Japanese Battles in History

Japan has its fair share of battles in history. Each battle left a significant role and scar to what Japan is today.

In the 12th Century, the Samurai rose to power and established the Shogunate. They controlled the government and the Japanese society until 1868, Meiji Restoration. During the Samurai era, the country experienced many battles that passed.

Here are four of the most astounding Japanese battles in history

The Battles of Kawanakajima

Five attacks took place during the battle of Kawanakajima. It was a war between the Murakami and Nagao clans of the Echigo province and the Takeda clan of the Kai province. Uesugi Kenshin led the Murakami and Nagao clans, and Takeda Shingen led the Takeda clan. The battles began in 1553 when Shingen wanted to expand his territory.

Takeda wanted access to the ocean, but because he had made peace with the leader on the rest of the regions, his only chance was to conquer the north, which was the land of Kawanakajima. Aside from this, he wanted to keep his Generals busy, so they wouldn’t turn on him.  The problem is, Uesugi Kenshin’s castle was only 60 km away from the land. That means if Takeda took over the property, then they would have no access to the southern area.

The first battle happened in 1553, where the two clans fought for months with neither sides assured of winning.  After two years, the Shingen advanced again, and the two armies were on the defensive, which lasted for four months, after which they withdrew. In 1557, Shingen tried again to take over the territory; however, Kenshin unexpectedly counterattacked, which made Shingen retreat.

The third, bloodiest battle happened in 1561, where Kenshin had an army of at least 18,000 to attack Shingen’s Kaizu Castle, and Shingen prepared 20,000 for defense. After the war, Kenshin lost 72% of its military and Shingen at least 62%. Both sides withdrew and were decided to be a draw. Lastly, in 1564, Shingen tried to attack one last time, and just like the second battle, both clans were on the defensive for 60 days. After that, they both withdrew.

Battle of Sekigahara

Next on the list is the battle of Sekigahara, which established the Tokugawa Shogunate. The battle of Sekigahara began on October 21, 1600.

The battle was between Ishida Mitsunari and Tokugawa Ieyasu who both wanted to be the next Shogunate upon the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Ishida won the hearts of many because he claimed to support Hideyoshi’s son, Hideyori. He also had an army with at least 120,000 men.

Ieyasu, on the other hand, was the most powerful individual landowner with a strong military background and men totaling to at least 74,000. Although he lacks more than Ishida, Ishida was careful not to fight with Ieyasu because his specialty was in politics and not in combat.

Carefully, the two sides looked for each other’s weakness until they came to clash in Sekigahara. Ieyasu excelled in an open-field battle, and so on the morning of October 21st, their struggle began. Slowly, Ishida realized that he was losing the fight. This made him flee to the northern hills, but unfortunately, he was captured and was killed after three days. Without any other competition, Tokugawa Ieyasu then claimed the power and made himself the Shogun.

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The Battle of Nagashino

Next on the list is the Nagashino battle, which happened in 1575 near the Nagashino Castle found in Mikawa Province. The feud began when Takeda Shingen’s son, Takeda Katsuyori, attacked the castle owned by Tokugawa Ieyasu to prove his worth.

During this time, Tokugawa Ieyasu had the famous Oda Nobunaga as an ally. He was famous for firearms, his innovations, and his indestructible military tactics.

Takeda only decided to make a move when a high ranking official under Tokugawa paid him to take over Tokugawa’s capital. He brought along 15,000 of his men, but unfortunately, the capital’s traitor got executed. Without knowing how to enter the capital, he then decided to attack Yoshida Castle instead.

Tokugawa already knew he would, and so he let 6,000 of his men guard the Yoshida castle. Takeda tried to avoid the clash by going to Nagashino Castle, which only had 500 soldiers, where the battle went on for a few days. While the war went on, Tokugawa and Nobunaga had sent an army of at least 38,000 warriors.

Takeda thought that he would win the battle because he knew that both Tokugawa and Nobunaga were scared of his cavalry. However, he did not anticipate that Nobunaga would be using his firearms. The Samurai were able to defeat Takeda and his warriors in single combat.

Takeda lost more than 10,000 men that day.

Battle of Anegawa

The next battle began on the 9th of August year 1570. The armies of Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga fought together against the armies of Asakura Yoshikage and Azai Nagamasa. The battle happened due to Oda Nobunaga, who opposed Asakura Yoshikage. At one time, Azai Nagamasa was an ally to Yoshikage and Nobunaga. However, Nagamasa eventually chose to side with Yoshikage and attacked Nobunaga.

In 1570, Oda Nobunaga, who was allied with Tokugawa Ieyasu, put a force that totaled to 28,000 men. Their goal was to attack both Asakura’s Yokoyama castle and Azai’s Odani castle. Of course, the two also made preparations and gathered a force of 18,000 men. Both armies gathered at the shallow Ane River as the battle commenced.

Tokugawa fought with Asakura’s in the downstream area of the river while Nobunaga fought against Azai in the upstream. As expected, Tokugawa and Nobunaga’s forces won against their enemies.

According to history, there are no actual and specific details about what happened in the battle. But it is known that Nobunaga used at least 500 arquebusiers in the battle because, well obviously, he’s known for using firearms. Approximately, the death from both Azai and Asakura’s army reached over 4,000.

Historians believe that this is because of the fact that their army had more peasants than Samurai with their natural weapons. That is why it reached that number.

How Awesome are these Battles?!

It would have been really awesome to watch these battles in person. But obviously it isn’t possible so let’s just have our imaginations run wild! There’s nothing impossible with a Samurai and his weapon! It’s a fantastic feat these warriors were able to reach during their time, fighting for their pride and power. These loyal warriors are definitely worth the read!