210 cm (6'11")
|5th Weapon:|| |
Winged Serpent/Dragon's Maw (2:XL~3:XL)
|6th Weapon:|| |
Ni-Oh Pike (1:XL)
|Moveset Type:|| |
|Playable Debut:||Samurai Warriors|
|Real name:|| |
|Japanese name:|| |
June 4, 1612
|Real dates are unknown and the years posted are speculated times. Possibly may have been born in 1533, the years 1540 through 1543, 1552 or 1555; also recorded to have died in 1605.|
|Personal Item:|| |
Journal of a Wandering Warrior
Keiji Maeda (前田 慶次, Maeda Keiji) is one of the argued names for Toshimasu. He is Toshiie's nephew who is best known historically for protecting the Uesugi's retreat from Hasedo, allegedly facing an army of thousands with only eight horsemen. In fiction, he is one of the most celebrated kabukimono, or wild men, of the time period who is known for his monstrous height and his peerless strength. His horse and companion, Matsukaze, is usually found beside him.
His Samurai Warriors counterpart premiered as the equivalent to the Dynasty Warriors Lu Bu until Tadakatsu's introduction in the following game. Fans voted him to twenty-sixth place in Gamecity's Sengoku Musou 3: Empires character popularity poll. For the Samurai Warriors 4 poll, he placed forty-third.
Role in GamesEdit
"Wild, unbridled aggression is a wonderful thing to see!"
- ~~Zhang Liao; Warriors Orochi
Keiji is a brazen wild man who feels most at home in a fight between warriors. He starts as an Oda officer at Ise-Nagashima yet deems Nobunaga's methods to be too brutal. When Magoichi and Shoukei attempt to surrender, Keiji has the option to intercept them and save the remaining rebels from annihilation. He accompanies his master to Nagashino but feels bored and uninterested with the new reliance on machinery in battle. Before taking his leave, he may also urge the promising Yukimura to not waste his life on a lost cause and may be treated to a short duel with the youth in gratitude. Deserting the Oda ranks, he wanders into Kyoto and unintentionally starts a brawl in the streets by failing to remember a man he previously wronged. Keiji makes Goemon's acquaintance and reminisces with Okuni. He may choose to completely cut ties with the Oda, telling them to withdraw from his fair fight. Even after the chaos in the capital, he still wants to fight so he leaves on another journey. With interests perked after hearing of Kenshin's exploits, he barges into the fight between the Uesugi and Hōjō at Odawara Castle. As he proceeds within the castle's keeps, he encounters Masamune and may choose to share empathetic sentiments for the young, plucky general.
Arriving before Kenshin at the top floor, he slays Ujimasa. Not long after the deed is done, he finally gets to see Kenshin in person. Keiji's admiration for Kenshin increases as he witnesses the elder general pay his respects for Ujimasa's body. Boastfully offering his services for Kenshin, Keiji is accepted into the Uesugi ranks. However, he is given nothing to do with his new service and spends his days dawdling around a mansion. He wonders if this is what he truly wanted with his life.
If Keiji chose to be consistently courteous to the enemies he faced during his journey, Kenshin will instead issue the would-be recruit a challenge for the samurai rank. He orders the wanderer to face the entire Uesugi army by himself at Kawanakajima. As Keiji proceeds with the test, Magoichi, Yukimura, Goemon, Okuni, and Masamune gradually appear to repay the kindness they experienced -excluding Goemon who was dragged there by Okuni. Winning the contest with his rag-tag army, Kenshin concedes defeat to the real strength that Keiji now possesses. As Kenshin takes his leave, Keiji is happy to spend his life with his new comrades.
His story in the second title begins during the height of Hideyoshi's time of power. After serving in the siege of Odawara Castle, the land is in disarray once more when the unifier dies. With several Toyotomi vassals defecting to serve the uprising Ieyasu, Keiji decides to help the undermanned loyalists rescue Mitsunari in the capital. Befriending Kanetsugu from the conflict and joining the Uesugi, they return to Echigo together to learn that pirates invaded their territory. To let off some steam from their uneventful trip, Keiji volunteers to suppress them for the common folk. His reward for his deed is the pacification of the seas and Kanetsugu's heartfelt appreciation. Years later, Kanetsugu leads the army east in an attempt to drive Ieyasu's forces in a pincer. The plan fails with Mitsunari's defeat at Sekigahara, and he flees from the pursuing Masamune. In spite of facing certain death, Keiji rides alone to guard his friend's retreat at Hasedō. Although they hear news of Mitsunari's demise, he stops his friend from committing suicide to join their ally in the afterlife. Inspired to avenge their loss, he accompanies Kanetsugu as they immediately charge Hidetada at Edo Castle. Together with Masayuki and Yukimura's reinforcements, they hurry to take the castle before Ieyasu's return from Sekigahara. Winning the battle, he continues to rout the remaining Tokugawa troops in his path, leaving the diplomatic matters of the new world to his friend.
In his dream stage, Hideyoshi and Ieyasu can't agree which warrior is the strongest between Keiji and Tadakatsu. To solve their differences, they stage a mock battle between both warriors at Odani Castle. Yukimura and Kanetsugu reinforce his charge through the Tokugawa and Date troops. Once he defeats Ieyasu, he is given the privilege to fight Tadakatsu and is donned the greatest warrior in the land when he wins.
Samurai Warriors 3 revisits his service in the Oda, this time being ordered by Nobunaga to serve under his uncle, Toshiie. Accompanying Toshiie into the contention between Nagamasa and Nobunaga at Anegawa, Keiji acts on his own and charges through the Asakura ranks. His antics earns him a harsh scolding from Toshiie, who yells at him to get back in formation. With Nagamasa's death, Nobunaga continues to conquer the land until his death at Honnoji. Years later, Keiji follows Toshiie to Shizugatake to defend his uncle's respected mentor, Katsuie, from Hideyoshi's siege. However, Toshiie has a change of heart when he further contemplates the justifications for Hideyoshi's rise to power and defects to strike down his mentor. Left with Katsuie's final wish to take care of Toshiie, Keiji tells his uncle to realize his honest motivation in life and learn from Katsuie's example. Dunking his uncle in a puddle of water to clear Toshiie's senses, Keiji declares his formal leave of the Maeda household.
While Toshiie continues to assist Hideyoshi's conquests for unification, Keiji lives as a rōnin. Each of the powers of the land eventually gather under the conqueror to suppress Ujiyasu, the final opposition to his rule. Wanting to take part in the grand battle for peace, Keiji participates in the siege at Oshi Castle. After a brief reunion with Toshiie, he makes his acquaintance with Kanetsugu and is impressed by the young man's loyalty to the Uesugi over Hideyoshi. Interested by the younger man's quips, he invites himself into the Uesugi. Although peace was briefly sustained by his uncle after Hideyoshi's death, Toshiie's passing due to illness spurs the Toyotomi ranks into internal rebellion. As Kanetsugu hurries to Kyoto to place Mitsunari in Ieyasu's safe care, an indignant Keiji supports to protect his uncle's legacy. The positive relations between Mitsunari and Ieyasu soon dissolves into a conflict for the right to rule; Ieyasu eventually sends Masamune to deal with the opposing Kanetsugu. Preparing to die to protect his lord, Keiji declares Hasedō to be his last battle. Though he slays Masamune, troops from the Eastern Army are fast approaching due to Mitsunari's defeat at Sekigahara. Boldly riding with one of Toshiie's spears in hand, he is surprised to see Kanetsugu and his troops hurry to his aid. Seeing the friendly support as a sign, he decides to continue living for the future conflicts ahead.
Keiji is the man with the right to lead the Maeda in Samurai Warriors 4. Though duty dictates his presence at Okehazama, he mainly lives for the thrill of facing overwhelming odds. Upon noticing Toshiie's crestfallen state throughout the battle, Keiji pitches in with the request for Nobunaga to forgive him. The Maeda fight together for their lord's path to the capital, the nephew seemingly taking charge of their actions. Keiji's seat for Meada leadership is spontaneously seceded when Nobunaga grants it to Toshiie. Though surprised by the change, Keiji is supportive of his uncle's new responsibility and congratulates him. He stays with the Oda main forces —fighting for them at Kanagasaki, Tedorigawa, Nagashino, and Kii Province— until he is assigned to Kazumasu Takigawa's ranks. Keiji bids farewell to Toshiie before leaving.
While serving under Kazumasu, Keiji is glad to clash blades with the Sanada brothers again. He rejoices Yukimura's vigor from Nagashino and imparts his blunt impressions to Nobuyuki when they fight again at Tenmokuzan. Keiji gets a chance to speak with them when Kazumasu allies with the Sanada at Kannagawa. He jovially introduces another perspective in life to Yukimura, yet Keiji warns Nobuyuki that the younger brother's warrior spirit will inevitably lead to his death in battle. A year later, Keiji leaves Kazumasu to support his uncle at Shizugatake. He splashes freezing water on Toshiie after Katsuie dies and talks him out of his slump. When his uncle barks back in anger, Keiji rejoices his renewed spirit and resumes his travels.
Predicting that Hideyoshi's forces will someday head east and seeking to have a good fight, Keiji wanders with Magoichi towards Oshu. He joins the Date at Koriyama and is amused by Masamune's drive. With the young lord's permission, Keiji stays for the big brawl against the Toyotomi forces. If the player uses him for the third stage in the Tohoku chapter, Keiji can briefly reunite with Toshiie.
As favor sides with Ieyasu years later, Keiji decides to leave Oshu. Keiji wishes to have his last hurrah in war within the east but doesn't wish to fight for a sure cause. He remembers being impressed with Kagekatsu's presence at Tedorigawa and swears his allegiance to the Toyotomi-bound-Uesugi. Before the war at Hasedō commences, Keiji thanks Masamune and gives his well wishes for a good fight. Regardless of the battle's conclusion, Mitsunari's defeat leads to the Uesugi's surrender to Ieyasu. Kagekatsu rewards Keiji's efforts with a personal manor, and Keiji uses it to immediately retire. While he enjoys and prepares himself for the coming era of peace, Keiji offers his condolences to a visiting Kanetsugu. He is content to leave the era's final war to Yukimura.
During Orochi's scenario, Keiji is one of the fierce defenders at Odawara Castle. He charges into battle and meets Orochi. After his defeat, he decides to join the serpent king's army, supposedly on his own will. Wondering about his leader's intentions, he continues to question his allies about their image of him. Regardless of his feelings on the manner, he continues to serve Orochi in Warriors Orochi. However, in one of the Gaiden stages, he eventually grows bored of fighting half-spirited armies and challenges Lu Meng and company to prove their worth to him. When the Wu forces fully unite against him, he is amused by their courage and agrees to join their cause.
In Warriors Orochi 2, Keiji continues to serve the resurrected Orochi. In his dream stage, he teams up with Lu Bu and Tadakatsu to save Liu Bei and defeat Orochi. Keiji implies that his intentions are to finally grant the serpent king peace. Musou Orochi Z also gives him an additional dream stage that takes place prior to the first title. Teaming up with Masamune and Orochi, the army splits to partake in a mock battle to test their strengths. Keiji accompanies Orochi to fight against Da Ji's forces.
After Orochi's second defeat, Keiji resumes his life of wandering in Warriors Orochi 3. He was content to be free from responsibility until he felt Orochi's soul residing within Hydra. Wanting to fight for the sake of his former comrade, Keiji then sides with the serpent forces. After Hydra's first defeat at Luoyang, Keiji realizes the hollow Orochi form that emerges isn't the immortal he once knew. Finally accepting Orochi's permanent death as a reality, he agrees to help the coalition defeat the menace in their realm. He later joins the attack at Hulao Gate and helps Xingcai reach Guan Ping at Jieting.
In Ultimate, one of the new scenarios displays his services to the demon army before deserting them. Though he and Masamune are doubtful of Kiyomori's intentions, they nonetheless follow his orders in the hopes of meeting Orochi once again.
Keiji is content to wander freely in Pokémon Conquest, never joining a faction within the main story mode. He sporadically visits the protagonist to check on his/her progress and is impressed each time. Keiji informs the player the methods for recruiting characters, how to create Links with wild Pokémon, and gives the protagonist the stones he/she needs to evolve Eevee.
Keiji appears as a wild unit for the Toyotomi side in Kessen. Although he leads a small army of 3,000 men, he has an amazing amount of stamina and will charge through larger armies with relative ease. If he is ordered to retreat from battle, he will shout a bold protest and will be late to obey the command. He's somewhat rare as he'll only appear in the last stage at Edo or Sekigahara. In Kessen III, he can be unlocked as a special playable unit if the player has a Samurai Warriors save file.
Keiji was designed to look like the strongest character and visually beats the original cast in height. His charismatic "lion's mane" hairstyle and tiger fur were made to emphasize his strength and "wild nature". His first design took some inspiration from Tetsuo Hara's interpretation of Keiji from the Hana no Keiji series. These key concepts were kept for his redesign in the second title, but the designers jokingly lament that he isn't supposed to be the mightiest character. The third title sought to emphasize his status as a kabukimono and bare skin for him. Keiji's appearance in the fourth title was made by lack, his main illustrator. The designer laments not capturing Keiji's facial expression with the same magnetism as lack's concepts.
The pachislot calls him the "ultimate kabukimono", a stereotype that the creators at first tried to avoid during Keiji's creative process.
Keiji is a fun-loving brawler who doesn't give a hoot about rules or laws. He enters campaigns with unabashed confidence, often thinking that every battle is one big and crazy party. His most gifted trait is his ability to live life as it comes, never worrying what others think of him and treasuring his own personal values. While others may see him as a simple rogue, he does have some code of personal ethic and will stand for the common people. He feels that fights should be fought fairly and doesn't condone killing innocent bystanders or weak-willed women. He also admires bravery and often feels compelled to stick up for the underdogs.
In his first appearance, Keiji highly respects Kenshin's strength and often wishes to join him in several scenarios. He also has a friendly rivalry with Goemon as the ultimate kabukimono, although he is oblivious about the resentments that the latter has regarding their relationship with Okuni. His previous ties with Okuni aren't explained yet he sees her as an odd yet good person. During the second title, he befriends Yukimura and Kanetsugu and acts as a strong mentor for them. In each case, he reasons with the younger men's outlook to be more true to themselves. His role in Warriors Orochi seems to contrast his personality but, in actuality, he emphasizes with Orochi's personal strife and seeks to help him.
His relationship with Toshiie is usually a minor mention in the series, but it's implied he doesn't agree with his uncle's methods. Aware of their family ties at least, Keiji begrudgingly acknowledges Toshiie as "Oji-dono" (叔父殿) or "Honored uncle". He disregards his uncle's advice in the first title and plays relatively harmless pranks against Toshiie in select Empires conversations. Toshiie's distrust for his nephew even extends into the Warriors Orochi series, the former denouncing the latter. In their newest incarnation, Keiji doesn't like Toshiie's indecisiveness yet is otherwise friendly towards his relative. Their relationship with one another is also shown in a positive light compared to previous titles.
His symbolic items in the Samurai Warriors series are the kanji for "chivalrous" (豪) and "tiger" (虎). Both characters are commonly associated with the interpretation of Keiji made famous by the Hana no Keiji comics. A well known Keiji quote found in fiction today is, "Why do you think tigers are strong? Because they're strong by nature." (虎は何故強いと思うね？もともと強いからよ.), which is lifted from the same comic. The quote is much longer in the comic's continuity, in which Keiji compared himself to the puissant tiger while confronting Masamune and Kojurō Katakura. Samurai Warriors Keiji says the shortened version of the quote for his True Musou in the first title, but he rewords it slightly ("虎が" instead of "虎は", "Because they were born that way!" in English). His alternate outfit in the previously mentioned game is also another homage to the story. In both the comic and the novel of its origin, Keiji shaved off his hair when he was sent as a peaceful messenger to Ieyasu.
The name "Keiji" means "lead cautiously", which is ironic given Keiji's reckless personality. As a part of his kabukimono image, his second weapon's original name can be translated as "Battle Jig". It means that as he fights, he celebrates and dances with each swing.
Keiji's titles in Samurai Warriors 2 are "Wild One", "Beast of Chaos", "Fierce Predator", "Wild Tiger", "The Unstoppable", "Insurmountable", and "Maverick of Legend" (in the Xtreme Legends expansion).
The original name for Keiji's third weapon or Normal weapon can be literally translated as "Indomitable Kaishu Spear". Kaishu is the name for either a vermilion or cinnabar painting or decoration often found on lacquer dinnerware. The name is a callback to a story regarding Toshimasu's attire once he entered the Uesugi family service. He boldly took a war banner for himself and scribbled the words, "Tai Buhenmono", on it. "Tai Buhenmono" translates to "Great Great Brave". It has a notable tone of boldness since buhen is already reserved for someone who is superbly courageous and tai amplifies it. Toshimasu proudly rode into battle with such a banner and wielded the kaishu spear. It is said the spear he had was not supposed to be used at all since there weren't many who could wield it. The outrageous attire spread discontent with other Uesugi retainers, thinking that everything about Toshimasu's behavior was a grave affront to their lord's reputation. However, it is said Kagekatsu and Kanetsugu instead praised the rebellious one since his strong front was reminiscent and respectful to their late lord, Kenshin. His Power version invokes him with a fighting spirit and his Speed version grants him a conqueror's spirit.
Amenonuhoko is a hoko famed within the Japanese creation myth. It forms the original namesake for Keiji's first fifth weapon, his fourth and fifth weapons in Samurai Warriors 2: Xtreme Legends, and his unique weapon in the third title. Izanagi and Izanami were given the jeweled spear and used it to stir the ocean. From the drops of the spear, Onogoroshima was born. Landing on the island, the two gods married and gave birth to the other gods. His sixth weapon is named in honor of Ni-Oh, two guardian deities found within Eastern Asia.
His personal item in Warriors Orochi and family treasure in Samurai Warriors 4 is the same diary he historically authored within the Asian ports.
- Steven Blum - Samurai Warriors (English-uncredited)
- Steve Szczepowski - Samurai Warriors 2 (English)
- Roger Craig Smith - Warriors Orochi series, Samurai Warriors 3 (English-uncredited)
- Michael Benyear - Kessen (English)
- Yuuji Ueda - Samurai Warriors and Warriors Orochi series (Japanese)
- Kazunari Tanaka - Kessen (Japanese)
- Hisayoshi Suganuma - Kessen III (Japanese)
- Masaya Matsukaze - CR Sengoku no Arashi ~Nobunaga no Shou~
- See also: Keiji Maeda/Quotes
- "This is great, hey Matsukaze?"
- "Ha! That was so funny, I think I'll break your face!"
- "Helping these poor fellas could cost me my life. Ain't I heroic?"
- "Sure, being a pirate has its allure, but killing pirates? That's the life for me!"
- "I wonder if we're gonna survive this... Ohh, I love the suspense!"
- "This battle's gonna go down in history. Hey, I wonder if I will too?"
- "Yeah, I hear ya. To tell you the truth, I don't actually think I'm crazy. I think I'm perfectly normal, and it's the rest of the world that's wrong in the head."
- "Alright! In the name of our creepy snake overlord guy!!!"
- "Thank you, Master Keiji! You have made the right choice, joining the side of honor."
- "Hey, it's okay. I know what it's like to be bullied. Nah! I really don't!"
- ~~Kanetsugu and Keiji; Samurai Warriors 2
- "Don't you have work to do, Keiji? What are you up to? I've heard all about your practical jokes, you know. Like the time you filled your uncle's bath with cold water...?"
- "Ha ha, oh yeah! That was a good one! Man, was he livid."
- "Keiji! You should be ashamed!"
- "Hey, what are you so mad for? You're under a lot of stress lately, aren't you. I bet you could use a nice, hot bath. Hey, why don't you get your robe, and I'll go draw the water for you!"
- ~~Nene and Keiji; Samurai Warriors 2 Empires
- "Thanks for everything you've done for me, Old Man. I thought it's about time to at least make some tea for you. Here, have a cup!"
- "Oh, then bottoms up! Ack! It's hot! Hey, this tea is like drinking fire!"
- "Too hot for your tastes, huh? I thought you liked searing hot baths and tea."
- "You rascal...! Do you always enjoy toying with me!?"
- ~~Keiji and Toshiie; Sengoku Musou 3: Empires
- "Orochi 'n me are good pals now, so don't expect to face him until you've dealt with me first! And I promise not to make this easy for you! Ha ha!"
- "Listen closely, because you're about to hear your own requiem."
- "The artistic type, are you? Now that's my favorite kind of gal!"
- ~~Keiji and Zhen Ji; Warriors Orochi
- "And what kind of lunatic do we have here?"
- "Hey, hey! What did you call me? Oh, right, yeah, that's me all right."
- ~~Pang Tong and Keiji; Warriors Orochi 2
- "You are strong, Master Keiji, as I've seen fighting in battle with you. But the strength of those with nothing to protect can easily crumble."
- "Very well then. From now on, I'll protect you. Okay?"
- "Which means, in turn, I'll be protecting you, from the flaw that lies within your strength."
- ~~Xingcai and Keiji; Warriors Orochi 3
- "Who will join me in the dance of combat?"
- ~~Keiji initiating a duel; Kessen
|Keys:||Normal Attack •||Charge Attack •||Musou •||Jump/Mount|
- , ( ), ( ): A swing going right to left, then spin around hitting the other direction, and finishes of by impaling opponent and launching them in the air
- , , ( ), ( ): Uppercut enemy, hits them with the spear as the descend and creates a damaging aura knocking them away.
- , , , ( ), ( ): Punches foes, spins around with spear held firm, then twirls it in the air and slams the spear, weight first, into the ground making a shockwave.
- , , , , ( ), ( ): Swing the spear over head around Keiji, has huge range and area
- , , , , , , , : First three hits are normal alternating left to right and right to left swings, then advances forward reversing between the spear blade and weight, and finishes off by plunging the weight in the ground making a shockwave.
- : A series of diagonal slashes in rapid succession. Stationary but hits enemies in a decent radius around him. Very effective as a juggler.
Samurai Warriors 2Edit
Moveset remains relatively the same. His horse musou is the same as other characters in that his horse will do a high speed charge through enemies. Like all characters, he also has a Level 3 Musou effect where he's surrounded by several ground shockwaves. He gains a few new techniques.
- , , , , : (Xtreme Legends only) Keiji emits a whirlwind around him.
- : His musou actions remain the same. During the level 3 version, various ground explosions will emit around him.
- R1 + : Lunges forward with his free hand, nabs his opponent, and throws them after he gains a spinning momentum.
- R1 + : Whistles for his horse. Cannot be used in-doors.
- Personal Skill: (Reversal) Counter enemy attacks with the button.
- Warriors Orochi
Loses his C5, personal skill, and Level 3 Musou. Gains a different R1.
- R1 - Stomps the floor and creates a shockwave around him. Gains a boost in attack speed.
- Warriors Orochi 2
- Triple Attack 1: Shortly charges up before releasing a strong air gust.
- Triple Attack 2: Twirls weapon around to create a giant wind pillar rising up from the floor.
- Triple Attack 3: Stomps the ground with glimmering energy.
Samurai Warriors 3Edit
- (Ultimate/Kaiden): Slams the end of his spear to the ground, then roars as a fire-like aura surrounds him and damages enemies from all sides.
- Spirit Cancel:
- Warriors Orochi 3
- R1: Launches enemy into the air, then triggers a shockwave.
- , R1 (Ultimate only): Swings spear violently back and forth, then pounds the ground at the end of the attack.
Samurai Warriors 4Edit
Mighty strike is the same as Deadlock Attack. Moveset remains the same with the following changes.
- , , , , , ( ), ( ):
- : Finisher changes to him slicing five energywaves forward.
- Rage Attack/Musou Gokui effect: Activates Ultimate/Kaidan Musou if is used. Performs ending pose for previous if the effect ends without activating Ultimate/Kaidan Musou.
Keiji is known for his relatively slow mobility and high attack power. While most of his attacks are executed rather sluggishly, each hit can deal a great amount of damage. His Musou attack is excellent for crowd control while some of his charge attacks have guard-breaking qualities. Keiji's lack of speed can be compensated by providing him with a fast horse like Matsukaze.
- See also: Keiji Maeda/Weapons
Samurai Warriors 4Edit
Rare Weapon AcquisitionEdit
- Stage: Ōshū's Punishment
Maeda Toshimasu was known as a wild man who acted like a bizarre kabukimono. He was infamously known for his brazen dances and unabashed behavior. On the other hand, he was also a stalwart general who possessed unmatched bravery on the field. His ferocity in battle and his well toned physique earned him respect by his allies. While his armor can still be seen today, it's unclear if he was the giant that legends state he was. Though a mild troublemaker, he was also known to be a compassionate man. A story says that there were three adults and two children who arrived from their travels to Kyoto. However, the parents were heavily stricken with disease and could scarcely move. They entrusted their servant to take the children away to safety. Toshimasu gave them a merciful glance yet was powerless to aid them. He candidly recorded in his diary, "I wept for the parents' sorrow." Years after his death, Arai Hakuseki described him as "a hero who doesn't hide from the world" in his Hankanfu publication.
Despite his unorthodox manners, Toshimasu also had an affectionate love for the arts. During his leisure, he composed poetry (particularly haiku) and painted portraits. He especially liked writing and kept a diary of his adventures as "Maeda Keijiro" during October and November in 1601. This book was published and continues to serve as a historical text for readers today. Though Toshimasu is presented in a third-person narrative, he is genuinely considered to be the actual author of the book. His written work is often the basis for many of the legends and myths surrounding him. A Japanese article regarding more details about the book can be seen here.
Toshimasu was married to Maeda Yasukatsu's daughter. They had one son and three daughters. His son, Masatora, served Maeda Toshitsune. His daughters were married into the Toda and Hojo clans. Stories say that he also had a second son but, if he did exist, his name isn't mentioned in historical records.
Toshimasu was supposedly known by a large variety of names during different parts of his life. During his time as a young adult, he was called Soubei (宗兵衛), Keijiro (啓次郎 or 啓二郎 or 慶二郎), and Keiji (慶二). The names he received when he reached manhood also include Toshihiro or Toshioki (利大), Toshisada (利貞), and Toshitaka (利卓). According to Ozaki Tomomichi, he was also known as Takuto (卓利). When he reached his elderly years, he was then known as Gokuzou-In Hyosai (穀蔵院飄戸斎) and Ryuzaiken Fubensai (龍砕軒不便斎). The history surrounding these other names match strongly with Toshimasu's life though historians wonder if he was actually renamed multiple times or if these other names are informal nicknames. The alternative spelling of his name Keiji (慶次) was popularized due to the Hana no Keiji comic series.
To separate fictional adaptations under his Keiji name, his historical counterpart is usually called the name he was consistently known for in adulthood, Toshimasu. However, historians will still continue to refer to him as Keiji due to its popularity in various fictional mediums.
Life and DeathEdit
Toshimasu was born during a relatively unknown year and from an unknown background. Evidence suggests that he was supposedly one of Takigawa Kazumasu's sons. Yet others suggest that he may have been the son of Kazumasu's nephew or one of his cousins, Masauji or Masashige. If this scenario is true, speculators reason that Toshimasu may have had a younger brother since his mother had another child when she remarried. Though not as popular, a few stories say he was born in the Toda clan. Whatever his origin may be, he was adopted by Maeda Toshihisa (Toshiie's older brother) and lived at the modern day Aichi Prefecture, Nagoya.
In 1567, his foster father retired on Nobunaga's orders. According to Murai Shigenori's writings, Nobunaga reasoned that since Toshihisa was childless (without a legitimate son) and sickly, his adopted son should have a lower status. During this time, Toshimasu is said to have been a vassal of the Takigawa family or Hayashi Hidesada. Since his brother was in a weakened condition, Toshiie chose to adopt Toshimasu when he inherited Owari-Arako Castle. Rumors say that Toshiie and Toshimasu frequently clashed with one another but it's unclear if they bickered as much as the stories say. In 1581, he took a large sword, embedded it with the treasured seal of his home, and left to visit Atsuta Shrine. He apparently didn't leave his home but he is often portrayed as abandoning it around this time in different mediums.
During the year 1581, Toshimasu made a reputation for himself under his uncle while participating in conflicts within Noto Province. He was rewarded with 5,000 koku. During the Battle of Komaki-Nagakute three years later, Toshimasu came to Sassa Narimasa's rescue when he was attacked at Suemori Castle. He continued to help his uncle in the Siege of Odawara Castle. When Toshihisa passed away in 1587, Toshimasu sent his son into the Maeda family's service. Either after Toshihisa's death or in 1590, relations between him and Toshiie grew sour. He fled from the Maeda family without taking his wife or child. After his escape, he resided in Kyoto.
As a rounin, he frequently exchanged letters and poems with the local artists in the area, one of which is said to include Furuta Shigenari. He indulged himself in the arts and became frequently mentioned in folksongs and poems in the area where he lived in. He is recorded to have sponsored plays and dances during his time in the city. A popular story says that he was called to meet Toyotomi Hideyoshi at Osaka Castle and the two men entertained one another with their antics. Sometime later, Naoe Kanetsugu favored him and invited him into the Uesugi service (according to some sources, this happened during April in an unknown year). He was presented with 1,000 koku and was distinguished during the years 1598 and 1600 as Kanetsugu's yoriki. He served valiantly during the Keicho-Dewa Conflict in the latter year between the Uesugi and Date armies. He is best known for serving as the rear guard for Kanetsugu's escape at Hasedo Castle, facing thousands of warriors while ensuring his master's safety.
When the Uesugi surrendered, Toshimasu took his payment and left the clan. From here, the stories regarding his fate differ from one another. According to their records, he took to hermitage and resided in a temple in the Yonezawa Domain. Kanetsugu wrote that during his time of seclusion, he continued his pursuit of the arts and made a poem that was considered a national treasure (though this is debated). He lived there the rest of his years and died on June 4, 1612. Based on this account, the locals have established a shrine in 1980 to honor his remains in the area. The other historical record writes that after the Sekigahara conflict, Toshimasu's eccentric behavior was at odds with the Uesugi so he left to serve Maeda Toshinaga at the Kaga Domain. He died due to illness in 1605. It is written that a grave stone was carved for him but it doesn't exist today.
In modern times, his life is celebrated each year in June at the shrine area in Yonezawa, Yamagata. The forest temple, which was funded by Kanetsugu on the anniversary of Keiji's passing, is named "Keiji Shimizu". Recently, a tea ceremony took place on June 5, 2009 to honor Toshimasu's passing as well as Kanetsugu's life in the Taiga drama, Tenchijin. According to legend, Toshimasu liked tea and the waters nearby the shrine.
- In the Sengoku Jidai themed comic, Sengoku Angelique, Olivie acts as the Keiji of the cast. His full name is "Maeda Olivie Keiji".