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Siege of Tottori

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Tottori castle was key to the Môri's defense of their inner provinces. Once owned by the Yamana clan, Tottori had passed to the Môri and was guarded by Kikkawa Tsuneie. The castle came under attack by Oda forces under Hashiba (later Toyotomi) Hideyoshi, who opted to starve the garrison out. To this end, the local villagers were driven within the walls of the castle and all the approaches to Tottori were covered. The defenders held out stoutly but soon food stuffs ran so low that they were reduced to consuming all of the horses they had on hand - when these were gone, the defenders began eating grass. Starvation began to have effect Hideyoshi intended: the strength of those inside the castle ebbed and disease broke out. Finally, Tsuneie, after some 200 days, agreed to commit suicide and surrender the castle. It is said that the death toll rose even when the gates were opened: desperatly hungry men gorged themselves on the food offered them by the victors, only to die when their shrunken stomachs were fatally unable to cope with the sudden bounty.

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