Battle of Kuzuryūgawa

九頭竜川の戦い

Ikkō-ikki of Kaga

Echizen Province

Asakura Clan

Date:  Seventh month of Eishō 3 (1506)

Location:  Along the Kuzuryū River in Echizen Province

Outcome:  Asakura Sōteki achieved a quick victory by launching a preemptive nighttime attack against the Ikkō-ikki forces positioned on the opposite side of the Kuzuryū River, causing the enemy forces to retreat to Kaga.

Commanders:  Unknown

Forces:  Members of the Kaga ikkō-ikki along with monks from Noto and Etchū

Casualties:  Unknown

Commanders:  Asakura Sōteki

Forces:  From 8,000 to 16,000

Casualties:  Unknown

The Battle of Kuzuryūgawa was a nighttime attack one day in the seventh month of Eishō 3 (1506) at the Kuzuryū River in Echizen Province.  The conflict was waged between the Asakura army led by Asakura Sōteki and adherents of the Ikkō-ikki religious band from the Hokuriku region.

Precipitating events

In 1487, Togashi Masachika, the military governor of Kaga Province was on deployment with the bakufu army and assorted daimyō for a campaign led by Ashikaga Yoshihisa (the ninth shōgun) intended to subjugate Rokkaku Takayori in Ōmi Province.  This was the first of two deployments for the same purpose known together as the Chōkyō-Entoku Expedition (named after the eras in which these occurred).  During this initial deployment, the Ikkō-ikki began an uprising in Kaga known as the Kaga Ikkō-ikki.

Masachika quickly returned with his forces to Kaga, but, in 1488, he took his own life after an attack by the Ikki forces.  Kaga was then controlled by followers of the Ikkō sect affiliated with the Ishiyama-Hongan Temple for almost a century thereafter, spreading to Noto and Etchū provinces as well.

In the tenth month of 1494, the Ikkō-ikki endeavored to expand their territory by joining with the Kai clan, former rivals of the Asakura in Echizen, to invade the province.  The Asakura army, under the command of Asakura Sadakage, intercepted the invading forces, causing the Ikkō to retreat to Kaga.  Thereafter, the Asakura and Ikkō-ikki continued to fight ceaselessly.  After being ousted from Echizen as a rebel, in the eighth month of 1504, Asakura Motokage garnered the cooperation of the Ikkō-ikki and invaded Echizen, but was confronted by the Asakura forces.  In the third month of 1506, the Ikkō-ikki attacked from Ōmi Province, but met resistance at the provincial border and withdrew with the assistance of Myōsō, a priest from the Katata-Honpuku Temple.

Course of the battle

In the seventh month of 1506, a large army comprised of members of the Ikkō-ikki in Kaga along with monks from Noto and Etchū invaded Echizen.  Opposing them were between 8,000 and 16,000 forces led by Asakura Sōteki, with the two armies facing-off against one another across the Kuzuryū River.

To prevent the enemy from gaining an early advantage, Sōteki launched a surprise nighttime attack across the river.  This yielded results for the Asakura while the surviving members of the Ikkō-ikki retreated to Kaga in defeat.  Riding on this momentum, the Asakura army proceeded to destroy the Yoshizaki dormitory for monks in Echizen.

Meanwhile, the footholds of the Ikkō-ikki in Echizen, namely the Hongaku and Chōshō temples, were taken away, while they came into conflict with local temples in Kaga affiliated with the Hongan Temple.  This was an indirect cause of the Chōroku-Tenbun Conflict.