Battle of Tachikawa-no-hara
Date: 9/27 of Eishō 1 (1504)
Location: Across the Tama River on the Tachikawa Plain in Musashi Province
Outcome: The allied forces of Uesugi Akisada and Ashikaga Masauji fought against allied forces of Uesugi Tomoyoshi, Imagawa Ujichika, and Hōjō Sōun. Tomoyoshi of the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi family won this contest, but later surrendered to Akisada of the Yamanouchi-Uesugi family.
The Battle of Tachikawa-no-hara occurred in the course of a single autumn day in 1504 on the Tachikawa Plain of Musashi Province. The allied forces of Uesugi Akisada and Ashikaga Masauji fought against allied forces of Uesugi Tomoyoshi, Imagawa Ujichika, and Hōjō Sōun (known as Ise Sōzui). Although short in duration, this clash served as a defining event in the context of the Chōkyō Conflict which spanned from 1487 to 1505. Although Tomoyoshi of the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi family won this contest, he later surrendered to Akisada of the Yamanouchi-Uesugi family.
The Chōkyō Conflict unfolded between the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi family which had expanded their influence through the Chōtoku Conflict, and the Yamauchi-Uesugi family which represented the main branch of the Uesugi clan having served for generations as the deputy shōgun for the Kantō. While in healthy condition, Uesugi Sadamasa, the intrepid leader of the Ōgigayatsu family, engaged in a series of well-matched battles. After his demise, the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi family confronted a precarious situation owing to counterattacks by Uesugi Akisada (the head of the Yamanouchi-Uesugi family) and an alliance between Akisada and Ashikaga Masatomo (the Koga kubō and a third-party power).
Tomoyoshi (Sadamasa’s nephew) became the new head of the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi family after serving as a guest commander of the Imagawa clan, the military governors of Suruga Province. Tomoyoshi transferred Odawara Castle in the center of western Sagami Province to Hōjō Sōun, who served as a guardian of Ujichika, the head of the Imagawa, and requested his military support. With the support of the Hōjō and Imagawa armies, Tomoyoshi regained strength while the battles proceeded to ebb and flow. In 1497, Akisada established a position in Uwado in Musashi Province, revitalized the Kawagoe residence and prepared to attack the base of the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi at Kawagoe Castle, but the attack was a complete failure. Thereafter, the forces were pinned down in the area across the Iruma River.
Course of Events
In the autumn of 1504, Akisada contemplated another attack on Kawagoe Castle with the support of allied forces from Ashikaga Masauji, while Chiba Katsutane of Shimōsa Province may also have dispatched reinforcements. He further requested support from his younger brother, Uesugi Fusayoshi, the military governor of Echigo Province, and had his own forces advance to the area below the castle to launch an attack. Tomoyoshi called upon Sōun and Ujichika for reinforcements, providing them strong protection. Next, Sōun traveled from Odawara Castle to Enoshima, Ujichika departed from Sunpu, and Asahina Yasuhiro (a senior commander of the Imagawa) and Fukushima Sukeharu headed toward the Kantō.
Meanwhile, Akisada determined that further assaults on Kawagoe Castle would be to no avail and moved his formation to Shirako in Musashi Province. He then devised a plan to first topple Edo Castle, and then to launch a pincer attack against Kawagoe from the north and south directions. However, while weighing the situation from Shirako in light of the movements of the Hōjō and Imagawa, he ordered Ōmori Akisada to request additional reinforcements from Takeda Nobutsuna, the military governor of Kai Province.
Sōun and Ujichika then entered Masugata Castle in Musashi Province. In response, Akisada’s troops advanced south, while Tomoyoshi departed Kawagoe Castle to converge with the Imagawa army. Once the allied forces of the Yamauchi-Uesugi led by Akisada and the Koga kubō learned that the allied forces of the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi, the Imagawa, and the Hōjō had crossed the Tama River and landed on the Tachikawa Plain, they rushed to the same location and the opposing armies glared at one another. The battle commenced at noon and continued until the evening. After allowing the enemy forces to cross the Tama River, the Yamanouchi-Uesugi were ultimately routed. In this battle, the Yamanouchi-Uesugi suffered an unusually significant loss of over 2000 men including commanders such as Nagano Fusakane and Nagao Fusakiyo. Akisada himself narrowly escaped by fleeing for his life to his base at Hachigata Castle in northern Musashi Province.
In Echigo Province, Nagao Yoshikage (the deputy military governor of Echigo) followed orders of his lord, Uesugi Fusayoshi, to prepare to deploy in order to converge his forces with Akisada. However, after hearing of Akisada’s overwhelming loss on the Tachikawa Plain, he quickly led his men to Hachigata Castle. He then converged with Akisada either on the same evening of the battle or the following day. Upon hearing this news, Tomoyoshi withdrew to Kawagoe Castle. Akisada and Yoshikage then surrounded Kawagoe Castle. In a letter sent the following year, Akisada noted to Satake Yoshikiyo (the military governor of Hitachi Province) that Yoshikage would arrive after the onset of winter. The timing was based on the supposition that Imagawa Ujichika and Hōjō Sōun would be unaware of the arrival of Yoshikage’s reinforcements after Ujichika and Sōun had withdrawn to Kamakura, recuperated at the Atami hot springs, and held a Buddhist memorial service for the war dead at Sōun’s home base of Nirayama Castle.
Yoshikage ardently convinced Akisada that because Tomoyoshi’s soldiers were taking a rest, it gave them a compelling opportunity to attack, so the forces prepared to deploy. The allied forces of Akisada and Yoshikage led by forces from Echigo then launched a sudden attack against Kawagoe Castle. While his men rested, Tomoyoshi plotted to eliminate Akisada. Soon thereafter, Tomoyoshi collided at Uwado with the opposing forces, killed Nagao Higorō, and thwarted the attack. Yoshikage did not appear to fear Tomoyoshi, and in that spirit, laid siege to Hatsuzawa Castle, and the day after killed Nagai Hironao, the lord of the castle, who had been allied with the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi family. He then installed Mita Ujimune as the new lord of the castle and proceeded to attack and topple Sanada Castle, capturing as a prisoner Ueda Masatada, the deputy military governor of Sagami Province who had also been allied with the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi family. This severed the territory of the Ōgigayatsu-Uesugi from the Imagawa and Hōjō territories. In the following year of 1505, the allied forces of Akisada and Yoshikage once again laid siege to Kawagoe Castle. Owing to a shortage of defenders, Uesugi Tomoyoshi surrendered after several months, drawing to a close the Chōkyō Conflict.