The Battle of Matsukawa (松川の戦い)

The Battle of Matsukawa is said to be the battle where Shigenaga HONJO and Nagayoshi SUDA under the command of Kagekatsu UESUGI fought against Masamune DATE in the central area of the present Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture on April 26, 1601, according to "Kaisei Mikawago Fudoki (Foundation of the Tokugawa clan)" (Vol. 42: The battle between Uesugi and Date), "Jozenkidan (a collection of anecdotes compiled in the Edo period)" (Vol. 16: The Battle of Matsukawa between Date and Uesugi in Mutsu Province with the episode of Zenzaemon NAGAI and Sanai OKA), "Togoku Taiheiki (the battle chronicle on the eastern Japan)" (Vol. 15: Attack to the Fukushima-jo Castle by Masamune in the Battle of Matsukawa), "Aizujin Monogatari (stories on the Battle in Aizu)" (Vol. 4: Attack to the Fukushima-jo Castle by Masamune in the Battle of Matsukawa and the episode of Oiinosuke SUDA cutting off the camp enclosure during the Battle of Abukuma-gawa River against Masamune).

The "Jozenkidan" tells that the Battle of Matsukawa broke out in April, 1601, whereas the "Kaisei Mikawago Fudoki", the "Togoku Taiheiki," and the "Aizujin Monogatari" clearly tell that it occurred on April 26, 1601. However, the Date family has kept Masamune DATE's letter to Saemon NAKAJIMA (中嶋左衛門) dated October 6, 1600, Masamune's letters to Sokun IMAI dated October 14 and 19, and Ieyasu TOKUGAWA's letter to Masamune DATE dated October 24 to praise him for his distinguished military act and therefore, there is no doubt that any battle took place on October 6, 1600.

Both the Date family and the Uesugi family emphasize their accomplishments in the battle ('the Battle of Matsukawa' 'the Battle of Miyashiro Omote'), and there are various theories on the date of the battle such as October, 1600 and April, 1601, or a combined theory. For that reason, this article includes both: the outline and details of "the Battle of Matsukawa" on April 26, 1601 which was mentioned in "Nihon Gaishi (history book on Japan)" written by Sanyo RAI and circulated up to the end of the Edo period, and the outline of "the Battle of Miyashiro Omote" on 6th in 1605 which was recorded in "Date chika kiroku (historical record of the Sendai clan)" and in the documents on the Date family.

The outline and details of "the Battle of Matsukawa" recorded in "Kaisei Mikawago Fudoki" and etc.

The detailed outline of "the Battle of Matsukawa" is described as "the battle between Uesugi and Date" in the volume 42 of the "Kaisei Mikawago Fudoki," the revision of "Mikawago Fudoki (The Topographical Records of Mikawa Province)" by Motonao NARUSHIMA, an inner Confucian (teacher to a shogun) of the Tokugawa shogunate in 1833 of the late Edo period.
(Source: Natsumeki (夏目記), Anminki (安民記), Buinsowa (武隠叢話) [a collection of unknown stories on warriors], and Hanpu [Genealogy of the Protectors of the Shogunate])
Mistakes about the date of the battle are often seen.
The "Kaisei Mikawago Fudoki" describes that 'both July 27 and 28 in 1600 (in the original edition) and July 21 (in Ietada Nikki [Diary of Ietada MATSUDAIRA]) are wrong, and therefore the date is corrected to 1601 in accordance with the Natsumeki and the Anminki. The note of Jirobe KITAGAWA, a vassal of the Uesugi family recorded in the Buinsowa is consistent with the Natsumeki. In the note of the Hanpu, Kitagawa explains it in detail and has the source.'

Although Masamune DATE invaded the Uesugi's territory on April 26, 1601, he was routed by the desperate resistance from the Uesugi forces.

Night before "the Battle of Matsukawa"
Ieyasu TOKUGAWA gained more power after the death of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI in 1598, the death of Toshiie MAEDA in March of the following year, and the downfall of Mitsunari ISHIDA. In August, 1599, Kagekatsu UESUGI returned to the Aizu Wakamatsu-jo Castle in his territory. Kagekatsu had hardly governed the territory because he had been just transferred to the Aizu domain yielding 1,200,000-koku (a unit of volume of rice) from the Kasugayama-jo Castle in Echigo Province, early in the previous year under the order from Hideyoshi. Kagekatsu built infrastructure in the domain such as clearing and maintaining roads and constructing subsidiary castles straightaway.

Furthermore, he thought of building a new residential castle to move from the Wakamatsu-jo Castle and then started the construction of the new castle (Kozashi-jo Castle), 3 km northwest from the Wakamatsu-jo Castle. Hideharu HORI in the neighboring Echigo Province, however, kept informing Ieyasu TOKUGAWA of what happened in the Uesugi's territory. He informed Ieyasu that the Uesugi clan was building roads and subsidiary castles and constructing a residential castle to invade the territories of Hideharu HORI and Yoshiaki MOGAMI in the neighboring domains. Furthermore, Nobuyoshi FUJITA, a vassal of Kagekatsu ran off to the Edo-jo Castle and gave Hidetada TOKUGAWA inside information on Uesugi. Ieyasu requested Kagekatsu to come up to Edo to explain himself. However, Kagekatsu refused to do so, and therefore Ieyasu saw Kagekatsu as a rebel and ordered territorial lords to subjugate the Uesugi clan.

On June 6, 1600, a war council was convened in the Nishi-demaru (defense strongpoint) of the Osaka-jo Castle and it was determined that Ieyasu and Ietada would take up their position at Shirakawa-guchi Gate, Yoshinobu SATAKE (Ukyo no daibu [Master of the Western Capital Offices]) at Sendo-guchi Gate, Masamune DATE at Shiraishi-guchi Gate, and Toshinaga MAEDA and Hideharu HORI at Echigo-guchi Gate. Ieyasu left the Fushimi-jo Castle on June 18 and arrived in Oyama, Shimotsuke Province in the late July by way of the Edo-jo Castle. On the other hand, Masamune DATE in charge of Shiraishi-guchi quickly left Kyoto to return to his domain by way of the Soma territory and entered the Kitame-jo Castle in Natori District to establish his base for attacking Uesugi. However, Ieyasu, who knew that Mitsuhide AKECHI raised his army in Kamigata (Kyoto and Osaka area) to overthrow Ieyasu, left Shirakawa-guchi Gate to the second son Hideyasu YUKI and returned to the Edo-jo Castle. Getting to know that, Kagekatsu returned to the Aizu Wakamatsu-jo Castle without pursuing Ieyasu.

Then, he ordered his vassal Kanetsugu NAOE to invade the Yamagata-jo Castle owned by Yoshiaki MOGAMI who canceled the alliance with the Uesugi clan and made it clear that he would take side with Ieyasu. The Naoe army attacked the Yamagata-jo Castle fiercely, and finally besieged the Hasedo-jo Castle, the advance-guard station of the Yamagata-jo Castle (the Battle of Dewa in the Keicho Era or the Battle of Hasedo-jo). On the other hand, Masamune marched into Katta District and captured the Shiraishi-jo Castle. Under such circumstances, each camp received the news that the Tokugawa (Eastern army) won the Battle of Sekigahara on September 15. Kanetsugu NAOE lifted the siege of the Hasedo-jo Castle and returned to his domain.

Progress of "the Battle of Matsukawa"
Invasion of Masamune DATE after the Battle of Sekigahara
After the Battle of Sekigahara, Masamune DATE reluctantly returned to the Iwatesan-jo Castle because he was ordered by Ieyasu TOKUGAWA not to move his troops without permission, but he invaded the Fukushima-jo Castle held by Shigenaga HONJO on October 6, 1600 without waiting for command from Ieyasu because it was hard for him to give up the invasion to the Uesugi's territory. Masamune returned to Shiraishi because his ambushes were killed by Zenzaemon NAGAI, a member of the Fukushima-jo Castle garrison who sensed the invasion. Although Masamune tried to go to Yuhara (湯原), Nagai District on October 7 of the following day, Bingo no kami (Governor of Bingo Province) Kiyonaga AMAKASU (甘粕備後守清長) on the Uesugi side was there to patrol. He hurried away because he was surprised with the further news that Kagekatsu UESUGI traveled to the boarder with the massive army of 20,000 soldiers. Kagekatsu turned back to Aizu too.

Even in the following year, 1601, Masamune continued to invade. On February 7, 1601, Masamune invaded Date District but was driven back by the tough defense of Shigenaga and Mitsunaga (満長) HONJO, and Zusho YAUCHI (八内図書), a defense general of the Miyashiro-toride Fortress.

Departing for the battle again on March 24, 1601, he arrived at the Shiraishi-jo Castle on March 25 and invaded the Fukushima-jo Castle on March 28. At this time, Sanai OKA, a member of the Fukushima-jo Castle garrison went out of the castle and cut off the head of Shirozaemon KOWATA on the Date side by pinning him to the ground. Masamune, who judged that it was hard to capture the Fukushima-jo Castle, tried to turn his fire on the Yanagawa-jo Castle, but Oii SUDA in the Yanagawa-jo Castle launched a counter-attack with ambush on March 29. Surrounded on all four sides, the Masamune forces were severely defeated and routed.

Fierce battle in Matsukawa on April 26, 1601
Masamune DATE, who felt chagrined at the repeated loss of battles against Uesugi and failure in capturing the Yanagawa-jo Castle, made a sally from the Shiraishi-jo Castle again on April 16, 1601. The Date army moved its headquarters to Oyama on April 21 and arrived in Matsukawa on April 26 after passing through Senoue on April 25. Sugihara, Amakasu, Dewa no kami (the governor of Dewa Province) HONJO and Mino no kami (the governor of Mino Province) KURYU in the Fukushima-jo Castle launched a counter-attack in Matsukawa. The both armies were jumbled and the battle was so fierce that Masamune DATE and Sanai OKA fought face-to-face with each other in the river, but the Uesugi forces were destroyed and ran away to the Fukushima-jo Castle. At this time, Shingohei AOKI (青木新五兵衛) hit the maemono (helmet decoration) on Masamune DATE's armor helmet by thrusting the sword into his uchikabuto (the visor on an armor helmet).

Shigenaga HONJO moved his troops to try to attack the Date forces secretly from behind. Oii SUDA, a guard of the Yanagawa-jo Castle, who saw the Fukushima-jo Castle garrison in danger, crossed the Abukumagawa River and attacked the headquarters of the Masamune forces with his sword feverishly. The Masamune forces were severely slashed and then started to run away after the combat formation was broken. Masamune fled without looking back because Doji ITSUKI first attacked to slash Masamune and split up Masamune's jinbaori (sleeveless campaign jacket worn over armor) of yellowish crimson in the battle. At this time, Senemon NISHIMURA (西村仙右衛門) and Uheji SODA (曾田宇平次) on the Suda side took away Date family's treasures; the enclosure with the nine-planet crest and the enclosure on blue background with Chapter 28 of the Lotus Sutra embroidered in yellow.
(Note: The episode that the enclosure with the bamboo and sparrow crest was taken away refers to the above episode.)

Masamune could not stay in the battle field anymore and then ran way to Osaki because Shigenaga HONJO went out of the Nishi-mon (West gate) of the Fukushima-jo Castle and set fire to Masamune DATE's encampment to burn provisions.
(Source: "Kaisei Mikawago Fudoki")

Date and Anecdote of the Battle of Matsukawa
Kaisei Mikawago Fudoki'
- 'Feeling chagrined at the successive loss of the battles, Masamune couldn't help but attack both the Fukushima-jo Castle and the Yanagawa-jo Castle and sent the troops from Shiraishi again on April 16, 1601 although he was repeatedly ordered to stop the battle. At that time, Kozuke no suke (Assistant Governor of Kozuke Province) Shigesane DATE often went on patrol. On April 21, Masamune moved the headquarters to Oyama. Masamune gave local people a plenty of gold and silver and found out that Uesugi forces were off its guard before encamping in Oyama at midnight on April 25 and arriving in Matsukawa at dawn on April 26 by way of Senoue.

Togoku Taiheiki' and 'Aizujin Monogatari'
Masamune lost the series of battles and felt chagrined at it. In July of the previous year, Chikara NAKAZAWA (中澤主税) was sent as a messenger to order Masamune to refrain from a battle against Kagekatsu, but Masamune did not accept the order, wanting to explain to the Shogun after wining a battle at any cost to revenge. For that reason, he led the troop of 25,000 soldiers and arrived at the Shiraishi-jo Castle on April 17, 1601. Masamune left the Shiraishi-jo Castle on April 21 to set up the headquarters in Matsukawa.
Masamune left Oyama with about 20,000 soldiers at midnight on April 25 and marched into Matsukawa at dawn on April 26 by way of Senoue.'

In April, 1601, Masamune DATE made peasants spy on the Kagekatsu territory in Oshu (Mutsu Province) to capture the land. Masamune got over the Mt. Kunimi and crossed the river in Senoue from Shinobu District. He seized the Yanagawa-jo Castle with the troop of 5,000 soldiers and rushed toward Matsukawa. Okano (Sanai) wore a poppy red haori (Japanese half-coat) and rode a bay horse. Masamune ran up to Okano. Okano holding two swords turned and cut Masamune down from the front of his helmet to the saddlebow. Quickly turning the sword, Masamune chopped the center of shikoro (neck guard) on Okano's helmet. Masamune's sword broke and Okano quickly slashed his right knee. Since Masamune's armor looked shabby when Masamune's horse jumped and ran away, Okano never imagined that he was the general. He learned that the man was Masamune after he failed to hunt him down.
He greatly regretted not having killed him with one slash.'

(* The episode of the sword fighting between Sanai OKA and Masamune in the river of Matsukawa is written in the 'Kaiseigo Mikawa Fudoki,' the 'Togoku Taiheiki,' and the 'Aizujin Monogatari' [a note on 杉原彦左衛門 Hikozaemon SUGIHARA story], which share the view that the battle broke out on April 26, 1601.

The invasion of the Date family into Fukushima on October 6, 1600 (the Battle of Miyashiro Omote)

Regarding the date and details of dispatch of troops to the battle against the Uesugi family (which is not called 'the Battle of Matsukawa' in the Date family), the Date family keeps the record that it broke out on October 6, 1600, not April 26, 1601. According to the Ieyasu TOKUGAWA's letter, his reply to the Date family who invaded Fukushima Omote was dated October 24, 1600. The detailed outline of the invasion of the Date family into Fukushima is described below.

Receiving the news that the Eastern army won the battle, Masamune DATE, as if not to miss the opportunity, led the troop of about 20,000 soldiers to Date District and Shinobu District from the Kitame-jo Castle on October 5. In the morning of October 6, Masamune DATE set up the headquarters in Mt. Kunimi. On the other hand, the Uesugi army had only about 6,000 soldiers mainly led by Shigenaga HONJO in the Fukushima-jo Castle and Nagayoshi SUDA in the Yanagawa-jo Castle. The Date army invaded Shindachi Basin (Fukushima Basin) with massive soldiers and fought against the army of Shigenaga HONJO.

The Date army overwhelmed the Honjo army by numbers head-on and killed many enemies including Zusho KOORI (桑折図書), the military commander on the Uesugi side in Miyashiro (Miyashiro, Fukushima City) after pushing the Honjo army to Senoue-cho. Around Matsukawa (Fukushima Prefecture), the troops of Kageyori YASHIRO and Tsunamoto MONIWA clashed with Sanai OKA and Doji ITSUKI (*1), and every prominent commander on the Uesugi side such as Kansuke YASUDA and Denemon KITAGAWA (北川伝右衛門) died on the battlefield. Defeated Uesugi's soldiers scattered into Mt. Haguro and the Fukushima-jo Castle. The Date forces advanced into Niwasaka, Omori and its surroundings, and then completely sealed off from Yonezawa to Fukushima. In addition, the Date forces killed a messenger from Uesugi who brought a secret letter from Fukushima to Aizu, and another couple of people.

Masamune DATE Mogamijin Oboegaki (Masamune DATE memorandum on the Battle of Mogami)
The Battle of Miyashiro Omote on October 6, 1600

The first squad: Iwami (Tsunamoto) MONIWA
Mondo (良綱 Yoshitsuna) MONIWA
The second squad: Bicchu (Kagetsuna) KATAKURA
The third squad: Kageyu (Kageyori) YASHIRO
Although Bicchu led the second squad, he avoided exposure to the battle because he encamped on an off-street by order and stayed at the entrance of the Fukushima-jo Castle all the time. The gun fighters told that two military commanders died in the battle. They said that they killed 300 soldiers on the Kagekatsu side. Among the dead, well-known soldiers include Kansuke YASUDA, Zusho Koori, Jirouemon FUSE, Senuemon KITAGAWA, Binosuke TAKEDA (武田彌之介), who were the heads of the troops (who seemed to and were approved to be hereditary vassals of Ujisato GAMO)."

Today, I confirmed that you conquered villages and killed an Uesugi's messenger to Aizu and another couple of people, and I was satisfied with that. Today, we killed 300 soldiers including 100 horsemen and returned to the headquarters in Mt. Kunimi without any regret after pushing the enemy into the entrance of the Fukushima. Since we will send numbers of appropriate troops to Hobara tomorrow to conquer a Fukushima area, you need to arrange with your troops.
Very truly yours,
Again, do not take hasty action before sending my troops, and (尚一平可申遣候).
To Saemon NAKAJIMA from Masamune on October 6 (Signature).'
(Masamune's letter to Saemon Munekatsu NAKAJIMA dated October 6)

Note 1: 'Both Doji ITSUKI and Sanai OKA withdrew from Matsukawa. Nagai and Aoki put on a kurohoro (black protective guard on back) with a cross blade spear. Doji left the camp with a golden bamboo banner on his back. He withdrew after fighting face to face with Soshi Hayato, a retainer of Kangeyu Hyoe. At this time, Hayato wore a bear fur haori. Looking at the haori, Doji thought that he was Masamune because he had heard that Masamune wore a bear fur haori during the battle in Korea, and therefore he told the false story that he fought face to face with Masamune. It is said that Sanai Oka also fought face to face with Masamune.
It is not true.'
("Date chika kiroku")

Masamune DATE set up the headquarters in the Kuronuma-jinja Shrine at the foot of Mt. Haguro (Mr. Shinobu) a little way from the Fukushima-jo Castle and inspected severed heads (300 severed heads, 5 dead bodies of military commanders, and other 100 dead bodies of horsemen) (*2). Shigenaga HONJO, the lord of the Fukushima-jo Castle learned the disadvantage of the open battle and withdrew the troops defeated in Miyashiro to hold the castle, but they were driven into the situation for a while where the entire troops were determined to die by rushing into the Date army (decision made to die in the battle by rushing into the enemy's headquarters *3).

On the other hand, the Date army had dead and injured one after another because the Fukushima-jo Castle was heavily fortified. The troops of Kagetsuna KATAKURA advanced to the town wall of Fukushima and killed many Uesugi soldiers, but his warriors including Geki KOKUBUN (国分外記), a military commander and vassal of the Katakura family were killed by a fierce counter attack from the Uesugi. Sanetsune ISAGO led several horsemen, took the position at the southern foot of Mt. Haguro to shoot the Fukushima town and cornered the counter-attacking Uesugi army into the Fukushima-jo castle. When Sanetsune ISAGO relaxed shooting, the Uesugi forces went out of the West gate of the Fukushima-jo Castle to fire back, but were slashed by the Isago's troops and then ran way into the castle again.

At this time, Masamune DATE had set up the headquarters at the foot of Mt. Haguro and called Kagetsune KATAKURA to ask the situation in the Fukushima-jo Castle. Kagetsuna told that he had already advanced to the town wall and was about to seize the Fukushima-jo Castle but it was better to withdraw once because he had many casualties. Masamune accepted the Kagetsuna's suggestion and stopped the attack on the Fukushima-jo Castle. He returned to Mt. Kunimi after shooting successively at the Fukushima-jo Castle (*4).

While the Date army was moving to Mt. Kunimi, warriors including Tanba KURUMA serving Nagayoshi SUDA in the Yanagawa-jo Castle on the Uesugi side crossed the Osumigawa River from the Yanagawa-jo Castle with 100 ashigaru (common foot soldiers) as well as 100 horsemen and 63 horseman from Ote and suddenly attacked provision transporters bringing up the rear of the Date forces in the area between Fujita and Koori. They returned to the Yanagawa-jo Castle after they killed many soldiers including Kuranosuke MIYAZAKI (宮崎内蔵助), konida bugyo (the magistrate of transporting army provisions), foot soldiers and ninsoku (coolies) to rob them of foods. (At that time, it is said that the Suda troops took away the hanging curtain with the Date family crest of the 'bamboo and sparrow' and the Uesugi family took pride in it for a long time, but it was a fiction written in a war chronicle. In the first place, the 'bamboo and sparrow' is the Uesugi family crest [*5 and 6]).

When Masamune Date returned to the headquarters in Mt. Kunimi from Fukushima Omote, he called generals to the riverside of the Surikami River to praise Kageyori YASHIRO for his military service and give a Japanese sake cup. Masamune returned to the headquarters in Mt. Kunimi after taking a broad view of Yanagawa Omote at Koori Higashi Shimokago (桑折東下篭).

Note 2: 'After all the enemies ran away to the Fukushima-jo Castle, Masamune set up the headquarters in the Kuronuma-jinja Shrine at the foot of Mr. Haguro to inspect severed heads; Zensai HAMAO (濱尾漸齋) stood next to him to show the heads' ("Date chika kiroku").

Note 3: 'Today, Dewa no kami HONJO was determined to die in the battle by rushing into the Date army and scented uchi kabuto (visor on an armor helmet) with eaglewood. He also ordered his aides to attack together by choking up on a spear without thinking of a military exploit. The troops seemed to have retreated because they learned there was gun troops as the Date army was approaching while Honjo waited for attack from Date. Honjo might have employed a tactic of attacking from the inside to seize the castle. All the troops were not told to stay in the castle at any price.
("Date chika kiroku" Conquering of the enemy based on the story of Koheita Juetsu SAIKA (雑賀小平太壽悦))

Note 4: 'Masamune called Bicchu (Kagetsuna) KATAKURA to the headquarters at the foot of Mt. Haguro to ask him what was going on in the castle and whether or not the troops should be withdrawn. Katakura explained that the troops had advanced to the town wall and were about to seize the castle but there were many casualties. He said that the troops should be withdrawn.
Therefore, Masamune ordered the whole troops to withdraw after firing a volley.'
("Date chika kiroku")

Note 5: 'In 1600, when the Masamune forces went to Fukushima Omote, Nagayoshi attacked the Masamune's rear guard and robbed provisions, weapons and horse riding gears in addition to the enclosure with a sutra, the enclosure with the crest of bamboo and sparrow and the enclosure with Chapter 28 of the Lotus Sutra.
His prestige excelled the others.'
("Yanagawa jodai Suda keifu [Genealogy of Suda, a member of the Yanagawa-jo Castle garrison]")

Note 6: 'One theory has it that Masamune's camp enclosures were taken away. It is also said that the enclosure with the crest of bamboo and sparrow was taken out of the luggage of Ukon Sadamune WATARI (亘理右近殿定宗).
The both theories are uncertain.'
("Date chika kiroku")

On October 6 at night, Hyobe SAITO (斉藤兵部), a retainer of Noto FUJITA who was a vassal of Kagekatsu UESUGI visited the Date's headquarters in Mt. Kunimi with about 4,000 peasants and others from Date and Shinobu Districts to hold secret communication, and Takumi Gokurakuji (極楽寺内匠), the head of the artillery for Yamashiro no kami (governor of Yamashiro Province) NAOE offered Shigesane DATE his cooperation.

Reattack on the Fukushima-jo Castle was discussed, but Masamune gave it up because Akimitsu ISHIKAWA presented his concern that the Uesugi army would launch pincer drive between Sendo and Yanagawa areas and the plot to the Yanagawa-jo Castle ended up in failure. On the following day of October 7, leaving the troops of Kageyasu TSUDA in Mt. Kunimi, the Date army withdrew and returned to Kitame-jo Castle.

On October 9, Masamune wrote the following letters to his vassals including Munenaga KOORI and Munenao DAIJO (大条宗直):

I am satisfied with this battle. I still have some regrets about it, but it is OK if I consider the timing.
From Masamune on October 9.'
(Masamune's letter to Munenaga KOORI, Munenao SHIRAISHI and Munenao OJO dated October 9, 1600)

Masamune reported the result of the battle to Sokun IMAI on October 14 and also asked him to send eleven proposals to Ieyasu TOKUGAWA on October 19. In the proposals, Masamune suggested that the forces of the Tokugawa family should station in Aizu and reminded Ieyasu of permission to construct a new residential castle (Sendai-jo Castle) in Kokubun Sendai, Miyagi District which had been requested through Shima YAMAOKA.

On the last October 6, I attacked Fukushima and had great accomplishments in the battle. I would like to explain the details on the battle. I would appreciate it if you could make arrangements to report that I sent the troops to Mogami to take action and everyone got exhausted before Ieyasu moved from Kyoto.
To Sokun from Masamune on October 14.'
(Masamune's letter to Sokun IMAI dated October 14, 1600)

Memorandum sent to Sokun IMAI


One: Salary given to Torakikumaru (虎菊丸) (Tadamune)
One: Heigoro (兵五郎) (Hidemune)
One: Fushimi residence in Osaka, presented verbally.
One: Considerations (佐スチ以来共)
One: Iwaki, presented verbally. One: (八月廿八日相馬ヨリ手切可仕由必定ニ付而), preparation for troops by Naoe and arrival in Fukushima, presented verbally. One: Suggestion to mobilize your vassals in Aizu.
One: Nanbu
One: Application for 20,000 or 15000-koku of stipend to the bereaved families of dead vassals in Kamigata (Kyoto and Osaka area), presented verbally
One: The former residential castle
One: Request of the fief of 2,000-kan (a unit for the fields, which was determined on the basis of the yields and did not depend on the areas) in stead of proposal of 1,000-kan which was made to you, (右之儀共調候ハゝ), presented verbally. That's all.
To Sokun from Masamune on October 19.'
(Masamune's letter to Sokun IMAI dated October 19, 1600)

On October 24, 1600, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA praised Masamune for his distinguished service for the battle at Fukushima Omote. In addition, Ieyasu told a plan to conquer Kagekatsu UESUGI the next spring in the letters dated October 15 and 24.

I read your letter. I will give each domain instruction fief redistribution and therefore you do not need to worry about it. Regarding Aizu, I will send troops next spring for punishment. It is necessary for you to show your maturity without hasty action. Although you assisted Mogami, I have no objection to it and it was reasonable. Since Shima YAMAOKA will tell you one by one verbally for the details and therefore, I will omit instructions.
Very truly yours,
To Osaki Shosho (manor captain) from Ieyasu on October 15.
(Ieyasu's letter to Masamune dated October 15)

I read your letter arriving on 4th. You had great achievements in the battle in Mogami where the enemy was driven into a corner and beat them on 1st of the month. In addition, the letter arrived on 8th of the month. At the battle of Fukushima Omote, although enemy rushed out of the castle, you killed and captured many enemy soldiers. You pushed the enemy to the entrance of Fukushima and this is incomparable battle. I thank you for efforts you made while you had difficult times. I will conquer Kagekatsu next spring and therefore it is important to refrain from a hasty action. I assure to punish Kagekatsu, and therefore you do not need to worry about it. Sokun, please talk to Shigesuke MURAKOSHI (村越茂介).
Very truly yours,
To Osaki Shosho (minor captain) from Ieyasu on October 24.'
(Ieyasu TOKUGAWA's letter to Masamune dated October 24, 1600)

I am grateful to read your letter again. Both the letter dated 4th and the letter of proposals dated 8th were presented. He wrote to celebrate your incomparable accomplishments and efforts you made in the letter. When I humbly accompanied to make proposals politely, he said that he would conquer Kagekatsu early next spring and therefore it is necessary for you to make good sense without a hasty action. He said he would handle it with care. (今国分 と被申付候,) and Sokun explained the details. You will be informed of his thoughts.
Very truly yours,
A report to Osaki Shosho (minor captain) from Hyobushoyu (deputy minister of military arm) Naomasa II on October 24.'
(Naomasa II's letter to Masamune dated October 24)

Soon after the Battle of Sekigahara, Ieyasu had a plan to conquer the Uesugi family by force with Masamune DATE early in 1601. In response to the letter from Ieyasu which arrived in November, 1600, Masamune ordered 'a survey on a number of warriors including vassals in military service' on February 17, 1601 to secretly prepare for the battle, but the conquest of Uesugi was canceled as a result because the Uesugi family called for the surrender through Masanobu HONDA and Hideyasu YUKI. Between these times, any major military clash did not occurred between the Date family and the Uesugi family, but a skirmish and tension still continued around the border.

On March 20, 1601, Masamune who saw the situation of the Uesugi family informed in the letter to Masakage DATE that the Uesugi family leaning toward making peace with Ieyasu, was only prepared to hold the castle, but not in a situation to send the troops to Sendo-guchi Gate since he lost the will to fight. (会津ノ唱モ能々承候), he just prepared for holding the castle and did not seem to send the troops to Sendo-guchi.
If Kagekatsu sends the troops, there is no problem because we can prepare for it within the day.')
On May 8, Masamune informed Ieyasu in Fushimi that Yoshimune ISHIKAWA invaded Itaya, Nagai no sho (manor in Nagai District), Okitama District and set fire to everywhere.

After the battle
Kagekatsu and Kanetsugu went up to Fushimi in Kyoto in July 1601 and had an audience with Ieyasu in August. Kagekatsu was deprived of the Aizu domain and his territory was diminished to Okitama District (Nagai District), Date District and Shinobu District yielding 300,000-koku (a unit of volume of rice). On the other hand, Masamune was not granted his wish for regaining the ancestral estate due to his involvement in agitating Tadachika WAGA to launch Nanbu Riot, and ended up in increase of only 20,000-koku yielded in Katta District which he occupied by himself as rewards of the battle.

Matsukawa and the Fukushima-jo Castle

The Matsukawa River ran through the southern foot of Mt. Shinobu at the time of the battle and now runs through the northern foot. It is said that the Matsukawa River ran through around the location of the small river now called the Haraigawa River (Fukushima Prefecture) in those days. Around the Kuronuma-jinja Shrine in Mt.Shinobu where Masamune set up the headquarters, the Shinobu-yama Park was built and has become a cherry blossom viewing spot now. Its fierce battlefield was located in the present city center of Fukushima, which shows no sign of it. The Fukushima-jo Castle, the residential castle of Shigenaga HONJO, is now the Fukushima prefectural government office.

Yanagawa-jo Castle

The Yanagawa-jo Castle was abolished in the Edo period and was later used for jinya (regional government office) of the Yamagawa Domain. After the Meiji Restoration, it was used as a school property, and is now used for Yamagawa elementary school, Yamagawa kindergarten, Yamagawa junior high school and Yamagawa senior high school. There are structural remnants such as moat and mounds around there. The castle site was excavated for research several times. A medieval garden was restored in a corner of Yanagawa elementary school and the ruin of the Yanagawa-jo Castle was designated as a historic site by the prefecture. The castle was famous as the residential castle for the successive Date clan since the time from the Kamakura period to the Muromachi period, and the present structural remnants are what has been rebuilt to reinforce the defense against the Date clan in the era of Gamou clan or Uesugi clan after the Masamune DATE was transferred to other domain.

Across the Abukumagawa River 1.5 km north from the Yanagawa city center (Yanagawa-jo castle town) through National Route 349, Oyama, the Oeda-jo Castle where the Date army lined up to face Abukuma-jo Castle can been seen on the left. The Yanagawa-jo Castle was a hirayamajiro (castle built on a hill or low mountain surrounded by a plain), and therefore the Yanagawa-jo Castle and the Oeda-jo Castle can see each other across the Abukumagawa River.


The base of Mt. Atsukashi in Kunimi was designated as a national historical site because it is where Oshu Fujiwara clan was conquered by MINAMOTO no Yoritomo bur the fact that Masamune DATE set up the headquarters there for invading Fukushima has not been well-known. On the top of Mt. Atsukashi, there is an observation deck, which offers panoramic views of the Fukushima Basin, especially Yanagawa and Hobara areas as the name of Kunimi (look over the country) suggests.

[Original Japanese]