Battle of Ueda (1/2)Sanada's courage is here! Thorough resistance against Tokugawa

Battle of Ueda

Battle of Ueda

Article category
case file
Incident name
Battle of Ueda (1585-1600)
Nagano Prefecture
Related castles
Ueda Castle

Ueda Castle

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Ueda Castle in Shinano Province (currently Ueda City, Nagano Prefecture) is the home of the Sanada clan. The battle in which the Sanada army defeated the Tokugawa army twice was the Battle of Ueda. In the First Battle of Ueda in 1585, they defeated the Tokugawa army of 7,000 with just 2,000 soldiers, and in the Second Battle of Ueda, they stopped the Tokugawa Hidetada army heading for the Battle of Sekigahara. This time, we will provide an easy-to-understand explanation of the activities of the Sanada clan, the ``strongest clan in the Sengoku period,'' during the two battles over Ueda Castle.

First Ueda Battle ① The cause was “Numata territory issue”

The Battle of Ueda was a two-part battle between the Sanada clan and the Tokugawa clan. The cause of the First Battle of Ueda, which occurred in Leap August 1585, was over the Numata territory (Numata City, Gunma Prefecture).

Immediately after Oda Nobunaga was killed in the Honnoji Incident in June 1582, the Tensho Migo War broke out. This was a battle between the Tokugawa, Uesugi, and Hojo families over the former Takeda territory (Kai Province (Yamanashi Prefecture), Shinano Province (Nagano Prefecture), and Ueno Province (Gunma Prefecture)). Numata was a transportation hub connecting northern Kanto in Nishi-Ueno Province with northern Shinano and Echigo, and was an important base both militarily and economically. For this reason, Sengoku warlords had been fighting over Numata for some time.

Numata Castle, the base of Numata, is a cliff castle on a plateau facing the confluence of three rivers.It was built by the local powerful Numata clan around 1532, and came under the control of Uesugi, Hojo, etc. Later, in 1580, it was captured by Masayuki Sanada, a subordinate of Katsuyori Takeda. After that, Nobunaga destroyed the Takeda clan in the Koshu conquest in March 1999, and the former Takeda territory, including Numata, was divided and ruled by military commanders under Nobunaga. Ueno Province, including Numata, was ruled by Kazumasu Takigawa.

However, in the early stages of the Tensho Migo War, Kazumasu Takigawa of Numata Castle was attacked by the Hojo army and surrendered Ueno Province. At this time, Numata Castle was returned to Masayuki Sanada, who was under Kazumasu. After that, Masayuki changed masters from the Uesugi clan to the Hojo clan to the Tokugawa clan, plotting to protect his Numata territory.

However, a problem arose when trying to reconcile the Tensho Migo War. The war ended with peace between the Tokugawa and Hojo clans, on the condition that the Tokugawa clan would control Kai and Shinano provinces, and the Hojo clan would gain Numata territory as soon as they took over Ueno province. I tied it. Tokugawa Ieyasu then asked Masayuki to transfer Numata to the Hojo clan.

Masayuki, who kept changing his masters in order to obtain Numata, was of course not satisfied with this peace agreement, and rejected Ieyasu, saying, ``I will not obey because it is not the territory given to me by the Tokugawa.'' Naturally, the relationship between Masayuki and Ieyasu deteriorated.

In June 1585, Masayuki parted ways with Ieyasu, asked for help from the Uesugi clan, and swore an oath of subordination. The hostage sent to the Uesugi side at this time was his second son Benmaru, later known as Nobushige Sanada (Yukimura). In July, the lord was changed again from the Tokugawa clan to the Uesugi clan.

First Battle of Ueda ② The Tokugawa army was defeated by Masayuki Sanada's ingenuity.

Tokugawa Ieyasu did not allow the Sanada clan to follow the Uesugi clan, and in Leap August 1585, he launched an attack on Sanada. Invade Ueda Castle, where Masayuki Sanada is. The Tokugawa army was 7,000 strong, led by Mototada Torii, Tadayo Okubo, and Chikayoshi Hiraiwa. On the other hand, the Sanada army at Ueda Castle numbered just under 2,000, giving the Tokugawa army an overwhelming advantage.

Masayuki asks Kagekatsu Uesugi for reinforcements, but Kagekatsu is preparing to attack Narimasa Sassa in Etsukoku (Toyama Prefecture) at the request of Hideyoshi Toyotomi. Due to rebellions within the territory, they were unable to send sufficient reinforcements. However, as the army came close to Ueda Castle, it seems to have served as a threat to the Tokugawa army.

By the way, Ueda Castle is unfinished at this point, so I don't think it will be able to withstand attacks from the Tokugawa clan. Therefore, Masayuki takes a strategy to draw the enemy deep into Ueda Castle and crush them. Masayuki began his siege at Ueda Castle, and his eldest son Nobuyuki began his siege at the branch castle, Toishi Castle. They installed zigzag fences on the streets of the castle town of Ueda Castle to make it difficult for the enemy to retreat, and then set up large trees as traps in the Ninomaru, and laid down soldiers here and there so that guerrillas could confuse the enemy. .

Then, on Leap August 2nd, when the Tokugawa army invaded, the Sanada army intercepted them north of Kamikawa, then dared to draw the enemy into Ueda Castle and advance to the Ninomaru. They then used traps and guns to confuse the Tokugawa army and counterattack all at once. The Tokugawa army tries to retreat in haste, but gets caught in a fence and is harassed by guerrilla troops. The soldiers from Ueda Castle pursue them, and the soldiers led by Nobuyuki from Toishi Castle also attack the Tokugawa army. The Tokugawa army, who was caught in a pincer attack, was trapped by the rising waters of the Kamikawa River (*It is also said that the weir that had been dammed was destroyed, causing the river to burst) and drowned. It is said that approximately 1,300 Tokugawa troops were killed in battle.

The description of the First Battle of Ueda differs between the Tokugawa and Sanada materials, and the story of Kamikawa's drowning does not appear in the Tokugawa materials.

After that, the Tokugawa army attacked Maruko Castle, a branch castle located south of Ueda Castle (the Battle of Maruko Omote), but the attack ended without being able to attack it. On November 13th, Kazumasa Ishikawa, who had been Tokugawa Ieyasu's right-hand man, betrayed Ieyasu and ran away to work with Toyotomi Hideyoshi (whose surname was Hashiba at the time), which led to Ieyasu officially taking over from Ueda Castle. I pulled it. Hideyoshi was aiming to defeat Ieyasu, and Kazumasa's defection was enough to alarm Ieyasu. Thus, the First Battle of Ueda ended in a great victory for Sanada's army, and Sanada's bravery became widely known.

First Battle of Ueda ③ Masayuki becomes subordinate to Hideyoshi and gains Numata territory

Masayuki Sanada, who opposed Tokugawa Ieyasu in the First Battle of Ueda, approaches Ieyasu's enemy, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The master has changed again. Masayuki sent a letter to Hideyoshi during the First Battle of Ueda and was allowed to come under Hideyoshi's protection. After that, the Uesugi, Tokugawa, and Hojo clans went to Kyoto one after another and served Hideyoshi as vassals. In response to this, Hideyoshi settled the Numata territorial issue in July 1589 (Numata Arbitration). As a result, of the 30,000 koku of Numata, 20,000 koku will go to the Hojo clan and 10,000 koku will go to the Sanada clan. This included Azuma County and Meikumo Castle, both of which were connected to the Sanada clan. In addition, Minowa, Ina District, Shinano Province, was given as an alternative site for 20,000 koku.

However, Kuninori Inomata, the lord of Numata Castle from the Hojo side, complained of this decision and occupied Meikumo Castle. Masayuki becomes furious and appeals to Hideyoshi. Due to other factors, Hideyoshi decided to subjugate Hojo. The Odawara conquest began in February 1590, and after the Hojo clan was destroyed in July, the entire Numata territory became the property of the Sanada clan.

Second Battle of Ueda ① “Farewell of Inubushi” that happened behind the scenes of “Battle of Sekigahara”

The Second Battle of Ueda occurred in July 1600, 15 years after the First Battle of Ueda. As in the first round, it was Sanada clan vs. Tokugawa clan, but there was a big battle behind it. Yes, the Battle of Sekigahara (article)is.

At that time, the Sanada clan was heading to Aizu with Tokugawa Ieyasu and others to conquer Uesugi. After the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Ieyasu, who had gained power as the head of the Five Elders, targeted Kagekatsu Uesugi, also a member of the Five Elders.

Just as Ieyasu departed from Osaka to subjugate Uesugi, Mitsunari Ishida, one of the five magistrates, raised an army to subjugate Ieyasu. This led to the Battle of Sekigahara, a battle between Ishida's western army and Tokugawa's eastern army, but after raising an army, Ishida Mitsunari called on Masayuki Sanada to join the western army.

In response to Mitsunari's letter, Masayuki, his eldest son Nobuyuki, and his second son Nobushige (Yukimura), father and son, discussed their future on July 21st at Inubushi (Sano City, Tochigi Prefecture), in front of Utsunomiya Castle. Masayuki and Mitsunari Ishida are brothers-in-law and both married Yoritada Uda's daughter. Furthermore, Masayuki had a grudge with Ieyasu over the First Battle of Ueda. Chikurinin, the legal wife of the second son Nobushige, is the daughter of Yoshitsugu Otani, a core figure in the Western Army and known as a military commander who, along with Mitsunari, was patronized by Toyotomi. In addition, Nobushige had been taken hostage by the Uesugi clan when he was a child, and had many acquaintances in the Uesugi clan, including Kagekatsu.

On the other hand, Nobuyuki, the eldest son, serves Ieyasu as a ruling daimyo of the Tokugawa clan, and his wife is Inahime (married to Lord Komatsu), the daughter of Honda Tadakatsu, a senior vassal of the Tokugawa clan. Nobuyuki, who was under the attention of Ieyasu, was a pro-Tokugawa faction.

The discussion between the three over which side to take is called the ``Inubushi's farewell,'' and as a result of a heated debate, the Sanada clan became allies and enemies, with Masayuki and Nobushige on the western side and Nobuyuki on the eastern side. We were separated. There are various theories as to why this happened, but one widely known theory is that Masayuki deliberately joined both sides in order to preserve the Sanada family, rather than simply being unable to reach an agreement.

In this way, Masayuki and Nobushige returned to Ueda Castle via Numata Castle. Nobuyuki, on the other hand, proceeded to Utsunomiya and informed the Tokugawa side of the two's defection. Ieyasu appreciated Nobuyuki's loyalty and even sent a letter on July 27 stating, ``Since Ogata-gun is my parent's territory, I will give it to Nobuyuki and take it from him.''

Second Battle of Ueda ② Masayuki provokes Hidetada Tokugawa

Masayuki Sanada and Nobushige parent and child safely returned to Ueda Castle. He stayed in the castle with about 5,000 soldiers, keeping in close contact with Mitsunari Ishida and other Western forces. On the other hand, the Tokugawa side officially decided to subjugate Mitsunari at a military council held at Oyama Castle (Oyama City, Tochigi Prefecture) (*there are various theories).

The article on the Battle of Ueda continues.

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Naoko Kurimoto
Writer(Writer)I am a former travel industry magazine reporter. I have loved history, both Japanese and world history, since I was a child. I usually enjoy visiting temples and shrines, especially shrines, and often do ``pilgrimages to sacred places'' themed around historical figures. My favorite military commander is Ishida Mitsunari, my favorite castle is Kumamoto Castle, and my favorite castle ruins is Hagi Castle. My heart flutters when I see the ruins of battle castles and the stone walls of castle ruins.
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