Siege of Takegahana Castle in Keichō 5
Date: 8/22 of Keichō 5 (1600)
Location: Takegahana Castle in the Haguri District of Mino Province
Synopsis: In one of the preliminary battles leading up to the main Battle of Sekigahara, forces led by Fukushima Masanori and Ikeda Terumasa of the Eastern Army launched a frontal assault against Takegahana Castle defended by Sugiura Shigekatsu who sided with the Western Army owing to his connections to Oda Hidenobu of Gifu Castle. A surrender by the troops located in the outer citadel left Shigekatsu isolated with a small group in the inner citadel. After charging out to engage the enemy he took his own life and the castle fell to the Eastern Army.
The Siege of Takegahana Castle in Keichō 5 occurred on 8/22 of Keichō 5 (1600) at Takegahana Castle in the Haguri District of Mino Province. In 1586, owing to a major flooding of the Kiso River, the watercourse moved southward and, as a result, the site of Takegahana Castle transitioned from Owari Province to Mino Province. This was one of the preliminary battles leading to the main Battle of Sekigahara on 9/15 and was waged by members of the Eastern Army led by Fukushima Masanori and Ikeda Terumasa against Sugiura Shigekatsu of Takegahana Castle on the side of the Western Army.
After the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1598, Tokugawa Ieyasu steadily consolidated power which led to a rebellion by another leading figure, Ishida Mitsunari, in 1600. Oda Hidenobu, the lord of Gifu Castle, sided with Mitsunari so Sugiura Shigekatsu, the lord of Takegahana Castle under the command of Hidenobu, also joined the Western Army. After departing Kiyosu Castle, members of the Eastern Army separated into two divisions and traversed the Kiso River with the aim of attacking Hidenobu at Gifu Castle. On 8/21, a division of 18,000 troops led by Ikeda Terumasa and Asano Yukinaga completed the Kōda crossing, while the other division of 16,000 troops led by Fukushima Masanori, Hosokawa Tadaoki, Kyōgoku Takatomo, Kuroda Nagamasa, Katō Yoshiakira, Tōdō Takatora, Tanaka Yoshimasa, Ii Naomasa, and Honda Tadakatsu traversed downstream at the Okoshi crossing. The next day, on 8/22, the division led by Terumasa crossed the Kiso River and defeated Oda forces in a clash at Komeno. These events are known as the Battle to Traverse Kōda-Kisogawa and the Battle of Komeno.
Meanwhile, on the opposite shore of the Okoshi crossing, Sugiura Shigekatsu, along with former retainers of Kaganoi Shigemochi (the lord of neighboring Kaganoi Castle who died in a fight at a banquet in the prior month), Kajikawa Sanjūrō and Hanamura Hanzaemon from a reinforcements sent by Oda Hidenobu, in addition to Mōri Hiromori and others sent as reinforcements by Ishida Mitsunari, installed fences and set-up a base. In addition to fire from arquebuses, the sandy ground prevented attempts to traverse the river on horseback.
On the evening of 8/21, Masanori crossed the river on boats and rafts from Kaganoi downstream of Takegahana and attacked the Western Army. At 8:00 AM on 8/22, Shigekatsu and the others retreated to Takegahana Castle. Shigekatsu defended the inner citadel while Kajikawa Sanjūrō, Hanamura Hanzaemon, and Mōri Hiromori took-up positions in the outer citadel. After crossing the river, at 9:00 AM on 8/22, the Eastern Army launched a frontal assault against the castle.
Retainers of Masanori sustained injuries, but, before long, former acquaintances of Masanori in the outer citadel including Kajikawa Sanjūrō, Hanamura Hanzaemon, and Mōri Hiromori heeded his warning and surrendered, allowing the Fukushima army into the outer citadel. Isolated in the inner citadel, Shigekatsu refused to capitulate and continued to resist with a small group of thirty-six soldiers. Owing to valiant fighting by Fukushima Masayuki (the adopted son of Masanori), the gate to the inner citadel was breached, and, at 4:00 PM, Shigekatsu charged out of the citadel to spar with a long spear, after which he leaned it against the gate, set fire to the castle, and took his own life. Seven retainers around him also martyred themselves.
Masanari’s forces converged with the division led by Terumasa and, on 8/23, the army toppled Gifu Castle in an event known as the Siege of Gifu Castle. On 9/15, the Eastern Army prevailed at the Battle of Sekigahara.