Battle of Minatogawa
Portrait traditionally identified as that of Ashikaga Takauji
Woodblock print triptych by Ogata Gekkō; Emperor Go-Daigo dreams of ghosts at his palace in Kasagiyama
Troops disposition at Minatogawa
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Memorial Shinto shrine and mausoleum honoring Emperor Go-Daigo
Tomb of Ashikaga Takauji at Tōji-in in Kyoto
Empress Kishi and Emperor Go-Daigo. From Taiheiki Emaki (c. 17th century), vol. 2, On the Lamentation of the Empress. Owned by Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore.
Japanese Imperial kamon — a stylized chrysanthemum blossom

The Imperial forces loyal to Emperor Go-Daigo led by Kusunoki Masashige and Nitta Yoshisada attempted to intercept the Ashikaga forces led by Ashikaga Takauji in Settsu.

- Battle of Minatogawa

The Kenmu restoration was in turn overthrown by Ashikaga Takauji in 1336, ushering in the Ashikaga shogunate, and split the imperial family into two opposing factions between the Ashikaga backed Northern Court situated in Kyoto and the Southern Court based in Yoshino led by Go-Daigo and his later successors.

- Emperor Go-Daigo

After becoming increasingly disillusioned with the Kamakura shogunate over time, Takauji joined the banished Emperor Go-Daigo and Kusunoki Masashige, and seized Kyoto.

- Ashikaga Takauji

At the decisive Battle of Minatogawa in 1336, Takauji defeated Yoshisada again and killed Masashige, allowing him to seize Kyoto for good.

- Ashikaga Takauji

Kusunoki's army was defeated at the Battle of Minatogawa.

- Emperor Go-Daigo

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Portrait of Kusunoki Masashige by Kanō Sanraku

Kusunoki Masashige

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Japanese samurai of the Kamakura period remembered as the ideal of samurai loyalty.

Japanese samurai of the Kamakura period remembered as the ideal of samurai loyalty.

Portrait of Kusunoki Masashige by Kanō Sanraku
Equestrian statue of Kusunoki Masashige outside the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
The same statue from a different angle, close-up.
Equestrian statue of Kusunoki Masashige at the entrance to Kanshin-ji in Kawachinagano, Osaka Prefecture.

Kusunoki fought for Emperor Go-Daigo in the Genkō War to overthrow the Kamakura shogunate and restore power in Japan to the Imperial Court.

Kusunoki was a leading figure of the Kenmu Restoration in 1333 and remained loyal to the unpopular Emperor Go-Daigo after Ashikaga Takauji began to reverse the restoration in the Nanboku-chō wars three years later.

Kusunoki attacked Takauji in Settsu at the command of the Emperor, an act of obedience surely to result in defeat, and died at the Battle of Minatogawa in 1336.

Nitta Yoshisada

Nitta Yoshisada

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Samurai lord of the Nanboku-chō period Japan.

Samurai lord of the Nanboku-chō period Japan.

Nitta Yoshisada
Nitta Yoshisada offering his sword to Ryūjin

He was the head of the Nitta clan in the early fourteenth century, and supported the Southern Court of Emperor Go-Daigo in the Nanboku-chō period.

Long an enemy of Ashikaga Takauji, Nitta Yoshisada is often blamed for the split between the Northern and Southern Courts, as he fought against the Ashikaga and for the emperor, Emperor Go-Daigo.

Yoshisada was defeated in the Battle of Minatogawa allowing Takauji to occupy Kyoto once again.