Second Battle of Kizugawaguchi


Oda Clan

Ōsaka Bay

Mōri Clan

Date:  11/6 of Tenshō 6 (1578)

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

Outcome:  For this second encounter on Ōsaka Bay, Nobunaga had his admiral, Kuki Yoshitaka, construct large iron-clad vessels equipped with large guns and cannons that overwhelmed the smaller boats commanded by the Mōri, resulting in victory for the Oda.

Oda Warship

Commanders:   Kuki Yoshitaka, Takigawa Kazumasu

Vessels:   Six iron-clad warships

Casualties:  Unknown

Commanders:  Murakami Takeyoshi, others

Vessels:  600

Casualties:  Unknown

The Second Battle of Kizugawaguchi occurred on 11/6 of Tenshō 6 (1578) near the mouth of the Kizu River in approximately the same location as the First Battle of Kizugawaguchi.  The naval battle was waged between the Mōri and Oda clans.

Prelude to the battle

In the conflict that erupted between Oda Nobunaga and the Ishiyama-Hongan Temple known as the Battle of Ishiyama,  Nobunaga laid siege to the Hongan Temple and severed their supply lines.  The monks then 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 First Battle of Kizugawaguchi, 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.

Thereafter, Nobunaga ordered Kuki Yoshitaka to construct six iron-clad vessels equipped with large guns and cannons that would be impregnable to attack by fireballs and flaming arrows.  These ships were twenty-two meters long and twelve meters wide, featuring a previously unseen size and defensive capability.

However, the only historical source that confirm the iron-clad ships is diary of the Tamon monastery (associated with the Kōfuku Temple in Nara) which are regarded as secondary accounts, so questions remain as to whether these vessels were indeed iron-clad.

On 6/26 of 1578, Kuki Yoshitaka served as the admiral of a fleet of six newly constructed warships  and, along with one large vessel commanded by Takigawa Kazumasu, departed from the Kumano Inlet and headed toward Ōsaka Bay.  En route, a large fleet of small boats commanded by members of the Saika group from Tannowa or Saika attempted an attack at sea, but Kuki Yoshitaka steered close by and overwhelmed them with cannon fire, repelling the enemy boats.

On 7/17, the forces arrived in Sakai.  On the next day, after arriving in Ōsaka Bay, the vessels were positioned in strategic locations and the navy implemented another blockade of Ōsaka Bay.

On 9/30, Nobunaga went to Sakai and inspected the vessels.  On this occasion, rewards were given to Kuki Yoshitaka, Takigawa Kazumasu and their retainers.

Details of the battle

On 11/6, the Mōri navy appeared near the mouth of the Kizu River at almost the same location as for the First Battle of Kizugawaguchi.  When the Oda fleet came to intercept them, the Mōri vessels surrounded them while heading in a southward direction.

The battle erupted around 8:00 AM.  The Oda approached in their iron-clad vessels and then concentrated the cannons and gunfire on the Mōri vessels in which the Oda believed the enemy commander was present.  Fearful of the barrage, the Mōri sailors could not risk steering their vessels closer to the Oda, resulting in the retreat of several hundred of their boats.  The battle was over by around noon of that same day.

Although the Mōri navy was defeated in this battle, according to some views the Mōri were nonetheless able to deliver military provisions to the Ishiyama-Hongan Temple.

Consequences of the battle

As a result of this battle, the Oda possessed control over maritime rights in Ōsaka Bay.  Nevertheless, even after the conflict, the transport of military provisions and weapons, and the conveyance of soldiers to the Hongan Temple continued.  Approximately two years later, after Kennyo (the eleventh high priest of the temple) surrendered to Nobunaga, the Ishiyama-Hongan Temple was vacated and turned over to Nobunaga.