In addition to these two armies, the Hojo had a powerful force engaged in beleaguering the fortress of Chihaya, in Yamato, where Kusunoki Masashige commanded in person. Nothing seemed less probable than that the Imperial capital itself should become the object of an assault by the partisans of Go-Daigo. But the unexpected took place.
The fall of 1332 saw Masashige strongly posted at the Chihaya fortress on Kongo Mountain; his lieutenants holding Akasaka; Prince Morinaga in possession of Yoshino Castle, and Akamatsu Norimura of Harima blocking the two highways called the Sanindo and the Sanyodo.
Subsequently, he fell fighting against Morinaga's pursuers, but the prince escaped safely to the great monastery of Koya in Kishu.* The victorious Hojo then turned their arms against Akasaka, and having carried that position, attacked Chihaya where Masashige commanded in person. But the great soldier held his foes successfully at bay and inflicted heavy losses on them.
When Kamakura fell the only Hojo force remaining in the field was that which had been engaged for months in the siege of Chihaya, where Kusunoki Masashige held his own stoutly. This army had retired to Nara on receipt of the news of Rokuhara's capture, and when Kamakura met with the same fate, the leaders of the last Hojo force surrendered at the summons of Ashikaga Takauji's emissaries.
It was supported by Kusunoki Masashige, in Yamato, with Chihaya for headquarters; Prince Morinaga, at Koya-san in Kishu; Akamatsu Norimura, in Harima and Settsu, whence his fortress of Maya menaced Rokuhara, and by Doi Michiharu and Tokuno Michikoto, in Iyo, whence, crossing to Nagato, they had attacked and defeated Hojo Tokinao, the tandai of the province.
But there can be no doubt that, like others of his sept, he had long resented the comparatively subordinate position occupied by Yoritomo's descendants, and the most trustworthy annals show that already while engaged in besieging Masashige in Chihaya fortress, he conceived the idea of deserting the Hojo's cause.