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Maeda Toshiie (前田 利家, January 15, 1538 – April 27, 1599) was one of the leading generals of Oda Nobunaga following the Sengoku period of the 16th century extending to the Azuchi–Momoyama period. His father was Maeda Toshimasa. He was the fourth of seven brothers. His childhood name was "Inuchiyo" (犬千代). His preferred weapon was a yari and he was known as "Yari no Mataza" (槍の又左), Matazaemon (又左衛門) being his common name. The highest rank from the court that he received is the Great Counselor Dainagon (大納言).
|Lord of Kaga|
|Succeeded by||Maeda Toshinaga|
January 15, 1538
|Died||April 27, 1599(aged 61)|
|Allegiance|| Oda clan|
|Battles/wars||Battle of Anegawa|
Battle of Nagashino
Battle of Tedorigawa
Battle of Shizugatake
Battle of Komaki and Nagakute
Invasion of Shikoku
Siege of Odawara
Toshiie was born in the village of Arako (present-day Nakagawa-ku, Nagoya), the fourth son of Maeda Toshimasa, who held Arako Castle. Toshiie served Oda Nobunaga from childhood (first as a page) and his loyalty was rewarded by being allowed to be the head of the Maeda clan, very unusual for a fourth son with no apparent failures among his elder brothers. Just like Nobunaga, Toshiie was also a delinquent, usually dressed in the outlandish style of a kabukimono. It is believed he also became a friend to Kinoshita Tokichiro (later Toyotomi Hideyoshi) in their youth. Just as Hideyoshi was known as Saru, 猴 or "monkey," it is believed that Toshiie was called Inu, 犬 or "dog" by Nobunaga. Due to a long-standing belief that dogs and monkeys are never friendly to each other, Toshiie is often depicted as reserved and stern, in contrast to Hideyoshi's talkative and easy-going nature.
Toshiie began his career as a member of the akahoro-shū (赤母衣衆), the unit under Oda Nobunaga's personal command. He later became an infantry captain (ashigaru taishō 足軽大将) in the Oda army. During his military career, Toshiie made the acquaintance of many important figures, such as Hashiba Hideyoshi, Sassa Narimasa, Akechi Mitsuhide, Takayama Ukon, and others. Toshiie also was a lifelong rival of Tokugawa Ieyasu. After defeating the Asakura clan, Maeda fought under Shibata Katsuie in the Hokuriku area.
He participated in the 1570 Battle of Anegawa and the 1577 Battle of Tedorigawa. He was eventually granted the fief of Fuchu, and a han (Kaga Domain) spanning Noto and Kaga Provinces. Despite its small size, Kaga was a highly productive province which would eventually develop into the wealthiest han in Edo period Japan, with a net worth of 1 million koku (百万石); thus, it was nicknamed Kaga Hyaku-man-goku (加賀百万石).
After Nobunaga's assassination at Honnō-ji (本能寺) by Akechi Mitsuhide and Mitsuhide's subsequent defeat by Hideyoshi, he battled Hideyoshi under Shibata's command in the Battle of Shizugatake. After Shibata's defeat, Toshiie worked for Hideyoshi and became one of his leading generals. Later somewhere during this time he was forced to fight another of his friends, Sassa Narimasa. Narimasa was greatly outnumbered and felled by Toshiie, following the major Maeda victory at the Battle of Suemori Castle. Before dying in 1598, Hideyoshi named Toshiie to the council of Five Elders to support Toyotomi Hideyori until he was old enough to take control on his own. However, Toshiie himself was ailing, and could manage to support Hideyori for only a year before he died as well.
Toshiie was succeeded by his son Toshinaga.
- Father: Maeda Toshimasa
- Mother: Nagayowai-in (d.1573)
- Maeda Toshihisa (d. 1583)
- Maeda Yasukatsu (d. 1594)
- Maeda Toshifusa
- Sawaki Yoshiyuki (d. 1572)
- Maeda Hidetsugu (d. 1585)
- Maeda Masa (given in marriage to Takabatake Sadayoshi)
Toshiie's wife, Maeda Matsu, was famous in her own right. Strong-willed from childhood, she was well-versed in the martial arts and was instrumental in Toshiie's rise to success. After her husband died, Matsu, then known by her Buddhist nun name of Hoshun-in, assured the safety of the Maeda clan after the year 1600 by voluntarily going as a hostage to Edo, capital of the new shōgun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, whom she loathed throughout her life as she watched him, her husband, and Hideyoshi compete for power.
- Wife: Maeda Matsu
- First Son: Maeda Toshinaga
- First Daughter: Kō (1559–1616) married Maeda Nagatane
- Second daughter: Sho married Nakagawa Mitsushige
- Third daughter: Maa (1572–1605) become Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s concubine later married Madenokoji Atsufusa
- Fourth daughter: Gō (1574–1634) married Ukita Hideie
- Fifth Daughter: Yome, Asano Yoshinaga's fiancée
- Second Son: Maeda Toshimasa (1578-1638)
- Seventh Daughter: Chise (1562–1614) married Hosokawa Tadataka later married Murai Nagatsugu
- Concubine: Chiyobo (1570-1631) later Kinsein
- Concubine: Ryujoin
- Kikuhime (1578–1584)
- Yoshi married Shinohara Sadahide
- Concubine: Kinsein
- Fuku married Tyou Yoshitsura later married Nakagawa Mitsutada
- Maeda Tomoyoshi (1591-1628)
- Concubine: Jufuku-in
- Maeda Toshitaka (1594–1637)
- Concubine: Kaishoin
- Maeda Toshisada (1598-1620)
- Wife: Maeda Matsu
Their sons all became daimyōs in their own right. Their daughters married into prestigious families; the eldest, Kō, married Maeda Nagatane, a distant relative of Toshiie who became a senior Kaga retainer; Ma'a, was a concubine of Toyotomi Hideyoshi later Married Marikouji Mitsurubo, Gō was adopted by Hideyoshi and became the wife of Ukita Hideie, and Chise, who was first wedded to Hosokawa Tadaoki's son Tadataka, later married Murai Nagayori's son Nagatsugu. Sho married Nakagawa Mitsushige. Toshi married Shinohara Sadahide. Fuku married Nakagawa Mitsutada]].
In popular cultureEdit
He is a playable character in video game Sengoku Basara 2 (PS2) and an unplayable character in video game Sengoku Basara 4 (PS3). He wields a large Nodachi and fire-based attacks. In anime, they were initially servants of Oda Nobunaga, later turned to Toyotomi Hideyoshi. He is a playable character in the video game "Samurai warriors 2 Extreme legends " (ps2) and appears in every major samurai warriors title following his first appearance . He wields a single sword and twin spears.
- Junior First Rank (24 March 1599; posthumously)
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