Oda Nobutada, the eldest son of Oda Nobunaga, invaded Kai on his father's orders in early 1582. Takeda Katsuyori set fire to Shinpujō and retreated. When his path was barred by Iwadonojō - for its lord, Lord Oyamada Nobushige, had betrayed him - he made his way to Mount Tenmoku, the burial site of Takeda Nobumitsu, where he knew he would die. The slaughter became known as the Battle of Tenmokuzan. In the end Takeda Katsuyori had with him only around forty or so followers, as well as their families, and this tiny force constructed a temporary fort of palisades around a manor hall on a small plateau, referred to as Taira-yashiki.
The Battle of Tenmokuzan was a historical moment, seeing the demise of the once powerful and fearsome Takeda Clan. It is well remembered through chronicles such as the Shinchō Kōki which glorifies the brave last stand of the Takeda warriors. Among them were Takeda Nobukatsu, Katsuyori's son, who, though just sixteen, is reported to have fought with manly vigour. Also there was Tsuchiya Masatsune, Katsuyori's lover (aged about 25), who is said to have fell many a foe with his arrows, and other accounts see him swinging on a vine whilst battling foes one-handed, earning him the monicker 'one-handed thousand man-slayer', in an attempt to buy time for Katsuyori's seppuku. The English language Wikipedia article for the 'Battle of Tenmokuzan' hilariously uses female pronouns for Masatsune and provides a citation to an English language translation of the Shinchōkōki. I don't know whether the error is on the part of those translators or the Wikipedians who seemingly were unaware that many samurai practiced homosexuality (they were not homosexuals (Katsuyori had wives) in the sense of identifying with a sexuality, but homoerotic and pederastic relations between them were far from uncommon). Katsuyori also held himself with great deportment; he and his family committed ritual suicide. The last of the Takeda warriors mercy-killed their families, and then fought to the last man cut down.
Taira-yashiki, located in Kai-Yamato, is the site of the final battle and death of Takeda Katsuyori and his remaining followers. Taira-yashiki is now the site of the temple Keitokuin and surrounding terraces. No ruins remain of the old manor hall or the transient fort built by Takeda Katsuyori in his final days, but place names such as 'Shimonodaira' endure. And an old battlefield site called 'Shirōsaku (四郎作)', which may be a corruption of 城柵 (shirosaku / jōsaku), is notable. The grave of Takeda Katsuyori is located at the temple.
|Pre Edo Period
|Kai-Yamato Station on the Chūō Main Line; 30 minute walk to Shirōsaku/Keitokuin
|24/7 free; temple
|Kōshū, Yamanashi Prefecture
|35° 38' 26.74" N, 138° 48' 9.32" E
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