Maeda Shigekatsu

前田茂勝

Maeda Clan

Daimyō

Tanba Province

Lifespan:  Tenshō 10 (1582) to Genna 7 (1621)

Rank:  bushō, daimyō

Title:  Junior Fifth Rank (Lower), Manager of the Palace Table

Clan:  Maeda

Domain:  Lord of Tanba-Kameyama → lord of Tanba-Yakami

Bakufu:  Edo

Lord:  Tokugawa Ieyasu → Tokugawa Hidetada

Father:  Maeda Gen’i

Siblings:  Hidemochi, sister (wife of Sanjōnishi Saneeda), sister (wife of Horio Tadauji), sister (second wife of Ishikawa Tadafusa), sister (wife of Isse Jinzaemon – a retainer of the Horio clan), Shigekatsu, Masakatsu, sister (successor wife of Inaba Sadamichi)

Maeda Shigekatsu served as a bushō and daimyō from the Azuchi-Momoyama to early Edo periods.  In the early Edo period, Shigekatsu served as the lord of the Tanba-Kameyama domain and, later, as the lord of the Yakami domain in Taki District of Tanba Province.

In 1582, Shigekatsu was born as the third son of Maeda Gen’i (or, under another theory, as the second son).  From 1583, Gen’i served Oda Nobunaga’s second son, Oda Nobukatsu, and was appointed to serve as the Kyōto shoshidai, or official in charge of the Board of Retainers, an office in the Muromachi bakufu to guard the shōgun and give judgment on criminals in Kyōto.  This role had been performed by Murai Sadakatsu, a highly capable retainer of Nobunaga who was killed along with his sons in the course of the Honnō Temple Incident in the sixth month of 1582.

In 1595, Shigekatsu became a Christian daimyō.  In 1600, at the Battle of Sekigahara, he joined the Western Army and participated in an assault against Hosokawa Yūsai at Tanabe Castle in Tango Province, serving as a messenger to request the defenders to vacate the castle.  This event is known as the Siege of Tanabe Castle.  Thereafter, the Western Army was defeated at the main Battle of Sekigahara, but, in view of the connections held by his father, Gen’i, with the Imperial Court in Kyōto, after the war, Shigekatsu’s rights to his landholdings in Tanba-Kameyama were recognized by the Tokugawa.

In 1602, following the death of Gen’i, Shigekatsu inherited the headship of the clan, was transferred to Yakami in Tanba, and became the lord of the Yakami domain.  Shigekatsu, however, was an ardent Christian so the Edo bakufu viewed him with concern.  Moreover, Shigekatsu neglected the governance of his domain while indulging in a dissolute lifestyle, eventually losing his mind.  Retainers who admonished him, such as Oike Seizaemon and his son, were forced to commit seppuku.  On 6/16 of Keichō 13 (1608), the bakufu issued an order to remove him from his position whereupon he was taken into custody by his nephew, Horio Tadaharu, a daimyō and the lord of the Izumo-Matsue domain.  Following removal from his position, he lived as an earnest Christian.

In 1621, Shigekatsu died at the age of forty.