Toshiie Maeda2
Maeda Toshiie
Personal Information
Born: January 15, 1539
Place of Birth: Arako Province
Died: April 27, 1599
Cause of Death: Illness
Place of Death: Unknown
Style name: 前田 利家
Served: Oda
Participation(s): Battle of Okehazama
Battle of Moribe
Battle of Jushijo
Siege of Inabayama Castle
Battle of Kanegasaki
Battle of Anegawa
Siege of Odani Castle
Battle of Nagashino
Battle of Tedorigawa
Battle of Shizugatake
Battle of Kanazawa

Maeda Toshiie was the fourth son of Maeda Toshimasa . He is one of the Toyotomi's council of Five Elders. He was also a member of the Oda's red horo unit.


Maeda Toshiie was born in Arako Village in the Aichi District of Owari province and was the 4th son of Maeda Toshiharu. He entered Oda Nobunaga's service in 1551 as a page.[1] His stipend was 125 koku. During his early years of service to Nobunaga, Toshiie's conduct was exemplary and in 1556 his stipend was tripled after he suffered a wound in his right eye. This occurred during an attack on Nobunaga's unruly brother Oda Nobuyuki.[2] According to one story, he was dismissed for a time from Nobunaga's service after killing another Oda retainer but remained close to his lord.[3] It was a strange dispute. The man was a master of the tea ceremony named Juami, whom Toshiie accused of stealing the wooden anchor from one of Toshiie's swords. This was no trivial matter, because without the peg to hold the blade securely inside the handle there was a risk that Toshiie's sword would fall to pieces in battle. Juami sought refuge with an other retainer and Nobunaga forbid Toshiie to exact revenge. Toshiie ignored the order and killed Juami when Nobunaga was present. The fact that Toshiie had disobeyed a command was more serious than murder, so he was dismissed from Nobunaga's service as a punishment.[4]

Serving Nobunaga OdaEdit

In June 1560, Imagawa Yoshimoto assembled an army of possibly 25,000 men for an advance on Kyoto. Oda Nobunaga, whose territory he was first to invade, sent scouts to get an up to date picture of the situation. They reported that his border fortresses of Washizu and Marune were destroyed and that the vast bulk of the Imagawa army, including the commander-in-chief himself, had chosen to rest at a place called Dengaku - hazama, a wooden gorge where they were celebrating their victories in some style.[5]

Oda Nobunaga took up position at Zenshoji, quite near the Imagawa's fort of Narumi, and directly in line with Dengaku - hazama. Here Nobunaga rigged up a dummy army and led 3,000 men on a circular route through the wooded hills to drop down beside Dengaku - hazama from the north.[6]

Toshiie quietly joined Nobunaga's side and fought well, but is not readmitted into Nobunaga's service,[7] but when Yoshimoto Imagawa's forces were routed Toshiie came before Nobunaga and showed him not one but two enemy heads that he had taken.[8] After fighting at Okehazama in 1560 and Moribe in 1561, Toshiie won back Nobunaga's favor and was again recognized as a retainer.[9]

Some time after the ambush at Okehazama the Saito clan's daimyo Saito Yoshitatsu had died and his son Tatsuoki became the new daimyo. The Saito clan's retainers weren't pleased with Tatsuoki and Nobunaga saw this as an opportunity to attack Mino. As Inabayama castle was built on top of a mountain two attacks were launched. One involved climbing, the other across the river. Horio Yoshiharu distinguished himself by opening the water gate to his attacking comrades.[10]

At the battle of Moribe, in Mino, Oda Nobunaga had decisively defeated an army of the Saito clan, killing many of their prominent generals.[11] Nobunaga's army, went on to take possession of Sunomata itself. Oda and Saito forces clashed again a week later in an action known as the Battle of Jushijo which began with an ambush of an Oda contingent. Nobunaga hastily led a force out of Sunomata and defeated the Saito in a sharp night action. After fighting a few more skirmishes and taking a further two Saito forts, Nobunaga returned to Owari.[12] Toshiie managed to take the head of one of Nobunaga's top rivals, Adachi Rokuhyoe. This was sufficient proof of Toshiie's loyalty and skill, so Nobunaga took Toshiie back into his service and raised his stipend to 1,125 koku.[13]

Nobunaga expeled Saito Tatsuoki from Mino-Inabayama, which he renames Gifu. [14] Nobunaga attacks Akaskura Yoshikage at Echizen-Tetsuzuyama. Toshiie also takes part.[15] During Nobunaga Oda's advance into Echizen against the Asakura clan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi captured the fortress of Kanagasaki. Nobunaga's army then fought a celebrated fighting retreat from Echizen.[16]

Nobunaga Oda, had felt compelled to march against Yoshikage Asakura of Echizen province. The Azai, long-time allies of the Asakura, broke their alliance with the Oda and threatened the Oda army from the rear. A skillful retreat minimized the immediate danger brought about by this surprise development and soon Nobunaga was ready to punish Nagamasa for his treachery.[17] Oda Nobunaga's troops had advanced against the Azai's Odani castle and faced the allied forces across Anegawa, while some troops laid siege to Yokoyama castle.[18] Toshiie fought at Anegawa in 1570 and after the destruction of the Asakura, he received the fief of Funchu in Echizen province, worth 33,000 koku.[19] In 1575, Takeda Katsuyori led his army into the Tokugawa domain and laid siege to Nagashino castle, a locally important strong point that had changed hands a number of times in the past few years. The castle's defenders managed to resist the initial Takeda attacks and, thanks to the heroic efforts of a certain Torii Suneemon, managed to alert Tokugawa Ieyasu of their plight, and the latter convinced Oda Nobunaga to commit to an all-out battle with the Takeda.[20] Toshiie took part as the General of the Gunnery Infantry.[21] Soon after, Toshiie departed for Kaga with Shibata Katsuie and held back Uesugi Keshin. The next month they draw back, and take on Kenshin's attack.[22]

Kenshin invaded Noto province in the fall of 1577, prompting Oda Nobunaga to dispatch a sizable army to the relief of his allies there at Nanao castle. Kenshin was initially hesitant to face the great host and avoided a battle until Nanao was brought down. When the Oda learned that Nanao had fallen to Kenshin, they began to withdraw but were goaded into battle at the Tedori River in Kaga. Kenshin tricked Nobunaga into launching a frontal attack across Tedorigawa and defeated him. Having suffered the loss of 1,000 men, the Oda withdrew south. This was destined to be Kenshin's last great battle. Estimations on the size of Kenshin's forces at this fight range from 8,000 to as many as 30,000.[23]

After Nobunaga Oda's deathEdit

After the incident at Honnoji, Toshiie burns down the Tempeiji temple at Noto-Sekidozan and defeats Kagataka Nukui, Munetaka Miyake, and the priest-soldiers,[24]serving the Shibata.

In 1583 Toshiie and Toshinaga both participated in Shibata Katsuie's attack on Omi. At the Battle of Shizugatake Katsuie fled in defeat. Toshiie fled back to Echizen-Fuchu and surrendered to Hideyoshi and as a reward he had the province of Kaga added to his domain.[25] Katsuie commited suicide at his castle in Kita-no-Sho.[26]

Serving the ToyotomiEdit

The Sassa clashed with Maeda Toshiie at Kanazawa in Kaga province and attempted to reduce Suemori in Noto province but failed,[27] resulting Sassa Narimasa to drive back to Suemori Castle.[28] The major operation of 1590 was Toyotomi Hideyoshi's siege of the Hojo's capital of Odawara. As a 'curtain-raser' to the siege of Odawara, Maeda Toshiie and Uesugi Kagekatsu laid siege on Hachigata castle with 35,000 troops. The garrison under Hojo Ujikuni held out for one month.[29]


Toshiie passed away on the 27th April 1599.[30]








  1. Samurai Archives, Maeda Toshiie
  2. Samurai Commanders (2) 1577 - 1638 by Stephen Turnbull
  3. Samurai Archives, Maeda Toshiie
  4. Samurai Commanders (2) 1577 - 1638 by Stephen Turnbull
  5. Samurai Source book, Stephen Turnbull pg 215
  6. Samurai Source book, Stephen Turnbull pg. 215
  7., Toshiie & Matsu - Timeline
  8. Samurai Commanders (2) 1577 - 1638 by Stephen Turnbull
  9. Samurai Archives, Maeda Toshiie
  10. Samurai Source Book, Stephen Turnbull pg 217
  11. Samurai Source book, Stephen Turnbull pg. 216
  12. Samurai Archives, the battle of Moribe
  13. Samurai Commanders (2) 1577 - 1638 by Stephen Turnbull
  14., Toshiie & Matsu - Timeline
  15., Toshiie & Matsu - Timeline
  16. Samurai Source book, Stephen Turnbull, pg. 220
  17. Samurai Archives, Battle of Anegawa
  18. Samurai Source book, Stephen Turnbull pg. 220
  19. Samurai Source book, Stephen Turnbull
  20. Samurai Archives, Battle of Nagashino
  21., Toshiie & Matsu - Timeline
  22., Toshiie & Matsu - Timeline
  23. Samurai Archives, Battle of Tedorigawa
  24., Toshiie & Matsu - Timeline
  25. Samurai Archives, Maeda Toshiie
  26., Toshiie & Matsu - Timeline
  27. Samurai Archives, Sassa Narimasa
  28., Toshiie & Matsu - Timeline
  29. Samurai Source book, Stephen Turnbull pg.241
  30., Toshiie & Matsu - Timeline