Takiyamajo castle in the Sengoku period, as seen by Yasui Soun

When Toji brought disputes to court presided by Miyoshi Nagayoshi (三好長慶) in the Sengoku period, they concluded an agreement for consultancy with Yasui Soun (安井宗運), for the purpose of enabling efficient proceedings. Therefore, Soun, as the representative of Toji visited Matsunaga Hisahide (松永久秀) many times, a vassal of Miyoshi Nagayoshi who often handled trials involving Toji.

Most of the time, Hisahide and his wife stayed at the Akutagawayamajo (芥川山城) castle, the residence of their lord located in the present Takatsuki, Osaka. Hisahide occasionally returned to his own castle, Takiyamajo (滝山城), located in the present Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo. The site of Takiyamajo is in the mountain behind Shin-Kobe Station on the Shinkansen line. Only a part of earthen walls, empty moats and stone fences remain on the site, so people today cannot glimpse life in those days.

However, Soun’s report concerning his visit to Takiyamajo on July 10, 1556, is included in the Toji Hyakugo Archives, giving us hints on life in the Sengoku period (Item 298 of Box-ni, Katakana). This report indicates that Soun stayed at the Myozoji (妙蔵寺) temple in the mountain, because there were no accommodations around Takiyamajo. Soun also shared specific information, such that visitors should bring rice, rather than money, to stay at Myozoji, and that firewood or water could not be bought anywhere except Myozoji.

Yasui Soun’s Letter web page
Item 298 of Box-ni (Katakana), “Yasui Soun’s Letter”, dated July 10

This indicates that Takiyamajo did not have a castle town or residential buildings below the mountain, but had the temple and the residences of vassals up in the mountain.

On top of that, Soun also grasped a priceless piece of confidential information. Matsunaga Hisahide was the right-hand man of Miyoshi Nagayoshi, and was extremely busy, making it fairly difficult to make an appointment with him. However, Soun advised Hogon’in Yuju (宝厳院祐重) at Toji that a prompt response could be received from Hisahide with the mediation by a Buddhist monk at Myozoji, where Soun stayed.

Isn’t this nice work by Soun?

(Tadayuki Amano, part-time lecturer at Kansai University, and part-time lecturer at Shiga Junior College)