Siege of Wakae Castle

若江城の戦い

Oda Clan

Kawachi Province

Miyoshi Clan

Date:  Tenshō 1 (1573)

Location:  Wakae Castle in the Wakae District of Kawachi Province

Outcome:  After Ashikaga Yoshiaki (the fifteenth shōgun and leader of the campaign against Nobunaga) fled to Sakai, Miyoshi Yoshitsugu fought valiantly for ten days but was defeated by the attacking Oda forces.

Commanders:  Sakuma Nobumori

Forces:  Unknown

Casualties:  Unknown

Commanders:  Miyoshi Yoshitsugu, Wakae Group of Three

Forces:  Unknown

Casualties:  Unknown

The Siege of Wakae Castle occurred in Tenshō 1 (1573) at Wakae Castle in the Wakae District of Kawachi Province.  The battle was waged between the armies of Oda Nobunaga and Miyoshi Yoshitsugu.

Prelude

After Takeda Shingen died in the fourth month of 1573, the encirclement campaign aimed at defeating Nobunaga was subject to counterattack by the Oda army and at once disintegrated.  Asakura Yoshikage and Azai Nagamasa were eliminated by Nobunaga.  Meanwhile, Ashikaga Yoshiaki, the fifteenth shōgun, who served as the mastermind of the campaign, was ousted from Kyōto and given sanctuary by Miyoshi Yoshitsugu (the husband of Yoshiaki’s younger sister) in Kawachi Province.

Although Yoshiaki had been driven out of the capital, he issued numerous proclamations ordering the removal of Nobunaga to provincial daimyō and Yoshitsugu gradually took steps that were supportive of Yoshiaki (his older brother-in-law).  As a result, on 11/4 of 1573, Nobunaga went to Kyōto and made a decision to subjugate Yoshitsugu.

Course of events

Around this time, an internal conflict arose in the Miyoshi clan.  Clan elders known as the Wakae Group of Three (Tarao Hitachi-no-suke (Tsunatomo), Ikeda Norimasa, and Noma Nagamae) feared Nobunaga’s power and, with respect to Yoshitsugu’s aggressive posture toward Nobunaga in support of Yoshiaki, sought to generate goodwill with Nobunaga while encouraging Yoshitsugu to submit to the Oda.  As a result, Yoshitsugu distanced himself from these elders and made a close associate named Kanayama Suruga-no-kami Takeharu an elder and reinforced his position to oppose Nobunaga.

Nobunaga then dispatched a large army led by Sakuma Nobumori to attack Wakae Castle.  Yoshitsugu fought back from the castle, but Yoshiaki, who was central to the resistance, fled to Sakai with a small group of retainers.  This undermined the morale of the defenders, while the Wakae Group of Three, fearing the destruction of the main branch of the family, killed Kanayama Suruga-no-kami and colluded with the Sakuma forces to enable them to enter the castle.  This led to the decisive defeat of Yoshitsugu.

Yoshitsugu himself killed the women and children in the family, and fought valiantly over a period of ten days, but, on 11/16, had a trusted retainer named Nasu Hisauemon Iitomi serve as his honorary executioner.

Consequences

Owing to the death of Yoshitsugu, the main branch of the Miyoshi clan that had enjoyed prosperity in Kyōto was vanquished.  Thereafter, Miyoshi Yasunaga, based at Takaya Castle in Kawachi, surrendered to Nobunaga and Kawachi fell under the control of the Oda clan.  With the exception of Wakae Castle, other castles in Kawachi were destroyed.  Kawachi then became an important location for attacks by the Oda against the Ishiyama-Hongan Temple.