The Sengoku Jidai,
Japan's era of constant civil war, ran from roughly 1477 to 1615 and
saw constant fighting between regional warlords.
These battles have
become the center point to numerous plots in samurai movies and
games: The Takeda's defeat at Nagashino is the climax of Kurosawa's movie Ran, the upset at Okehazama was the setting for the
opening to Capcom's Onimusha, and the battle of Sekigahara is the
whole plot of Koei-Tecmo's PS2-era game Kessen.
But what about those miraculous victories, terrifying defeats, and otherwise amazing battles that hardly ever make it on screen or get put into the pages of a good book? Well here's a slew of them!
10. Siege Of Arai Castle (1516)
Located on the tip of the Miura
peninsula - Arai, now more commonly called Misaki, was the last bastion
of the Miura clan. Ise Shinkuro, later to be known as Hojo Soun, had
started a siege in 1512 and had been continuing to harass the
castle's defenders for four years before he managed to blockade its
port. Ise referred to his strategy as letting the Miura 'wither on
With the castle facing starvation it
was finally time to end the battle. Ise ordered an all-out attack and
breached the walls bringing the fighting all the way to the castle's
keep. The patriarch of the clan, Miura Yoshiatsu, committed seppuku
– ritual suicide – when he saw that all hope was lost.
This is where his son, the nominal lord
of Arai castle, claims his moment of fame. With his army failing all
around him, the brave warrior is said to have told off the attackers
and then committed suicide in a most awe-inspiring fashion. He swung
his sword around with such force that he cut off his own head.
Whether true or not, he impressed the Ise patriarch enough to have it
recorded in the winner's history book.
Author of Escort (Eternal Press, 2015) and developer behind In Over Their Heads, A Desperate Mother's Love, Dynasty Heroes, Rakugo Detective, and It Always Follows.
Currently freelancing as a game developer and history consultant. Also tends to travel the eastern U.S. doing courses on History, Writing, and Japanese Poetry.
You can find his portfolio at www.richardcshaffer.com