Murai Nagayori


Murai Clan

Kaga Province

Murai Nagayori

Lifespan:  Tenbun 12 (1543) to 10/26 of Keichō 10 (1605)

Other Names:  Chōhachirō, Matabei, Hige-dono (nickname)

Rank:  bushō

Title:  Governor of Bungo

Clan:  Murai (descended from the Kanmu-Heishi)

Bakufu:  Edo

Domain:  Kaga

Lord:  Maeda Toshihisa → Maeda Toshiie → Maeda Toshinaga

Siblings:  Nagayori, Satonari

Children:  Nagatsugu, Nagaaki (Murai Shigeyori)

Murai Nagayori served as a bushō from the Sengoku to early Edo periods.  He was a retainer of the Maeda clan.

His original surname was Taira – the Kanmu-Heishi from the lineage of Emperor Kanmu in the eighth century.  He had the common names of Matabei and Chōhachirō, and the title of Bungo-no-kami.

Nagayori was born in 1543.  Initially, he served Maeda Toshihisa, a retainer of the Oda clan.

In 1559, Toshihisa’s younger brother, Maeda Toshiie, got into an argument with a tea-server favored by Nobunaga named Juami and slayed him with his sword.  Toshiie then fled.  Through the intermediation of Shibata Katsuie and Mori Yoshinari, Toshiie’s punishment was limited to a cessation of service to the Oda, whereupon he became a rōnin, or wandering samurai.  In the course of this incident, Nagayori followed Toshiie.  A decade later, in 1569, upon the death of Toshiie’s father, Maeda Toshiharu, Toshihisa, in his role as the eldest son, inherited the headship of the Maeda family.  Nobunaga, however, suddenly ordered Toshiie (in lieu of Toshihisa) to lead the Maeda family.  This owed to the fact that Toshihisa lacked a natural heir and was of frail health. In addition, he served meritoriously at the Battle of Okehazama in 1560 and the Battle of Moribe in 1561.  Nagayori then became a retainer of Toshiie.

Thereafter, Nagayori regularly participated along with Toshiie in battles, serving as his protector.  As an indication of Toshiie’s trust in Nagayori, he conferred upon Nagayori one of the characters from his common name of Matazaemon, giving Nagayori the common name of Matabei.  Nagayori served meritoriously in numerous contests including in an assault against the Ishiyama-Hongan Temple, a siege of Kanegamori Castle in Ōmi Province in 1571, and against the Takeda army at the Battle of Nagashino in 1575.  After Toshiie was awarded governance of Kaga Province and became a daimyō, Nagayori became a chief retainer and, together with Okumura Nagatomi, built the foundation of the Kaga domain. 

Acting in concert with the allied army of the Oda and Tokugawa, on 8/28 of Tenshō 12 (1584), Sassa Narimasa of Etchū Province launched a surprise attack against Asahiyama Castle in Kaga defended by Maeda Toshiie who was on the side of the Hashiba clan.  Nagayori repelled the attackers.

In 1599, after the death of Toshiie, Nagayori retired.  When Tokugawa Ieyasu commenced a conquest of Kaga, Maeda Toshinaga tendered his mother, Hōshunin, as a hostage.  Hōshunin had been the formal wife of Toshiie and was, at the time, his widow.  Nagayori accompanied her to Edo.

On 10/26 of Keichō 10 (1605), Nagayori died in Edo at the age of sixty-three.  Nagayori was succeeded by his son, Murai Nagatsugu.


Nagayori was said to have been called by Toshiie as “Lord Beard” owing to his impressive beard.