Maeda Toshiie - Military Life

Military Life

Toshiie began his career as a member of the akahoro-shū (赤母衣衆), the unit under Oda Nobunaga's personal command. He later became an infantry captain (ashigaru taishō 足軽大将) in the Oda army. During his military career, Toshiie made the acquaintance of many important figures, such as Hashiba Hideyoshi, Sassa Narimasa, Akechi Mitsuhide, Takayama Ukon, and others. Toshiie also was a lifelong rival of Tokugawa Ieyasu. After defeating the Asakura clan, Maeda fought under Shibata Katsuie in the Hokuriku area. He was eventually granted a han (Kaga Domain) spanning Noto and Kaga Provinces. Despite its small size, Kaga was a highly productive province which would eventually develop into the wealthiest han in Edo period Japan, with a net worth of 1 million koku (百万石); thus, it was nicknamed Kaga Hyaku-man-goku (加賀百万石).

Toshiie benefited from a core group of very capable senior vassals. Some, like Murai Nagayori and Okumura Nagatomi, were retainers of long standing with the Maeda.

After Nobunaga's assassination at Honnō-ji (本能寺) by Akechi Mitsuhide and Mitsuhide's subsequent defeat by Hideyoshi, he battled Hideyoshi under Shibata's command in the Battle of Shizugatake. After Shibata's defeat, Toshiie worked for Hideyoshi and became one of his leading generals. Later somewhere during this time he was forced to fight another of his friends, Sassa Narimasa. Narimasa was greatly outnumbered and felled by Toshiie, following the major Maeda victory at the Battle of Suemori Castle. Before dying in 1598, Hideyoshi named Toshiie to the council of Five Elders to support Toyotomi Hideyori until he was old enough to take control on his own. However, Toshiie himself was ailing, and could manage to support Hideyori for only a year before he died as well.

Toshiie was succeeded by his son Toshinaga.

Read more about this topic:  Maeda Toshiie

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