Battle of Anegawa

Battle of Anegawa

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Anegawa
partof=Sengoku period

place=Ane River, near Lake Biwa in Ōmi Province
result=Oda/Tokugawa victory.
combatant1=forces of Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga
combatant2=Azai and Asakura forces
commander1=Tokugawa Ieyasu, Oda Nobunaga, Inaba Ittetsu
commander2=Azai Nagamasa, Asakura Yoshikage

The 1570 nihongo|Battle of Anegawa|姉川の戦い|Anegawa no Tatakai came as a reaction to Oda Nobunaga's sieges of the castles of Odani and Yokoyama, which belonged to the Azai and Asakura clans. It was also referred to as the Battle of Nomura (野村合戦 "Nomura Kassen") by the Oda and Azai clans and the Battle of Mitamura (三田村合戦 "Mitamura Kassen") by the Asakura clan.

As warriors sallied forth from the castles, the battle turned into a melee fought in the middle of the shallow river. For a time, Nobunaga's forces fought the Azai, while the Tokugawa warriors fought the Asakura a short distance upstream.

After the Tokugawa forces finished off the Asakura, they then turned and hit the Azai right flank. Inaba Ittetsu, who had been held in reserve, then came forward and hit the Azai left flank. Many of the besiegers of Yokoyama even left their task to aid in the battle. The Azai and Asakura forces were soon defeated.

It is perhaps interesting to note that Nobunaga made use of 500 arquebusiers in this battle. He was famous for his strategic use of firearms, but would find himself on the opposite end of skilled arquebus tactics in his siege of Ishiyama Honganji that year.

Meanwhile, no reliable source exists to reconstruct the battle. The battle of Anegawa is vividly presented in the books compiled in the middle or the end of the Edo period. Much of them are pure fiction. The only valuable source that is "Shinchokoki" describes it very briefly without any notes concerning tactics or details of the battle.

The exact number of the casualties in this battle are unknown. However, Shinchokoki mentions 1100 Samurais of Asakura clan being killed in battle. An army of this period had at least several times more non-Samurai Ashigarus than the Samurais, so it would be reasonable to assume at least several thousand men were killed.

In popular culture

The battle has been featured in both games of the Samurai Warriors series. However, because Azai Nagamasa was made playable in Samurai Warriors 2, as opposed to the first game where he was a unique non-playable character, the battle had a larger significance.

The story of the build-up to the battle and the brilliant tactics used by Tokugawa Ieyasu is retold in Volume 12 of The Dark Horse Comic's series "Path of the Assassin" entitled "The Three Foot Battle". In this narrative, Hattori Hanzo consults with Takenaka Shigeharu und thus is provided with the superior tactics.


*Turnbull, Stephen (1998). 'The Samurai Sourcebook'. London: Cassell & Co.

External links

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