The siege of Takamatsu Castle

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The siege of Takamatsu Castle (備中高松城の攻防) is one of the most unique battles in Sengoku period. It has happen in 1582 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Shimizu Muneharu. The battle is very famous for Hideyoshi's "Mizuzeme," the siege with water. In only 12 days, Hideyoshi built a mighty bank os some 4km in length in order to divert the rain swollen waters of the Ashimori River, thus flooding the environs of the castle and forcing Muneharu into isolation.

Tourist Spots
Hideyoshi's headquarter is located on mountain. There is a entrance to reach the spot near Kawazugabana Chikuteiato.

0. at Okayama Castle.
1. use JR Kibitsu line to Bitchu Takamatsu (18 min.)
2. walk north (10 min.)



Year 1582.
Hashiba Hideyoshi of Oda v.s. Shimizu Muneharu of Mori Oda army 20,000
Mori army 5,000

The siege of Bichu Takamatsu Castle is one of the most unique battle happened in Sengoku Period. The battle happened in 1582 between Hashiba Hideyoshi, the general of Oda Nobunaga and chief commander of Chugoku division army, and Shimizu Muneharu the lord of Takamatsu Castle and samurai of Mori clan.

Mori Clan was the ruler of all Chugoku Domains, and Takamatsu Castle was located at the border of Chugoku and Kinai. Therefore, it was very important castle for Mori clan.

In 1578, Oda Nobunaga ordered Hashiba Hideyoshi, later Toyotomi Hideyoshi, to invade and conquer Chugoku Region to accomplish the great his ambition, to unify Japan and rule all Japan.

By 1581, Hideyoshi conquered most of western Kinai Region and settled his headquarter at Himeji Castle. Also, because Ukita Hideie changed his side from Mori to Oda, Hideyoshi finally established a breachhead to Chugoku.

In March 15, 1582, Hideyoshi raised his 20,000 of to defeat Takamatsu Castle. Ukita also brought 10,000 soldiers to proof his loyalty to Nobunaga.

Takamatsu Castle was protected by Shimizu Muneharu with 3,000 soldiers. The number of soldiers was very small, but Takamatsu Castle itself was very strong castle because it was surrounded by a huge bog. Because of the bog, Hideyoshi could not use any gunners, cavalries or any siege weapons.

Therefore, Hideyoshi decided to defeated its brunch castles and made a siege of a castle.

In April 15, Hideyoshi finished his siege of Takamatsu Castle. However, he failed twice attacking the castle. At the same time, Hideyoshi received the information which said Mori Terumoto left with 40,000 of his soldiers to help Takamatsu Castle.

Hideyoshi was in danger and only few time to finish attacking the castle. At this time, Nobunaga finally defeated Takeda clan and conquered Shinano and Kai. So, Hideyoshi asked Nobunaga to send him a support troops. Nobunaga accepted his request, but also ordered Hideyoshi to finish attacking before he arrived at Takamatsu Castle.

Nobunaga ordered Akechi Mitsuhide, another general of Nobunaga, to help Hideyoshi. This will change the history of Japan soon later.

So, Hideyoshi must finish his task before Nobunaga arrives. He asked his new strategist Kuroda Kambe Yoshitaka. Kambe gave him the tactics of the water siege from Chinese legend. It was called "Mizuzeme." Attacking with water.

Hideyoshi took Kambe's plan and ordered Hachisuka Koroku, and other samurai to build a dam to stop Ashimori River.

Kawazugabana chikuteiato is a ruins of a dam built by Hideyoshi for his Mizuzeme. It was 4 km long, 8 m high and 24 m wide, and cost of the dam was 63,000 koku which was very expensive dam.

The construction of Dam was started at May 8, and finished in May 20. So, they built a dam in 12 days. Because it was raining season, the entire bog surrounding the castle became a lake in few days. The size of lake was about 200ha.

Hideyoshi settled his headquarter at Mt. Ishii which is located east side of the castle. The flooding from Ashimori river filled the environs of the castle and forced Muneharu into isolation.

No one can get in or out. Also, the rescue force of Mori couldn't do anything with a lake. The soldiers in the castle completely fought out of control with unbelievable tactics.

Mori and Shimizu decided to surrender to Hideyoshi.

Mori offered 5 out of 10 lands to Nobunaga, but help the life of all soldiers in the castle. Hideyoshi didn't accept and ordered to Mori that he want Shimizu to Seppuku, too. The first negotiation was failed.

At this moment, Hideyoshi's task was over and he had many time until Nobunaga arrived. However, the history and his destiny were moving faster at outside of his understanding.

At the night of June 3, Hideyoshi captured one Spy. He has a letter from Akechi Mitsuhide to Mori which said he killed Nobunaga at Honnoji. Nobunaga was the only lord of Hideyoshi. All of his success happened because of Nobunaga. At the moment, Hideyoshi lost his meaning of his life. However, Kambe told him to realize that Nobunaga is dead and it's time for Hideyoshi to be next ruler of Japan. Hideyoshi switched his mind quickly to next goal.

They decided to keep the death of Nobunaga secret and finish this war as soon as possible. The same time, Mori sent a new agreement that accept Seppuku of Shimizu.

Hideyoshi send Shimizu, Sake and food for his last supper. Shimizu spent his last time with his samurai at this castle. Next day, he visited Hideyoshi with 3 other samurai. He wrote his last peom.

"Ukiyowoba Imakosowatare Mononofuno Nawotakamatsu no Kokeninokoshite."
"t's a time to move from our life to heaven. It is the greatest moment to leave our name and proud forever just like until moss grows around old pine trees (also means meaning of Takamatsu Castle)."

This is where Shimizu did Seppuku.
His death is the end of the battle of Takamatsu Castle and the beginning of the time of Hideyoshi. Hideyoshi moved immediately back to Kyoto to fight Akechi.

The chain reaction of this battle changed the history of Japan. If you visit this battle field, it might change your destiny, too. MustLove Takamatsu Castle.