Siege of Kanie Castle


Hashiba Clan

Owari Province

Tokugawa Clan

Oda Clan

Date:  6/16 to 7/3 of Tenshō 12 (1584)

Location:  Kanie Castle in the southwest portion of Owari Province

Synopsis:  The Siege of Kanie Castle occurred in the course of a broader war between the Hashiba (Hashiba Hideyoshi) on one side and the combined forces of the Oda (Oda Nobukatsu) and the Tokugawa (Tokugawa Ieyasu) on the other known as the Battle of Komaki-Nagakute.  Takigawa Kazumasu, backed by 3,000 troops, persuaded the occupants of Shimoichiba and Maeda castles to abandon the Oda for the Hashiba and then ousted the lord of Kanie.  This triggered sieges by the allied forces of the Oda and Tokugawa resulting in the subsequent fall of the castles earlier captured by Kazumasu.


(Kanie Castle) Takigawa Kazumasu, Takigawa Kazutada, Takigawa Masushige, Takigawa Tadayuki, Tanizaki Chūemon, Hioki Gozaemon, Tsuda Tōsaburō

(Maeda Castle) Maeda Nagatane, Maeda Nagasada

(Shimoichiba Castle) Maeda Nagatoshi


(Kanie Castle) Tokugawa Ieyasu, Oda Nobukatsu, Oda Nagamasu, Mizuno Tadashige, Mizuno Katsunari, Sakuma Nobuhide, Yamaguchi Shigemasa, Ishikawa Kazumasa, Ii Naomasa, Honda Tadakatsu, Sakakibara Yasumasa, Matsudaira Ietada, Amano Katsumitsu, Niwa Ujitsugu, Sakai Tadatsugu, Sakai Tadatoshi, Matsudaira Yasuyasu, Naitō Ienaga, Hisamatsu Sadakatsu, Matsudaira Yasutada, Hattori Masanari, Ōsuga Yasutaka

(Maeda Castle) Ishikawa Kazumasa, Abe Nobukatsu

(Shimoichiba Castle) Suganuma Sadamitsu, Matsudaira Ienobu, Shidara Sadamitsu, Matsudiara Chikanori, Sakai Shigetada, Naitō Masanaga, Nagashima Heizō, Matsudaira Kiyosada, Matsudaira Chikatsugu, Ōsuga Yasutaka, Sakakibara Yasumasa, Sakai Tadatsugu, Okabe Nagamori, Yamaguchi Shigemasa

The Siege of Kanie Castle occurred from 6/16 to 7/3 of Tenshō 12 (1584) at Kanie Castle in the southwest portion of Owari Province.  The conflict was waged between the forces of Hashiba Hideyoshi (later known as Toyotomi Hideyoshi) and the allied army of Oda Nobukatsu and Tokugawa Ieyasu.  The Siege of Kanie Castle also included attacks on Maeda and Shimoichiba castles.  This event occurred in the context of a broader war between the Hashiba forces and the allied forces of the Oda and Tokugawa from the third to eleventh months of 1584 known as the Battle of Komaki-Nagakute or the Komaki Campaign.


From the fourth month of 1584, defensive positions built along the front lines in northern Owari for the ongoing Battle of Komaki-Nagakute turned the situation between the warring parties into a stalemate.  Tokugawa Ieyasu had returned to Kiyosu Castle in Owari Province, Oda Nobukatsu to Kuwana Castle in Ise Province, and Hideyoshi to Ōsaka Castle in Settsu Province.

In the northwest portion of Owari, from 5/4, a large contingent of Hashiba forces surrounded Kaganoi, Oku, and Takegahana castles and, through flooding and other means, captured them one after another.  This is known as the Siege of Takegahana Castle.  Ieyasu, however, did not move from Kiyosu Castle.

As former senior retainers of Oda Nobunaga, Hideyoshi and Takigawa Kazumasu had a close association.  During the Battle of Shizugatake in 1583, Kazumasu sided with Shibata Katsuie against Hideyoshi but was defeated.  A year later, Hideyoshi offered 3,000 koku to Kazumasu to return from the priesthood to secular life and 12,000 koku to his lineal heir, Takigawa Kazutada.  He then ordered them to capture several castles.  Kazumasu lured away Kuki Yoshitaka (a naval commander) and Maeda Nagasada from the side of Oda Nobukatsu.  Despite Kazumasu’s commitment to serve the Hashiba, his son-in-law, Takigawa Katsutoshi, continued to serve as the chief retainer of Nobukatsu.

Sakuma Nobuhide, the lord of Kanie Castle aligned with the Oda, obeyed orders from Nobukatsu to build a fortress in Kayō in Ise Province.  As a result, he assigned his uncle, Sakuma Nobutoki, and Maeda Nagasada (also known as Tanesada, the lord of Maeda Castle) to protect Kanie Castle during his absence.

Kanie Castle was located in-between Kiyosu Castle (held by Ieyasu) and Nagashima Castle (held by Nobukatsu) and approximately twelve kilometers away from each one.  The castle featured three rows of moats and was supported by three auxiliary castles including Ōno Castle, Shimoichiba Castle, and Maeda Castle.  At this time, Kanie was a coastal town comprising, along with Atsuta and Tsushima, the most important harbors in Owari.  Similar to Kazumasu, Maeda Nagasada was a relative of the Kaga-Maeda family.  Moreover, in the past, Kazumasu served as the lord of Kuwana Castle and of Kanie Castle.

Course of events

On the morning of 6/16 of Tenshō 12 (1584), the Kuki navy with large warships known as atakebune appeared in the Kanie Inlet.  Kazumasu led 3,000 soldiers from the Shiroko Inlet in Ise to the Kanie Inlet in Owari.  Maeda Nagasada was persuaded by Kazumasu to force Sakuma Nobutoki out of the inner citadel.  These forces ousted Nobutoki from Kanie Castle, and, further, occupied Shimoichiba and Maeda castles.  At the same time, Shimoichiba Castle defended by Maeda Nagatoshi (the younger brother of Nagasada) and Maeda Castle defended by Maeda Nagatane (the eldest son of Nagasada) joined Hideyoshi’s camp.  Although his mother was taken as a hostage, Yamaguchi Shigemasa of Ōno Castle did not respond to solicitations to switch sides so, on the evening of 6/16, the Takigawa, Kuki, and Maeda forces assaulted the castle and it nearly fell.

After learning of the fall of Kanie Castle, Oda Nobukatsu of Nagashima Castle led 2,000 troops and, by the evening of 6/16, rushed to Ōno Castle.  Tokugawa Ieyasu of Kiyosu Castle led forces and, on the morning of 6/17, set-up a main base in the village of Toda.  Nobukatsu entered Ōno Castle and, after a failed assault on Ōno, the Takigawa forces entered Kanie Castle while Kuki Yoshitaka fled to hole-up in Shimoichiba Castle.

On 6/18, Ieyasu and Nobukatsu led 20,000 soldiers and surrounded Kanie, Maeda, and Shimoichiba castles.  That same day, Oda and Tokugawa forces concentrated their attacks on Shimoichiba Castle and killed Maeda Nagatoshi.

On 6/19, at the Battle of Funairi, Kuki Yoshitaka lost, enabling the Oda and Tokugawa to fully implement a naval blockade.

On 6/20, forces led by Ieyasu attacked Kanie Castle from the east while Oda forces under Nobukatsu attacked from the south and the west.

On 6/21, Hideyoshi went from Mino to Sawayama Castle in Ōmi.

On 6/22, at Kanie Castle, Oda Nobukatsu and Tokugawa Ieyasu launched an all-out assault.

On 6/22, the battle unfolded as follows:

At the Kaimonji gate (the main gate to the castle), the soldiers led by Sakai Tadatsugu were weary from strenuous fighting, and, in the evening, another group led by Sakakibara Yasumasa and Matsudaira Ietada replaced them.

To gather soldiers to defend the castle, Takigawa Kazumasu went out under cover of darkness from each gate.  Thereafter, he abandoned the outermost regions of the castle and attempted to withdraw to the outer citadel, but the battle continued to rage at the Kaimonji gate and members of the garrison led by Tanizaki Chūemon (later known as Gamō Chūemon) became surrounded outside of the castle.  This angered Kazumasu who himself guarded the gate and took the soldiers into the outer citadel.  On this day, Chūemon was shot by an arquebus and died of his injuries three days later.

At the Maeda gate, Takigawa Kazutada served as the rear guard for soldiers to pull back to the outer citadel.  He crossed swords with Mizuno Katsunari and both of them sustained injuries.

On 6/23, after an assault led by Ishikawa Kazumasa and Abe Nobukatsu, Maeda Castle defended by Maeda Nagatane was vacated and Tokugawa Ieyasu, accompanied by Sakakibara Yasumasa, entered the castle.

On 6/24, Hideyoshi learned of the attack against Kanie Castle as defended by Kazumasu and went to Tsuchiyama in Ōmi.

On 6/25, Hideyoshi went to Mukumoto in Ise and notified Kiso Yoshimasa of Shinano in regard to plans of an all-out assault from the western portion of Bishū (Owari).

On 6/29, peace negotiations commenced.

On 7/3, Kanie Castle was turned over to the Tokugawa and Oda forces, but despite the settlement, Maeda Nagasada was murdered while withdrawing. Takigawa Kazumasu avoided being killed and escaped to Ise.

According to an account of Mikawa, on 7/3, although Kazumasu safely fled, he would not let Nagasada go and Nagasada was killed along with his wife and children in the same boat.  Later accounts note that, on 7/2, Takigawa Genhachirō (Kazumasu’s nephew) killed Nagasada while he was attempting to flee so there is a change from the account in which Kazumasu killed them.  Kazumasu fled to Kanbe Castle in Ise but was suspected of wrongful intent by Tomita Ippaku who was defending the castle and driven away without being allowed into the castle.

Hideyoshi assembled an army of 62,000 soldiers led by Hashiba Hidenaga, Niwa Nadashige, and Hori Hidemasa and planned for an all-out assault on 7/15 from the western portion of Owari, but the forces did not arrive in time so the plans were canceled.

On 7/5, Ieyasu entered Kuwana Castle.

On 7/12, as promised at the time Hideyoshi engaged their services, Hideyoshi granted landholdings of 3,000 koku to Kazumasu and 12,000 koku to Kazumasu’s second son and designated heir, Takigawa Kazutoki.

On 7/13, Ieyasu returned to Kiyosu Castle.

On 7/29, Hideyoshi returned to Ōsaka Castle from Ōgaki Castle in Mino.


In the course of the Battle of Komaki-Nagakute, the Siege of Kanie Castle was the last opportunity for Hideyoshi to defeat Ieyasu.  In addition to the Battle of Komaki-Nagakute, Hideyoshi failed in the use of his main division and, thereafter, did not go on the offensive.

At the time, the Hashiba could not concentrate their front lines owing to a range of opponents including (i) an assemblage of former members of the Oda family such as Gamō Ujisato, Sassa Narimasa, Niwa Nagahide, Hori Hidemasa, and Maeda Toshie, (ii) the northward advance of the Saika and Negoro groups from Kii Province, (iii) efforts to pressure Chōsokabe Motochika who was aiming to unify Shikoku after capturing Tosa, Awa, and Sanuki provinces, and (iv) operations by the Shimazu clan of Satsuma Province in Kyūshū who were relatively unopposed.  Meanwhile, Ieyasu benefited from dry weather but more so possessed a robust command structure and mutuality of interests with the Hōjō in the Kantō, allowing him to focus on the front lines and rapidly respond to developments.

The Owari-Maeda family (the main branch of the Maeda clan) lost their position as the lords of Maeda Castle.  Maeda Nagatane, who was defending the castle, turned for support to the original home of his wife and her father, Maeda Toshiie.  He then became the adoptive father of Maeda Toshitsune, the second lord of the domain.  As a result, after Oda Nobukatsu lost retainers including Tsugawa Yoshifuyu, Okada Shigetaka, and Azai Nagatoki in battle, he further lost the Maeda family.

After the battle, the Takigawa were restored as a daimyō family but Kazumasu’s lineal heir, Kazutada, was banished.  Kazumasu’s second son, Kazutoki, inherited the headship of the clan and his efforts during this time drew the attention of Ieyasu so he was granted a fief of 2,000 koku.

Owing to this battle, Kuki Yoshitaka became a daimyō reporting directly to Hideyoshi.  In 1585, he was invested with the title of Junior Fifth Rank (Lower) and Governor of Ōsumi.

Yamaguchi Shigemasa, a retainer of the Sakuma family who was twenty years old, based on the connections to the Tokugawa family that he made in this event, managed through a myriad of challenges to become the first head of the Hitachi-Ushiku domain.

Assessments of Takigawa Kazumasu

Upon learning of the death of Takigawa Kazutoki (Kazumasu’s second son), in 1603, Tokugawa Hidetada, the second shōgun of the Edo bakufu, said: “The offspring of the warrior (Kazumasu) should have been supported and it is a pity that he died early.”  As such, the contemporaries of Kazumasu did not have dim views of him.

Emura Sensai, a physician and Confucian scholar during the early Edo period, noted: “The Battle of Shizugatake was a victory for the first generation of the taikō (meaning the family of the regent, or Hashiba Hideyoshi) and the Tōshō Shrine (meaning the family of Tokugawa Ieyasu).  The Siege of Kanie Castle in particular is viewed as the most important victory of Ieyasu.

An account from the middle Edo period notes: “It is said that, regarding the hardship of Takigawa, fearing for his own life, he tragically killed Yojūrō (Maeda Nagasada) and, in the end, died of starvation.”  This stern assessment of Kazumasu focused on the tragedy of his final years.

Another account from the late Edo period offers a similar assessment, noting: “It is said that, outnumbered, he surrendered via Oda Yūraku to Nobukatsu.  Ieyasu had traitors to the Maeda killed and Takigawa sign a pledge not to raise arms against Nobukatsu and to respect him.  After signing the pledge, on 7/2, Takigawa vacated the castle and retreated to Kanbe in Ise.  Thereafter, Takigawa, exhausted, and without a place, later died of starvation in Gobuichi in Echizen Province.”

An author from the Shōwa period noted that Kazumasu’s capture of Kanie Castle and the operation to sever the connection between Nagashima and Kiyosu castles fully demonstrated his stratagem.  Until then, however, he was a rōnin, or wandering samurai, so had few capable subordinates and failed to capture Ōno Castle.  Moreover, the ocean tides at the time were unfavorable so all did not go well and he finally ran out of options.  At that point, it was a matter of fate.