Battle of Ichi-no-Tani
|Battle of Ichi-no-Tani|
|Part of the Genpei War|
|Minamoto clan||Taira clan|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Minamoto no Yoshitsune, Minamoto no Noriyori||Taira no Tadanori, Taira no Shigehira|
Ichi-no-Tani (一の谷) was a Taira fortress at Suma, to the west of present-day Kobe, Japan. It sat on a very narrow strip of shore, between mountains on the north, and the sea to the south. This made it quite defensible, but also made it difficult to maneuver troops inside the fortress. Minamoto no Yoshitsune split his force in three. Noriyori's force attacked the Taira at Ikuta Shrine, in the woods a short distance to the east. A second detachment, no more than a hundred horsemen, rode up the mountains, looking down on the Taira fortress from the north, while the remainder attacked alongside Yoshitsune, from the west, along the coast. At the chosen hour, all three groups moved in, encircling the fortress, and setting it aflame. Many of the Taira warriors fled to their ships, and set out for Yashima, but Taira no Tadanori was killed, and Shigehira captured.
Ichi-no-Tani is one of the most famous battles of the Genpei War, in large part due to the individual combats that occurred here. Benkei, probably the most famous of all warrior monks, fought alongside the Minamoto Yoshitsune here, and many of the Taira's most important and powerful warriors were present as well. The death of sixteen-year-old Taira no Atsumori at the hand of Kumagai no Naozane is a particularly famous passage in Heike Monogatari. It has been dramatized in noh and kabuki, and in popular fiction, Oda Nobunaga is often portrayed as performing the noh at his own death (ningen goju nen geten no uchi wo kurabureba, yumemaboroshi no gotoku nari). The death of Atsumori is arguably among the most celebrated acts of single combat in all of Japanese history.
Ichi-no-Tani is also the last recorded instance in which crossbows were used in a Japanese siege.
- Sansom, George (1958). 'A History of Japan to 1334'. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.
- Turnbull, Stephen (1998). 'The Samurai Sourcebook'. London: Cassell & Co.