Siege of Chihaya

Siege of Chihaya

Siege of Chihaya
Part of the Genkō War
Date 1333
Location Chihaya castle, Mt. Kongō, Kawachi province
Result Siege fails; Imperial victory
Belligerents
Imperial forces Hōjō clan forces
Commanders and leaders
Kusunoki Masashige Unknown

The 1333 siege of Chihaya took place during the final year of Japan's Kamakura period. It was one of several battles of the Genkō War, in which Emperor Go-Daigo sought to eliminate the power of the Hōjō clan regents. Chihaya-jō (千早城, Chihaya fortress) was built atop Mt. Kongō, in Kawachi province, in 1332. Successfully defended the following year, by the Imperial forces led by Kusunoki Masashige, it would eventually fall to the Ashikaga shogunate in 1390.

Kusunoki Masashige's defense of this fortress became a very classic siege in Japanese history. This was because both the Imperial garrison and the besieging force of the Hōjō demonstrated high levels of siegecraft. Kusunoki's success here made up for his loss two years earlier at the siege of Akasaka, where surrender was forced by the denial of water supplies. Unlike at Akasaka, however, Kusunoki made sure that Chihaya could stand effectively against many attacks, which included the Hōjō's usage of movable bridges and fire. Kusunoki also employed many strategies such as dummy troops, and surprise raids.

The fortress' position near the summit of the mountain further aided in its defense, allowing Kusunoki's inferior numbers to not be a hindrance in such limited space. His forces employed their superior knowledge of the ridges and ravines of the area to great effect, ending in a successful defense and the enemy's retreat.

References

  • Frederic, Louis (2002). "Japan Encyclopedia." Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
  • Sansom, George (1961). "A History of Japan: 1334-1615." Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. pp123-4
  • Turnbull, Stephen (1998). 'The Samurai Sourcebook'. London: Cassell & Co.