Battle of Miki Castle (2/2)The siege battle was called “Miki’s dry killing”

Battle of Miki Castle

Battle of Miki Castle

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Incident name
Battle of Miki Castle (1578-1580)
Hyogo prefecture
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In addition, Hideyoshi's army set up its headquarters on Mt. Hirai northeast of Miki Castle, built an attached castle to surround Miki Castle, and planned to cut off its supply route. A castle is a temporary front-line base (fort) built around an enemy during a battle.

In this way, the invasion was supposed to proceed smoothly, but in October 1997, a major incident occurred for the Oda side. Murashige Araki of Settsu Province (most of north-central Osaka Prefecture and southeastern Hyogo Prefecture), who had been providing logistical support to Hideyoshi, suddenly rebelled, defected to the Mori side, and barricaded himself in Arioka Castle (Itami City, Hyogo Prefecture). It was. As a result, the Bessho clan was able to unload military supplies at the port of Settsu, pass through Nyuyama Fort via Hanakuma Castle, and secure a route for transporting military supplies from the east to the castle.

Meanwhile, Hideyoshi is in a big pinch as his line of communication with Nobunaga in Kyoto is cut off. It will be tough for Nobunaga to fight Nagaharu Bessho, the Mori clan, and Murashige Araki during the battle of Ishiyama Honganji, so he tries to convince them somehow. In this way, Masakatsu Hachisuka and others were sent to Murashige, but they failed. The last person sent at this time was Kanbei Kuroda, who had served as a tactician under Hideyoshi along with Hanbei Takenaka, but he too failed and was imprisoned. Kanbei's imprisonment was lifted in November 1579, the year Arioka Castle fell. In fact, Kanbei was barely able to participate in the Battle of Miki Castle.

Battle of Miki Castle ③ The Bessho clan gradually becomes isolated

Even though a new supply route was obtained, Miki Castle did not have enough provisions. In an attempt to break out of this situation, in February 1579, the Bessho clan led about 2,500 soldiers to Mt. Hirai, where Hideyoshi's headquarters were located, but they were defeated. Sadaharu Bessho's younger brother Harusada Bessho and others died in battle.

After that, Oda Nobunaga once again dispatched Oda Nobutada to Harima. Nobutada strengthened the siege of Miki Castle by building six additional castles. In May, Hideyoshi's forces captured Myoyoji Temple, which was the key point on the route for transporting supplies from Hanakuma Castle to Mt. Nyuu, and then captured Awakawa Castle the next day. As a result, the route for transporting supplies from the east became unusable, and Miki Castle found itself in even more trouble. By the way, around this time, Hanbei Takenaka, who had devised a plan to attack military supplies, died of illness at the camp at Mt. Hirai (passed away on June 13, at the age of 36).

On September 10th, the Mori clan and Bessho clan carried out the final military supply operation. The Mori army and the Bessho army attacked the weakly defended Hirata camp on the west side of Miki Castle and the vicinity of Omura, trying to take advantage of the situation and bring food into the castle. As a result of the fierce battle, the Oda army commander Tani Eiyoshi was killed, but in the end the Mori and Bessho forces were defeated, and they were unable to bring in provisions.

Then, in October, Ukita Naoie, who had been on the Mori side, defected and joined the Oda side, causing a separation between the Mori clan's stronghold and Harima. Furthermore, as Hideyoshi's army built more and more castles, there was no large-scale delivery of provisions to Miki Castle.

It is estimated that over 40 castles were built by the Oda side during the Battle of Miki Castle. In particular, the castle on the south side was sealed off by connecting multiple earthworks like a wall. The total length was approximately 5.5km, and it is believed that these multiple earthworks were the decisive factor in stopping the supply. At this stage, Hideyoshi once advised the Bessho clan to surrender, but the Bessho clan refused.

On the other hand, what happened to Arioka Castle, which was protected by Murashige Araki, who had been helping Miki Castle, was that when Murashige escaped from the castle in September, people who were secretly loyal to the Oda faction appeared from inside the castle. Since the top management is gone from the castle, morale will naturally drop. In the meantime, the Oda army made preparations, and Arioka Castle was unable to withstand the Oda army's all-out attack and fell in November.

Battle of Miki Castle ④ From “Miki’s dry murder” to the surrender of the castle

Miki Castle suffered from a lack of military provisions for a long time. Food had run out, even the plants had been eaten away, and people were suffering from hunger. Despite many deaths, on January 6, 1580, Toyotomi Hideyoshi succeeded in taking over the Miyanokami fortress through arrangements. On the 11th, they captured Shinjo, which had been guarded by Nagaharu Bessho's younger brother Tomoyuki Bessho and his uncle Yoshichika Bessho.

Then, on January 15, Hideyoshi sent a letter to the Bessho government urging them to surrender, saying, ``Why don't you commit seppuku instead of struggling?'' In response, Nagaharu Bessho accepted the recommendation to surrender. In exchange for helping the castle soldiers, the castle owner's family had to commit seppuku. Then, on January 17th, Choji committed suicide. He passed away at the age of 23 (some say he was 26). Furthermore, when Choji committed suicide, he also killed his son and wife with his own hands, and Tomoyuki also committed seppuku after killing his wife.

On the other hand, Yoshichika resisted seppuku, saying, ``If I cut off my stomach, my head will be taken to Azuchi.I don't want people to criticize me, so I'll set the castle on fire and burn it to death so I can't recognize my bones!'' He set the mansion on fire, but was captured by his vassals and forced to commit seppuku.

Thus, Miki Castle was surrendered, and the battle for Miki Castle, which had lasted more than two years, came to an end. The castle soldiers were supposed to be saved by seppuku by the castle owner's family, but letters from the time show that Hideyoshi ordered the barricaded people to gather in one place and kill them. On the other hand, there are historical sources that say that the castle's soldiers were saved, but it is not clear what happened to the people of the castle after the castle was surrendered.

After that, Hideyoshi placed Miki Castle in charge of the castle, and under the Toyotomi administration it came under direct control and had a castle guard. However, due to the One Country, One Castle Order enacted in the 3rd year of Genna, the castle was abolished and disappeared from the stage of history.

Reread the article on the Battle of Miki Castle

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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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