First Battle of Kizugawaguchi


Oda Clan

Ōsaka Bay

Mōri Clan

Date:  7/13 of Tenshō 4 (1576)

Location:  Near the mouth of the Kizu River on Ōsaka Bay

Outcome:  A large fleet from the Seto Inland Sea commanded by the Mōri, the Kobayakawa and the Murakami navies decimated the Oda fleet with a torrent of fireballs and flaming arrows enabling the Mōri to transport provisions requested by the Ishiyama-Hongan Temple.

Commanders:  Manabe Sadatomo, others

Vessels:  Approximately 300

Casualties:  Decimated

Commanders:  Murakami Motoyoshi, Nomi Munekatsu

Vessels:  700 to 800

Casualties:  Unknown

The First Battle of Kizugawaguchi occurred on 7/13 of Tenshō 4 (1576) at the mouth of the Kizu River.  The battle was waged between the Mōri and Oda clans.

After Oda forces laid siege to Ishiyama-Hongan Temple, the monks made a request to Mōri Motonari, the most powerful daimyō in the western provinces (the Sanyō and Sanin regions), for military provisions and weapons.

In the seventh month of 1576, Oda forces implemented a naval blockade in Ōsaka Bay near the mouth of the Kizu River and the Hongan Temple.  Their objective was to prevent naval forces from the Seto Inland Sea (the Mōri, the Kobayakawa, and the Murakami) from transporting provisions to the Hongan Temple.  The foes violently clashed in a battle involving hundreds of vessels on both sides.

In the course of the conflict, flaming arrows and fireballs launched by the Mōri navy decimated the Oda forces, enabling the Mōri to achieve their original purpose to transport military provisions and supplies to the Ishiyama-Hongan Temple.

Mōri forces

The Mōri launched between seven and eight hundred vessels.  The commanders who participated in the battle are listed in a contemporaneous report summarizing the course of the battle.  Murakami Takeyoshi, the head of the Noshima-Murakami clan, and Kurushima Michifusa, a daimyō and the head of the Kurushima-Murakami clan who was fifteen years old at the time, did not appear to have joined.  Named participants from the Mōri included:

  • Kodama Narihide
  • Awaya Ganni
  • Kuwabara Motokatsu
  • Kagawa Hirokage
  • Nomi Munekatsu
  • Kinashi Mototsune
  • Ikuchi Kagemori
  • Inoue Harutada
  • Kanehisa Kagekatsu
  • Togawa Hideyasu
  • Murakami Yoshimitsu (head of the Innoshima-Murakami clan)
  • Murakami Motoyoshi (Noshima-Murakami clan, eldest son of Murakami Takeyoshi)
  • Murakami Kagehiro (Noshim-Murakami clan, cousin of Murakami Takeyoshi)
  • Murakami Takemitsu (Noshima-Murakami clan)
  • Murakami Yoshitsugu (Kurushima-Murakami clan elder, magistrate of Kōno clan)

Oda forces

The Oda launched over three hundred vessels.  With the exception of Numano Ōsumi-no-kami, all of the listed participants were killed in the battle.

  • Manabe Sadatomo
  • Numano Dennai
  • Numano Iga
  • Numano Ōsumi-no-kami
  • Miyazaki Kama-taifu
  • Miyazaki Kanome-no-suke
  • Member of the Obata clan of Amagasaki
  • Member of the Noguchi clan of Hanakuma

Nobunaga learned from this overwhelming defeat to construct a fleet of gigantic iron-clad ships for the Second Battle of Kizugawaguchi in 1578, yielding a victory for the Oda to atone for their earlier defeat.