The Chronicle of Tachibana Dosetsu's military career (Part Two)

Jul 2018
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Hong Kong
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The Chronicle of Tachibana Dosetsu's military career (Part One)

Late Career — The new wave of rebellion and unrest ! The desperate defense of the Chikuzen province

AD 1578 : With the Otomo army's catastrophic defeat at Mimagawa (耳川の戦い), countless native clans in the Chikuzen Province rebelled once more !! Ryuzoji Takanobu took advantage of the situation and invaded the Otomo clan's domains in the Chikuzen, Chikugo and Higo Province. Dosetsu and his retainers were busying on defending the frontier involved with many battles and campaigns.
AD 1579 January : Defeated the Munakata-Harada (宗像.原田) Armies in the Battle of Yatake (八嶽の戦い) in the Chikuzen Province, compelled Akizuki Tanezane to raise the siege of the Takatoriyama Castle (鷹取山城).
AD 1579 April : Rescue of the Otomo general Shiga Chikamori (志賀親守) ; compelled Akizuki Tanezane to retreat by ruse in the confrontation at Futsukaichi (二日市)
AD 1579 July 12-18th : Defeated the Harada army in the Battle of Namamatsuhara (生松原の戦い)
AD 1579 July 27th : Battle of Daizaifu (大宰府の戦い) — repelled the attack waged by Akizuki, Tsukushi and Harada
AD 1579 August 14th : His retainers' troops met with the ambuscade by Harada Takatane (原田隆種), suffered terrible losses ; Dosetsu oversaw the battle from a distant, not at the frontline
AD 1579 mid-August : Repelled the Munakata, Aso and Harada Clan's offensive towards Hakozaki (箱崎)
AD 1579 September 6th : Repelled Akizuki Tanezane's attack to Homanzan Castle (宝満城) with another Otomo general Tagahashi Shigetane (高橋紹運)
AD 1579 September 11th : Failed to prevent the fall of the Ikeda Castle (池田城), which was seized by the Ryuzoji army
AD 1579 September 18th : Invasion of the Kurate County (鞍手郡) ; Munakata Ujisada (宗像氏貞) fled, Harada Junsho (原田鑑尚) capitulated.
AD 1579 late-September : defeated Harada Takatane again at Namamatsuhara, conquered the Takasuyama Castle (高祖山城)
AD 1579 October 24th : Protected the Washidake Castle (鷲岳城) from the combined Tsukushi-Ryuzoji (筑紫.龍造寺) armies' assault
AD 1579 December : Confronted with Akizuki Tanezane ; seizure of the Konomidake Castle (許斐岳城), Konomi Satoru (許斐氏備) fled.
AD 1580 February-March : Fought with the pro-Ryuzoji native clans (also his adopted-son Tachibana Muneshige's first campaign)
AD 1580 May : Ordered his subordinate Mori Shigezane (毛利鎮実) to wrest Munakata Ujisada's Ka Castle (貓城), but Shigezane failed
AD 1580 September : Settled a temporary truce with Ryuzoji Takanobu — both Omoto and Ryuzoji shared the Chikuzen province with the western 9 countries belongs to Ryuzoji while the eastern 6 counties belongs to Otomo.
AD 1580 September 26th : Repulsed Akizuki Tanezane at Tamae (穗波) with Takahashi Shigetane (高橋紹運)
AD 1580 October : Killed the Akizuki general Ida Chikauji (井田親氏) with his troops routed in the ambuscade at Sekibando (石板道) on Yagiyama (八木山)
AD 1580 November 3rd : Battle of Nasubi (奈須美の戦い) — repelled Akizuki Tanezane's attack with outflanking manueovre and bluff, Tanezane fell back to his homebase Koshosan Castle (古処山城 ).
AD 1581 July 27th : Ryuzoji Takanobu (龍造寺隆信), combined with Tsukushi Hirokado (筑紫門) and Akizuki Tanezane (秋月種實), advanced to Daizaifu (大宰府) and attacked Iwaya Castle (岩屋城) in the Chikuzen province. While Takahashi Shigetane launched the frontal assault upon enemies, Dosetsu dispatched his retainers hovering around to outmanuever the enemy troops at Kanzeonji (觀世音寺), successfully forced the enemies to withdraw after a round of battle.
AD 1581 September : The Washigatake Castle (鷲ヶ嶽城) was conquered by Ryuzoji Takanobu, leaving only Tachibanayama Castle, Iwaya Castle and Homanzan Castle as the Otomo clan's major bases in the Chikuzen province.
AD 1581 November 6th : Battle of Junnohara (潤野原の戦い) — smashed the Akizuki army by the skillful ambuscade
AD 1581 November 13th : Battle of Koganehara (小金原の戦い) — crushed the Munakata army
AD 1582 February-April : Harada Nobutane (原田信種), Akizuki Tanezane (秋月種實), Munakata Ujisada (宗像氏貞) and Tsukushi Hirokado (筑紫門) invaded the south-western border of the Chikuzen province, the area around the Naga County (那珂郡), Dosetsu repelled the offensive with his adopted-son Muneshige.
AD 1582 October 2nd : Aided Takahashi Shigetane (高橋紹運) to recapture Yonenoyama Castle (米の山城) from the Akizuki clan by sending Yoshida Rensama (吉田連正) as reinforcement, killed 200 enemies
AD 1583 April 23th : Storming of Munakata Ujisada's homebase Konomidake Castle (許斐岳城) ; Ujisada fled to Hakusan Castle (白山城)
AD 1583 February-April : Tsukushi Hirokado (筑紫門) assaulted the Otomo frontier domains multiple times, only got repelled.

Last Career — The reconquest of the Chikugo province

AD 1584 April 12th : Tsukushi Hirokado (筑紫門) invaded the Mikasa County (御笠郡), Dosetsu and Shigetane counter-attacked and approached Musashi Castle (武藏城), where the Tsukushi army fell back into under the heavy assault.
AD 1584 August 18th - September 1st : Eliminated Kuroki Sanehisa (黑木實久) and stormed Nekoo Castle (貓尾城)
AD 1584 September - December : Failed to capture the well-defended Yanagawa Castle (柳川城), but seized a number of castles around in the Chikugo province (筑後国)
AD 1585 early-Feburary - April 23rd : Kurume Campaign (久留米合戦 ) — The grand anti-Otomo coalition army numbered 30,000 under the command of Ryuzoji Ieharu (龍造寺家晴) launched the massive assault upon the Otomo domains in the Chikugo province, Dosetsu countered with the reinforcement sent from the Bungo province (豐後国). With only 9,800 troops, he scored the epic victory over the numerically superior enemy troops in the last battle of his life with a series of brilliant manuever and ruses in three separate battles !
AD 1585 June : Dosetsu passed away in illness during the Siege of Yanagawa Castle.

Epilogue

According to the early Edo Period's military literature The Rise and the Fall of the Otomo Clan (<大友興廃記>) :

"Dosetsu's corpse was escorted to the Tachibana Castle by 1,000 men. Not a samurai from any hostile clan stopped the column, and paid him with great respect by letting them pass without molestation."

This famous Sengoku general won the widespread fame recorded in historical archives as the following paragraph extracted from the Japanese wikipedia. I'll translate it later (I am already exhausted just after finishing the chronicles alone...).

道雪は孫子兵法の「奇正相生」を引用して、家臣の由布惟信と小野鎮幸を招いて曰く: 「軍勢を用いるには、先ず戦法を定め、勇武の勢と共に奇・正の変化をさせるがよい。お前達両名が替わる替わる奇・正の将となって自分を補佐せよ。凡そ戦というものは正法を以って引き分けとし、奇法を以って勝ちとする。それで、正法を行う者は江河のように渇れることがなく、奇法をよく行う者は天地にように無窮である。故に、奇・正両法を用いる者は戦って勝たないという事が無い。それで、今日から両名には正・奇の戦法を取って貰いたい。今日惟信が正軍の将であるなら、鎮幸が奇軍の将となり、明日はそれを替えるという様にせよ。副将には、薦野増時、米多比鎮久をそれぞれ当てよう。」 と、立花家の戦は常に奇襲と正攻法を連携して、九州において常勝不敗と伝われました。 こうして毛利軍との戦いで勝利を重ねた道雪は、毛利家の興亡を焦点にしている軍記物である『陰徳太平記』で「道雪は大友家に肩を比ぶる者なきのみか、隣国にも亦類少き士大将にて、智謀尭捷兼達し、堅を砕き、利を破り、奇正応変に過ちなく」と賞賛されている。現代語にするなら「道雪はいかなる状況でも的確な判断を行ない、臨機応変に対処できる、戦国屈指の名将だ」と褒め称えているのである。

そして、戦歴は大戦37回、小戦百余回、その中に軍事総指揮は主君・大友宗麟であった状況を除いて、自ら総大将となった戦いはほぼ無敗の戦績であり、軍神として誉めたたえられた。

Tachibana Dosetsu was certainly no inferior than other far more famous great men like Takeda Shingen, Uesugi Kenshin, Hojo Ujiyasu, Oda Nobunaga in the field of military command. Yet he was pretty much an "obscure" figure in the Westerners' recognition, along with his equally-great son Tachibana Muneshige (立花宗茂). Next time I'll focus on analyzing several of the military campaigns involved with Dosetsu's direct participation for assessing his military leadership, to evaluating is he really worthy to be on the list of one of the greatest military commanders in the world history.
 
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