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Siege of Osaka Castle

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Siege of Osaka Castle
Burning Osaka Castle

Battle Information
Date November 8, 1614 - January 22, 1615 and May - June 1615
Location Osaka
Result Tokugawa victorious; last resistance to Tokugawa rule eliminated.
Forces
Toyotomi clan Tokugawa Clan
Commanders
Hideyori Toyotomi Ieyasu Tokugawa
Notable Officers
Harunaga Ohno
Yukimura Sanada
Katsunaga Mouri
Danemon Ban
Morichika Chosokabe
Yoshihisa Otani
Yukimusa Sanada
Hidetada Tokugawa
Masamune Date
Tadaaki Hosakawa
Naotaka Ii
Tadatomo Honda
Toshitsune Maeda
Kagekatsu Uesugi
The Siege of Osaka Castle was a series of battles undertaken by the Tokugawa shogunate against the Toyotomi clan, and ending in that clan's destruction. Divided into two stages (Winter Campaign and Summer Campaign), and lasting from 1614 to 1615, the siege put an end to the last major armed opposition to the shogunate's establishment.

Before the BattleEdit

When Hideyoshi Toyotomi died in 1598, Japan came to be governed by the Council of Five Elders, among whom Ieyasu Tokugawa possessed the most authority. After defeating Mitsunari Ishida in the battle of Sekigahara, Ieyasu essentially seized control of Japan for himself, and abolished the Council. In 1603, the Tokugawa shogunate was established, with its capital at Edo. Ieyasu sought to establish a powerful and stable regime under the rule of his own clan; only the Toyotomi, led by Hideyoshi's son Hideyori Toyotomi, based at Osaka, remained as an obstacle to that goal.

BattleEdit

Winter campaignEdit

In 1614, the Toyotomi clan rebuilt Osaka Castle. At the same time, the head of the clan sponsored the rebuilding of Hōkō-ji in Kyoto. These temple renovations included the casting a great bronze bell, with an inscription that read "May the state be peaceful and prosperous, May Noble lord and Servants be rich and cheerful". The shogunate interpreted Kokkaanko as shattering Ieyasu's name to curse him, and also interpreted Gunshinhōraku as "Toyotomi's force will rise again", which means treachery for shogunate. Therefore tensions began to grow between the Tokugawa and the Toyotomi clan. The tension was only increased when Hideyori Toyotomi began to gather a force of ronin and enemies of the shogunate in Osaka. By November of that year, Ieyasu, despite having passed the title of Shogun on to his son in 1605, nevertheless maintained significant influence, and decided not to let this force grow any larger, leading 164,000 men to Osaka (the count does not include the troops of Tadatsune Shimazu, an ally of the Toyotomi cause who nevertheless did not send troops to Osaka).

The siege was begun on November 19, when Ieyasu led three thousand men across the Kizu River, destroying the fort there. A week later, he attacked the village of Imafuku with 1,500 men, against a defending force of 600. With the aid of a squad wielding arquebuses, the Tokugawa forces claimed another victory. Several more small forts and villages were attacked before the siege on Osaka Castle itself began on December 4.

The Sanada-maru was an earthwork barbican defended by Yukimura Sanada and 7,000 men, on behalf of the Toyotomi. The Shogun's armies were repeatedly repelled, and Sanada and his men launched a number of attacks against the siege lines, breaking through three times. Ieyasu then resorted to artillery (Including 17 imported European cannons and domestic wrought iron cannon.) as well as men to dig under the walls. On January 22, the Winter Siege was ended, with Hideyori Toyotomi pledging to not rise in rebellion, and allowing the moat of Osaka castle to be filled in.

Summer campaignEdit

In April 1615, Ieyasu received word that Hideyori Toyotomi was gathering even more troops than in the previous November, and that he was trying to stop the filling of the moat. The Toyotomi forces began to attack contingents of the Tokugawa's forces near Osaka. Commanded by Danemon Ban, they raided Wakayama Castle, a coastal fortress belonging to Nagaakira Asano, an ally of the Tokugawa, on April 29. Asano's men sallied forth from the castle, attacking the invaders, and driving them off. By early June, the Eastern army had arrived, before Hideyori managed to secure any land to use against them. At the battle of Domyoji, on June 2, 2,600 of his men encountered 23,000 of the Eastern Army. Hideyori's commander at the battle, Matabei Goto, attempted to retreat into the fog, but the battle was lost and he was killed. After this, Tokugawa forces intercepted those of Toyotomi general Yukimura Sanada at Honta-Ryo. Sanada tried to force a battle with Masamune Date, but Date retainer Shigenaga Katakura retreated since his troops were exhausted; Sanada's forces followed suit.

The same night, Morichika Chosokabe and Takatora Todo battled at Yao. Another battle took place at Wakae around the same time, between Shigenari Kimura and Naotaka Ii. Chosokabe's forces achieved victory, but Shigenari was defected by the left wing of Naotaka's army. The main Tokugawa forces moved to assist Takatora Todo after Shigenari's death, and Chosokabe withdrew for the time being.

After another series of Tokugawa victories on the outskirts of Osaka, the Summer Campaign came to a head at the battle of Tennoji. Hideyori planned a hammer-and-anvil operation, in which 55,000 men would attack the center of the Tokugawa army, while a second force, of 16,500 men, would flank them from the rear. Another contingent waited in reserve. Ieyasu's army was led by his son, Hidetada Tokugawa, and numbered around 155,000. They moved in four parallel lines, prepared to make flanking maneuvers of their own. Mistakes on both sides nearly ruined the battle, as Hideyori's ronin split off from the main group, and Hidetada's reserve force moved up without orders from the main force. In the end, however, Hideyori's commander Yukimura Sanada was killed, destroying the morale of the Western Army. The smaller force led directly by Hideyori sallied forth from Osaka Castle too late, and was chased right back into the castle by the advancing enemies; there was no time to set up a proper defense of the castle, and it was soon ablaze and pummeled by artillery fire. Hideyori committed suicide, and the final major uprising against Tokugawa rule was put to an end, leaving the shogunate unchallenged for another 250 years.

AftermathEdit

Hideyori's son Kunimatsu Toyotomi (age 8) was captured by the shogunate and beheaded in Kyoto. According to legend, before his beheading, little Kunimatsu bravely blamed Ieyasu for his betrayal and brutality against Toyotomi clan. Naahime, daughter of Hideyori, was not sentenced to death. She later became a nun at Kamakura's Tōkei-ji. Hideyoshi's grave was destroyed by the shogunate, along with Kyoto's Toyokuni Shrine. Morichika Chosokabe was beheaded on May 11 while his gang member Harunaga Ohno, who was wanted for over 10 years, was killed on June 27.

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