In 1183, on this day the Genpei War took an unexpected turn when a Minamoto force seized the Taira military base on Yashima, a small island off the coast of Shikoku.
Battle of MizushimaThe army that General Minamoto no Yoshinaka (pictured) had sent an army to cross the Inland Sea to Yashima engaged the Taira just offshore of Mizushima.
The Taira made a tactical error by tieing their ships together, and placed planks across them to form a flat fighting surface. The battle began with archers loosing a rain of arrows upon the Minamoto boats; when the boats were close enough, daggers and swords were drawn, and the two sides engaged in hand-to-hand combat. However the Taira were undone by the inflexibility of their static line of defence and the Minamoto warriors prevailed.
The victory almost certainly brought forward the establishment of the Kamakura shogunate under Minamoto Yoritomo.