimoto so Tadashige took his place as the head of the Tōjō-Matsudaira.
Course of the battle
On 2/14, Okudaira Sadakatsu attacked and toppled the base of Kurio Shōgen at Hadanashi Castle. On 2/20, he established a main base in Ōbayashi, but suffered losses to forces led by Matsudaira Tadashige and Matsudaira Yasuchika (also known as Matsui Tadatsugu), causing a retreat to Hijika Castle. Tadashige was struck in the chest by an arrow shot by the Okudaira soldiers. He was carried away by retainers, including Hiraiwa Motoshige, but died nearby in Hokkyū-Ōbayashi. That same day, Matsudaira Motoyasu was subject to a nighttime attack by Sadakatsu while staying at the residence of Amano Gentarō, but narrowly escaped with his life. On 2/27, Yamauchi Toshihide led approximately 200 soldiers in an assault of Hijika Castle, and Maki Harushige joined on the side of the attacking forces.
There is a legend associating the Battle of Hijika with a pumpkin patch. According to the story, one of the bushō from the Nukata-Yamauchi clan had the misfortune of catching his foot on a pumpkin vine, causing him to fall to his death.