The Battle of Ishizu (石津の戦い)

The Battle of Ishizu was fought on June 10, 1338, during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan), in Ishizu of Sakaiura, Izumi Province (areas in and around present-day Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture) between Akiie KITABATAKE, who supported the Southern Court, and KO no Moronao, who supported the Northern Court. The battle is known as the Battle of Ishizu, the Battle of Sakaiura or the Battle of Sakai Beach.

The Emperor Godaigo, who escaped from Kyoto to Yoshino at the end of 1336 in order to stand in opposition to Takauji ASHIKAGA, ordered Akiie KITABATAKE, who was at Taga-jo Castle in Mutsu Province, to defeat Takauji in Kyoto in support of the Imperial Prince Norinaga (later the Emperor Gomurakami). However, Akiie was attacked by a feudal lord who supported the Northern Court in opposition to him, and was driven to Ryozen-jo Castle located in the south of Mutsu Province, which served as a military base of the Southern Court. Akiie, finally came to suppress the resistance of the Northern Court army, then started to go south from the Ryozen-jo Castle with the 60,000 cavalries in July of the following year. But due to his clever strategy of using cavalry, he already defeated Ienaga SHIBA and occupied Kamakura on January 16, 1338 of the same year. His army continued to advance southward and in 1338, he crossed Mt. Hakone and defeated an army of the Northern Court in the battle of Aonogahara, Mino Province.

However, having been informed that the main force of the Northern Court's army had advanced from Omi Province to Mino Province, Akiie fled to Ise Province in order to reorganize his army. Although Akiie occupied Nara on February 21, he was defeated seven days later by Naotsune MOMONOI, who supported the Northern Court, in the battle of Hannyazaka and was forced to retreat. Consequently, after secretly sending the Imperial Prince Norinaga to Yoshino, Akiie moved his army from Kawachi Province to Izumi Province in order to rebuild its force. In March, Akiie rallied his army at Tenno-ji Temple and on May 25, he set the Sakaiura area on fire to continue the battle against the armies of those who supported the Northern Court, including Akiuji HOSOKAWA and Moriharu HINENO. Meanwhile, KO no Moronao advanced his army from Tenno-ji Temple to Sakaiura on June 4 in order to defeat Akiie under Takauji's order. On June 10, the two armies fought a fierce battle in Sakaiura. Although Akiie's army fought hard, it came to be in a predicament due to the side attack by the Seto Inland Sea army as well as the fatigue from the long duration of the fighting. Akiie, besieged in Ishizu along with his 200 soldiers by the Northern Court's armies, continued to fight a fierce battle, but he fell from his horse and was finally killed by his enemies. He died young at the age of 21. Besides Akiie, Yoshitaka NAWA and Moroyuki NANBU were also killed in the battle, and the Southern Court's army was totally defeated and took flight.

As a result, the Southern Court suffered severe damage, while the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), which supported the Northern Court, gained advantage in wars not only in areas around Kyoto but also in Oshu, which had been the base of Akiie.