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Niwa Nagahide, born in 1535 in Aichi, Owari Province (present-day Nishi-ku in Nagoya City), played a crucial role in the historical landscape of feudal Japan. Directly serving Oda Nobunaga, he earned a distinguished position as one of Nobunaga's most esteemed senior vassals.

Throughout his career, Nagahide actively participated in numerous significant battles, showcasing his unwavering loyalty. The Battle of Nagakute in 1584 stands as an exception, as illness prevented his direct involvement in the fighting during that campaign.

Nobunaga held Nagahide in high regard, exemplified by Nagahide's marriage to Nobunaga's adopted daughter. Additionally, his son, Nagashige, wed Nobunaga's fourth daughter. In recognition of his leadership prowess, Nagahide was granted Wakasa Province (currently southern Fukui Prefecture) and Sawayama Castle in Omi (Shiga Prefecture). Nobunaga entrusted him with the construction of Azuchi Castle, showcasing the deep trust between lord and vassal.

A significant honor came in 1581 when Niwa Nagahide was selected to lead a grand military parade orchestrated by Nobunaga. This spectacle served both as a demonstration of authority and as public entertainment for the Emperor, the Imperial Court, foreign missionaries, and the people of Kyoto.

Tragedy struck in 1582 when Nagahide accompanied Oda Nobutaka on a campaign to quell Shikoku, following Nobunaga's orders. However, the campaign was abruptly halted by the Honno-ji Incident, where Akechi Mitsuhide betrayed and felled Nobunaga. Promptly abandoning the campaign, Nagahide joined forces with Toyotomi Hideyoshi to avenge their fallen master. He continued to support Hideyoshi during the Kiyosu Kaigi, a pivotal meeting held at Kiyosu Castle to determine the future of the Oda clan.

Nagahide played a crucial role in the conflict against Shibata Katsuie at Shizugatake under Hideyoshi's leadership. In recognition of his contributions, he was awarded Echizen and Kaga Provinces (present-day Fukui and Ishikawa Prefectures), attaining daimyo status with an income of 1,230,000 koku.

Regrettably, Niwa Nagahide passed away on May 15, 1585. While some records attribute his death to illness, others suggest that he committed seppuku, driven by a sense of guilt for inadvertently playing a significant role in Hideyoshi's rise to power within the Oda clan.

 


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