The Battle of Anegawa took place during the Sengoku period in Japan on July 30, 1570, near Lake Biwa in Ōmi Province. It involved the allied forces of Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu facing off against the combined armies of the Azai and Asakura clans. This historic battle marked the first instance of cooperation between Nobunaga and Ieyasu, ending the unbalanced alliance between the Oda clan and the Azai, and showcasing Nobunaga's innovative use of firearms.

The conflict arose when the Azai and Asakura clans responded to Oda Nobunaga's sieges of their strongholds at Odani and Yokoyama. The engagement is also referred to as the Battle of Nomura by the Oda and Azai, and the Battle of Mitamura by the Asakura clan.

As the Oda-Tokugawa alliance marched towards Odani castle, Azai Nagamasa, the head of the Azai clan, sought help from Echizen, leading to Asakura Yoshikage sending an army to support him. The combined Azai-Asakura force then confronted Nobunaga near the Anegawa, as he had stationed his troops on the southern bank.

The battle commenced the following morning, with the Oda and Azai clashing on the right side, and the Tokugawa and Asakura fighting on the left. The encounter devolved into a fierce melee in the middle of the shallow Ane River. During the battle, Nobunaga entrusted Hashiba Hideyoshi to lead troops in open combat for the first time, while Tokugawa Ieyasu's second division under Honda Tadakatsu and Sakakibara Yasumasa surrounded Asakura Kagetake.

Several notable duels occurred during the conflict, including one between Magara Jurozaemon and his son Magara Jurosaburo (Naomoto), who bravely covered the Asakura army's retreat but were ultimately slain. Another duel involved an Azai samurai named Endo Kizaemon attempting to attack Nobunaga but being thwarted by Takenaka Kyusaku, brother of Takenaka Hanbei.

The Tokugawa forces successfully defeated both the Asakura and Azai forces. After dealing with the Asakura, they turned their attention back to the Azai's right flank. The troops of the Mino Triumvirate, led by Inaba Ittetsu, also joined the battle and helped secure victory for the Oda-Tokugawa alliance.

Historical accounts of the battle are somewhat scarce, and some stories from the Edo period are fictional. However, it is estimated that around 9,000 men were killed, with the Asakura clan alone losing 1,100 samurai. The Oda camp reportedly collected 3,170 enemy heads.

Following the Battle of Anegawa, the Asai and Asakura forces, led by Asakura Kagetake, launched a counterattack in the Battle of Shimosakamoto and managed to defeat an Oda army, causing significant casualties.

The Battle of Anegawa has found its way into popular culture, featuring prominently in various video games, such as the Samurai Warriors series, Warriors Orochi series, Kessen III, and Nioh, where it plays a pivotal role in the main story revolving around the conquests of Oda Nobunaga and his clan.

See also

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