Battle of Sekigahara
The Battle of Sekigahara is one of the most famous battles throughout all of history.
A decisive battle that Tokugawa Ieyasu won and eventually led the way to him being the Shogunate.
On October 21, 1600 the combined armies of Tokugawa Ieyasu fought with Toyotomi Hideyori and his combined forces at the battle of Sekigahara.
The battle was fought around a small village called Sekigahara that sat astride a crossroads under the heights of Mt.'s Sasao, Matsuo, and Nangu. In retrospect a strategically important point, the choice of the field of battle had been inadvertant. Ishida Mitsunari had hoped to meet Ieyasu somewhere further east; Ieyasu's primary objective had been Sawayama castle. Although Ieyasu's march was done quite hastily Ishida Mitsunari more than welcomed the fight, since he had the slight terrain advantage.
Map of army positions
Western army troops occupied the heights around Mt. Nangu and Matsuo, with Ishida himself positioned somewhat northwest of Sekigahara and flanked by Mt. Sasao. Ieyasu's men were deployed along the Nakasendo, with the vanguard facing Mitsunari, and were exposed to an attack in the flanks, especially by the western troops on Mt. Matsuo. Luckily for Ieyasu, those men were under the command of Kobayakawa Hideaki, who had already decided to betray his western compatriots.
The fighting began in a rainy dawn. The forward Tokugawa units attacked and became heavily engaged with contingents under Ukita Hideie, Otani Yoshitsugu, and Konishi Yukinaga. No real advantage was being gained until the defection of Kobayakawa Hideaki happened around noon. Hideaki, who commanded one of the strongest Western contingents present, turned the tide in Ieyasu’s favor. Meanwhile, the 25,000 or so western troops arrayed on the slopes of Mt. Nangu under the Mori and Chosokabe were largely idle. Kikkawa Tsunie, commanding the vanguard, had himself decided not to fight Ieyasu, and his immobility forced those to his rear to do the same. Finally, the western forces began to break and a general rout ensued.
By the end of the day's killing, Ishida Mistunari’s forces had scattered and as many as 60,000 heads would be taken. Tokugawa’s victory was owed in large part to Kobayakawa’s defection and the inactivity of the Mori contingents present. Ishida and Konishi Yukinaga were later captured and executed.
So victory went to the eastern coalition. Ieyasu used the victory at Sekigahara to assert his national authority over the military estate and to make drastic changes in the composition and placement of the daimyo and their holdings throughout Japan. In the immediate aftermath of the battle, eighty-seven daimyo who had opposed Ieyasu were defeated and their lands confiscated. The lands of three others were drastically reduced in size. All together, a total of 6,221,690 koku were taken from Ieyasu's daimyo opponents. Another 1.35 million koku were taken from the Toyotomi house and made available for reallocation to other daimyo or for inclusion in Ieyasu's personal holdings. Even greater changes were brought about by the transfer of forty-three daimyo from one location to another and the creation of new daimyo. The authority to invest new daimyo rested on Ieyasu's claim to hegemony over the warrior estate. Prior to the battle Ieyasu counted among his cadet branch heads and hereditary housemen forty whose holdings were of 10,000 koku or more. He was now able to set these men out as full-fledged daimyo under his own patent. All were given domain increases. Another twenty members of his houseband who, as of 1600, held fiefs of less than 10,000 koku were raised to daimyo status. Finally, he granted daimyo status to eight rear vassals who had distinguished themselves in Ieyasu's eyes.
Table showing army sizes
Table is sortable
|Eastern Army||Size||Western Army||Size|
|Tokugawa Ieyasu||30000||Mori Terumoto||Not present|
|Honda Tadakatsu||500||Ishida Mitsunari||4000|
|Hosogawa Tadoaki||5000||Shima Sakon||1000|
|Ii Naomasa||3600||Gamon Bitchu||1000|
|Matsudaira Tadayoshi||3000||Akaza Naoyasu||600|
|Tsutsui Sadatsugu||2850||Chosokabe Morichika||6600|
|Arima Toyouji||900||Kikkawa Hiroie||3000|
|Asano Yokunaga||6510||Mori Hidemoto||15000|
|Fukushima Masanori||6000||Ankokuji Ekei||1800|
|Ikeda Terumasa||4560||Kobayakawa Hideaki||15600|
|Ikoma Kazumasa||1830||Konishi Yukinaga||4000|
|Kanamori Nagachika||1140||Kuchiki Motosuna||600|
|Kato Yoshiaki||3000||Natsuka Masaie||1500|
|Kuroda Nagamasa||5400||Ogawa Tsuketada||2100|
|Kyogoku Takatomo||3000||Otani Yoshitsugu||600|
|Oda Yuraku||450||Otani & Kinoshita||3500|
|Tanaka Yoshimasa||3000||Shimazu Yoshihiro||1500|
|Terazawa Hirotaka||2400||Toda & Hiratsuka||1500|
|Todo Takatora||2490||Toyotomi Retainers||2000|
|Yoshida Shigekatsu||1200||Ukita Hideie||17000|
Source: Bryant, 1995:25.
Here is a documentary made by the BBC on Tokugawa Ieyasu at the Battle of Sekigahara.
Sekigahara today (Japanese website)
The Battle of Sekigahara Wikipedia
Sekigahara Board Game