Battle of Kumeda

久米田の戦い

Miyoshi Clan

Izumi Province

Hatakeyama Clan

Date:  3/5 of Eiroku 5 (1562)

Location:  In the environs of the Kumeda Temple in the village of Yagi in Izumi Province

Synopsis:  Miyoshi Nagayoshi incarcerated Hosokawa Harumoto (the former deputy shōgun) and his son, Hosokawa Akimoto, leading Hatakeyama Takamasa and other figures from neighboring provinces to attack the Miyoshi. After the Hatakeyama army (backed by warrior monks from the Negoro group) besieged Kishiwada Castle, the two armies engaged in a final showdown during which Miyoshi Jikkyū (Nagayoshi’s younger brother and commander of battlefield forces), was killed in action.  Surviving forces fled to Sakai and their home province of Awa, many of whom then entered the priesthood.  The battle was a major contributor to the decline of the Miyoshi clan thereafter.

Lord:  Miyoshi Nagayoshi

Commanders:  Miyoshi Jikkyū (commander-in-chief), Miyoshi Nagayasu, Miyoshi Yasunaga, Miyoshi Masayasu, Miyoshi Morimasa, Shinohara Nagafusa, Atagi Fuyuyasu

Forces:  7,000 to 20,000 (depending upon source)

Losses:  2,000 total on both sides, including Miyoshi Jikkyū

Lords:  Rokkaku Yoshikata, Hatakeyama Takamasa

Commanders:  Hatakeyama Takamasa (commander-in-chief), Yasumi Munefusa, Yusa Nobunori, Yukawa Naomitsu

Forces:  10,000 to 30,000 (depending upon the source), included mercenaries from the Negoro group of Kii Province

Losses:  2,000 total on both sides

The Battle of Kumeda occurred on 3/5 of Eiroku 5 (1562) in the environs of Kumeda Temple in the village of Yagi in Izumi Province.  This clash was waged between Miyoshi Jikkyū and Hatakeyama Takamasa with large armies on both sides of the battle.  Jikkyū was killed in action, serving as a contributing factor in the ensuing decline of the Miyoshi clan.

Prelude to the battle

On 3/30 of 1561, Miyoshi Nagayoshi welcomed Ashikaga Yoshiteru (the thirteenth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu) on a visit to Nagayoshi’s residence.  On 5/6 of Eiroku 4 (1561), Yoshiteru advised Nagayoshi to make peace with Hosokawa Harumoto, the prior kanrei, or deputy shōgun.  Nagayoshi proceeded to send Miyoshi Nagayasu and Matsunaga Hisahide as messengers to meet Harumoto on Mount Ōsaka whereupon Harumoto entered the capital of Kyōto for the first time in eight years.

After an in-person meeting between Harumoto and Yoshiteru, Nagayoshi incarcerated Harumoto at Fumonji Castle in Settsu Province.  Thereafter, Harumoto’s eldest son, Hosokawa Akimoto, was also forced into Fumonji Castle and placed under the supervision of Nagayoshi.

Harumoto’s wife was the younger sister of Rokkaku Yoshikata who was a shugo daimyō and the military governor of Ōmi Province.  Dismayed at the situation, Yoshikata criticized the treatment of Harumoto and Akimoto.  On 3/18 of Eiroku 4 (1561), Nagayoshi’s younger brother, Sogō Kazumasa, the lord of Kishiwada Castle, died of illness.  Based on a determination in part that the defenses of the Miyoshi army had become vulnerable, Yoshikata allied with Hatakeyama Takamasa, a sengoku daimyō of Kii and Kawachi provinces, to raise arms against Nagayoshi in the Kinai including in Kyōto.  On 7/13, with Takamasa serving as the commanding general, an army of 10,000 soldiers including Yasumi Munefusa, Yusa Nobunori, and members of the Negoro group (a mercenary band of monk warriors from Kii armed with arquebuses) surrounded Kishiwada Castle.  On 7/28, Yoshikata had Nagahara Shigetaka lead an army of 20,000 soldiers and established a position at Shōgun-jizōyama Castle.

At this time, Nagayoshi, who was located in Iimoriyama Castle, ordered his son, Miyoshi Yoshioki (the lord of Akutagawayama Castle) lead 7,000 troops from Settsu to Umezu and Koori castles, and his retainer, Matsunaga Hisahide (the lord of Shigisan Castle) lead 7,000 troops from Yamato to the Kyōnishi Temple at the Koizumi Castle in Yamato to serve as defensive positions for the protection of Shōgun-jizōyama Castle.  As reinforcements for Kishiwada Castle, he called upon his younger brother, Miyoshi Jikkyū (the lord of Takaya Castle) to lead a contingent from Kawachi, in addition to 7,000 troops from Awaji and Awa provinces led by Miyoshi Nagayasu, Miyoshi Yasunaga, Miyoshi Masayasu, and Shinohara Nagafusa.  These forces were directed toward Kishiwada Castle but owing to the siege by the Hatakeyama army, the forces established a base on Mount Kaibuki in the environs of the Kumeda Temple several kilometers away from Kishiwada Castle.

On 11/24, with Rokkaku Yoshikata at the front of the formation, the army departed from Shōgun-jizōyama Castle.  The army then occupied Kaguraoka at the mouth of the Shira River, but the Matsunaga army quickly intercepted them, killing many commanders including Nagahara Shigetaka, so the army retreated to Shōgun-jizōyama Castle.  The retreated forces were chased by the Matsunaga army but able to repel them.  Meanwhile, several commanders in Jikkyū’s army based at Kaibukiyama Castle were killed in action.

On 12/25, Miyoshi Masanari, the lord of Sanga Castle, an outlying castle for the defense of Iimoriyama Castle, was killed in a surprise attack by Miyazaki Oki-no-kami, a bushō in the Hatakeyama army.  Masanari was the older brother of Miyoshi Masayasu, and, from the time of the Sakai bakufu, served as an intermediary with the Imperial Court and a mainstay in the Miyoshi clan.

In the midst of tense circumstances, in the first month of 1562, Miyoshi Yoshioki, Matsunaga Hisahide and others made a courtesy visit to Ashikaga Yoshiteru to offer new year’s greetings.  Minor skirmishes frequently occurred during this period and, in particular, the army of Miyoshi Jikkyū grew weary after a long confrontation with the Hatakeyama army.

Course of events

Seven months after the two armies confronted each other, at Noon on 3/5 of Eiroku 5 (1562), forces led by Hatakeyama Takamasa in an arrowhead formation attacked Jikkyū’s encampment at Kaibukiyama Castle.  The battalions were commanded as follows:  Yasumi Munefusa (first battalion), Yusa Nobunori (second battalion), Yukawa Naomitsu (third battalion).  While overseeing the rear guard and the main base himself, Jikkyū arrayed his battalions under the following commanders:  Shinohara Nagafusa (vanguard), Miyoshi Yasunaga (right wing), Miyoshi Masayasu (left wing), Miyoshi Morimasa (center).

As the Hatakeyama forces crossed the Haruki River, Jikkyū’s archers launched a hail of arrows and the two armies engaged in battle.

The Hatakeyama army primarily fought with the Haruki River behind them.  In less than three hours, after the first battalion led by Yasumi Munefusa began to collapse, the vanguard unit in Jikkyū’s army led by Shinohara Nagafusa attacked the second battalion of the Hatakeyama army led by Yusa Nobunori.  The second battalion also appeared on the verge of collapse but space opened-up between the battalion led by Shinohara and Jikkyū’s forces.

Perhaps having waited for this opportunity, the third battalion led by Yukawa Naomitsu (comprised primarily of mercenaries from Kii) attempted to attack the Shinohara battalion from behind by circling around from upstream the river.  Aware of the danger, Jikkyū sent to the front line the battalions led by Miyoshi Yasunaga, Miyoshi Masayasu, and Miyoshi Morimasa to rescue the Shinohara battalion and these forces cut their way into the Yukawa battalion.

As a result, a unit of only around 100 elite umamawari, or mounted soldiers, remained behind to to guard Jikkyū’s main base.  At this moment, the sound of arquebus fire could be heard from the direction of Kumeda Pond behind the main base.  Next, an infantry battalion from the Negoro group (a mercenary band of monk warriors from Kii armed with arquebuses) charged the main base.  After umamawari were felled, Jikkyū charged on horseback with a small unit toward the mercenaries, but was killed in the attack.

Consequences

A warrior monk from the Negoro Temple named Ōrai Ukyō was deemed responsible for killing Jikkyū.  In the end, about thirty remaining soldiers from Jikkyū’s army slashed their way into the enemy camp but all died in battle.  The conflict ended around 4:00 in the afternoon.  Jikkyū was thirty-seven years old.

After the death in battle of Miyoshi Jikkyū as their commanding general, the battalions led by Shinohara Nagafusa, Miyoshi Yasunaga, Miyoshi Masayasu, and Miyoshi Morimasa continued to ward-off pursuing forces will fleeing to Sakai.  The surviving forces then returned to their home in Awa Province.  Atagi Fuyuyasu, the lord of Kishiwada Castle, also fled to Awaji Province.  The garrison at Takaya Castle vacated the site and escaped to Iimoriyama Castle.  Takamasa reclaimed Izumi and southern Kawachi.

Kyōto was another primary battlefield, and Miyoshi Yoshioki advocated for withdrawal, having defensive troops in Kyōto stationed at Kyōnishi Temple at the Koizumi Castle, Umezu and Koori castles withdraw to Shōryūji Castle.  He assigned Iwanari Tomomichi to protect Ashikaga Yoshiteru and moved them to the Iwashimizu-Hachiman Shrine.  On 3/6, Rokkaku Yoshikata advanced to the interior of Kyōto and, on 3/8, issued a tokuseirei, or order to money brokers and creditors to relieve the debts of their debtors, seizing control of the capital.

After entering Takaya Castle for the first time after two years, Hatakeyama Takamasa permitted the soldiers and horses to rest for several days.  Around the middle of the third month, he had them lay siege to the base of Nagayoshi at Iimoriyama Castle.  However, as the main base of the Miyoshi clan, it was protected with powerful armaments and could not easily be captured.  The war of attrition caused weariness among the attacking forces.  Later, from 5/19 to 5/20, the conflict extended to the Battle of Kyōkō Temple.

Additional notes

This battle was triggered by the incarceration of Hosokawa Harumoto and Hosokawa Akimoto (father and son) in Fumonji Castle in Settsu.  Sogō Kazumasa died in the fourth or fifth month of 1561 and was buried at the Nanzen Temple in Sakai.  The fact that his death induced the attack by the Hatakeyama army and members of the Negoro group from Kii attested to the importance of his presence while alive.  Known as a ferocious warrior, he was feared as “Demon Sogō.”  The death of Kazumasa served as a catalyst for Hatakeyama Takamasa to deploy his army.

The total number of soldiers involved in the battle is uncertain.  According to assorted sources, the number of troops on the side of the Hatakeyama ranged from 10,000 to 30,000 while the number of troops on the side of the Miyoshi ranged from 7,000 to 20,000.  In any event, it was a large-scale conflict.

Depending upon the account, Miyoshi Jikkyū died either from arquebus fire or a stray arrow, or else killed himself.  According to one theory, after being struck by an arrow, he killed himself.

After the killing of Jikkyū, it became difficult to withdraw to Sakai and the undertaking was called the Kumeda Retreat.

Following their return to Awa Province, numerous bushō entered the priesthood and adopted Buddhist names.  These included, among others, Shinohara Nagafusa (Shiun), Shinohara Sanenaga (Jiton), Akazawa Shinano-no-kami (Sōden), Kaifu Sakon-Shōgen Tomomitsu (Sōju), Ichinomiya Narisuke (Tokan), Ōnishi Mototake (Kakuyō), Atagi Fuyuyasu (Sōkei), Yano Kunimura (Kaigen), and Shingai Sanetsuna (Dōzen).  This defeat had a major impact on the army of Miyoshi Nagayoshi.