Collapse at Funo
Date: 7/28 to 7/29 of Tenbun 13 (1544)
Location: The village of Funo in the Futami District of Bingo Province
Outcome: Mōri forces (fighting on behalf of the Ōuchi) attempted a surprise attack against the position of an elite vanguard of Amago forces known as the shingūtō, but suffered a major defeat. The following day, the castle defenders led by Miyoshi Hirotaka launched a successful attack against unsuspecting Amago troops and prevailed.
The Collapse at Funo occurred on 7/28 and 7/29 of Tenbun 13 (1544) whereby soldiers from the Mōri and Miyoshi clans fighting on behalf of the Ōuchi clan intercepted an elite unit of Amago forces known as the shingūtō at Funo while the Amago were aiming to capture Hiei-Biyama Castle in the Miyoshi District of Bingo Province. In this initial clash, the Mōri units under the command of Mōri Motonari were overwhelmingly defeated, giving rise to the name of this battle as the Collapse at Funo. Nevertheless, on the next day, Miyoshi Hirotaka led the castle defenders on a surprise attack against Amago forces who were caught off-guard, resulting in a loss for the Amago and victory for the Mōri and Miyoshi on behalf of the Ōuchi.
In 1543, at the First Battle of Gassantoda Castle, Amago Haruhisa fended-off an attack by forces under Ōuchi Yoshitaka. This enabled the Amago to go on the offensive in Aki and Bingo provinces. Through tactics intended to separate the local lords in Bingo from their masters, the Amago lured Yamana Tadaoki, lord of Kannabe Castle, to their side.
After betraying the Ōuchi in favor of the Amago, Tadaoki served as a resource for the Amago clan to invade Bingo Province. In the summer of that same year, Yamana forces invaded the territory of the Kobayakawa, and, in the autumn, as well as in the spring of 1544, Amago forces invaded Bingo. In response, the Ōuchi continued defending against the invading forces, while the Mōri army deployed repeatedly as the main force fighting on behalf of the Ōuchi.
Course of events
In the seventh month of 1544, Amago Haruhisa dispatched Amago Kunihisa and his son, Amago Sanehisa, as the commanding generals of a contingent of 7,000 soldiers. The Amago army advanced for the purpose of attacking Miyoshi Hirotaka, a local lord aligned with the Ōuchi who was defending Hiei-Biyama Castle. The forces established a position in Funo, approximately ten kilometers away from the castle. Hiei-Biyama Castle was a stronghold strategically located at the entrance to the Yoshida District in Aki Province. The aim of the expedition also included another attack against the home base of Mōri Motonari at Yoshida-Kōriyama Castle.
Motonari responded by ordering reinforcements comprised of 1,000 mounted soldiers led by Fukuhara Sadatoshi, Kodama Naritada, and Inoue Mitsutoshi. On 7/28, in the midst of a dense fog, the forces attacked the Amago army, but the Mōri were defeated by the elite vanguard troops of the Amago known as the shingūtō led by Kunihisa. Among those associated with the Mōri, soldiers killed in action included Kamiyama Sanehiro and Inoue Mitsutoshi.
The next day, a total of 500 soldiers under Hirotaka at Hiei-Biyama Castle launched a sudden attack against the Amago position. Owing to their major victory on the prior day, the Amago forces appeared to have let their guard down. The scene descended into chaos while the Amago forces fled to Izumo Province. This ended the invasion by the Amago army.
Aftermath of the battle
As an outcome of the attack on the Amago army, Yamana Tadaoki was the only influential kokujin, or local lord, allied with the Amago remaining in Bingo Province. The Ōuchi army and local lords from Aki Province attacked him at Kannabe Castle which was staunchly defended in the Kannabe Conflict. Finally, in 1549, Tadaoki surrendered, thereby eliminating the influence of the Amago from Bingo.
However, clashes with the Amago over Bingo and other locations became a factor in the alienation of retainers from the Ōuchi family after Ōuchi Yoshitaka had delegated these duties to his retainers. Ultimately, this led to an event known as the Tainei Temple Incident. Moreover, the Mōri steadily expanded their influence through a series of battles and, in the end, consolidated enough power to become independent of the Ōuchi clan, known as the Separation of Suō and Aki.