Mori Clan AAR: Autumn 1547 – Autumn 1549
Unable to reach the fortifications in Izumo before winter set in, Takamoto decided to wait at the border, rather than risk starving his men by forcing them to forage in enemy territory. While he waited, the Amako sent emissaries frantically begging for peace.
They were not willing to pay the price the Mori demanded, however, and so the war dragged on.
In Spring, Takamoto marched across the border, and by summer he had reached the Amako fortress in Izumo. The castle itself was lightly defended, but the remainder of the army that Takamoto had defeated last summer was marching to reinforce.
Lacking his father’s talent for night attacks, Takamoto had no choice but to press the attack. The castle was quickly stormed, and a lack of coordination between the Amako leaders meant that the reinforcing army provided very little assistance.
Meanwhile, Motonari had returned to take up residence once again in Aki, where he learned that the Date clan in the north had been destroyed.
This caused him further concern about the potential consolidation of power by his future rivals. Motonari was nevertheless confident in his financial position. His fleets had secured all possible foreign trade routes, and his trading ships were now taking advantage of them. This allowed a steady increase in the military might of his clan. While his son continued the work of destroying the Amako, Motonari was free to focus on the gentler arts, and in the summer he was pleased to be able to secure the daughter of the Daimyo of the Shoni as a bride for his own second son.
Motonari had also been able to finance several important construction projects by selling temporary military access through his land. He hoped soon to be able to recruit katana-armed cavalry units in Aki, which required expansion of the castle, and construction of katana training facilities. Meanwhile, he invested his surpluses in expanding the economic base of Iwami and Izumo.
The rest of 1548 was uneventful for the Mori. Takamoto’s army was joined by his younger brother, and some peasant units. A light cavalry force trained in Aki had also reached Izumo, which significantly enhanced the cavalry wing of the Mori field army. A unit of yari cavalry had also been trained and were on their way to Izumo. More trade ships were constantly being created, and the capture of a trading port in Izumo had doubled the number of trade ships that could be produced. Conscious that the battle for control of Japan would not be won by armies alone, Motonari ordered a yari dojo in Izumo torn down, and a sake den built in its place to enable the recruitment of ninjas.
In Spring 1549, strange ships arrived in in Aki, carrying foreigners seeking to trade. Motonari and his sons discussed the proposal. Despite concerns at the potentially divisive effects of foreign influences, the prospect of increased trade revenue, and potentially decisive new weapons to field on the battlefield was too good to pass up.
Takamoto’s army had convalesced, and resumed the march east, reaching Kurayoshi castle by the end of spring. The defenders were readily overwhelmed, and the Amako clan wiped out.
A small army led by one of the Daimyo’s younger sons survived, and attempted to defy Mori rule, but by Autumn they too were no more.
The Mori clan continued to produce trade ships, gradually increasing their hold on foreign trade routes, and thus far had been untroubled by pirates. As the war with the Amako drew to a close and Motonari considered his next moves, reports were received that the Ouchi clan had built up a large army in Nagato province, bordering Iwami.
The Ouchi had earlier cancelled their alliance with the Mori, but relations had nevertheless remained strong. But Motonari did not trust them sufficiently to denude his provinces of troops while he launched an attack elsewhere.
This presented something of a conundrum, as Motonari was loathe to dishonour himself by attacking the Ouchi, but their presence somewhat precluded an attack on the island of Shikoku, which Motonari had been considering for some time. By Autumn, the castle in Aki had been expanded and facilities were under way to enable the training of katana samurai and cavalry. The Mori clan had also recruited a metsuke and a ninja, to wage war by other means, should such become necessary.