Freeing the Family
|Suruga Castle (reconstructed)|
Matsudaira Nobuyasu, Ieyasu’s eldest son, was still held hostage by Ujizane, with his mother in Suruga. One of Ieyasu’s councillors insisted on joining his master’s son in captivity as it was not suitable that he should die alone.Early in 1562 Ieyasu attacked Odono Nageratu’s fort of Kaminojo[i] killing Nageratu and seizing his two children. These two children Ieyasu offered to Ujizane in exchange for his wife and son; foolishly Ujizane accepted. Belatedly realising his mistake Ujizane had twelve of the remaining hostages killed and ordered Sekiguchi Chiginaga[ii] to commit suicide. This had the effect of strengthening the estrangement between Ieyasu and his wife. It was not long after this that Ieyasu changed his name from Motoyasu and became known as Ieyasu.
In the summer of 1564 Ieyasu turned his attention on Yoshida[iii], part of Mikawa still held by Ujizane. He did not succeed in capturing it, but managed instead to arrange for its cession to himself. For this Ieyasu had to give up hostages; his younger stepbrother Matsudaira Yasutoshi and the daughter of Sakai Tadatsugu, the new commandant of Yoshida castle. The remaining non-affiliated parts of the region re-aligned themselves with Ieyasu who was now in complete control of his fief of Mikawa.Laying Foundations
The next three years saw Ieyasu make administrative changes in the running of the fief; appointing three Commissioners to take charge of the province’s affairs. The Commissioners worked under his direction and of his hereditary councillors: Ishikawa Kazumasu, Honda Masanobu (chief councillor), Sakai Shigetada and Sakakubara Tademasa.
One of the great warriors of the age Takeda Harunobu, now a Zen monk called Archbishop Shingen and an ally of Ujizane’s, decided that Ujizane’s lands would match well with his own mountainous fief. He had his eldest son put to death and returned the son’s wife to her father, Ujizane.Shingen proposed to Ieyasu that they join forces after a proposal to Ujizane to join forces and attack Ieyasu, a proposal Ujizane refused. Ieyasu and Shingen agreed that Ieyasu would take Totomi, while Shingen would have Suruga. Ujizane’s men fled before the onslaught of Shingen and Ieyasu’s troops. Shingen’s attack on Sumpu was thrown back by an ally of Ujizane’s, Hojo.
Ieyasu besieged Ujizane in Kakegawa; suggesting to Ujizane that if he surrendered Totomi to him then Ieyasu would in turn help Ujizane and Hojo regain the fief of Suruga[iv]. Ujizane agreed to Ieyasu’s proposal and retired to Kyoto, where he shone at football, but did not impress Nobunaga with his abilities as a daimyo. Around this time Shingen’s daughter was engaged to Nobunaga’s son, while Ieyasu’s son married Nobunaga’s daughter.In July 1569 Shingen returned to Suruga, attacking Hojo and retook the province. Shingen also tried unsuccessfully to get one of Ieyasu’s dependents to attack his lord. This failure was followed by an assassination attempt, which again failed. In December the Emperor gave Ieyasu permission to resume the family name of Tokugawa, reaffirming Ieyasu’s connection with this honoured name and distinguishing his line from the many other Matsuidaras.
At the beginning of 1570 Ieyasu moved his capital to Hikuma, in Totomi, which he renamed Hamamatsu, leaving Nobuyasu in charge of Okazaki. Ieyasu’s wife remained with her son; her violent temper and eccentricity making her a difficult companion.Intrigue
The Shogun Yoshiaki, whose security and prosperity depended on Nobunaga, now felt comfortable enough to intrigue against his protector. He invited Takeda Shingen, Asai Nagamasa[v] and Asakura Yoshikage[vi] to attack Nobunaga on all fronts, with the potential to cut his communications with his home province.The Shogun was celebrating the completion of his palace; an event in Kyoto being attended by the court and great lords of the land. Ieyasu and Nobunaga met under the cover of these activities and left the city marching and taking two forts. Nobunaga was about to attack Asakura’s capital, when he heard that the Shogun had persuaded Asai to act against his brother-in-law. This decided Nobunaga to retreat, which was covered by Ieyasu and Hideyoshi.
Nobunaga attacked the fortress of Yokoyama castle, and the combined forces of Asai and Asakura met with Nobunaga’s men, combined with Ieyasu’s. The battle of Anegawa was won by Nobunaga and his ally, Ieyasu’s men contributing largely to the victory, which produced a tally of 3,170 heads[vii].Returning home Ieyasu’s attention was taken by Shingen, who now concentrated his efforts on attacking Kakagawa, near Hamamatsu. Ieyasu’s ally Nobunaga was still being threatened by Asai and Asakura and was having problems with the Monto Buddhists among others. Help was unlikely to come from that quarter. Thus encouraged, in November 1570 Asai and Asakura marched towards the capital, as Nobunaga battled with turbulent priests.
By the following August Nobunaga had thrown his forces around the Hieizan monasteries on Mount Hiei, intending to destroy them. Both the Emperor and the Shogun asked Nobunaga to cease his attack, but he ignored the requests and on 20th October 1571 attacked and set fire to all the monasteries on the mountain. Several thousand monks were put to death. There was at least approving voice raised for the Jesuit fathers wrote
‘On the feast of St Michael, 1571, God punished this great enemy.’[viii]Shingen had meanwhile made an alliance with Hojo, freeing him to move westward. Hojo drove out Ujizane, who took refuge with Ieyasu. Shingen planned to keep the peace with Nobunaga until after he had overcome Ieyasu; in October 1572 Shingen marched his men to Totomi. Nobunaga sent Ieyasu reinforcements as Shingen’s men overran Totomi. The battle of Mikata-ga-hara was fought ¾ mile from Hamamatsu, against the advice of Nobunaga’s generals.
Some of Ieyasu’s men bolted under the force of Shingen’s attack and in response Shingen ordered a general attack. Ieyasu retired into Hamamatsu and overnight his men attacked Shingen’s forces, who retired, without investing Hamamatsu. In January the following year Shingen was back investing the fortress of Noda, in Mikawa province. The commander had to surrender after a month of defence, as the supplies had run out. Shingen died in the April leaving his son Katsuyori to defend his father’s gains.Continuing Hostilities
Takeda Katsuyori was not as subtle a strategist as his father Shingen. Ieyasu said of him
‘A brave warrior but unadaptable and with only one strong point, and so he was undone.’[ix]In mid 1571 Ieyasu attacked the Takeda border fortress of Nagashino and took it within a month. Former supporters of Ieyasu, who had been forced to change allegiance by Shingen, were in charge of a neighbouring fortress and they now fired on Takeda’s men who made up the garrison of the fortress of Tsukude.
Takeda executed the Okudaira hostages upon hearing the news, following this up with a raid on Totomi. Finding Ieyasu’s territory too well defended; Takeda then attacked a fort of Nobunaga’s, which was surrendered to him. He followed this up by storming the castle of Takatenjin[x].At this point one of Ieyasu’s most trusted men, the Daikan[xi] of Mikawa Oga Yashiro, suggested to Takeda that he lead an army against Okazaki and Oga would open the gates to Takeda. It is believed that Oga disliked Noboyasu intensely, as did a number of Tokugawa retainers[xii]. Oga’s plans were betrayed to Noboyasu, who executed Oga’s family and had Oga killed in Hamamatsu[xiii].
In 1573 Nobunaga effectively ended the power of the Ashakaga Shoguns, although Yoshiaki, who become a Buddhist monk, did not die until 1597.In 1575 Takeda laid siege to Nagashino[xiv] and on 28th June his fifteen thousand men were overwhelmed by the joint forces of Nobunaga and Ieyasu, whose armies numbered thirty-eight thousand. As he preferred Takeda took the offensive, but failed. Ieyasu commented
‘Nobunaga and I were superior in numbers, and yet though we had a triple stockade in front of us he must needs come charging down on it. Naturally he got beaten. But if he had taken up a position behind the Takigawa River he could have held us up for ten days anyhow, and we should have had to retire. Then he could have launched an attack on us, and ten to one it would have been successful. It is a pity he was such a fool.’[xv]Takeda’s men fled and the siege on Nagashino was raised. For the next seven years Ieyasu and Takeda raided each other’s lands and skirmished. Nobunaga and Ieyasu’s alliance against Takeda was strengthened by the addition of Hojo, who was offended by Takeda’s marrying of his daughter to the adopted son of one of Hojo’s enemies.
BibliographySekigahara – Anthony Bryant, Osprey Publishing Ltd 1995
Samurai William – Giles Milton, Hodder & Stoughton 2002The Maker of Modern Japan – AL Sadler, Charles E Tuttle Company 1983
Tokugawa Ieyasu Shogun – Conrad Totman, Heian 1983En.wikipedia.org
[i] In Fukuchiyama district
[ii] Ieyasu’s father-in-law and Ujizane’s uncle
[iii] Now Toyohashi
[iv] This changing of alliances was common in the period
[v] Lord of Omi and married to Nobunaga’s sister
[vi] Lord of Echizen
[vii] The winners collected the heads of their fallen victims and these were then displayed to the winning general
[viii] The Maker of Modern Japan - Sadler
[ix] The Maker of Modern Japan - Sadler
[x] Only thirty miles from Ieyasu’s capital of Hamamatsu
[xi] District Commissioner
[xii] Oga was apparently extravagant, the opposite of Ieyasu, whose attention to money was legendary.
[xiii] Buried up to the neck and a bamboo saw laid beside him with a notice inviting passers-by to saw at it. He died on the seventh day.
[xiv] In Mikawa province
[xv] The Maker of Modern Japan - Sadler