Maeda Toshiie 前田利家
Maeda Toshiie (1538-1599) was a leading samurai warrior of the Sengoku (Warring States) Period of Japanese history.
Maeda, like so many other of the main military protagonists of that time, was born in the Nagoya area in what is now the Nakagawa-ku district near Arako Kannon Temple. Maeda was raised at the nearby Arako Castle, of which nothing much except a stone memorial remains, the fourth son of local warlord Maeda Toshimasa.
Maeda served Oda Nobunaga as a page and was later to become one of Nobunaga's most trusted generals, first seeing action in battle at just 15. As a young man, Toshiie, aka Matazaemon or Yari no Mataza, so-called for his preference for the yari or long spear in battle, had something of a reputation as a libertine and wild-child, much like his patron Nobunaga in his youth.
After loyal service in Nobunaga's army, Maeda was awarded the small but prosperous domain of Kaga (present-day Ishikawa Prefecture).
Maeda is also thought to have befriended another of Nobunaga's retainers, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598) in his youth and after Nobunaga's death at the hand's of Akechi Mitsuhide at Honnoji Temple in Kyoto, Maeda eventually transferred his allegiance from Shibata Katsuie to Hideyoshi after first opposing him.
Before Hideyoshi's death in 1598 he appointed Toshiie to the council of Five Elders along with Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616) as the guardian of his young son Toyotomi Hideyori until he would be able to succeed his father. Maeda himself died just a year after Hideyoshi and was succeeded by his son Toshinaga, who supported Ieyasu. Toshinaga was to complete the construction of Kanazawa Castle, begun by his father.
Maeda married his wife Matsu, later the nun Hoshun'in after her husband's death, when she was just 12. They had 11 children: 9 daughters and two sons.