Maeda Toshiie (前田利家)
Toshiie MAEDA (前田 利家, January 25, 1539 - April 27, 1599) was a busho (Japanese military commander) and daimyo (Japanese feudal lord) from the Sengoku period (period of warring states) (the late Muromachi period) to the Azuchi-Momoyama period. He was a founder of the Maeda clan, Kaga hanshu (the Lord of the Kaga domain).
There is another opinion that he was born in 1537. His childhood name was Inuchiyo. His father was Toshiharu MAEDA, the lord of Arako-jo Castle of Owari Province, and his mother was Choreiin. He had children including the first Kaga Hanshu Toshinaga MAEDA, the second Hanshu Toshitsune MAEDA, and others.
He was a member of the Gotairo (Council of Five Elders) of the Toyotomi government.
Brief Personal History
Toshiie MAEDA was born as the fourth son of Toshimasa (another name of Toshiharu) MAEDA, the lord of Arako-jo Castle at Arako Village, Kaito County, Owari Province, and at first he served Nobunaga ODA as a kosho (page). In his youth, he followed Nobunaga to take part in wars as one of Akahoro-shu (elite bodyguard unit with a red hood on the back), and because he was an expert of a yari (spear), people feared him and called him by another name "Yari no Mataza" (Matazaemon the spear master). Then, he served under Katsuie SHIBATA as a yoriki (busho, or military commander who was ordered to work under another busho's command as his assistant), and moved from place to place to fight as a member of the troops against the Hokuriku area. He was granted a domain of 230,000 koku in Noto and became a daimyo. After Nobunaga was assassinated by Mitsuhide AKECHI in the Honnoji Incident, he stood by Katsuie SHIBATA at first, but then served Hideyoshi HASHIBA as a subordinate. He took part in the wars for Hideyoshi's campaign to suppress the whole of Japan as a chief vassal of the Toyotomi family, and he was given Kaga and Ecchu Provinces and set the foundation of the so-called Kaga Hyaku-man koku (the Kaga domain with one million koku [about five million bushels] of rice produced annually). In 1598, he was appointed as a member of the Gotairo of the Toyotomi government and the guardian of Hideyori TOYOTOMI by Hideyoshi. After Hideyoshi died, he worked as an arbitrator of the fight between the military government group and the civilian government group whose conflict had become actualized, and made every effort to lay a restraint on Ieyasu TOKUGAWA who maneuvered behind the scenes to usurp the hegemony, but he also died of disease eight months after the death of Hideyoshi.
Starting to serve, Page days
On January 25, 1539, Toshiie MAEDA was born at Arako Village, Kaito County, Owari Province (Nakagawa Ward, Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture) as the fourth son of Toshimasa (also called Toshiharu) MAEDA, the head of the Arako-Maeda family, the powerful local clan who had dominated that area. His childhood name was Inuchiyo. The Arako-Maeda family is said to have been a family of the Toshihito line of the Fujiwara clan or a family of the Sugawara clan.
In 1551, Inuchiyo started to serve Nobunaga as a page.
It is said that Nobunaga who was called an utsuke (the stupid) or a kabukimono (an eccentric person) in those days got to favor Inuchiyo who was also a kabukimono, and that they dressed in the kimono for women or the outlandish kimono made of animal skin and others and they committed delinquent and deviated behaviors together (it is also said that Nobunaga and Toshiie had already known each other before Toshiie became a page.)
In 1552, he took part in the war for the first time in the Battle of Kayatsu which was broken out between Nobunaga and Nobutomo ODA, the lord of Kiyosu-jo Castle of the Oda Yamato no Kami family (the Kiyosu Oda clan) who governed Owari Shimo Yongun (the lower four counties of Owari), and made an achievement of getting one severed head (Memoranda of Shigeyori MURAI). Later, he had his coming of age celebrated and named himself Matazaemon Toshiie MAEDA (otherwise called Matashiro or Magoshiro). The rumor that Toshiie was in the shudo (homosexual) relationship with Nobunaga in those days has been handed down in the documents of the Kaga domain "Ashoko On-yobanashi" (Night Stories of Lord Chief Councilor [Toshiie MAEDA]) as 'the story of the crane soup (the anecdote of the time when Toshiie was envied by everybody because Nobunaga announced that Toshiie had been his lover in their youth in the banquet for the military exploits)'.
Toshiie as a young man was vigorous, and was called by another name like Yari no Matazaemon or Yari no Mataza. But this vigorousness was harmful to him, and he spent days of many hardships in this period of his life.
In 1556, in the Battle of Inou which was the strife over authority of the Oda family fought between Nobunaga and his younger brother Nobukatsu ODA, although Toshiie was shot under the right eye with an arrow by the head of the enemy's pages named Kanbei MIYAI, he made a great achievement by killing this shooter. In 1558, he also took part in the Battle of Ukino which was a conflict with Nobukata ODA, a son of Nobuyasu ODA (the Iwakura ODA clan), Shugodai (Deputy military governor) and Lord of Iwakura-jo Castle, who had governed Owari Kami Yongun (Upper four counties of Owari), and rendered a remarkable achievement. It is said that it was about the time of this battle that he began to be called by another name like "Yari no Matazaemon" or "Yari no Mataza".
Besides, after this battle, he was unexpectedly selected as the head of the Akahoro-shu which was one of the red and black horo-shu (elite troops under the direct supervision of Nobunaga with a nature of his bodyguards, who ran in the battle fields as orderlies with akahoro [red hood] or kurohoro [black hood] on their backs) which were organized newly around 1558 and a lot of yoriki were incorporated under his command, and furthermore, he had his chigyo (enfeoffment) increased by 100 kan. In the same year, he received his cousin Matsu (Hoshunin) as his shitsu (legal wife), and he was just about to step off into the hopeful future with everything being smooth, but in the next year, 1559, he got into a dispute with Juami, one of Doboshu (attendants of a person of high rank who are in charge of entertainment), so that he cut him to death and ran away immediately with no excuse.
Although it was thought at first that he was not able to escape being punished, thanks to the mediation to Nobunaga by Katsuie SHIBATA, Yoshinari MORI and others, his sentence was reduced to the penalty of prohibition of serving, and he began living a ronin (masterless samurai) life (some people interpret this penalty to be a test by Nobunaga to make sure whether Toshiie would serve another daimyo or not, and to judge whether he would be trustworthy.)
During this period, he scarcely made a living by such means as getting the patronage of Toshisada TSUBOUCHI, the lord of Matsukura-jo Castle (Owari Province).
Later in 1560, while Toshiie had been sentenced to prohibition of serving, he took part in the Battle of Okehazama without Nobunaga's permission, and he made achievements of killing enemies and severing three heads in total, one in the morning battle and two in the final battle, but he was not allowed to return to the service for Nobunaga. In the next year, 1561, he also took part in the Battle of Moribe without Nobunaga's permission. In this battle he made a great achievement of killing a tough hero named Rokubei ADACHI, who had another name "Kubitori Adachi" (head-severing Adachi), a retainer of Shimotsuke no kami (the governor of Shimotsuke Province) HIBINO who was a chief vassal of the Saito clan. This time he gained another severed head in addition to that of Adachi. When he brought these two severed heads and advanced to the front of Nobunaga, his distinguished war services were recognized this time, and he was allowed to return to the service with chigyo of 300 kan (or 450 kanmom by another opinion) increased by Nobunaga ("Shinchoko-ki" [Biography of Nobunaga ODA]).
While Toshiie was a ronin, his father Toshimasa died, and his oldest brother Toshihisa had succeeded to the reigns of the Maeda clan. However, suddenly in 1569, he was ordered by Nobunaga to succeed to the reigns of the Maeda clan in place of his oldest brother. It is said that the reason was that Toshihisa had no child of his own, and that because he had a sickly constitution, he was in the situation that "it is rather a long time since he served as a musha (warrior) last" (Memoranda of Shigeyori MURAI).
From that time on, Toshiie engaged in the task of unification of the whole country promoted by Nobunaga, and took part in a lot of battles. In June, 1570, in the Battle of Kanagasaki against the Asai clan and the Asakura clan, he took charge of guarding Nobunaga who withdrew from the battlefield, and in the Battle of Anegawa in August, he made a great achievement of killing an enemy named Sukeshichiro ASAI. In October of the same year, in the Battle of the Kasugai-zutsumi which broke out between Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple and the Oda clan, while most warriors of his side were retreating from the Kasugai-zutsumi Bank, only Toshiie remained there and made a great achievement of killing the enemies. In the cases of battles like the Battle of Ichijodani-jo Castle in October of 1573, Nagashima Ikko Ikki (an uprising of Ikko sect followers in Nagashima) in August of 1574, and the Battle of Nagashino in June of 1575, it has been verified that Toshiie took part in these wars as a teppo bugyo (commander of the firearms troop) along with Narimasa SASSA, Masanari NONOMURA, HIdekatsu FUKUTOMI, Naomasa BAN and others.
But it is thought that these days, because Toshiie served as a Horo-shu or Umamawari (general's mounted guard) whose main role was a guard of Nobunaga and liaison officer, there were no opportunities to make the greater military exploits than those of one fighting samurai.
In 1574, Toshiie was ordered to serve as a yoriki of Katsuie SHIBATA, and he was engaged in suppressing the Ikko Ikki (an uprising of Ikko sect followers) in Echizen Province.
How severely he oppressed the Ikko Ikki on this occasion has been handed down by some records such as the inscription on the stone wall of Echizen Komaru-jo Castle, which says, "Mr. Matazaemon MAEDA punished some 1,000 followers of Ikko sect whom he had captured by crucifying or boiling (it is thought that this inscription was written by laborer who survived the Ikko Ikki and participated in the construction of Komaru-jo Castle which was carried out soon after the Ikko Ikki.)
In the next year, Echizen Ikko Ikki was suppressed, when Toshiie, Narimasa SASSA, and Mitsuharu FUWA were given the territory of 100,000 koku in Fuchu (central city of the province where the local government was placed) (this meant that they should share the territory, but not that each of them was given 33,000 koku respectively), and they came to be called "Fuchu Sanninshu" (three important persons in Fuchu). After the suppression of Echizen, he was engaged in suppressing the Hokuriku region by fighting against the troops of the Uesugi clan with Narimasa and others as a yoriki of Katsuie, but because he also took part in the attack on Settsu Arioka-jo Castle (the Battle of Arioka-jo Castle) and the attack on Harima Miki-jo Castle (the Battle of Miki), it can be supposed that he continued to have a role like a direct retainer of Nobunaga. Some people have an opinion that, in 1580, he supported the troops of Hideyoshi in the attack on Tottori-jo Castle.
In 1581, Toshiie was appointed as the lord of Noto Nanao-jo Castle (Nanao City, Ishikawa Prefecture), and he became a daimyo who owned the territory of 230,000 koku in Noto. Nanao-jo Castle was impregnable but far from the seaport towns, so he gave it up and surveyed a small mountain from which he could overlook the port and constructed Komaruyama-jo Castle (Nanao City) there.
Battle of Shizugatake
In July, 1582, when Nobunaga was killed by his vassal Mitsuhide AKECHI in the Honnoji Incident, Toshiie was fighting under the command of Katsuie SHIBATA to capture Ecchu Uozu-jo Castle which the troops of Kagekatsu UESUGI held, so he could not take part in the attack against Mitsuhide by Hideyoshi.
On the 26th of the same month, soon after Mitsuhide's death, when Hideyoshi HASHIBA (Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI) was opposed to Katsuie SHIBATA in Kiyosu Kaigi (the meeting at Kiyosu) for deciding the affairs like the succeeding personnel of the Oda family, Toshiie took sides with Katsuie because he had been Katsuie's yoriki. However, he suffered also from the relationship with Hideyoshi because he had had an old friendship with Hideyoshi for a long time.
In December of the same year, according to the order of Katsuie, he went to Yamashiro Hoshakuji-jo Castle (Oyamazaki-machi, Kyoto Prefecture) with Nagachika KANAMORI and Katsumitsu FUWA, and negotiated about a temporary peace with Hideyoshi who stayed there (however, this was an expedient means of Katsuie whose home ground was Hokuriku which was snowed up in winter.)
It is said that he was conciliated on the contrary by Hideyoshi on this occasion.
And in the Battle of Shizugatake in June of the next year, 1583, although Toshiie was in command of about 5,000 men and deployed them as the troops of Shibata, when the battle reached a climax, his troops retreated suddenly, and this determined the victory of the troops of Hashiba. Toshiie then held Echizen Fuchu-jo Castle, and there remained an anecdote that Katsuie who had been defeated and was running away to Kitanosho-jo Castle dropped in on him to thank him for his laborious services until then and to ask for a bowl of yuzuke (hot water on cold rice) ("Shizugatake Kassen-ki" [the records of the Battle of Shizugatake]). After that, when Hidemasa HORI came into Fuchu-jo Castle as an envoy, Toshiie followed his advice to surrender, and became the vanguard of the attack on Katsuie SHIBATA who held Fukui-jo Castle (Fukui City). After the war, he was not only permitted to maintain his main territory, but also had two counties added in Kaga Province which was the former territory of Morimasa SAKUMA, and he moved to Oyama-jo Castle (later Kanazawa-jo Castle).
Battle of Komaki and Nagakute
In 1584, when Hideyoshi conflicted with Ieyasu TOKUGAWA and Nobukatsu ODA in the Battle of Komaki and Nagakute, Narimasa SASSA invaded Noto Province in cooperation with Ieyasu TOKUGAWA and others, but Toshiie defeated and routed Narimasa at Suemori-jo Castle (the Battle of Suemori). In the Battle of Nagakute the Hideyoshi side suffered a bitter defeat on May 18, but from that time on too, the both sides continued to face each other and the front line had come to a deadlock. Meanwhile, Toshiie did not move out of Hokuriku. It was because Toshiie and Nagahide NIWA were entrusted with the defense of the Hokuriku area.
After Toshiie won the Battle of Suemori, he then captured the Arayama and Katsuyama forts, and invaded Ecchu Province too to attack (Documents of the Okumura clan). On October 22, Toshiie had his victories in a series of battles celebrated by Hideyoshi (Documents of Maeda Ikutokukai, Onkosokucho).
The war against Narimasa was held over till next year, and during that period, Toshiie contacted Kagekatsu UESUGI and had him advance to the border with Ecchu Province, and tried to tempt Takekatsu KIKUCHI, a local samurai of Ecchu Province who had become a busho of Narimasa, to take sides with Hideyoshi. Besides, he sent the troops to attack Ecchu Province.
In April of the next year, 1585, Hideyoshi suppressed Saiga-shu (Ikko groups). In July, Hideyoshi sent Hidenaga TOYOTOMI as Taisho (general) to Shikoku, and suppressed it. In September, when Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI invaded Ecchu Province taking a large force of 100,000 men with Toshiie working as a leading guide there, Narimasa surrendered, so that Toshiie's legitimate child Toshinaga MAEDA had three counties of Tonami, Imizu and Nei added in Ecchu Province, with the result that they became a great daimyo who owned three provinces governed by a father and a son. Because the lord of Echizen Province Nagahide NIWA had already died in May of the same year, Toshiie was promoted to a post that could be regarded as Soshoku (Governor General) in the Hokuriku-do region under the Toyotomi government, and was appointed as a role that should keep in contact with the Uesugi clan in Echigo Province, the Hojo clan in Kanto, and the territorial lords in Tohoku.
Soshoku in the Hokuriku-do region
When the Kyushu Conquest was carried out, Toshiie was put in charge of the defense of the Kinai region (the five provinces surrounding the ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto) with the troops of 8,000 men (his son Toshinaga took part in the campaign to the Kyushu area.)
About that time Hideyoshi began to use Toyotomi cognomen to call himself, and at the same time he made Toshiie call himself "Chikuzen no kami (governor of Chikuzen Province) HASHIBA" which was his former name, and what is more, he petitioned the imperial court to make Toshiie appointed as Sakone gon no shosho (Provisional Minor Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards) (the genealogical table of the Maeda family). While in August, 1585, Hideyoshi was appointed as Kanpaku (Chief Adviser to the Emperor), and in October, 1586, he was granted Toyotomi cognomen, Toshiie was appointed as Uchujo (Middle Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards), and on February 25, 1590, Toshiie was appointed as Sangi (Councilor) (the genealogical table of the Maeda family). Besides, he had the honor of participate in the events such as the Great Kitano Tea Gathering which Hideyoshi hosted and the emperor's visitation to the Jurakudai residence. Then, he became a negotiator to persuade Nobunao NANBU, Masamune DATE and others in the Tohoku region to submit to the Toyotomi family. In the Siege of Odawara to suppress the Go-Hojo ('Go' means 'Late') clan (in 1590), Toshiie invaded Kozuke Province as a Commander in Chief of the north provinces forces with Kagekatsu UESUGI and Masayuki SANADA, and captured Kozuke Matsuida-jo Castle which was the northernmost key position for the Hojo clan, and then defeated the other castles one after another as well. Next, he proceeded to Musashi Province, and seized Hachigata-jo Castle and Hachioji-jo Castle (the archives of the Uesugi family, the genealogical table of the Maeda family). On August 4, the Hojo family surrendered. At that time, Masamune DATE of Mutsu Province had already come to Odawara and surrendered, and there is a record that it was Toshiie and others who interrogated him (Date chika kiroku [historical record of the Sendai clan]). Considering that Toshiie once urged Masamune to come to the capital (Kyoto), and that he served as a soja (person in charge of informing a shogun or daimyo of the name of visitors to the residence before the meeting) to Hideyoshi, Toshiie seemed to be in charge of diplomacy with the date clan (the documents of the Date family).
After the fall of Odawara-jo Castle, Hideyoshi advanced his forces to the Ou region. Although Hideyoshi himself left the front for home in September, Toshiie and others remained there and made every effort to suppress the Ou region.
Hideyoshi, after unifying the whole Japan, started Kara-iri (entry to China) or Korai gojin (attack on Goryeo), that is, the Bunroku-Keicho War.
In September, 1591, Hideyoshi issued an order for the dispatch of troops to Korea, and the construction of Nagoya-jo Castle was started. On April 27 of the next year, 1592 (the first year of the Bunroku era), Toshiie left Kyo (Kyoto, as of now) for Nagoya before the other warloards (Tokitsune-kyo ki [The Diary of Lord Tokitsune]). It is said that the troops of 8,000 men followed him, but his legitimate child Toshinaga was made to stay in Kyo. At first, Hideyoshi had an intention to cross the sea in person, but Toshiie and Ieyasu persuaded him that it should be a mistake, and made him change his mind. On August 29, Hideyoshi received the news of her mother Omandokoro (the mother of a Kanpaku) being critically ill, and went up to the east in a hurry. It was on November 4 that he left Osaka for Nagoya again after his mother's funeral ceremony (Tamonin Nikki [The Diary compiled from 1478 to 1618 by Eishun and other Buddhist priests at Tamon-in Temple]). He was away from Nagoya for about three months, in which period Ieyasu and Toshiie took command of the warlords and administered the government affairs in place of Hideyoshi. In February, 1593, as Toshiie received the order to cross the sea, he prepared for it and decided even the battle array, but because the movement toward conciliation with Ming soon began to be promoted, he did not have to cross the sea after all. On June 14, when the envoys dispatched from Ming arrived at Nagoya, the residences of Ieyasu and Toshiie were used for their lodgings. In August, on receiving the news of Hideyori's birth, Hideyoshi went back to Osaka. Then Toshiie also went up to the east, and returned to the Kanazawa-jo Castle in November (old calendar).
A child who was born in this period to Toshiie and Chiyo no kata (Lady Chiyo), a waiting woman of Matsu, was Saruchiyo, later Kaga hanshu (the Lord of the Kaga domain) Toshitsune MAEDA. About this time a tradition about Toshiie was formed that he was a henpecked husband. There is also an opinion that Saruchiyo was Hideyoshi's secret illegitimate child.
Gotairo and Guardian of Hideyori
In 1598 or so, not only Hideyoshi but also Toshiie began to show the decline of health. After Toshiie had the honor of attending the cherry blossom viewing party held in Sanbo-in of Daigo-ji Temple with his wife Matsu on April 20, he transferred the reigns of the family to his legitimate child Toshinaga and retired on the next month May 25, and he left for Kusatsu for toji (hot spring cure). At this time, he was given a retirement stipend of 15,000 koku in Ishikawa and Kahoku Counties of Kaga Province, Himi County of Ecchu Province, and Kashima County of Noto Province (the genealogy of the Lord of the Kaga domain).
However, Toshiie was not allowed to retire virtually, and after returning from Kusatsu, he was ordered to be a member of Gotairo by Hideyoshi who established the system of Gotairo (Five Elders) and Gobugyo (Five Major Magistrates).
In addition, he was appointed as Joshu (the head of a group) of Gotairo who was equal to Ieyasu. And on September 18, Hideyoshi died after imploring for the future of his legitimate child Hideyori TOYOTOMI over and over to Toshiie and others.
On January 27 of the next year, 1599 (the New Year's Day of the fourth year of the Keicho era by the old lunar calendar), the territorial lords came to Fushimi, and gave the new year's greetings to their new master Hideyori. Although Toshiie was ill, he attended as the guardian in spite of his bad physical condition, and sat down holding Hideyori on his knees. And on February 5, to observe Hideyoshi's will, Ieyasu entered Fushimi-jo Castle, and Toshiie entered Osaka-jo Castle following Hideyori. After that, he became a substantial master of Osaka-jo Castle as Hideyori's guardian (Tokitsune, Night Stories of Toshiie).
But soon Ieyasu violated the laws enacted by late Hideyoshi, and made his way through the marriage policy with Masamune DATE, Iemasa HACHISUKA and Masanori FUKUSHIMA without permission. Toshiie opposed this, so that a disturbance arose in which the territorial lords gathered together in both Ieyasu's residence and Toshiie's residence. Toshiie was supported by three members of Gotairo, Kagekatsu UESUGI, Terumoto MORI and Hideie UKITA, one member of Gobugyo, Mitsunari ISHIDA, and some of the military government group who were later to take sides with Ieyasu in the Battle of Sekigahara, Tadaoki HOSOKAWA, Yoshinaga ASANO, Kiyomasa KATO and Yoshiaki KATO, but they reached a reconciliation on February 26, so nine men who were four members of Gotairo including Toshiie and five members of Gobugyo exchanged the written oaths with Ieyasu. In addition to that, Toshiie visited Ieyasu's residence, and Ieyasu also realized that it was disadvantageous to conflict with Toshiie, so that they compromised with each other on condition that Ieyasu would evacuate to Mukaijima. Immediately after that, because Toshiie's condition got worse, Ieyasu visited Toshiie's residence to ask about his health. There remains an episode that Toshiie had a naked sword hidden under his futon (a set of Japanese mattresses and quilts) when Ieyasu came to see him. Then Toshiie died in his own residence in Osaka before long.
After Toshiie's death, the conquest of Kaga was considered by Ieyasu. At first Toshinaga carried out the build-up of the castle, etc. from the standpoint of entering to war, but the conquest was withdrawn on condition that her mother Hoshunin would be the hostage. Judging from the fact that the Uesugi family rebelled Ieyasu and lost about 900,000 koku later, it can be said that the Maeda family had foresight. But the death of Toshiie who had so much popularity and war bargaining that he could be the only person to match evenly Ieyasu was one of the causes that determined the fall of the Toyotomi clan.
Homyo (a Buddhist name given to a person who has died or has entered the priesthood): Kotokuin-den Toun Joken Daikoji (高徳院殿桃雲浄見大居士)
Burial Ground: The Nodayama Graveyard in Noda-cho, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture and Hoen-ji Temple in Takara-machi, Kanazawa City
There are several portraits of Toshiie including one owned by Kaizen-ji Temple. There also exists a suit of armor which it is said that Toshiie put on actually.
Personality and Anecdotes
It is said that Toshiie was fond of the tendency of kabukimono, and that when he was young, he was in a showy style by wearing the kimono for women, the kimono made with fur of animals, and so on, and he always carried an extraordinarily long spear with him.
Toshiie in his youth was known to be rude and what is more, to be quite fond of fighting, and it is said that when he went by on the streets, someone yelled out, "Here comes Matazaemon's spear!"
Besides, he told to his own pages in the last years, "It would be best for young men to have something of kabukimono" (Mitsuboki) (Night Stories of Lord Toshiie).
It is recorded in the documents of the Kaga domain "Ashoko On-yobanashi" that Toshiie who was known to be slender and handsome was Nobunaga's favorite and played a role of his homosexual partner when Toshiie was his page. Although there is an opinion that Naritoshi (Ranmaru) MORI and Hidemasa HORI who were famous as Nobunaga's page as well as Toshiie played a role of his homosexual partner, there is almost no material that recorded whether the homosexual relationship existed or not actually, so it is considered that the episode about the crane soup written in this "Ashoko On-yobanashi" is very unusual.
Talking about his looks, in the days when the average height of men was about 157 cm, he had an incomparably blessed body build which was proud to be 182 cm tall (Toshiie's height is estimated to be 182 cm based on his remained kimono), and his face was also handsome as mentioned above, so that he is said to have been a very nice-looking busho. And in the same age, Toshiie was regarded as "a faithful man" by nature.
Because Toshiie carried the long and showy-made spear with a shaft being 6.3 m with him, and he was a military man who had made great achievements by a spear point in a lot of battles since his uijin (first battle), he was praised by another name Yari no Mataza. Toshiie was very large with the height of 180 cm as stated above, and the skill at brandishing his spear with that body build was guaranteed to be first-class. In the Battle of Kayatsu which he took part in for his first battle as a page who had not yet his coming of age celebrated at that time, he carried the above-mentioned spear with a shaft being 6.3 m which he himself lacquered vermilion so that it would stand out in the battlefield, and he made an achievement of gaining a severed head with his spear. Therefore, Nobunaga praised Inuchiyo saying, "Hairs are growing on Inuchiyo's liver" (which means "Inuchiyo is very courageous"). And in the Battle of Inou which Toshiie took part in immediately after he had his coming of age celebrated, because he was shot under the right eye with an arrow, the men on his side urged him to withdraw, but after he said, "I have not gained even one severed head," he dashed into the enemy forces with the arrow stuck into his face, and made a great achievement of killing the very man who shot him with a bow. Nobunaga was much pleased at this, and an anecdote has been left that by saying, "Inuchiyo is still a young punk like this, but he made such a great achievement," he encouraged the men on his side during the battle. It is said that at this time Toshiie attended also the identification of severed heads after the war without pulling out the arrow. Also in the Battle of Ukino after that, he made an achievement with his spear point, it is said that he was given another name Yari no Mataza in this battle. It is recorded in Shinchoko-ki that Toshiie who had run away because of Kogai-giri (Japanese hairpin murder), when he took part in the Battle of Okehazama without Nobunaga's permission in order to get a chance to return to the Oda family, gained one severed head in the morning battle and two in the final battle, and when he then took part in the Battle of Moribe, made a great achievement of killing a stouthearted samurai who had another name "Kubitori Adachi". In the attack on Asai at the Ane-gawa River, he did a very good job such as killing a samurai named Sukeshichiro ASAI and others, so he was praised by Nobunaga saying, "Toshiie's spear is as matchless as ever." And in the attack on Osaka Hongan-ji Temple, while the troops on his side retreated on the Kasugai-zutsumi Bank, he stayed by himself and defeated the enemy to let his men retreat safely, so he has been praised as "the incomparable spear in Japan" or "the spear on the bank".
There exists an opinion that he lost one eye because of the wound he suffered in the above-mentioned Battle of Inou.
There is an opinion that he was a Christian daimyo, and it is also said that he was christened (with a Christian name Augustin) (A Buddhist image normally withheld from public view of Hongyo-ji Temple).
Although Toshiie was excellent in bravery, in the Battle of Nagashino while he was chasing the withdrawing Takeda army, he got seriously injured by being cut deeply in the right leg by an enemy named Saemon YUGE, and was about to be nearly killed, just when he was saved by his vassal Nagayori MURAI and he had an experience of having a narrow escape from death
In the year before the Battle of Okehazama, Juami, who was Nobunaga's favorite chabozu (tea-server) and was said to always show various arrogant attitudes toward the busho under Nobunaga, stole the kogai (Japanese hairpin which is said to haven been a present to Toshiie from his wife) on the sword which Toshiie was carrying, and made Toshiie very furious. Toshiie would not concede by insisting that he punish Juami, but Nobunaga's mediation made the situation calm down for a while and it did not lead to a serious problem. But because Juami repeated persistent insults toward Toshiie even after that, Toshiie cut Juami to death in the presence of Nobunaga without his permission, and he ran away from the Oda family. This occurrence is generally called "Kogai-giri".
Hideyoshi who was one of Toshiie's colleagues in the period of the Oda government and his master in the period of the TOYOTOMI government lived in the house next to his in their Kiyosu days and in the house opposite his in their Azuchi days. Perhaps because of that, both the husbands and wives were so friendly from the time Hideyoshi was an ashigaru (common foot soldier), that in 1574 Toshiie and his wife handed over their fourth daughter Gohime to Hideyoshi and his wife who had had no children yet. It is said that after Toshiie was hostile toward Hideyoshi in the Battle of Shizugatake, and also after he yielded under Hideyoshi as a vassal, they kept secretly the personal friendship such as cauterizing moxa each other. It is thought that because Toshiie was "a faithful man", Hideyoshi entrusted him with the guardian of Hideyori TOYOTOMI. However, the name of the Toyotomi family is not written in Toshiie's will, but only the name of the Oda family and his faithfulness to the Oda family are written in it. This fact will lead us to the possibility that Toshiie himself might not have recognized Hideyoshi as his master, or rather, considering Hideyoshi's behaviors in his later years as well, Toshiie might have disliked him. As to the guardian of Hideyori, it can be said that it was because Hideyori was a descendant of the Oda family that Toshiie undertook it, and his faithfulness seemed to be directed at the Oda family, if anything.
(It should be noted that the third shogun of the Tokugawa family was also a descendant of the Oda family. Therefore, it could be said that Hideyoshi's will was fulfilled, in a sense.)
When as the result of the violation of the laws by Ieyasu, a disturbance arose in which the territorial lords gathered together in both Ieyasu's residence and Toshiie's residence, nine men who were four members of Gotairo including Toshiie and five members of Gobugyo exchanged the written oaths with Ieyasu, and the compromise for the time being was realized. Although Ieyasu admitted his own mistake, he showed an aggressive attitude, and strictly speaking, Ieyasu who violated the laws ought to have come to Osaka-jo Castle to greet Hideyori and Toshiie, but he kept on refusing to do so obstinately. As the result of the mediation by Tadaoki HOSOKAWA, Yoshinaga ASANO, and others who wanted to avoid the conflict between both parties, it was decided that Toshiie visit Ieyasu. At this time, Toshiie left for Fushimi-jo Castle after he told his son Toshinaga as follows. "Although Hideyoshi was asking us to look after Hideyori until just before his death, Ieyasu has already begun to do as he pleases." "I will go and negotiate with Ieyasu directly in order to make him keep his promise." "If the negotiations were to break down, I would cut Ieyasu to death with this sword." "If I were to be cut to death by Ieyasu, you should fight the battle of revenge against Ieyasu."
While he was called Yari no Mataza and won a name for himself, he had another side that he was calculating and knew how to succeed in the world. For example, an anecdote in the Battle of Shizugatake tells that although he betrayed Katsuie SHIBATA, he gave a warm reception to escaping Katsuie to weaken the impression of betrayal, or another remaining story tells that while Toshiie supported the Toyotomi family as the guardian of Hideyori, when he was about to die, he asked Ieyasu who came to see him in a sick bed to take care of his son Toshinaga.
(With regard to the story of visiting the sick Toshiie, on the contrary, there remains an episode that Toshiie had a naked sword hidden under his futon, or it is said that the above-mentioned story was the secondary historical material which was composed to submit to the bakufu [Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun] in the Edo period, and that it was the description so created that the Maeda family, a great tozama [outsider] daimyo, flattered the Tokugawa family. For that reason, it is unknown whether it was true or false.)
It is said that when the rumor went around that a ghost appeared in the tenshukaku (keep or tower) of Sakamoto-jo Castle night after night, Toshiie applied for the test of courage personally, and after spending all night there, he came back from the tenshukaku as if nothing had happened, so he was praised for his courageousness by Hideyoshi. And it is said that one of the five best swords in Japan, Otenta was conferred to him at this time.
Toshiie protected Ukon TAKAYAMA who lost the Akashi domain (Takatsuki-jo Castle) of Harima Province by the Ban of Christianity enacted by Hideyoshi, and thought highly of Ukon who had abundant knowledge about the methods of castle construction and the science, so Toshiie offered him a residence and the roku (stipend) of 30,000 koku. As it is clear from the fact that after the attack on the Hojo domain and the Bunroku-Keicho War, his legitimate child Toshinaga ordered Ukon to improve Kanazawa-jo Castle, he appointed Ukon to a responsible post as the brains, and he continued to be on friendly terms with Ukon.
Later in life, he also gained learning such as Chinese classic books, and practiced cultural activities such as Sado (tea ceremony) and Noh (traditional masked dance-drama) actively, too. He learned Sado from SEN no Rikyu and Uraku ODA, and his chaire (tea container) was a masterpiece called "Fuji Nasu" (eggplant-shaped tea caddy) which he got from Hideyoshi and which was one of the great three "nasu" tea caddies. Toshiie liked Noh especially in these, and he was so enthusiastic over Noh that he practiced Noh once in three days as a pastime or social method.
As Toshiie carried out all the settlement of the Maeda family in person, his favorite soroban (abacus) has been handed down as a treasure of the Maeda family (a soroban had just been introduced to Japan at that time, so it was uncommon enough to be able to use it.)
Toshiie realized how important money was personally while he led a ronin life for two years as the result of the kogai-giri, and later in life he always said, "If you have money, neither the others nor the public criticisms are terrible, but if you have become poor, the world turns out to be terrible." There remains even an anecdote that when he was just about to die, he came to life for a second to settle all the bills so as not to cause a trouble about the succession of property, and then he died. Thanks to Toshiie's nature like this, the financial affairs of the Maeda family were able to keep a healthy state.
While Toshiie had been sometimes bantered by Hoshunin about his "stinginess," he lent money to a lot of daimyo who had troubles in supporting retainers after the fall of the Hojo family, and there is a fact that in his will he ordered Toshinaga, "Don't urge anyone to repay the debt, and if anyone says he can't repay the debt, cancel it." Furthermore, when he was about to die, he said, "The family strife will break out because of the mismanagement of the former lord, and I will be sorry if false suspicions fall on a bugyo (magistrate) or others." He wrote his Kao (written seal mark) on every possible papers before he died.
In the Toyotomi government, he worked as a contact person for territorial lords, and partly because of that, he was admired by a lot of people. Hideyoshi's close associate Harunaga ONO told as follows. "Although Mr. Dainagon (Major Counselor, indicating Toshiie here) is lower in the official rank and the number of owning provinces, he is five times as popular in the castle." "Firstly, because he is a military man." "Secondly, because he is trusted by Mr. Taiko (Retired Imperial Regent, indicating Hideyoshi here), so both in the castle and on a journey he was more respected by people than Naifu (Minister of the Interior, indicating Ieyasu here), and even we feel encouraged."
(This means that although Toshiie is lower than Ieyasu both in the official rank and the territories and kokudaka (crop yield), he is a man of brilliant military feat and is trusted by Hideyoshi, so Toshiie is by far more popular than Ieyasu.)
Above all, he seemed to be admired by Ujisato GAMO, Hideie UKITA, Nagamasa ASANO, Hideyori MORI and others of the Bobaishu (Comrades).
Because Toshiie was admired by not only the above-mentioned persons but also the persons called the military government group represented by Kiyomasa KATO and Masanori FUKUSHIMA, he made every effort as an arbitrator of the conflict between the civilian government group including Mitsunari ISHIDA, Yukinaga KONISHI and others and the military government group after Hideyoshi's death. Among others, Kiyomasa is said to have respected Toshiie who had been excellent in valor since he was young. In fact, while Toshiie was still alive, when a disturbance broke out in which territorial lords gathered in the Toshiie's residence and the Ieyasu's residence for the issue about the relation by marriage, although Kiyomasa was the very person who made the issue, he attended the Toshiie's residence. Then Toshiie died, and his death triggered a trouble to break out immediately after in which the Hideyoshi's Seven Warriors of the military government group including Kiyomasa attacked Mitsunari ISHIDA.
When Toshiie's legitimate son Toshinaga said that he didn't hear Toshiie talk about the art of warfare or the strategies so much, Kiyomasa envied Toshinaga saying, "It's regrettable of you when you have a father like him who is so familiar with the military strategies."
Toshiie took part in 38 battles in his life, and he mastered his own way for fighting under Nobunaga ODA
Toshiie usually talked about the battle as follows. "If you fight, you should invade the territory of the enemy and fight, and you must not allow the enemy to step in even a little to your own territory."
"My master Nobunaga fought like this"
It is said that one day, Toshiie's son-in-law Hideie UKITA asked him about his tactics, he talked about the Nobunaga-style tactics, that is, "You should deploy one or two groups of experts in fighting for the sakite (first attacking troops), Taisho (Major Captain) should run around on horseback not sticking to his honjin (headquarters of army), and you let the sakite fight hard and move the soldiers as you want."
It is supposed that he could not get along well with his nephew-in-law Toshimasu (Keijiro) MAEDA, and there remains an anecdote that when Keijiro ran away, Toshiie was made to take a cold-water bath. In the novel "Ichimuan furyuki (The Story of Keijiro MAEDA)" by Keiichiro RYU, and the comic book "Hana no Keiji" by Tetsuo HARA with the aforesaid novel being the original, the strife between Toshiie and Keijiro (Keiji) is expressed in the comical, and sometimes touching description. In this comic book, Toshiie was described as an old man with middle-aged spread who envies Keijiro persistently, is made fun of, or cries loudly like a child, and because of his role he is looked down on considerably in comparison with real Toshiie.
Besides, although Toshiie is described as an old man and Keiji as a young man, there was little difference in the ages of real Toshiie and Keijiro (the reliable materials say that Toshiie was two years older, or that Keijiro was six years older.)
Furthermore, the historical fact that Toshiie himself was a kabukimono and preferred the tendency of kabuki is ignored, or rather Toshiie is described as if he were a stubborn man who was unsympathetic toward kabukimono Keiji. However, the young Toshiie who appears in Hideyoshi's recollection in "Hana no Keiji" is described as a reckless kabukimono just like Keiji.
(It should be noted that the young Toshiie described in this scene is in the same composition as Toshiie in the picture of triumphantly returning from Okehazama in which Toshiie is riding a horse with a lot of severed enemy heads hanging on the spear point and around his waist.)
Later in life, whenever he talked about the days when he lived a ronin life after he was sentenced to the penalty of prohibition of serving for the murder of Juami, he never failed to say as follows. "When you are down and out, even the persons who have usually been friendly to you will not speak to you." "That's why I say the persons who speak to you in such an occasion are your true friends (reliable persons)." At this time, the true friends whom Toshiie spoke of were Katsuie SHIBATA and Yoshinari MORI.
When Toshiie fell into a critical condition, Matsu (Hoshunin) who sewed up a kyokatabira (shroud) in person and was about to get him into it said as follows. "You have taken part in wars and killed a lot of person since your youth." "I am afraid of the world to which you will go." "Please put on this kyokatabira." Then, Toshiie is said to have refused to put it on saying as follows (the headnote of Night Stories of Lord Toshiie, Koshindo Sosho [Koshindo Collection]). "I have taken part in a lot of wars and killed enemies until now, but I have never killed nor tortured people without a good reason." "So I know I will not fall into Hell." "If I were to go to Hell, I would fight a battle against Enma (the King of Hell) and Gozumezu (Enma's followers with heads of horses and cows) with the people who had gone to Hell before me." "As to that kyokatabira you should come later wearing it."
A song as follows has been handed down in Kaga. "Aoi of Japan, Ume of Lord Kaga, Ume blooms higher than Aoi." These words means "The Tokugawa family with Mitsubaaoi-mon (one of family crests designed with a mallow leave), the Maeda family with Kenumebachi-mon (one of family crests designed with a Japanese apricot flower), ume blossoms bloom at the higher place than aoi." In the days of Hideyoshi, Ieyasu and Toshiie were seated at the most honorable Kamiza (seat of honor) of Gotairo of the same rank, but after Hideyoshi died, the Tokugawa family assumed the post of Taishogun (the head of bakufu) who governed the whole of Japan. Although the Maeda family was a great daimyo, it had no other choice but to become a vassal of the Tokugawa family. It has been said that the people of Kaga Provinces sang the frustration to the fortune of that time.
May 10, 1586:
He was appointed as Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade), Sakone gon no shosho (Provisional Minor Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards) and Chikuzen no kami (Governor of Chikuzen Province)
He was admitted to access the imperial court.
May or June, 1589:
He was transferred to Ukone no gon no chujo (Provisional Middle Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards). He remained in the position of Chikuzen no kami.
He was promoted to Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade), and complementarily appointed to Sangi (Councilor) in the name of Toshiie TOYOTMI.
He resigned his position as Sangi.
He resigned his position as Gon Chunagon.
June 6, 1596:
March 4, 1597:
He resigned his position as Gon Dainagon.
He assumed the position as a member of Gotairo for the Toyotomi family.
He passed away.
He was promoted to Juichii (Junior First Rank) after his death.