The Battle of Tedorigawa (手取川の戦い Tedorigawa no Tatakai ) took place near the Tedori River in Japan's Kaga Province in 1577. The battle site is in the modern-day Ishikawa Prefecture.
After Oda Nobunaga's victory at Nagashino, Uesugi Kenshin broke off his alliance with Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu, he then initiated an alliance in 1575 with the Ishiyama Honganji warrior monks (Ikko Ikki) and Takeda Katsuyori of the Takeda clan, with whom he had previously been at odds. The Tedorigawa Campaign was precipitated by Uesugi intervention inside the domain of the Hatakeyama clan in Noto Province, an Oda Client state. This event provoked the Uesugi incursion, there was a Coup d'état led by the pro Oda General Chō Shigetsura, that killed Hatakeyama Yoshinori the lord of Noto and replaced him with Hatakeyama Yoshitaka as a puppet ruler. As a result Uesugi Kenshin, the head of the Uesegi clan mobilized an army to lead into Noto against Shigetsura. Consequently Nobunaga sent an army led by Shibata Katsuie, Hashiba Hideyoshi and Maeda Toshiie; some of his most experienced generals to reinforce their allies.
Kenshin, taking the initiative moved to encircle Shigetsura’s forces preventing them from linking with the Oda army, and trapping Chō Shigetsura(Tsunatsura) in Nanao Castle (the main Hatakeyama stronghold in Noto Province) the subsequent Breakthrough killed Shigetsura and resulted in the Hatakeyama of Noto switching allegiance to the Uesugi.
The Oda forces under the command of Shibata Katsuie, Hashiba Hideyoshi and Maeda Toshiie crossed the Tedori River (Minatogawa or Tedorigawa) and prepared to enter Noto Province, as they did not yet know about the fall of Nanao Castle. Due to the fall of Nanao Castle and Suemori Castle in Noto, the Oda army (now joined by Nobunaga himself) halted their march into Noto and went back across the Tedori River. Uesugi Kenshin, now bolstered in his ranks with Noto troops, advanced towards the Oda position. The Oda army came up with the plan to use cannons for stand-off tactics against the Uesugi and to bombard the Uesugi from across the river. However a skillful nighttime feint by Kenshin (suggesting he had divided his forces) led to Nobunaga ordering Katsuie to charge against the Uesugi lines and engaging the Uesugi troops on the river bank. Kenshin ordered the river’s floodgates to be opened. The strong current from the river and perhaps also some rainfall prevented the Oda clan from effectively using its Arquebus and cannons. The Oda charge itself was repulsed due to the current and inferior close quarter ability of the ashigaru making up the bulk of the Oda army; the troops of the Oda were being pushed into the river. Having lost a thousand men in combat and some more as the Oda troops attempted to escape across the Tedori, Nobunaga ordered a retreat into Ōmi Province.
Kenshin brought his army back into Noto province and ordered the repair of Nanao Castle as he himself went back into Echigo. The Uesugi scored a significant victory at Tedorigawa. As a result the distribution of power in the north shifted towards Kenshin and the Uesugi were temporarily able to extend their influence as far as the Kaga Province. There seems to be some debate among scholars as to Kenshin's next moves, however letters written by Kenshin seem to suggest that Kenshin did not perceive the Oda as a significant threat for the time being, although it could have been that Kenshin's true intentions were hidden. In these letters to Kanto samurai Kenshin suggests that his next moves would have been an offensive against the Hojo in Kanto and not towards Kyoto at that time. In letters written by Oda Nobunaga, Nobunaga suggested that he was willing to cede all of the northern provinces to the Uesugi in order to avoid a Uesugi advance upon Kyoto. Kenshin however, died before any plan was initiated. Subsequently the Uesugi fell into a civil war and as a result by 1582 the Oda forces had managed to push the Uesugi clan all the way back to the Echigo Province.
- Uesugi Kenshin
- Rekishi Gunzô Shirizu , Uesugi Kenshin Japan: Gakken, 1999
This article incorporates text from OpenHistory.
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