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Keiji Maeda

Keiji Maeda

Keiji Maeda (1555-1605) was a Toyotomi and Uesugi general, as well as a ronin. He was most famous for his feats achieved in the Battle of Hasedo, where he broke through the Date with only eight riders accompanying him.

Biography

Keiji Spear

Keiji Maeda and his two-pronged spear.

Keiji Maeda was born in 1555 in Nagoya, Owari Prefecture, to Toshihisa Maeda, who was an Oda general and the daimyo of the Maeda clan. His father was overthrown by his uncle Toshiie Maeda, and Keiji was disinherited from the family's succession. Keiji nevertheless became a servant to Nobunaga Oda and Toshiie was his guardian. In 1570, Keiji fought his first battle at the Battle of Anegawa, where he showed his tenacity and fearlessness, overshadowing his uncle's feats, much to his dismay. Keiji later took up the call to arms that Masayuki Sanada issued in 1585, and fought at the Battle of Ueda Castle, where the Tokugawa clan failed in taking the castle. Keiji became one of the "Invincible Five", alongside Yukimura Sanada, Magoichi Saika, Masamune Date, and Kanetsugu Naoe. Keiji made a name for himself as a brave warrior in further battles such as the Fall of Odawara, and after Hideyoshi Hashiba died, he became a member of the Western Army of Mitsunari Ishida. He rescued Mitsunari from the attack on Kyoto by Masanori Fukushima, and fought alongside his friend Kanetsugu Naoe as an Uesugi general, as Kanetsugu appreciated his feats in battle. Keiji Maeda fought in the Battle of Hasedo in 1600 against the Date clan, rivals of the Uesugi, cutting his way through the Date with only eight riders to meet up with Kanetsugu. In the end, the Western Army took Hasedo Castle from Yoshiaki Mogami and Masamune Date, but gave it up following defeat in the Battle of Sekigahara, far from where they were engaged. Keiji died in peace in 1605.

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