Siege of Ōkawachi Castle
Date: 8/24 of Eiroku 12 (1569)
Location: Near Ōkawachi Castle in southern Ise Province
Outcome: After seizing control of northern Ise, Nobunaga led forces to surround the Kitabatake forces at the stronghold of Ōkawachi Castle; after a siege of several months, Ashikaga Yoshiaki mediated a settlement that required the Kitabatake to vacate Ōkawachi and accept Nobunaga’s second son, Chasenmaru, as an adopted son and heir to the clan.
Commanders: Oda Nobunaga, Takigawa Kazumasu, Kinoshita Hideyoshi, Niwa Nagahide, Ikeda Tsuneoki, Inaba Yoshimichi, Kozukuri Tomomasa, Tsuge Yasushige, Takigawa Katsutoshi, Kanbe Tomomori, Nagano Tomofuji
The Siege of Ōkawachi Castle occurred on 8/24 of Eiroku 12 (1569) at Ōkawachi Castle in Ise Province. The battle was waged between Oda Nobunaga (the sengoku daimyō from Owari Province) and Kitabatake Tomonori and Kitabatake Tomofusa (father and son) who served as the kokushi, or provincial governor, of Ise Province.
Prelude to the battle
In 1567, Oda Nobunaga forced the surrender of Kanbe Tomomori and Nagano Tomofuji, and acquired control of the eight districts comprising northern Ise. This brought him into conflict with the Kitabatake family, daimyō and provincial governors of the five districts in southern Ise. Kitabatake Tomofusa served as the head of the Kitabatake family but the real authority was held by Kitabatake Tomonori, the prior head of the clan.
In the fifth month of 1569, Kozukuri Tomomasa (the lord of Kozukuri Castle and younger brother of Tomonori) accepted a proposal from Genjōin Shugen (later known as Takigawa Katsutoshi) and Tsuge Yasushige to betray the Kitabatake family and side with the Oda in their attack on southern Ise. This was instigated by Takigawa Kazumasu, a senior retainer of Nobunaga. On 5/12, Tomonori responded by surrounding Kozukuri Castle and launching attacks. Owing to reinforcements from the Takigawa, Kanbe, and Nagano clans, even into the eighth month of 1569, the defenders held out in the castle.
Outbreak of hostilities
After first going to Mino after conflicts were settled in Kyōto, on 8/20 of 1569, Nobunaga departed from Gifu with an army of 70,000 soldiers and, on 8/23, arrived at Kozukuri Castle.
The Kitabatake army had already lifted its siege and dispersed 16,000 soldiers between the stronghold mountain fortress of Ōkawachi Castle and auxiliary castles to hole-up and prepare defenses. Approximately 8,000 Kitabatake forces were located at Ōkawachi Castle.
On 8/26, Kinoshita Hideyoshi of the Oda army attacked and toppled Azaka Castle. Nobunaga disregarded the other supporting castles and headed toward Ōkawachi Castle.
On 8/28, the Oda army surrounded the castle from four sides, and stood-up branched-twined fences in rows two and three deep around the castle.
On 9/8, Nobunaga ordered Niwa Nagahide, Ikeda Tsuneoki, and Inaba Yoshimichi to launch a nighttime attack. However, it began to rain, rendering the arquebuses unusable, so the forces pulled back.
On 9/9, Nobunaga aimed to topple the castle by severing their supply lines, whereupon he ordered Takigawa Kazumasu to burn down Tage Castle and, further, to set fires to the surrounding area, cornering the townspeople in Ōkawachi Castle. Thereafter, a period of one month went by. Kazumasu attacked from Mamushidani, but the effort failed and details unknown.
On 10/3, the Oda and Kitabatake clans reached a settlement favorable to the Oda with conditions as follows:
- The second son of Nobunaga, Chasenmaru (later known as Oda Nobukatsu) would become the adopted heir of Tomofusa.
- Ōkawachi Castle would be vacated and turned over to Chasenmaru whereupon Tomofusa and Tomonori would withdraw to another castle.
Consequences of the battle
After vacating Ōkawachi Castle, Tomonori went to the Mise Palace near Kiriyama Castle while Tomofusa went to Sakauchi Castle but continued to retain their authority for at least four years until the ninth month of 1573.
There is a theory that, in the course of the conflict, the Oda gradually lost their advantage, and through the mediation of Ashikaga Yoshiaki, settled. Under another theory, Nobunaga’s efforts to force the adoption of Chasenmaru invited the displeasure of Yoshiaki, serving as a trigger for subsequent conflict between Nobunaga and Yoshiaki.
In any event, the refusal of the Kitabatake family and their retainers to come to terms with the Oda as their lords ended in a brutal attack by the Oda that killed many of them in an event known as the Mise Incident in 1576.