Battle of Dōmyōji

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Battle of Dōmyōji
Part of the Siege of Osaka
Osakagunki.jpg
Gotō Mototsugu and Sanada Yukimura during the battle, by Utagawa Toyonobu
DateJune 3, 1615
Location
Result Major Tokugawa shogunate victory
Belligerents
Tokugawa shogunate Toyotomi clan
Commanders and leaders
Mizuno Katsushige
Honda Tadamasa
Matsudaira Tadaaki
Date Masamune
Murakami Yoshiaki
Tokugawa Tadateru
Mizoguchi Nobukatsu
Gotō Mototsugu
Susukida Kanesuke
Yamamoto Kimio
Inoue Tokotoshi
Makishima Shigetoshi
Sanada Yukimura
Kitagawai Nobukatsu
Yamagawa Katanobu
Akashi Morishige
Fukushima Masamori
Watanabe Tadasu
Ogura Yukiharu
Otani Yoshihisa
Nagaoka Masachika
Igi Tokatsu
Miyata Tokisada
Mori Katsunaga
Strength
34,300 18,400

On June 3, 1615 the Eastern Army of Tokugawa Ieyasu and the Osaka Army of Toyotomi Hideyori clashed in battle at Dōmyōji (道明寺の戦い; Dōmyōji no tatakai), Osaka. This battle was one of Japan's major historical battles between samurai forces. This battle was one of a number of battles that took place during the Summer Campaign of the Siege of Osaka that led up to the fall of Osaka to the forces of Tokugawa and the death of Toyotomi Hideyori.

A vanguard force ahead of the Osaka Army was commanded by Gotō Mototsugu. He had with him a force of 2,800 samurai and his mission was to guard against the arrival of elements of The Eastern Army. The eastern border of Osaka is protected by a natural border known as the Ikoma Mountain Range. Gotō was given the task of guarding the area near Komatsu-yama, a hilly area located near one of very few mountain passes. This pass in the range is created by the Yamato River which runs just north of Komatsu-yama. He had planned to occupy the high ground provided by the slopes of Komatsuyama and prevent the enemy from freely entering the flat plains of Osaka that exist once past Komatsu-yama.

The battle[edit]

On 3 June Gotō Mototsugu and his forces were at Dōmyōji, a low-lying section of land north of Komatsu-yama on the opposite side of the Ishikawa river which is a tributary of the Yamato-gawa river. In order to take their positions on Komatsu-yama they would have to ford the Ishikawa river, as they were doing so scouts reported that the Eastern Army had exited the pass through the range and were moving up the southern slopes of Komatsu-yama.

At 4:00 AM Gotō Mototsugu and his samurai made a dash to Komatsu-yama in order to push the Tokugawa forces back.

By 5:00 AM Gotō Mototsugu was forced back to the summit of Komatsu-yama by a strong attack by the enemy. All this time Gotō Mototsugu was awaiting the planned arrival of reinforcements which had been delayed by thick fog.

Then at 10:00 AM Gotō Mototsugu was shot and committed ritual suicide. With his death his remaining samurai forces lost control of Komatsuyama and were forced to fight as they were pushed down the southern slope of Komatsu-yama and across the Ishikawa river. As the fog had cleared the Osaka Army forces on the southern side of the Ishikawa river had been revealed. Susukida Kanesuke led the left flank of the Osaka Army. After advance Eastern Army sections cleared the Ishikawa and made their way up the gentle slope of Dōmyōji. Susukida Kanesuke and his samurai fought them fiercely in an area next to Emperor Ingyo's massive tomb. Susukida Kanesuke who was in disgrace at the time, fought valiantly although dying in battle and in doing so, he redeemed his honor.

Sanada Yukimura in command of the Osaka Army on the right of Susukida Kanesuke was taken on by Date Masamune in the area of Emperor Ōjin's Tomb and Konda Hachiman Shrine. This fight took place at around 12:00 and by 5:00 PM Sanada Yukimura made the decision to begin a retreat towards Osaka Castle having already lost two powerful commanders. Tokugawa Tadateru, the sixth son of Tokugawa Ieyasu was given the order to pursue Sanada's force, but he refused. His refusal later led to his exile at Kōya-san.

Sanada Yukimura and his army successfully disengaged in retreat from the Eastern Army.

Geographical notes[edit]

Whilst the geographic features of this battle remain the area referred to as Komatsu-yama has been renamed in later history to Tamate-yama. The pass through the range, the rivers and tombs of course remain giving any interested party the chance to visit and visualize this battle.