Battle of Sekigahara

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Battle of Sekigahara
Part of the Sengoku period
Edo period screen depicting the battle.
DateOctober 21, 1600
Location35°22′14″N 136°27′42″E / 35.3705°N 136.4616°E / 35.3705; 136.4616Coordinates: 35°22′14″N 136°27′42″E / 35.3705°N 136.4616°E / 35.3705; 136.4616
Result Decisive Tokugawa victory; beginning of Tokugawa shogunate
Tokugawa gains nominal control of all Japan
大一大万大吉.svg Western Army: Forces loyal to Toyotomi Hideyori, many clans from Western Japan Tokugawa family crest.svg Eastern Army: Forces of Tokugawa Ieyasu, clans of Eastern Japan
Commanders and leaders
Ishida Mitsunari Executed
Ankokuji Ekei Executed
Konishi Yukinaga Executed
Niwa Nagashige
Ukita Hideie
Akashi Takenori
Mōri Hidemoto
Chōsokabe Morichika
Shimazu Yoshihiro
Shimazu Toyohisa 
Ōtani Yoshitsugu 
Ōtani Yoshiharu
Toda Shigemasa 
Toda Katsushige 
Gamō Yorisato 
Natsuka Masaie 
Shima Sakon 
Tokugawa Ieyasu
Honda Tadakatsu
Ii Naomasa (DOW)
Hosokawa Tadaoki
Kuroda Nagamasa
Matsudaira Tadayoshi (WIA)
Ikeda Terumasa
Tanaka Yoshimasa
Fukushima Masanori
Asano Yoshinaga
Katō Yoshiaki
Tōdō Takatora
Yamauchi Kazutoyo
Terazawa Hirotaka
Ikoma Kazumasa
Tsutsui Sadatsugu
Kyōgoku Takatomo
120,000 initially,[1]
81,890 by the time of battle[2]
75,000 initially,[1]
88,888 by the time of battle[2]
Casualties and losses
8,000–32,000[3] killed
~23,000 defected
4,000-10,000[4] killed
Battle of Sekigahara is located in Gifu Prefecture
Battle of Sekigahara
Location within Gifu Prefecture
Battle of Sekigahara is located in Japan
Battle of Sekigahara
Battle of Sekigahara (Japan)
Commanders of Eastern Army (Tokugawa Force)
Tokugawa Ieyasu: 30,000 men
Maeda Toshinaga
Date Masamune
Katō Kiyomasa: 3,000 men
Fukushima Masanori: 6,000 men
Hosokawa Tadaoki: 5,000 men
Numata Jakō
Asano Yoshinaga: 6,510 men
Ikeda Terumasa: 4,560 men
Kuroda Nagamasa: 5,400 men
Katō Yoshiaki: 3,000 men
Tanaka Yoshimasa: 3,000 men
Tōdō Takatora: 2,490 men
Sanada Nobuyuki
Mogami Yoshiaki
Yamauchi Katsutoyo: 2,058 men
Hachisuka Yoshishige
Honda Tadakatsu: 500 men
Terazawa Hirotaka: 2,400 men
Ikoma Kazumasa: 1,830 men
Ii Naomasa: 3,600 men
Matsudaira Tadayoshi: 3,000 men
Oda Nagamasu: 450 men
Tsutsui Sadatsugu: 2,850 men
Kanamori Nagachika: 1,140 men
Tomita Nobutaka: 1,300 men
Yuki no Kata
Okaji no Kata
Furuta Shigekatsu: 1,200 men
Wakebe Mitsuyoshi
Horio Tadauji
Nakamura Kazutada
Arima Toyouji: 900 men
Kyōgoku Takatomo: 3,000 men
Commanders of Western Army (Ishida Force)
Mōri Terumoto (official head of the alliance) (not present)
Ishida Mitsunari (de facto head of the alliance): 4,000 men
Niwa Nagashige
Uesugi Kagekatsu
Maeda Toshimasa (Brother of Maeda Toshinaga)
Ukita Hideie: 17,000 men
Shimazu Yoshihiro: 1,500 men
Kobayakawa Hideaki (defected): 15,600 men
Konishi Yukinaga: 4,000 men
Mashita Nagamori
Ogawa Suketada (defected): 2,100 men
Ōtani Yoshitsugu: 600 men
Ōtani Yoshiharu: 3,500 men
Wakisaka Yasuharu (defected): 990 men
Ankokuji Ekei: 1,800 men
Satake Yoshinobu
Oda Hidenobu
Chōsokabe Morichika: 6,600 men
Kutsuki Mototsuna (defected): 600 men
Akaza Naoyasu (defected): 600 men
Kikkawa Hiroie (defected): 3,000 men
Natsuka Masaie: 1,500 men
Mōri Hidemoto: 15,000 men
Tachibana Ginchiyo
Toda Katsushige: 1,500 men
Sanada Masayuki
Sanada Yukimura: 40
Shima Sakon: 1,000 men
Gamo Yorisato: 1,000 men
Shimazu Toyohisa: 750 men
Vassals of the Toyotomi: 2,000 men
oda clan

The Battle of Sekigahara (Shinjitai: 関ヶ原の戦い; Kyūjitai: 關ヶ原の戰い, Hepburn romanization: Sekigahara no Tatakai) was a decisive battle on October 21, 1600 (Keichō 5, 15th day of the 9th month), that preceded the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate.

Tokugawa Ieyasu took three more years to consolidate his position of power over the Toyotomi clan and the various daimyō, but Sekigahara is widely considered to be the unofficial beginning of the Tokugawa shogunate, the last shogunate to control Japan.


Toyotomi clan rule[edit]

Toyotomi Hideyoshi was a prominent general under Oda Nobunaga. Nobunaga unified much of Japan under his rule after defeating the Shōgun Ashikaga Yoshiaki and ending the Ashikaga shogunate; however, he was betrayed by Akechi Mitsuhide and died at the Honnō-ji Incident of 1582. Hideyoshi quickly avenged his master and consolidated control over Japan afterward, with the aid of his brother Hidenaga. Hideyoshi had risen from humble roots – his father was an ashigaru (foot-soldier) – to become the ruler of Japan. To bolster his claim, Hideyoshi married noble women so that his heirs at least would descend from suitably distinguished families.[5][6]

However, the final years of Hideyoshi's reign were troubled. While rivals in the Hojo clan were defeated at the Siege of Odawara in 1590, failures in the invasions of Korea significantly weakened the Toyotomi clan's power and its support from bureaucrats who served in the government.[6] Additionally, Hideyoshi ordered the execution of his heir, the regent, as well as the entire family of his heir in 1595. When Hideyoshi died in 1598, the new heir Toyotomi Hideyori was only 5 years old, necessitating a regency government. His death created a power vacuum; there was no appointed shōgun over the armies.[6][7] Respected regent Maeda Toshiie, a neutral party between the clashing factions, kept the peace for a time, but he too died in 1599.

Feuding factions[edit]

Two main factions arose during the fading years of Hideyoshi's rule and the immediate aftermath of his death. Tokugawa Ieyasu was unrivaled in terms of seniority, rank, reputation, and overall influence within the regency government, and had the allegiance of much of the lords of eastern Japan. Toyotomi clan loyalists and the lords of western Japan rallied behind Ishida Mitsunari. Tensions between them sometimes boiled into open hostilities, with relations eventually degenerating into the conflicts of 1600 that led to Sekigahara.

Katō Kiyomasa and Fukushima Masanori were publicly critical of the bureaucrats, especially Mitsunari and Konishi Yukinaga. Tokugawa Ieyasu took advantage of this situation, and recruited them, redirecting the animosity to weaken the Toyotomi clan.[8] Rumours started to spread stating that Ieyasu, at that point the only surviving contemporary ally of Oda Nobunaga, would take over Hideyoshi's legacy just as Nobunaga's was taken. This was especially evident amongst the loyalist bureaucrats, who suspected Ieyasu of agitating unrest amongst Toyotomi's former vassals.

Later, a supposed conspiracy to assassinate Ieyasu surfaced, and many Toyotomi loyalists, including Maeda Toshiie's son, Toshinaga, were accused of taking part and forced to submit to Ieyasu's authority.[8] However, Uesugi Kagekatsu, one of Hideyoshi's appointed regents, defied Ieyasu by building up his military. When Ieyasu officially condemned him and demanded that he come to Kyoto to explain himself, Kagekatsu's chief advisor, Naoe Kanetsugu responded with a counter-condemnation that mocked Ieyasu's abuses and violations of Hideyoshi's rules, and Ieyasu was infuriated.[9]

Afterwards, Ieyasu summoned the help of various supporters and led them northward to attack the Uesugi clan. However, many of them were at that moment besieging Hasedō. Ishida Mitsunari, grasping the opportunity created by the chaos, rose up in response and created an alliance to challenge Ieyasu's supporters.

Troop deployment[edit]

Ishida, in his home Sawayama Castle, met with Ōtani Yoshitsugu, Mashita Nagamori, and Ankokuji Ekei. Here, they forged their alliance, and invited Mōri Terumoto to be its head. They formed what came to be referred to as the Western Army. Mōri seized Osaka Castle for their base of operations, since most of Tokugawa's forces had vacated the area to attack Uesugi.[10]

The battle depicted on folding screens.
The battle
Three Japanese arquebus depicted.
Japanese arquebus (Tanegashima) of the Edo era.

Ishida wanted to reinforce Mōri at the impregnable Osaka Castle. This would let Ishida control the capital of Kyoto and challenge the Tokugawa. To this end, Ishida's forces headed for Gifu Castle in order to use it as a staging area to move on Kyoto, since it was controlled by his ally Oda Hidenobu.[6]

Back in Edo, Tokugawa Ieyasu received news of the situation in the Kansai region and decided to deploy his forces. Ieyasu himself commanded 30,000 men and his subordinates led another 40,000 men. This made up the bulk of what would later be called the Eastern Army.[11] He had some former Toyotomi daimyō engage with the Western Army, while he split his troops and marched west on the Tōkaidō towards Osaka.

Since the Tokugawa army departed from Edo, it could only take two roads, both of which converged on Gifu Castle. Ieyasu marched on Gifu while Ishida Mitsunari was delayed at Fushimi Castle. This fortress was a halfway point between Osaka and Kyoto and was controlled by the Tokugawa ally Torii Mototada.[12] Ishida could not risk leaving a force that could attack his rear, so he marched on it. It took him ten days to capture Fushimi, and in that time Gifu Castle had fallen. This forced Ishida Mitsunari to retreat southward in the rain.[6] The rain was relevant in that the bulk of both armies were equipped with matchlock rifles (tanegashima), which required dry gunpowder to fire.

Tired from a day's march and their gunpowder wet from the rain, Ishida and his forces stopped at Sekigahara. Ishida deployed his troops in a strong defensive position, flanked by two streams with high ground on the opposite banks. His right flank was reinforced by daimyō Kobayakawa Hideaki on Mount Matsuo.[13]

On October 20, 1600, Ieyasu learned that Ishida Mitsunari had deployed his troops at Sekigahara in a defensive position. They had been following the Western Army, and benefited from considerably better weather. At dawn of the next day, the Tokugawa advance guard stumbled into Ishida's army. Neither side saw each other due to the dense fog caused by the earlier rain. Both sides panicked and withdrew, but this resulted in both sides being aware of their adversary's presence.[13]

Ishida held his current defensive position and Ieyasu deployed his own forces. He sent his allies' forces in a line to the front, and held his own troops in reserve. Around 8:00 am, wind blew away the fog, and both sides noticed their respective adversary's positions. Last-minute orders were issued and the battle began.[14]


Initially, the Eastern Army had 75,000 men, while the Western Army numbered 120,000.[1] Ieyasu had also sneaked in a supply of arquebuses.[13] Knowing that the Tokugawa forces were heading towards Osaka, Ishida decided to abandon his positions and marched to Sekigahara. Even though the Western army had tremendous tactical advantages, Ieyasu had already been in contact with many of the daimyō in the Western Army for months, promising them land and leniency after the battle should they switch sides.[13]

The battle started when Fukushima Masanori, the leader of the Tokugawa advance guard, charged north from the Eastern Army's left flank along the Fuji River against the Western Army's right centre. The ground was still muddy from the previous day's rain, so the conflict there devolved into something more primal. Ieyasu then ordered attacks from his right and his centre against the Western Army’s left in order to support Fukushima's attack.[13]

This left the Western Army's centre unscathed, so Ishida ordered this unit under the command of Shimazu Yoshihiro to reinforce his right flank. Shimazu refused as daimyō of the day only listened to respected commanders, which Ishida was not.[13]

Fukushima's attack was slowly gaining ground, but this came at the cost of exposing their flank to attack from across the Fuji River by Ōtani Yoshitsugu, who took advantage of this opportunity. Just past Ōtani's forces were those of Kobayakawa Hideaki on Mount Matsuo.[13]

Kobayakawa was one of the daimyō who had been courted by Tokugawa. Even though he had agreed to defect to the Tokugawa side, in the actual battle he was hesitant and remained neutral. As the battle grew more intense, Ieyasu finally ordered his arquebuses to fire at Kobayakawa's position on Mount Matsuo to force a choice. At that point Kobayakawa joined the battle as a member of the Eastern Army. His forces charged Ōtani's position, which did not end well for Kobayakawa. Ōtani's forces had dry gunpowder, so they opened fire on the turncoats, making the charge of 16,000 men mostly ineffective.[14] However, he was already engaging forces under the command of Tōdō Takatora, Kyōgoku Takatsugu, and Oda Yūraku when Kobayakawa charged. At this point, the buffer Ōtani established was outnumbered. Seeing this, Western Army generals Wakisaka Yasuharu, Ogawa Suketada, Akaza Naoyasu, and Kutsuki Mototsuna switched sides, turning the tide of battle.[15]

Fall of the Western Army[edit]

Heavily outnumbered, Ōtani had no choice but to retreat. This left the Western Army's right flank wide open, so Fukushima and Kobayakawa began to roll it up. Thus Ishida's right flank was destroyed and his centre was being pushed back, so he retreated.[14]

Ishida's only remaining forces were on Mount Nangu. However, these forces were there for a reason. Kikkawa Hiroie was one of the commanders on the mountain. Kikkawa's troops formed the front lines of the Mōri army, which was commanded by his cousin Mōri Hidemoto. Earlier, when Hidemoto decided to attack the Tokugawa forces, Hiroie refused to comply, stating he was busy eating and asked to be left alone. This in turn prevented the Chōsokabe army, which deployed behind the Mōri clan, from attacking.[16] When Ishida arrived, Kikkawa betrayed him as well. He kept the Mōri army at bay, and since Ishida had no more support, he was defeated.[14]

The Western Army disintegrated afterwards with the commanders scattering and fleeing. Some, like Ukita Hideie, managed to escape, at least initially.[17] Many others did not. Shima Sakon was shot and fatally wounded by a round from an arquebus[18] and Ōtani Yoshitsugu committed suicide. Ishida, Yukinaga and Ekei were some of those who were captured and a few, like Shimazu Yoshihiro, were able to return to their home provinces.[19] Mōri Terumoto and his forces had remained entrenched at Osaka Castle rather than join the battle, and later quietly surrendered to Tokugawa.[a] Ishida himself was later executed.[17]

Late arrivals[edit]

Both sides had forces that did not arrive at Sekigahara in time to participate due to other battles. Ieyasu's son Hidetada led another group through Nakasendō. However, Hidetada's forces were bogged down as he attempted to besiege Sanada Masayuki's Ueda Castle against his father's direct orders. Even though the Tokugawa forces numbered some 38,000, an overwhelming advantage over Sanada's mere 2,000, they were still unable to capture the famous strategist's well-defended position.[12]

At the same time, 15,000 Toyotomi troops were being held up by 500 troops under Hosokawa Yūsai at Tanabe Castle in present-day Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture.[20] Some among the 15,000 troops respected Hosokawa so much they intentionally slowed their pace. Due to these incidents, a large number of troops from both sides failed to show up in time for the battle.[21] If either of these armies participated in the conflict, it could have ended quite differently.[22]


Rise of the Tokugawa Shogunate[edit]

Following the public execution of Ishida Mitsunari, Konishi Yukinaga and Ankokuji Ekei, the influence and reputation of the Toyotomi clan and its remaining loyalists drastically decreased.[17] Tokugawa Ieyasu redistributed the lands and fiefs of the participants, generally rewarding those who assisted him and displacing, punishing, or exiling those who fought against him. In doing so, he gained control of many former Toyotomi territories.[23]

At the time, the battle was considered only an internal conflict between Toyotomi vassals. However, after Ieyasu was named shōgun in 1603 by Emperor Go-Yōzei,[24][17] a position that had been left vacant since the fall of the Ashikaga shōgunate 27 years earlier,[6] the battle was perceived as a more important event. In 1664, Hayashi Gahō, Tokugawa historian and rector of Yushima Seidō, summarised the consequences of the battle: "Evil-doers and bandits were vanquished and the entire realm submitted to Lord Ieyasu, praising the establishment of peace and extolling his martial virtue. That this glorious era that he founded may continue for ten thousands upon ten thousands of generations, coeval with heaven and earth."[25]

Seeds of dissent from Sekigahara[edit]

While most clans were content with their new status, there were many clans, especially those on the Western side, who became bitter about their displacement or what they saw as a dishonorable defeat or punishment. Three clans in particular did not take the aftermath of Sekigahara lightly:

  • The Mōri clan, headed by Mōri Terumoto, remained angry toward the Tokugawa shogunate for being displaced from their fief, Aki, and being relocated to the Chōshū Domain, even though the clan did not take part in the battle at all.[19]
  • The Shimazu clan, headed by Shimazu Yoshihiro, blamed the defeat on its poor intelligence-gathering, and while they were not displaced from their home province of Satsuma, they did not become completely loyal to the Tokugawa shōgunate either. Taking advantage of its large distance between Edo and the island of Kyūshū as well as its improved espionage, the Shimazu clan demonstrated that it was virtually an autonomous kingdom independent from the Tokugawa shōgunate during its last days.
  • The Chōsokabe clan, headed by Chōsokabe Morichika, was stripped of its title and domain of Tosa and sent into exile. Former Chōsokabe retainers never quite came to terms with the new ruling family, the Yamauchi clan, which made a distinction between its own retainers and former Chōsokabe retainers, giving them lesser status as well as discriminatory treatment. This class distinction continued even generations after the fall of the Chōsokabe clan.

The descendants of these three clans would in two centuries collaborate to bring down the Tokugawa shogunate, leading to the Meiji Restoration.

Kokudaka of daimyō[edit]

○ = Main daimyōs who participated in Battle of Sekigahara

● = Daimyōs who defected

Daimyō Kokudaka (ten thousands) Daimyō Kokudaka (ten thousands)
Western Army Alex K Hiroshima Mori kamon.svg Mōri Terumoto 120.5 Eastern Army 三つ葉葵.png Tokugawa Ieyasu 256.0
Japanese Crest Uesugi Sasa.svg Uesugi Kagekatsu 120.0 Kaga Umebachi (No background and Black color drawing).svg Maeda Toshinaga 84.0
Satake.jpg Satake Yoshinobu 54.0 Take ni Suzume.svg Date Masamune 58.0
Maru juji.svg Shimazu Yoshihiro 73.0 Jyanome (No background and Black color drawing).svg Katō Kiyomasa 20.0
Jimonji.svg Ukita Hideie 57.0 Alex K Hiroshima Fukushima kamon.svg Fukushima Masanori 24.0
大一大万大吉.svg Ishida Mitsunari 19.4 Kuyo.svg Hosokawa Tadaoki 18.0
Hanakurusu.gif Konishi Yukinaga 20.0 Alex K Hiroshima Asano kamon.svg Asano Yoshinaga 16.0
Mazekiku.gif Mashita Nagamori 20.0 Bizenn Chou (No background and black color drawing).svg Ikeda Terumasa 15.2
Tachi omodaka.svg Ogawa Suketada 7.0 Kuroda Fuji(No background and Black color drawing).svg Kuroda Nagamasa 18.0
Mukaichou.jpg Ōtani Yoshitsugu 5.0 Sagari Fuji of Katou Yosiaki (No background and Black color drawing).svg Katō Yoshiaki 10.0
Wachigai.svg Wakisaka Yasuharu 3.3 Hidari mitsudomoe.svg Tanaka Yoshimasa 10.0
Takeda mon.svg Ankokuji Ekei 6.0 Tuta (No background and Black color drawing).svg Tōdō Takatora 11.0
Hidari mitsudomoe.svg Kobayakawa Hideaki 37.0 Futatsuhikiryo.svg Mogami Yoshiaki 24.0
Oda ka (No background and Black color drawing).svg Oda Hidenobu 13.5 Tosa Kasiwa (No background and Black color drawing).svg Yamauchi Kazutoyo 5.9
Chosokabe mon.svg Chōsokabe Morichika 22.0 Daki Kasiwa (No background and Black color drawing).svg Hachisuka Yoshishige 17.7
So clan mon2.svg Kutsuki Mototsuna 1.0 Maru ni Hon moji (No background and Black color drawing).svg Honda Tadakatsu (10.0)
Marunimitsume.gif Akaza Naoyasu 2.0 Kanimon.jpg Terazawa Hirotaka 8.0
Marunouchinimitsuhikiryo.svg Kikkawa Hiroie (14.2) Ikoma kuruma (No background and Black color drawing).svg Ikoma Kazumasa 15.0
Japanese Crest Hana Hisi.svg Natsuka Masaie 5.0 Hikone Tahibana (No background and black color drawing).svg Ii Naomasa (12.0)
Alex K Hiroshima Mori kamon.svg Mōri Hidemoto (20.0) Tokugawa Aoi (No background and Black color drawing).svg Matsudaira Tadayoshi (10.0)
Kuyo (inverted).svg Toda Katsushige 1.0 Umebachi (No background and Black color drawing).svg Tsutsui Sadatsugu 20.0
Japanese Crest rokumonsen.svg Sanada Masayuki 3.8 Japanese crest Yotumeyui.svg Kyōgoku Takatomo 10.0

Notable figures[edit]

Before the fateful confrontation in Sekigahara, Ishida Mitsunari claimed Osaka Castle and planned to take hostages from relatives loyal to Toyotomi. He hoped to use them to force his rival generals to join his cause. He sought to make noble women as political hostages, Hosokawa Gracia, Yamauchi Chiyo, Kushihashi Teru, and other women were targets of Mitsunari's plan.

When Mitsunari's soldiers threatened to take Hosokawa's home, Hosokawa Gracia was killed to protect her honor by a family soldier named Ogasawara Shōsai. He and the rest of the residents committed seppuku to avoid capture. As the last notable survivor of the Akechi clan, the clan that planned and killed Oda Nobunaga, Gracia's death impacted both armies. The incident did much damage to Ishida's reputation, which greatly reduced his chances of recruiting more allies, some of whom were also secretly Christians.

After Hideyoshi's death, Kodain-in (Hideyoshi's chief consort) left Osaka Castle and lived as a castellan in Kyoto. Hideyoshi's second wife, Yodo-dono, inherited the political power of both figures, as Hideyori was too young to lead the Toyotomi clan. Yodo-dono was present in the maintenance of the Western army, although she did not play a very notable role during the campaign. Subsequently, Ieyasu began to receive hostages, nobles who were involved with the Mitsunari army, such as Maeda Matsu, whose son, Maeda Toshimasa, was involved in the Western army, while her other son, Maeda Toshinaga, was an ally of the Eastern army. After Ieyasu defeated Mitsunari in Sekigahara, Kodain-in received several women from the Western army at her home.

Legend has it that the rōnin Miyamoto Musashi was present at the battle among Ukita Hideie's army and escaped the defeat of Hideie's forces unharmed. Musashi would have been around 16 years of age at the time. There is no hard evidence to prove whether Musashi was present or not for the battle. According to one account, the Musashi yuko gamei, "Musashi's achievements stood out from the crowd, and were known by the soldiers in all camps."[26] Musashi is reticent on the matter, writing only that he had "participated in over six battles since my youth".[27]

The cannons from the Liefde, the trading ship that English sailor William Adams came to Japan on, were used by Tokugawa's forces at Sekigahara.[28] It is unlikely Adams himself was at the battle, although some fictional accounts have entertained the possibility.

Sekigahara Battlefield[edit]

Present day Sekigahara battlefield memorials

The site of the Battle of Sekigahara was designated a National Historic Site of Japan in 1931. The site encompasses the sites of the initial position of Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康最初陣地), the final position of Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康最後陣地), the position of Ishida Mitsunari (石田三成陣地), the Okayama beacon (岡山烽火場), the grave of Ōtani Yoshitsugu (大谷吉隆墓), the east kubizuka (東首塚), and the west kubizuka (西首塚)[29]

Cultural depictions[edit]

The Battle of Sekigahara has been depicted in a number of works of literature. Ryōtarō Shiba wrote a three volume historical novel called Sekigahara on it in the 1960s. James Clavell's 1975 novel, Shōgun, includes a fictionalized version of both the political struggle and the battle.[30] Tokyo Broadcasting System aired a television miniseries about the subject in January 1981, also entitled Sekigahara [ja], loosely based on Shiba's novel series. It featured actors Hisaya Morishige, Gō Katō, and Rentarō Mikuni.

The battle did not get a full movie featuring it until 2017, with previous inclusions generally only including a brief snippet in passing, such as the beginning of the 1954 movie Samurai I or the 1991 film Journey of Honor. This changed with the 2017 film Sekigahara, which covers the rivalry between Ishida Mitsunari and Tokugawa Ieyasu before leading to the battle itself in the final third of the film. The film is somewhat notable in being a revisionist reassessment, showing Tokugawa more as an antagonist while Mitsunari is a man of honor and the main protagonist.[31] The 2008 BBC Docudrama television series Heroes and Villains included an episode which featured the battle.[32] The anime Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings depicts the different alliances and armies from a more fantastic (and less realistic) viewpoint, with a conclusion that wasn't as bloody as in history.

In games, GMT Games produced the 2011 block wargame Sekigahara: Unification of Japan, which attempts to reflect the patchy loyalties of the armies involved by having randomized cards represent the loyalty of specific armies; players know which of their units are "reliable" but their opponents are not necessarily sure.[33] The 2017 video game Nioh includes a mission related to the battle and features heavily fictionalized versions of the events leading up to it.[34]


  1. ^ A theory exists that Mori Terumoto betrayed the Western Alliance and made a secret agreement with Tokugawa, rather than simply being misplaced or cowardly. Professor Yoshiji Yamasaki of Toho University is one advocate of the theory. If such a neutrality-for-territorial-preservation agreement existed, then it badly backfired on Mōri, as Mōri lands were reduced afterward, and some Mōri faction troops did indeed fight for the Alliance's side at Sekigahara rather than stay neutral.


  1. ^ a b c Davis 1999, p. 204.
  2. ^ a b Bryant 1995.
  3. ^ 『関原軍記大成』
  4. ^ 『関原合戦記』
  5. ^ Yoshikawa, Eiji. Taiko. Kodansha International.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Davis 1999, p. 205.
  7. ^ Bryant 1995, p. 8.
  8. ^ a b Bryant 1995, p. 10.
  9. ^ Bryant 1995, pp. 12, 89.
  10. ^ Bryant 1995, pp. 12, 90.
  11. ^ Davis 1999, pp. 205–206.
  12. ^ a b Bryant 1995, pp. 89–90.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Davis 1999, p. 206.
  14. ^ a b c d Davis 1999, p. 207.
  15. ^ Bryant 1995, p. 73.
  16. ^ Bryant 1995, pp. 66, 68.
  17. ^ a b c d Bryant 1995, p. 80.
  18. ^ Bryant 1995, p. 51.
  19. ^ a b Bryant 1995, p. 79.
  20. ^ "Tanabe Castle Profile". Archived from the original on 2013-09-14. Retrieved 2013-08-20.
  21. ^ Bryant 1995, p. 91.
  22. ^ Bryant 1995, p. 84.
  23. ^ Bryant 1995, p. 82.
  24. ^ Davis 1999, p. 208.
  25. ^ Hoffman, Michael. "A man in the soul of Japan", Japan Times (Tokyo). September 10, 2006.
  26. ^ Wilson 2004, p. 33.
  27. ^ Wilson 2004, p. 34.
  28. ^ Cannon use during the winter siege of Osaka.
  29. ^ "関ヶ原古戦場" [Sekigahara ko-senjō] (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs.
  30. ^ Shogun: The facts behind the fiction
  31. ^ 'Sekigahara': A bold attempt to portray one of Japan's most decisive battles
  32. ^ The Shogun
  33. ^ Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan (2011)
  34. ^ A Guide To The Real-Life Figures In Nioh


  • Bryant, Anthony (1995). Sekigahara 1600: The Final Struggle For Power. Osprey Campaign Series. 40. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85532-395-7.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Davis, Paul (1999). "Sekigahara, 21 October 1600". 100 Decisive Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-514366-9.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Wilson, William Scott (2004). The Lone Samurai: The Life of Miyamoto Musashi. Tokyo: Kodansha International.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

Further reading[edit]

Paul Davis used the following sources to compile the chapter "Sekigahara, 21 October 1600" in 100 Decisive Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present "Sekigahara, 21 October 1600."

  • De Lange, William. Samurai Battles: The Long Road to Unification Groningen: Toyo Press, 2020
  • Sadler, A.L. The Maker of Modern Japan: The Life of Tokugawa Ieyasu London: George Allen & Unwin, 1937
  • Sansom, George. A History of Japan from 1334–1615 Stanford University Press, 1961
  • Turnbull, Stephen. The Samurai: A Military History New York: Macmillan, 1977

External links[edit]