Siege of Tanabe

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The siege of Tanabe castle in Tango province took place in 1600, just prior to the battle of Sekigahara. Some 15,000 men loyal to Ishida Mitsunari besieged Hosokawa Fujitaka, who held the castle with some 500 men. Ultimately, Fujitaka surrendered the castle but was able to escape successfully with his life and that of many of his men, and with a precious collection of artworks and the like.

According to some accounts, the besieging party held great respect for Fujitaka and fought with less than full seriousness; they may have employed cannon loaded with only gunpowder and no cannonballs.

Ultimately, Karasumaru Mitsuhiro arrived at Tanabe as a formal Imperial envoy, carrying Imperial orders that Fujitaka surrender. Some accounts characterize this as Mitsuhiro "rescuing" Fujitaka.

The siege ended some days before the battle of Sekigahara, too late for the forces involved to join that latter battle.


  • Gallery labels, Metropolitan Museum.[1]