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Siege of Kozuki

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The battle for Kôzuki castle came about as the Oda pressed forward their advance against the provinces of the Chûgoku region. The commander of the campaign, which was aimed at diminishing the power of the Môri clan, was Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and his army included such famous names as Kuroda Kanbei, Takenaka Shigeharu, and Hachisuka Koroku. In addition, the Oda were supported by a force under Amako Katsuhisa, who hoped to one day restore the fallen Amako family to power in western Japan. Akamatsu Masanori, the lord of Kôzuki, refused to submit and so fighting commenced in December as Oda troops began to reduce Kôzuki's outer defenses. Later that month, the Ukita clan, allies at this time of the Môri, sent an army to relieve the castle but this was intercepted and defeated in a bitter fight. With the Ukita repulsed, and the Môri nowhere to be seen, Hideyoshi called for the surrender of the castle. When this was refused, he ordered a general assault. The castle was stormed with much loss of life and Masanori committed suicide. By the time the Oda army's banners were raised over the castle walls, some 1,000 of the defenders were dead. In the aftermath of the fight, Kôzuki was turned over to the Amako.

According to some sources, Hideyoshi's forces were so intimidating that the defenders of the castle killed their own lord, Akamatsu Masanori, and presented his head to Hideyoshi as they pleaded for mercy. Hideyoshi then sent the head to Nobunaga for inspection, and crucified the remaining defenders of Kôzuki, an act perhaps inspired less by any feeling or intention towards (that is, against) the men of Kôzuki, or by an inherent brutality or the like in Hideyoshi's character, but rather inspired by a desire on Hideyoshi's part to curry greater favor with Nobunaga.[1]

The following year, the castle would be lost to the Ukita and then regained by the Amako. Soon afterwards, however, the main Môri army arrived and encircled Kôzuki, trapping Katsuhisa and his men within. The Oda army, engaged in the reduction of Miki castle, was unable to send relief and Kôzuki fell once more - along with Katsuhisa's dream of resurrecting the Amako.

References

  1. Morgan Pitelka, Spectacular Accumulation, University of Hawaii Press (2016), 47.
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