Siege of Nara
|Siege of Nara|
|Part of the Genpei War|
Miniature model of the Tōdai-ji before its destruction in 1180
|Taira clan||warrior monks of various Nara temples|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Taira no Shigehira
Taira no Tomomori
|500 samurai||7,000 monks|
|Casualties and losses|
Following the 1180 Battle of Uji, in which Minamoto no Yorimasa fought a small Taira army with the help of monks from the Mii-dera and other temples, the victorious Taira sought revenge. They burned the Miidera temple, before moving on to Nara, where they "set fire to the monastic complexes of Kōfuku-ji and Tōdai-ji."
The monks dug ditches in the roads, and build many forms of improvised defenses. They fought primarily with bow & arrow, and naginata, while the Taira were on horseback, giving them a great advantage. Despite the monks' superior numbers, and their strategic defenses, their enemy succeeded in destroying nearly every temple in the city, including the Kōfuku-ji and Tōdai-ji. Only the Shōsōin survived.
|“||The colossal statue of Vairocana Buddha of copper and gold, whose domed head towered up into the clouds, from which gleamed the sacred jewel of his lofty forehead, fused with the heat, so that its fullmoon features fell to the pavement below, while its body melted into a shapeless mass...||”|
In all, 3,500 people died in the burning of Nara.
- Turnbull, Stephen (1977). The Samurai, A Military History. MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. pp. 47–50. ISBN 0026205408.
- Turnbull, Stephen (1998). The Samurai Sourcebook. Cassell & Co. p. 200. ISBN 1854095234.
- Sansom, George (1958). A History of Japan to 1334. Stanford University Press. p. 315. ISBN 0804705232.
- Turnbull, Stephen (2003). 'Japanese Warrior Monks AD 949-1603'. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.