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The Battle of Sekigahara was fought on the 21st October 1600. It was a decisive battle, which cleared the path for Tokugawa Ieyasu. The battle is therefore considered at the unofficial beginning of the Tokugawa bakufu. The battle was fought due to the question of succession after Toyotomi Hydeyoshi's death.

Ieyasu's eastern army had 88,888 men, whilst Mitsunari's western army numbered 81,890. There were about 20,000 arquebuses and other forms of hand-held gunners deployed in the battlefield, corresponding to over 10% of all troops present. Even though the western forces had tremendous tactical advantages, Ieyasu had already contacted many daimyo on the western side, promising them land and leniency after the battle should they switch sides. Notably several western commanders holding key positions were lured over to the Tokugawa cause.

Kikkawa Hiroie and Kobayakawa Hideaki were two such commanders. They were in such positions that if they decided to close in on the eastern forces, they would in fact have Ieyasu surrounded on three sides. However, Kikkawa Hiroie, who was a retainer of the Mori clan, believed that Ieyasu would ultimately be victorious, and made a secret pact to keep his clan out of the combat. Hiroie's troops formed the front lines of the Mori army, which was commanded by his cousin Mori Hidemoto. When Hidemoto decided to attack the Tokugawa forces, Hiroie refused to comply, claiming fogs prevented movement. This in turn prevented the Chosokabe army, which deployed behind the Mori clan, from attacking.

Even though Kobayakawa had responded to Ieyasu's call, in the actual battle he was hesitant and remained neutral. As the battle grew more intense, Ieyasu finally ordered arquebusiers to fire at Kobayakawa's position on Mount Matsuo in order to force Kobayakawa to make his choice. At that point Kobayakawa joined the battle on the eastern side. His forces assaulted Yoshitsugu's position, which quickly fell apart as he was already engaging Tōdō Takatora's forces. Seeing this as an act of treachery, western generals such as Wakisaka Yasuharu, Ogawa Suketada, Akaza Naoyasu, and Kutsuki Mototsuna immediately switched sides, turning the tide of battle. The western forces disintegrated afterwards, and the commanders scattered and fled.

Plot Edit

The battle is mentioned in "Shinjū". The Niu clan thereby fought on the losing site. After the battle, the Nius had been stripped of their ancestral fief. But Ieyasu had realized that unless he somehow pacified his conquered foes, they wouldn’t stay conquered for long. He’d granted them other fiefs - the Nius’ in distant Satsuma, far from their traditional power base. He and his descendants had exacted a fortune in tributes from these daimyo clans, while allowing them to keep much of their wealth and to govern their provinces autonomously. Thus Niu Masamune maintained his status as one of the highest-ranking ”outside lords” - those whose clans had sworn allegiance to Tokugawa Ieyasu after Sekigahara.

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