Lifespan: Unknown to 6/2 of Tenshō 10 (1582)
Lord: Saitō Dōsan → Oda Nobunaga → Oda Nobutada
Father: Akaza Chikuzen-no-kami (?)
Siblings: Nagakane, Kuwahara Sukerokurō
Wife: [Formal] Daughter of Oda Nobuyasu
Children: Daughter (wife of Inoue Tokitoshi)
Akaza Nagakane served as a retainer of the Oda clan of Owari Province.
His father may have been Akaza Chikuzen-no-kami. Nagakane went to Mino Province to serve Saitō Dōsan. He also served the Toki clan for a period of time. According to other accounts, he may have originated from Echizen Province and been adopted by the Akaza of Owari, marrying the daughter of Oda Nobuyasu. The details of the early part of his life are not certain. The Akaza family also resided in Tōtōmi so the stories may be intermixed.
In 1556, following the death of Saitō Dōsan, Nagakane did not serve his son, Saitō Tatsuoki. Instead, Nagakane and his brother, Kuwahara Sukerokurō, served Oda Nobunaga. In the first month of 1569, after the Miyoshi Group of Three, and Saitō Tatsuoki attacked Ashikaga Yoshiaki at the Honkoku Temple in Kyōto, Nagakane rushed from Takatsuki Castle in Ōsaka in three and one-half days and set-up defenses at a crossroads near the entrance to the temple. As recognition for his efforts, Nagakane was awarded territory in Echizen. In the eighth month of 1573, he joined the umamawari, or cavalry soldiers, in an attack against the Asakura.
In the eleventh month of 1575, Nagakane and bushō from Mino Province aligned with Oda Nobutada following Nobutada’s succession as head of the Oda clan. Nagakane had an interest in sadō, or the tea ceremony, and appears on a list of attendees at a tea ceremony hosted by Tsuda Sōgyū, attesting to his higher rank in the Oda clan at the time.
On 7/19 of 1577, Nagakane, together with Oda Ōinosuke and Maeda Gen’i, executed Ido Saisuke upon orders of Nobunaga for disobeying orders to move to Azuchi Castle. In the second month of 1582, Nagakane served under the command of Nobutada in an offensive by the allied forces of the Oda and Tokugawa against the Takeda that resulted in decimation of the Takeda clan. At the end of the conflict, Rokkaku Yoshisada (also known as Sasaki Jirō) fled to the Erin Temple for protection, and the monks refused demands from the Oda to turn him over, whereupon, on 4/3, Nobutada ordered Nagakane, along with Tsuda Motoyoshi, Hasegawa Yoji, and Seki Narishige, to burn down the temple and kill the occupants – a violent scene that included the self-immolation of a monk named Kaisen Jōki on top of the large triple gate to the temple.
In the sixth month of 1582, Nagakane joined in a march by Nobutada to Kyōto. On 6/2, at the dramatic coup d’état against Nobunaga known as the Honnō Temple Incident, Nagakane fought against Yamazaki Nagamori, a former retainer of the Asakura, at the Nijō palace. Despite seriously wounding Nagamori, Nagakane perished in the battle. The ringleader, Akechi Mitsuhide, lavished praise on Nagamori for his meritorious effort against Nagakane at Nijō, promising to award him with the governance of Echizen Province.