Mise Incident

三瀬の変

Oda Clan

Ise Province

Kitabatake Clan

Date:  11/25 of Tenshō 4 (1576)

Location:  The Mise Palace in the Tage District and Tamaru Castle in the Watarai District of Ise Province

Synopsis:  As an outcome of the Siege of Ōkawachi Castle in 1569, Oda Nobunaga compelled Kitabatake Tomonori and his eldest son, Kitabatake Tomofusa, to accept Nobunaga’s second son, Chasenmaru, as the designated heir to the Kitabatake family.  Despite the terms of the settlement, for a period of years thereafter, the Kitabatake and their retainers refused to embrace the Oda as their lords, culminating in a plot by Nobunaga and his son to eviscerate nearly the entire Kitabatake family of Ise and many of their retainers.

The Mise Incident occurred on 11/25 of Tenshō 4 (1576) in Ise Province.  In this incident, Kitabatake Tomonori (the eighth lord of the Kitabatake clan) at the Mise Palace and Nagano Tomofuji (the sixteenth lord of the Nagano clan) invited to Tamaru Castle, along with other members of the Kitabatake family, were attacked and slayed by retainers of the Oda clan.

Background

In 1569, Oda Nobunaga led forces into Ise Province to fight against Kitabatake Tomofusa, the ninth kokushi, or governor of Ise Province.  At the Siege of Ōkawachi Castle, he cornered the Kitabatake family.  As a condition of settlement, Nobunaga’s second son, Chasenmaru (later known as Oda Nobukatsu), wed the younger sister of Tomofusa named Yukihime, whereupon Chasenmaru became the designated heir to the Kitabatake clan.  In 1570, Tomofusa’s father, Tomonori, entered the priesthood, adopting the name of Fuchisai and retiring to the Mise Palace.

In 1572, Chasenmaru attended his coming-of-age ceremony and changed his name to Kitabatake Tomotoyo.  At the same time, he formally wed Yukihime, abandoned Ōkawachi Castle, and entered the newly constructed Tamaru Castle to serve as his main base.  In 1575, after pressure from Nobunaga, Tomofusa was also compelled to retire and then Tomotoyo changed his name to Nobuoki and became the tenth head of the Kitabatake clan.  At this point, in name and in fact, the Oda clan had taken control of the Kitabatake family, but Tomonori and his close retainers who had lost their positions were not devoted to the Oda.  In the third month of 1572, Tomonori dispatched Toriyao Mitsuhide to the camp of Takeda Shingen who was en route to the Western Campaign and secretly promised to send ships in support of Shingen in the event Shingen later marched upon the capital of Kyōto.

In 1576, Nobunaga learned of this promise, and when Mitsuhide visited Gifu Castle to offer new year’s greetings that same year, Nobunaga had him wait without a meeting.  As Mitsuhide began to return home. Nobunaga called him back and had him set the gift in the sand area of the garden and, as he had Mitsuhide sit there, took a sword out on the veranda and engaged in threatening behavior.  That summer, Nobuoki blundered an attack on Kumano in Kii Province.  One of his retainers, Katō Jingorō, was killed in a counterattack by Horiuchi Ujiyoshi and he lost Nagashima Castle in Kii.  Included among the Nagano forces were former retainers of the governor of Ise, further deepening tensions between the Oda and the Kitabatake.

Course of events

Mise Palace

In the eleventh month of 1576, Nobunaga and Nobuoki plotted to murder all of the Kitabatake family.  Nobunaga called Fujikata Tomonari, Nagano Sakyō-no-suke, and Okuyama Tomotada, granting them licenses to territory, having them sign written oaths, and ordering them to kill Tomonori.  Of these individuals, only Nagano Sakyō-no-suke participated.  Tomonari did not directly participate but had one of his retainers, Karuno Sakyō-no-shin join, while Tomotada entered the priesthood on the pretext of illness, dropping out just prior to execution of the plan.

On 11/25, Takigawa Katsutoshi, Tsuge Yasushige, and Karuno Sakyō-no-shin surrounded Mise Palace.  An attendant of Tomonori named Sasaki Shirōzaemon who was colluding with the conspirators allowed them to pass by and after having Tomonori come in front, Nagano Sakyō-no-suke suddenly attempted to stab him with a spear whereupon Tomonori evaded the thrust and tried to defend himself with a long sword but could not do so owing to tampering by his attendant, so he was killed.  According to another theory, he fought back, killing and wounding a large number of attackers.  In any event, he died in the confrontation at the age of forty-nine.

Afterwards, the conspirators killed Tomonori’s fourth son, Tokumatsumaru, and his fifth son, Kamematusmaru, at the palace.  Tomonori’s formal wife, Kita-no-kata, ran in an effort to flee, resulting in a chaotic scene.

In addition to Tomonori and two of his sons, fourteen retainers of the Kitabatake were killed at Mise Palace.  Thereafter, over thirty family members martyred themselves.

Tamaru Castle

Meanwhile, on the same day of 11/25, Nobuoki planned not to miss the opportunity to eradicate them so he called together the retainers and family members of the Kitabatake.  First,  in the morning, he invited Nagano Tomofuji (the second son of Tomonori), Kitabatake Chikanari (the third son of Tomonori), and Sakauchi Tomoyoshi (the son-in-law of Tomonori) to Tamaru Castle under the pretext of having them attend a banquet.  Based on a signal by ringing a bell, he ordered the murder of the retainers of the Kitabatake in the castle.  Hioki Daizen-no-suke, Hijikata Katsuhisa, Mori Katsuhide, Tsuda Kazuyasu, Asuke Jūbei-no-jō, and Takagi Hisauchi entered and killed Nagano Tomofuji, Kitabatake Chikanari, and Sakauchi Tomoyoshi.  The attackers then proceeded to kill Sakauchi Senmatsumaru (the older brother of Tomoyoshi) along with Hase Tomohiro and Iwauchi Mitsuyasu.

Ōkawauchi Tomoyoshi (Norimichi) who was at Tamaru Castle to recuperate from illness also became a target whereupon Tsuge Yasushige and Ogawa Kyūbei-no-jō paid a visit under the pretext of expressing sympathy but in fact assassinated Tomoyoshi.  On 11/26, Amano Katsumitsu and Ikejiri Heikyūeimon-no-jō arrived at the Sakauchi residence where Sakauchi Tomofusa (Tomoyoshi’s father) and others were located, but retainers of the Sakauchi inside the residence had already rebelled and killed Sakauchi Tomofusa whereupon the retainers presented his head to Katsumitsu and Heikyūeimon-no-jō and surrendered.  Upon hearing of these developments, Tamaru Naomasa, a member of the Kitabatake family, reinforced his defenses but there was no plan to kill Naomasa so Nobuoki sent a messenger to reassure him.

Among those members of the Kitabatake family called to Tamaru Castle, the only individual spared was Nobuoki’s adoptive father, Kitabatake Tomofusa.  After the incident, Tomofusa was turned over to the custody of Takigawa Kazumasu and detained in Nagashima Castle.

Aftermath

Commanders in the Kitabatake family who evaded a series of purges gathered in Kiriyama Castle, a stronghold defended by Kitabatake Masanari located in Tage in the Ishinokōri District of Ise.  From this location, the group attempted a resistance, but Nobunaga quickly dispatched a contingent of 15,000 soldiers led by Hashiba Hideyoshi, Kanbe Nobutaka, and Seki Morinobu to lay siege to Kiriyama Castle.  On 12/4, Kiriyama Castle fell while Kitabatake Masanari and Hase Tomomichi killed themselves.  The area below the castle was reduced to ash, and the castle itself was burned down and abandoned.  On 12/15, Tsuda Kazuyasu, a close associate of Nobuoki who had participated in the attacks against the Kitabatake, was cut-down on the grounds of Tamaru Castle by Hioki Daizen-no-suke upon orders of Nobunaga.

After learning of the murder of the family, Tomonori’s younger brother, the head of the Tōmon sub-temple at the Kōfuku Temple in Nara went into hiding in Iga Province, returned to secular life under the name of Kitabatake Tomochika, and raised arms against the Oda.  In 1577, with the support of former retainers of the Kitabatake including Toriyao Mitsuhide, Ieki Yukikiyo, together with local bushi from Misedani, Kawamatadani, Tage and Oyamato, he launched a rebellion from Mori Castle in the Iitaka District, but, by the end of the year, this was suppressed by forces under the command of Nobuoki including Hioki Daizen-no-suke and Hioki Jidayu (siblings) while Tomochika relied upon Mōri Terumoto to flee to Aki Province.

Owing to this incident, retainers and family members of Kitabatake Tomonori and Kitabatake Tomofusa who had impeded Nobuoki’s control of Ise were almost entirely expelled from Ise while close associates of Nobuoki were placed in strategic locations, completing the usurpation of the Kitabatake clan by the Oda.