Battle of Nawazuri



Shimotsuke Province

Satake Clan

Date:  Sixth month of Eishō 13 (1516)

Location(s):  Jōhōji-Nawazuri in the Ue-Nasu domain of Shimotsuke Province with subsequent clashes in the Mumo domain in Shimotsuke, Yorigami-no-ho in Hitachi Province, and Tsukiore in Hitachi

Outcome:  A misguided invasion by the combined forces of the Satake and the Iwaki led to an initial defeat at the hands of the Shimotsuke-Utsunomiya forces in Jōhōji-Nawazuri, followed by successive losses in three further locations during their retreat to Hitachi Province

Commanders:  Utsunomiya Shigetsuna, Utsunomiya Tadatsuna

Forces:  Unknown

Casualties:  Unknown

Commanders:  Satake Yoshikiyo, Iwaki Yoshitaka

Forces:  Large army (number of soldiers unknown)

Casualties:  5,000

The Battle of Nawazuri occurred in the sixth month of Eishō 13 (1516) in Jōhōji-Nawazuri of Shimotsuke Province – an area controlled by the Upper Nasu family.  This is also known as the Battle of Ogawa-Nawazuri and marked the second chapter of an ongoing conflict between the Shimotsuke-Utsunomiya against the combined forces of the Satake and the Iwaki from neighboring Hitachi Province.  Internal discord in the family of the Koga kubō known as the Eishō Conflict served as the catalyst for the Battle of Takebayashi in 1514 as well as this Battle of Nawazuri in the sixth month of 1516.  The Battle of Nawazuri reflected a broader struggle between Utsunomiya Shigetsuna (sengoku daimyō of Shimotsuke) and Satake Yoshikiyo (sengoku daimyō of Hitachi Province) to establish a hegemony over northern Kantō.  The Satake and the Iwaki incurred major losses as a result of this battle.


In 1514, combined forces led by Utsunomiya Shigetsuna and Yūki Masatomo prevailed against the combined forces of Satake Yoshikiyo and Iwaki Yoshitaka (sengoku daimyō from Mutsu Province) at the Battle of Takebayashi.  After this battle, Shigetsuna successfully lured Nasu Sukefusa to the side of Ashikaga Takamoto and forged an alliance, providing Shigetsuna an advantage in the ensuing Battle of Nawazuri.  Although Takamoto was the eldest son of Ashikaga Masauji (the second Koga kubō), he had been in conflict with his father since 1506, and later dispossessed Masauji of his role to become the third Koga kubō. 

Details of the battle

In the sixth month of 1516, Yoshikiyo and Yoshitaka obeyed orders from Masauji to lead a large army on another invasion of Shimotsuke Province.  In response, Shigetsuna and his son, Utsunomiya Tadatsuna, led an army to intercept the invading forces at Jōhōji-Nawazuri in the territory of the Upper Nasu family.  The Utsunomiya repelled the allied forces of the Satake and Iwaki, chasing them during their retreat to Hitachi Province en route to an overwhelming victory.

The pursuit of the retreating forces resulted in a series of clashes.  At the Battle of Mumo, the armies clashed in the Mumo domain in Shimotsuke.  Mumo was located in territory controlled by the Utsunomiya, under the jurisdiction of the Mumo clan who were members of the Utsunomiya.  The head of the Mumo clan, Mumo Kanetsuna, was the younger brother of Shigetsuna.  The combined forces of the Satake and Iwaki once again suffered a loss to the Utsunomiya army led by Shigetsuna, causing Yoshikiyo and Yoshitaka to further retreat.  At the Battle of Yorigami, Shigetsuna continued the pursuit with the aim of eliminating Yoshikiyo and Yoshitaka.  Shigetsuna, together with his son, Tadatsuna, crossed the mountainous district of Yamizo to invade Hitachi Province.  The armies then clashed at Yorigami-no-ho.  This area was originally within the territory of the Shirakawa-Yūki clan, but, in 1509, after the Eishō Incident, Yoshikiyo invaded and seized the land for the Satake clan.  Nevertheless, once again the Utsunomiya emerged victorious, causing their enemies to retreat again.  Subsequently, at the Battle of Tsukiore, the pursuers engaged the Satake and Iwaki forces one more time, after which the Utsunomiya army finally returned to Shimotsuke.  This battle resulted in a major victory for the Shimotsuke-Utsunomiya, having taken as many as 5,000 heads while their enemies suffered a destructive blow.

Consequences of the battles

Owing to successive losses by Satake Yoshikiyo and Iwaki Yoshitake, first at the Battle of Takebayashi in 1514, and then at the Battle of Nawazuri and during their retreat, the faction of bushō aligned with Masauji lost influence.  Moreover, after the Oyama clan switched their allegiance to Ashikaga Takamoto, Takamoto became the next Koga kubō both in name and in substance.  As the father-in-law of Takamoto, Utsunomiya Shigetsuna witnessed a commensurate rise in power.  Having prevailed against the Satake clan in the struggle for regional hegemony, the Shimotsuke-Utsunomiya clan experienced the peak of their prosperity.  Shigetsuna had the potential for more achievements, but he died on 11/8 of 1516, while his rival, Satake Yoshikiyo, died on 3/13 of 1517.  Owing to these developments, including the invasion of Shimotsuke by Yūki Masatomo of the Shirakawa-Yūki clan, the situation in northern Kantō underwent significant changes.