Second Siege of Yodoko Castle
Date: 8/2 of Tenshō 1 (1573)
Location: Yodoko Castle in Nōso in Fushimi in southern Kyōto in Yamashiro Province
Synopsis: In a bid to oppose Oda Nobunaga, Ashikaga Yoshiaki (the fifteenth shōgun) raised arms from Makishima Castle. Iwanari Tomomichi, a member of the Miyoshi Group of Three, responded to Yoshiaki’s calls for support by establishing a position in Yodoko Castle. Upon the advice of retainers who colluded with Kinoshita HIdeyoshi, Tomomichi made an ill-fated decision to burst-out of the castle to engage the besieging army, only to face a valorous end.
The Second Siege of Yodoko Castle occurred on 8/2 of Tenshō 1 (1573).
In the second month of 1573, Ashikaga Yoshiaki (the fifteenth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu), committed to oppose Nobunaga and raised an army from the Nijō Palace. Nobunaga, however, departed from Gifu Castle and surrounded the Nijō Palace. On this occasion, Yoshiaki complied with directions from Emperor Ōgimachi to turn-over Nijō Palace to Nobunaga. Subsequently, in the seventh month, Yoshiaki raised arms against Nobunaga from Makishima Castle. One of those responding to Yoshiaki’s call for support was Iwanari Tomomichi, a member of the Miyoshi Group of Three. While Tomomichi holed-up in Yodoko Castle, the Oda army attacked Yoshiaki at the Siege of Makishima, whereupon Yoshiaki tendered two children as hostages while surrendering and then fled to Kawachi Province.
Meanwhile, a battalion led by Kinoshita Hideyoshi (Hashiba Hideyoshi) engaged the members of the Iwanari army holed-up in the castle. Hideyoshi persuaded Bangashira Ohohi-no-kami Yoshimoto and Suwa Hida-no-kami to ally with him while Nobunaga ordered Hosokawa Fujitaka, the lord of neighboring Shōryūji Castle, and Mitsubuchi Fujihide (Fujitaka’s younger brother of a different mother) to deploy and join the forces laying siege to Yodoko Castle. Betrayed by Bangashira Ohohi-no-kami Yoshimoto and Suwa Hida-no-kami, Tomomichi charged out of the castle to fight the besieging army, where he clashed with Oritsu Gonnai, a retainer of Fujitaka. After falling down, he was killed in the water. Despite having defensive measures in place, the decision to engage the besieging army may have been encouraged by Bangashira Ohohi-no-kami Yoshimoto and Suwa Hida-no-kami owing to their collusion with Hideyoshi. Along with Tomomichi, 340 soldiers in his army were killed in action.
His head was then brought to Nobunaga while on a march to Takashima in Ōmi Province. According to the Shinchō kōki, Nobunaga praised Tomomochi for his unparalleled valor and covered the head with his undergarment.
On 6/2 of Tenshō 10 (1582), in the Honnō Temple Incident, Oda Nobunaga died in a coup d’état orchestrated by a senior retainer, Akechi Mitsuhide. Later that month, Akechi Mitsuhide made renovations to Yodoko Castle and it was used by Hideyoshi and Mitsuhide at the Battle of Yamazaki. After Hideyoshi unified the nation, in the third month of 1589, his younger brother, Toyotomi Hidenaga, renovated the castle, and it was given to Hideyoshi’s consort, Chacha, as a location to give birth. For this reason, she was referred to by the name of Yodo-dono. A son named Tsurumatsu was born at Yodoko but died in 1591.
After the death of Tsurumatsu, a nephew, Hidetsugu, was adopted by Hideyoshi, but after Yodo-dono gave birth to Hideyori, friction arose between Hidetsugu and Hideyoshi, and, in 1595, he committed seppuku in an event known as the Hidetsugu Incident. The chief retainer and lord of Yodoko at the time, Kimura Shigekore, was also complicit and the castle abandoned.