Capture of Akasaka, 28 April 1332

The capture of Akasaki Castle (28 April 1332) was achieved by a surprise attack and saw Kusunoki Masashige recapture his own castle at Akasaka, which had fallen to the forces of the Shogunate in the previous year (Seige of Akasaka, November 1331).

In 1331 the Emperor Go-Daigo had attempted to overthrown the Shogunate (Genko War, 1331-33), but his plots had been uncovered before he was really ready to move. The Emperor escaped from Kyoto to Kasagi, and then escaped again when that castle fell, but a few days later he was captured and taken back to Kyoto. He was sent into exile in the spring of 1332.

During his brief period of liberty Go-Daigo had won over a number of supporters, including Kusunoki Masashige, a medium ranked warrior. After the fall of Kasagi the Bakufu (another term for the Shogunate) besieged and captured Kusunoki's castle at Akasaka, but Kusunoki faked his own death and escaped into the mountains. Believing that the area was safe the Bakufu sent an small garrison to the castle, commanded by Yuasa Magoro (also known as the lay monk Jobutsu).

After fleeing from Akasaka Kusunoki fled into the nearby mountains and began to prepare to raid Bakufu-held areas. One of his first attacks would be a surprise attack on Akasaka. He discovered that a supply convoy was coming to the castle from Yuasa's home province of Kii and decided to take advantage of this chance. He intercepted the convoy and seized the supplies. The bags were emptied of food and weapons were hidden in them. Half of his men then dressed up as convoy guards.

They then continued along the road to the castle, and once they were within site of the walls began a mock battle with the rest of Kusunoki's men. The garrison of Akasaka was convinced that their supply convoy was under attack and let the fake guards into the castle. Once they were inside they took the weapons from the bags and attacked the garrison. At the same time the other half of Kusunki's force attacked from outside. After a short fight Yuasa was forced to surrender. This took place on the third day of the fourth month of 1332, or 28 April 1332.

After taking Akasaka Kusunoki moved towards Kyoto, but didn't approach the city. The Bakufu garrison sent a force out to attack him, but they suffered a defeat at the Yodo River (14 June 1332) and returned to Kyoto. Akasaka castle became a stronghold for supporters of Go-Daigo until it was captured early in 1333 (siege of Akasaka, 18 February-c.14 March 1333).

Taiheiki: A Chronicle of Medieval Japan, trans. Helen Craig McCullough. A modern English translation of the first twelve chapters of the Taiheiki, covering the period of the Genko War, a civil war that saw the Emperor Go-Daigo briefly overthrow the Shogunate and restore direct Imperial rule.
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A History of Japan, 1334-1615, Sir George Sansom. A classic history of Japan, covering the period from the fall of the Kamakura Shogunate in the 1330s to the battle of Sekigahara of 1600 and the end of the civil wars in 1615. A little dated now, but it still provides an excellent narrative history of this period, with more detail on the military events than in most more modern works.
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (9 October 2012), Capture of Akasaka, 28 April 1332 ,

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