Niwa Nagahide


Niwa Clan

Owari Province

Wakasa Province

Niwa Nagahide

Lifespan:  9/20 of Tenbun 4 (1535) to 4/16 of Tenshō 13 (1585)

Other Names:  Korezumi Nagahide, Hashiba Chikuzen-no-kami; [Common] Gorōzaemon-no-jō; [Nickname] Onigorōsa, Kome Gorōsa

Rank:  bushō, daimyō

Title:  Governor of Echizen

Clan:  Niwa (descended from the Yoshimine clan; Korezumi and Hashiba were bestowed surnames)

Lord:  Oda Nobunaga → Oda Hidenobu → Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Father:  Niwa Nagamasa

Mother:  Daughter of the Noro clan

Siblings:  Nagatada, Nagahide, Hideshige, sister (wife of Matsubara Iga-no-kami), sister (wife of Ōtsu Nagamasa, later, wife of Hachiya Yoritaka) 

Wife: [Formal] Keihōin (daughter of Oda Nobuhiro and adopted daughter of Oda Nobunaga); [Consort] Daughter of Sugiwaka Mushin

Children:  Nagashige, Nagamasa, Tōdō Takayoshi, Hachiya Naomasa, Nagatoshi, Nagatsugi, 決光院 (wife of Akada Katashi), 撃林院 (wife of Awaya Katsuhisa), Teikōin (formal wife of Inaba Norimichi), Chōseiin (wife of Aoyama Munekatsu), Enkōin (formal wife of Furuta Shigeharu), 栄輝院 (wife of Yamada Takasada), daughter (wife of Igi Tadatsugu), daughter (wife of Tanehashi Shigeaki)

Niwa Nagahide served as a bushō and daimyō during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.

As a veteran of the Oda clan, Nagahide served Oda Nobunaga and contributed to the unification of Japan.  He received the surname of Korezumi from the Imperial Court so he was also known as Korezumi Nagahide.


On 9/20 of Tenbun 4 (1535), Nagahide was born as the second son of Niwa Nagamasa in Kodama in the Kasugai District of Owari Province.  The Niwa were originally retainers of the Shiba clan.

From 1550, Nagahide served Oda Nobunaga.

In 1553, Nagahide had, at the age of nineteen, his first experience in war at the Battle of Umezuomote.

In 1556, he fought on the side of Nobunaga at the Battle of Inō.

In 1560, Nagahide served in the Battle of Okehazama although he was not in the battalion that attacked Imagawa Yoshimoto.

Based on the authenticated biography of Oda Nobunaga known as the Shinchō-kōki, it is surmised that Nagahide gained prominence during battles against Saitō Tatsuoki in Mino Province.

In 1568, when Nobunaga marched upon Kyōto to install Ashikaga Yoshiaki as the fifteenth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu, Nagahide attacked Mimasaka Castle during the conquest of the Rokkaku clan of southern Ōmi Province.  This event is known as the Siege of Kannonji Castle.

Soon after the Battle of Anegawa. Nobunaga maintained a siege of Sawayama Castle in Ōmi for a period of eight months.  On 2/24 of Genki 2 (1571), after the commander of the castle, Isono Kazumasa, accepted a demand to vacate the premises, Nagahide replaced him as the lord of Sawayama Castle.

In the eighth month of 1573, Nagahide joined a campaign to subdue Asakura Yoshikage who wielded power in Echizen and Wakasa provinces.  Upon orders of Nobunaga, he executed Yoshikage’s mother (Kōtokuin), wife (Koshōshō), and son (Aiōmaru).

In the ninth month, Nagahide was granted Wakasa Province, becoming the first daimyō among Nobunaga’s retainers to command an entire province.  At the outset, Nagahide held the Onyū District, the Awaya clan the Mikata District, and the Hemi clan the Ōi District, and these landlords exercised autonomous rule over their respective territories.  Around this time, retainers of Nagahide included Mizoguchi Hidekatsu, Natsuka Masaie, Takebe Jutoku, Yamada Kichizō, and Numata Yoshinobu.  Bushō from Wakasa (direct retainers of Nobunaga who were members of the Wakasa-Takeda clan including Takeda Motoaki, Awaya Katsuhisa, Hemi Masatsune, Yamagata Hidemasa, and members of the Naitō and Kumagai families, in addition to former retainers) who deployed to other provinces as yoriki, or security officers, were folded into the command structure of Nagahide.  In addition to military affairs, Nagahide was responsible for security and the distribution of goods throughout Wakasa.

Upon the death of Hemi Masatsune, Mizoguchi Hidekatsu was promoted from serving as a retainer for Nagahide to become a direct retainer of Nobunaga, receiving his own, independent fief in the Ōi District.

Thereafter, Nagahide served valorously in numerous battles including the Siege of Takaya Castle, the Battle of Nagashino, and the Echizen Ikkō-ikki.  He also excelled in the political arena, making significant contributions such as serving as the lead magistrate for the construction of Azuchi Castle.

In 1579, Nagahide, together with Hashiba Hidenaga of Tajima, invaded Tanba Province and defeated Hatano Munenaga at Hikami Castle.

In 1581, upon orders of Nobunaga, a unit under the command of Nagahide executed Ishiguro Naritsuna in Nagahama in Ōmi.  He was the lord of Kifune Castle in Etchū.  Upon further orders of Nobunaga, Nagahide incarcerated Terasaki Morinaga, the lord of Gankaiji Castle in Etchū, and his son, where he was serving as the lord at Sawayama Castle and had them commit seppuku.  That same year, at the Kyōto Mounted Horse Parade, Nagahide was given the honor of being the first to enter the grounds.  Nagahide served in other battles including, among others, the Second Tenshō Iga Conflict in the fourth month of 1581 and the Siege of Hijiyama Castle in Iga Province.

In terms of rank among the chief retainers of the Oda, Sakuma Nobumori was the head but, after his demotion, Shibata Katsuie became the leader of the chief retainers and Nagahide was second after Katsuie.  The two of them were referred to as the Two Bright Jewels of the Oda Family.

After the Honnō Temple Incident

On 6/2 of Tenshō 10 (1582), Oda Nobunaga died in a coup d’état orchestrated by a senior retainer, Akechi Mitsuhide.  This is known as the Honnō Temple Incident.  In the month prior to the event, on 5/7, Nobunaga ordered Nagahide, along with Miyoshi Yasunaga, Hachiya Yoritaka, and Tsuda Nobuzumi to serve as lieutenant generals to Oda Nobutaka (Kanbe Nobutaka) for a campaign in Shikoku to subdue Chōsokabe Motochika, a sengoku daimyō in Tosa Province.  On 5/21, Nobunaga further ordered Nagahide and Nobuzumi to receive Tokugawa Ieyasu in Ōsaka as he traveled from the capital to Sakai, taking over these duties from Hasegawa Kazuhide who was serving as a guide.  Prior to deploying, the coup occurred, whereupon Nagahide supported Nobutaka on 6/5 to attack and kill Nobuzumi on the grounds that, as a son-in-law of Mitsuhide, Nobuzumi was deemed complicit in the coup.

At the time of the coup, as Nagahide and Nobutaka were in Ōsaka preparing for the deployment to Shikoku, they were in the most advantageous position to eliminate Mitsuhide but were being hosted by Hachiya Yoritaka in Kishiwada, apart from the forces assembled for the campaign stationed in Sumiyoshi.  The forces received news of the coup in the absence of their generals, so, amidst the ensuing chaos, they scattered.  This meant fewer forces that Nagahide and Nobutaka could mobilize for an attack against Mitsuhide.  Therefore, Nagahide and Nobutaka were compelled to strengthen their defenses while awaiting the arrival of the Hashiba army to eliminate Mitsuhide.  Although, at the Battle of Yamazaki, Nobutaka served as the commanding general, after the battle, Hideyoshi became the most powerful figure in the era following the demise of Nobunaga.

In the aftermath of the coup, Araki Ujitsuna and his son (who were aligned with Mitsuhide) seized control of Nagahide’s base at Sawayama Castle, but, after the defeat of Mitsuhide at the Battle of Yamazaki, Nagahide recovered the castle.   Among those in Wakasa, Takeda Motoaki sided with Mitsuhide and, as a result, was decimated while the Awaya, the Kumagai, the Yamagata, and the Teranishi clans came under the command of Nagahide and served as his retainers.

At the Kiyosu Conference, Nagahide joined Ikeda Tsuneoki to back Hideyoshi, supporting the recommendation that Sanpōshi, the three-year-old lineal grandson of Nobunaga, become Nobunaga’s successor.  As a result, several generals were permitted to continue conducting the affairs of the Oda family under Hideyoshi.  In the third month of 1583, at the Battle of Shizugatake between Hideyoshi and Shibata Katsuie to determine the most powerful figure in Japan, Nagahide supported Hideyoshi.  After the battle, in lieu of his governance of Wakasa Province along with the districts of Shiga and Takashima in Ōmi, Nagahide was granted Echizen Province (excluding the Tsuruga District and portions of the Nanjō and Ōno districts) in addition to the districts of Nomi and Enuma (with Enuma held by Mizoguchi Hidekatsu) in Kaga Province.  The yield of these landholdings is estimated to have been approximately 600,000 koku.


On 4/16 of Tenshō 13 (1585), Nagahide died of a parasitic disease.  He was fifty-one years old.  Nagahide was succeeded by his lineal heir, Niwa Nagashige.  In the early Edo period, Nagashige served as a daimyō and the lord of domains in Hitachi and Mutsu provinces.

According to the genealogy of Hideyoshi, Nagahide suffered from convulsions, and, unable to endure the pain, took his own life.  After cremation, an unburnt mass could be seen from the remaining embers.  It was about the size of a fist, in the shape of a turtle, like a bird with a bent beak, and with marks on its back from a sword.  Hideyoshi said: “This is a strange creature and should be in the hands of a doctor.”  He then gave the remains to the high priest Takeda.  Many generations later, Matsura Kiyoshi, a daimyō from the Hirado domain in Hizen Province from the mid- to late-Edo period, desired to see the item and, early in the spring of 1793, borrowed it through a person who was a follower of the high priest at the time and who frequented the Matsura residence.  Based on the inscription on the inner box, after suffering from a tapeworm for a long time, Nagahide stabbed his stomach with a short sword to remove the parasite and died.  The bug, however, did not die and walked like a turtle.  Hideyoshi ordered a doctor to poison it, but even after several days, it did not die.  He then ordered the high priest Takeda to think of a method, and, after giving a spoonful of poison, it finally died.  As a reward, Hideyoshi gave him the bug which was passed down for generations.  Out of concern that it would be lost in later generations, the high priest Takeda Sadakata made something of a similar shape and wrote on the inscription in the inner and outer box Tenmei 7 (1787) and the name of Takeda Kimitoyo on the outer box.  When Kiyoshi borrowed it, the actual creature was sealed in a different box so he did not bring it.  Kiyoshi used a replica because he surmised that, after many years, it would decay and be ruined so could not be shown to others.  The strange creature described as appearing like a turtle and bird with a beak was likely a tapeworm.  This is authenticated in an account in the Takeda genealogy.  Nagahide is presumed to have died two days after cutting his stomach in an effort to remove the creature but it was not an act of seppuku.


Nagahide wed Keihōin, the adopted daughter of Nobunaga (and natural daughter of Oda Nobuhiro, the older brother of Nobunaga).  Nagahide’s lineal heir, Nagashige, wed Nobunaga’s fifth daughter.  Nagahide received one of the characters in his name from Nobunaga and maintained a close relationship with his lord.  Nagahide was the only retainer of Nobunaga who himself and his son wed daughters of Nobunaga.  There is a story that Nobunaga said: “Nagahide is a friend and a brother” reflecting the deep trust between the two men.

The senior retainers in the Oda family were referred to as “Momen Tōkichi, Kome Gorōsa, Kakare Shibata, and Hiki Sakuma.”  Momen Tōkichi was a moniker for Hashiba Hideyoshi meaning useful like cotton (but not elegant).  Kome Gorōsa referred to Nagahide as essential as rice, given that he was very skillful and able to manage any assignment.  Kakare Shibata was a name for Shibata Katsuie reflecting his intrepid demeanor and eagerness to charge the enemy.  Hiki Sakuma referred to Sakuma Nobumori based on his skills serving in the rear guard of retreating forces.  While Nagahide did not have the status of a regional commander, he performed tasks in the Kinai flawlessly, including in his service as a magistrate for the construction of Azuchi Castle.  He performed admirably in both military and administrative capacities, securing supply routes as a member of the reinforcements from all directions and managing post-war affairs in various locations.  He was worth of his moniker and retained the trust of Nobunaga.

At the Kiyosu Conference, Nagahide participated as one of the veterans of the Oda clan to determine the successor to Nobunaga.  At this time, however, he was not an equal to Hideyoshi with a clear distinction in power.  After the Battle of Yamazaki, Mōri Terumoto gave the same presents and congratulatory message to Nagahide (a senior retainer of the Oda) as he did to Hachisuka Masakatsu who was one of Hideyoshi’s retainers.  This serves as evidence that other daimyō viewed Nagahide as a retainer of Hideyoshi.

In the seventh month of 1575, when Nobunaga reported to the Imperial Court the titles and surnames given to his retainers, Hashiba Hideyoshi received the title of Governor of Chikuzen while Akechi Mitsuhide was granted the surname of Koretō, a renowned family from Kyūshū.  At this time, Nagahide was granted the surname of Korezumi, another renowned family from Kyūshū.  Nagahide, however, declined, humbly stating that he is fine with the moniker of Gorōsa for life.

Nagahide possessed a famous sword known as the azamaru.  After obtaining the sword, he began to suffer from an eye ailment.  The sword was previously owned by Senshū Suemitsu, a bushō for the Oda who was also a priest at the Atsuta Shrine.  When Senshū died at the Battle of Kanōguchi, a retainer of Saitō Dōsan named Kageyama Kazukage (Kamon-no-suke) plundered the sword, but in a battle soon thereafter against the Oda, was shot through the eyes such that the sword had a mysterious history.  Consequently, Nagahide took the advice of those around him and donated the azamaru sword to the Atsuta Shrine.  Thereafter, his eyes are said to have recovered.

After the decimation of the Takeda family, Nagahide was given a break by Nobunaga and, together with Hori Hidemasa and Taga Tsunenori, convalesced at the Kusatsu hot springs in Kōzuke Province.


According to the genealogical records of the Niwa family, Nagashige and the Teikōin (the formal wife of Inaba Norimichi) were born to Keihōin (Nagahide’s formal wife).  Nagamasa, Chōseiin (wife of Aoyama Munekatsu), and Enkōin (wife of Furuta Shigeharu) were born to the older sister of Tsutsumi Norioki.  Takayoshi and Nagatsugi were born to the daughter of Sugiwaka Mushin.  The birth mothers of the other children are unknown although 決光院 (wife of Akada Katashi) and 撃林院 (wife of Awaya Katsuhisa) are deemed to be of the same mother whose surname is unknown.

In 1585, when his successor, Nagashige, served in the Conquest of Etchū to subdue Sassa Narimasa, he was accused of having one of his retainers collude with Narimasa.  As a result, his fief was reduced to 150,000 koku in Wakasa and capable retainers from the era of Nagashige were taken away by Hideyoshi.  This is viewed as a policy measure by Hideyoshi to reduce the power of the Niwa clan.  In 1600, at the Battle of Sekigahara, Nagashige joined the Western Army and, after their defeat, was removed from his position.  Later, he became the head of the Hitachi-Futto domain and revived as a daimyō.  Thereafter, the Niwa family was moved to the Edosaki, Tanagura, and Shirakawa domains.  In the era of Nagashige’s son, Niwa Mitsushige, the family was moved to the Mutsu-Nihonmatsu domain where they served as its lords until the Meiji period.  The twelfth lord of the domain, Niwa Nagakuni, did not have a son and, after several adoptions, received Naganori as an adopted son-in-law from the Uwajima-Date family and his offspring inherited the family so the bloodline of the original family was extinguished.

His third son, Tōdō Takayoshi was initially adopted by Hashiba Hidenaga (the younger brother of Hideyoshi), but later adopted by Hidenaga’s retainer, Tōdō Takatora.  Takayoshi founded the Nabari-Tōdō, a cadet family of the Tōdō clan.  The lineage continuned to the Meiji period.

His fourth son, Hachisuka Naomasa, was adopted by Hachisuka Yoritaka, but died early.

His sixth son, Niwa Nagatsugi, served as a hatamoto for the Edo bakufu for a stipend of 1,500 koku.  Nagatsugi was followed by Nagayoshi, Nagamori, and Nagamichi.  Niwa Hidenobu, the fourth lord of the Nihonmatsu domain of Mutsu Province (which was the main branch of the Niwa clan) did not have children so adopted the eldest son of Nagamichi, Niwa Takahiro, and had him wed Hidenobu’s younger sister.  This adopted son became a daimyō and the fifth head of the domain.

Through the wife of Inaba Norimichi, he was a descendant of Emperor Ninkō (with a reign from 1817 to 1846) so is connected to the present day to the Imperial household through this bloodline.

Niwa Keisuke from a martial arts family and Niwa Daiki from professional soccer (siblings) may be descendants and, in particular, Daiki calls himself as such but it is not certain.