Battle of Takanawahara
Date: 1/3 of Daiei 4 (1524)
Location: Takanawahara in Musashi Province
Synopsis: In 1524, Uesugi Tomooki (a daimyō and the head of the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi) reconciled with Uesugi Norifusa (the head of the Yamanouchi-Uesugi) and Ashikaga Yoshiaki (the Oyumi kubō) in opposition to Hōjō Ujitsuna. After an act of collusion by Ōta Sukeyori, Tomooki intercepted the Hōjō forces at Takanawahara, resulting in a violent collision between the opposing forces that ended in a victory for the Hōjō army.
The Battle of Takanawahara occurred on 1/3 of Daiei 4 (1524) in Takanawahara in Musashi Province. The conflict was waged between the army of Hōjō Ujitsuna and Uesugi Tomooki of the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi family of Musashi.
Hōjō Sōun, a sengoku daimyō and the founder of the Gohōjō clan, died in 1519. His lineal heir, Hōjō Ujitsuna, the second head of the clan and a rising daimyō, aimed to carry-out the dying wishes of his father to expand the influence of the clan in the direction of Musashi from his base at Odawara Castle in Sagami Province. This led to conflict with Uesugi Tomoki, a daimyō and the head of the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi family who wielded power in Musashi.
Initially, Tomooki aligned with Ashikaga Yoshiaki (the Oyumi kubō) and Ujitsuna to oppose the Yamanouchi-Uesugi family. From around 1523, however, he distanced himself from Ujitsuna and moved in the direction of a settlement with the Yamanouchi-Uesugi.
In the first month of 1524, Tomooki reconciled with Uesugi Norifusa, the thirteenth head of the Yamanouchi-Uesugi. At the same time, Ōta Suketaka colluded with Ujitsuna so Tomooki was attacked by the Hōjō army at Edo Castle. Tomooki said “If you take on the enemy while remaining in place, it is the same as using no force.”
On 1/13 of Daiei 4 (1524), Tomooki led a large army to intercept the Hōjō forces at Takanawahara, resulting in a violent clash. During this battle, the two armies engaged in mortal combat against one another, pressing forward and then retreating over the course of seven or eight times. In the end, the Hōjō succeeded in pushing back the Uesugi forces who retreated to Edo Castle. Ujitsuna, however, did not yield, descending upon the castle in a ferocious assault. Unable to hold Edo Castle, Tomooki fled to Kawagoe Castle. Next, he sought refuge (via Matsuyama Castle in the Yokomi District of Musashi) in Fujita in the environs of Hachigata Castle, resulting in a victory for the Hōjō army.
In the second month, Ōta Sukeyori from the same family as Suketaka colluded with Ujitsuna and took away Iwatsuki Castle. In the seventh month of the same year, following an attack on Iwatsuki Castle by the Kai-Takeda army serving as reinforcements for the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi, the occupants surrendered and the castle reverted to the control of the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi.
Based on more recent research, the course of events is summarized as follows: In the midst of conflict between Ashikaga Takamoto and his younger brother, Ashikaga Yoshiaki (later, the Oyumi kubō), in regard to the successor to the Koga kubō, Uesugi Tomooki and Hōjō Ujitsuna settled on the pretext of supporting Yoshiaki and began to fight against Uesugi Norifusa (of the Yamanouchi-Uesugi family). From around 1521, the two Uesugi families engaged in battle across Kōzuke Province. By 1523, Tomooki considered settling with Norifusa. On 1/3 of Daiei 4 (1524), while advancing troops to Kawagoe Castle, he dispatched a senior retainer named Ōta Eigen, and, on 1/10, reached a settlement with Uesugi Norifusa at the Haneo Ridge. Three days later, the Hōjō and Uesugi armies collided at Takanawahara.
As an outcome of this battle, the Hōjō clan established a foothold from which to advance into Musashi. Tomooki, however, had conducted a strategic withdrawal to Fujita with the aim of connecting with Uesugi Norifusa. Soon thereafter, hostilities resumed between the Hōjō and Uesugi armies for control of Iwatsuki Castle, escalating into clashes across Musashi. In the second month of 1525, at the Siege of Iwatsuki Castle, the Hōjō army defeated Ōta Sukeyori, a retainer of the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi and captured the castle. In the eighth month, at the Battle of Shirakobara, the Uesugi achieved a major victory over the Hōjō, after which the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi went on the offensive. Initially, Ashikaga Takamoto (the Koga kubō) and Ashikaga Yoshiaki (the Oyumi kubō) carefully watched the separation of the Oyumi camp. After the Hōjō family captured Edo Castle, followed by Kasai Castle, and then advanced to the western edge of Shimōsa Province, Yoshiaki, together with Mariyatsu Jokan, cut ties with Ujitsuna and turned to support Tomooki and Norifusa. Takamoto and Ujitsuna gradually deepened their relationship while various powers in the Kantō partook in an ongoing series of alignments and ruptures in their relationships.