Niwa Nagahide

Niwa Nagahide (丹羽 長秀, October 16, 1535 – May 15, 1585), also known as Gorōzaemon (五郎左衛門), his other legal alias was Hashiba Echizen no Kami (羽柴越前守), was a Japanese samurai of the Sengoku through Azuchi-Momoyama periods of the 16th century. He served as a retainer to the Oda clan, and was eventually a daimyō in his own right. Going on to fight in the Oda clan's major campaigns, including Mino Campaign 1567, Omi Campaign 1568, the Honganji Campaign from 1570-1580, and Iga Campaign 1581, he was named one of the administrators of Kyoto after Nobunaga entered that city in 1568.[1]

Niwa Nagahide
丹羽 長秀
Niwa Nagahide2.jpg
Niwa Nagahide
Lord of Sakamoto Castle
In office
Preceded byAkechi Mitsuhide
Succeeded byAsano Nagamasa
Personal details
Born(1535-10-16)October 16, 1535
Nishi-ku, Nagoya
DiedMay 15, 1585(1585-05-15) (aged 49)
Nagakute, Aichi
Military service
Nickname(s)Gorōzaemon (五郎左衛門)
Kome Gorōza (米五郎左)
Oni Gorōza (鬼五郎左)
AllegianceOda emblem.svg Oda clan
Goshichi no kiri inverted.svg Toyotomi clan
UnitMon Niwa.svg Niwa clan
Battles/warsBattle of Ino
Battle of Inabayama
Battle of Kannonji
Battle of Anegawa
Ishiyama Hongan-ji War
Battle of Nagashino
Battle of Tedorigawa
Tenshō Iga War
Battle of Yamazaki
Battle of Shizugatake

Early lifeEdit

Site of Niwa Nagahide residence, Nagoya

Nagahide was born in what is now Nishi-ku, Nagoya, but then part of Aichi District, Owari Province. From his youth, Nagahide served Oda Nobunaga and became one of his senior retainers, He stayed by Nobunaga's side when his brother defied him during the Battle of Inō in 1555.

Military lifeEdit

In 1560, Nagahide also had military service during the Battle of Okehazama, but he wasn't a part of the main strike force.

In 1568, During the Battle of Kannonji Castle, he contributed in the conquest of Ōmi Province and was a part of Nobunaga's personal formation. His participation made him favored by Nobunaga.

According to the Nobunaga Kōki, he also served in the Battle of Inabayama 1567 against Saitō Tatsuoki, the Battle of Anegawa 1570 against Azai-Asakura clan, the Ikko-ikki campaign, Nobunaga's Kyushu campaign, and the Battle of Nagashino 1575, he also fought in the Battle of Tedorigawa 1577 under Shibata Katsuie against Uesugi Kenshin.

When he wasn't in battle, he was aiding Nobunaga's conquests by taking care of political affairs and was the building magistrate for Azuchi castle. One of the characters of his family name was said to have been granted for the Hashiba name for Hideyoshi. His participation made him favored by Nobunaga, among many of other deeds.[2] The extent of Nobunaga's trust can be seen by the fact that Nagahide married Nobunaga's niece, while his son was Niwa Nagashige. These services let Nagahide rule over the fief of Obama in Wakasa Province, and Sawayama Castle in Ōmi Province.[3]

In 1581, in a military parade held at Kyoto before the eyes of the Emperor as well as foreign missionaries, Nagahide was given the honor of leading the procession. In the same year, he fought in second Tensho Iga War against Iga inhabitants.

In 1582, as Oda Nobutaka's second in command, Nagahide launched a campaign on Shikoku; but before he made any progress, Nobunaga died during an attack by Akechi Mitsuhide. Nagahide abandoned the campaign and turned back to help Hashiba Hideyoshi avenge this by killing Mitsuhide at Battle of Yamazaki.

In 1583 at the subsequent meeting in Kiyosu Castle where the future of the Oda clan was discussed, Nagahide supported Hideyoshi's position, He also assisted Hideyoshi at the Battle of Shizugatake[4] and gained Echizen Province and Kaga Province to rule, worth over 1,230,000 koku. He thus became one of the most powerful retainers and daimyō.

Niwa Nagahide battle standard


However, Nagahide died of illness in 1585 without making any impact at all. There is a conflicting record that Nagahide had not died of an illness, but on seeing Hideyoshi gather more power and eclipsing the Oda clan Nagahide had so long served, he felt that he had not lived up for the good of Nobunaga and the Oda clan as whole and committed suicide.

His son Niwa Nagashige later became lord of Shirakawa Castle in northern Japan, and by the time of Nagahide's grandson Mitsushige, the family's 100,000 koku landholding was moved to Nihonmatsu, where they remained for the duration of the Edo Period.

Azamaru swordEdit

In the Nobunaga Kōki. In the record, Nagahide was presented "Azamaru" the treasured sword, initially held by Taira Kagekiyo. When a later owner, Kageyama Kazukage, was blinded during the Siege of Ôgaki castle in 1547, and the next owner, Niwa Nagahide, began having eye trouble, the sword was believed to be cursed. Nagahide donated the sword to the Atsuta shrine, in order to be freed from the curse. After the donation, his eye troubles went away.


  1. ^ Turnbull, Stephen (2000). The Samurai Sourcebook. London: Cassell & C0. pp. 67–68, 228. ISBN 1854095234.
  2. ^ Turnbull, S.R. (1977). The Samurai. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 167. ISBN 0026205408.
  3. ^ Turnbull, Stephen (1998). The Samurai Sourcebook. London: Cassell & Co. pp. 67–68. ISBN 9781854095237.
  4. ^ Sansom, George (1961). A History of Japan, 1334-1615. Stanford: Stanford University Press. p. 311. ISBN 0804705259.

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