Maeda Toshiie stood as a pivotal and accomplished figure during the Warring States Period, leaving an indelible mark on history. Born in Arako on January 15, 1538, to Maeda Toshimasa, the lord of Arako Castle in Owari (now part of Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture), Toshiie, also known as Inuchiyo or Matazaemon, emerged from a distinguished lineage.

In his youth, Toshiie served as a page to Oda Nobunaga, forging a close friendship with the spirited and unconventional Nobunaga. Notably, he earned the moniker "Yari-no-Mataza" for his exceptional spear skills. Despite having four older brothers, Toshiie was appointed as the head of the Maeda clan at the behest of Nobunaga in 1560 after his father's passing.

Toshiie played key roles in Nobunaga's forces, serving in the Akahoro-shu and later as the Ashigaru-Taisho. His valor shone in battles, particularly under Shibata Katsuie against the Asakura clan. For his achievements, he was granted the lucrative domain of Kaga (Kanazawa), making it the wealthiest domain of the Edo period.

Following Nobunaga's demise, Toshiie found himself pitted against his friend Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the Battle of Shizugatake, fighting under Shibata's banner. Subsequently, he became a general in Hideyoshi's army and faced another friend, Sassa Narimasa, at the Siege of Suemori Castle in 1584.

Appointed to the Council of Five Elders by Hideyoshi, Toshiie played a crucial role in governing on behalf of Hideyoshi's son, Hideyori. At Hideyoshi's deathbed in 1598, Toshiie received the solemn duty of directly caring for the infant Hideyori.

In opposition to Ieyasu's actions after Hideyoshi's death, Toshiie passed away at the age of 61 on April 27, 1599, a year before the Battle of Sekigahara. His wife, Matsu, a woman of both literary and martial prowess, played a significant role in Toshiie's ascent to power. Together, they had ten children, and Matsu's intelligence and strong will ensured the survival and prosperity of the Maeda clan. After Toshiie's demise and the Battle of Sekigahara, Matsu voluntarily became a hostage at Edo Castle, safeguarding the Maeda clan's legacy throughout the Edo period and beyond.


See also 

  • Yasuke


    Yasuke, an African page, arrived in Japan in 1579 as the attendant of the Italian Jesuit missionary Alessandro Valignano. Before the arrival of the Englishman William Adams, it is thought that Yasuke was possibly the inaugural non-Japanese samurai, arriving about twenty years earlier.

    Read more …

  • Yamanami Keisuke


    Yamanami Keisuke, the second in command of the Shinsengumi, a special police force during the late Edo period, shocked many when he performed seppuku on March 20, 1865, at the age of 32.

    Read more …

  • Yamamoto Kansuke


    Yamamoto Kansuke, renowned as a samurai strategist and one of Takeda Shingen's esteemed 24 Generals, hailed from the Mikawa region, known for breeding formidable warriors. Despite physical challenges—blindness in one eye, lameness in one leg, and a malformed hand—Kansuke embarked on a warrior's pilgrimage in his twenties. Traveling across the land, he honed his skills in strategy, tactics, castle construction, and warfare, engaging in various swordsmanship schools and forms.

    Read more …

  • Yamaga Soko


    Yamaga Soko was a multifaceted figure in Japanese history, renowned as a strategist, philosopher, and scholar. Later in life, he became a ronin, leaving a significant mark on the understanding of the Tokugawa period samurai.

    Read more …

  • William Adams - Miura Anjin


    William Adams, also known as Miura Anjin, holds the distinction of being one of the few non-Japanese individuals granted samurai status. Born in Gillingham, Kent, England in 1564, Adams embarked on a remarkable journey that led him to become an influential figure in Japanese history.

    Read more …

  • Wakisaka Yasuharu


    Wakisaka Yasuharu held the position of daimyo over Awaji Island before ruling over Ozu in Iyo Province. His significance in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 cannot be overstated.

    Read more …

  • Ukita Hideie


    Ukita Hideie was born as the second son of Ukita Naoie, the ruler of Okayama Castle. Tragically, Hideie's father passed away when he was just nine years old, thrusting him into the responsibilities of leading the castle, clan, and domain. Prior to his father's demise, the Ukita clan had aligned with Oda Nobunaga. After Nobunaga's assassination during the Honno-ji Incident, Hideie remained loyal to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, whose ties were further solidified through marriage.

    Read more …

  • Uesugi Kenshin


    Uesugi Kenshin stands out as one of the most formidable daimyo of the Sengoku period, presenting the sole substantial challenge to Oda Nobunaga's quest for dominance.

    Read more …