Kuroda Yoshitaka, or also known as Kanbei, was born in Himeji in December 22, 1546 under the Kodera clan of Himeji and died on April 19, 1604. Unsatisfied by his clan’s inability to see the potential in the Oda clan’s conquest of Japan, he offered himself towards Oda Nobunaga and his vassal, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. His clever advice brought forth much success towards the Oda clan’s conquest of the Mori clan (prior to Nobunaga’s death) and Hideyoshi’s early success in the Korean invasions.

Do not try to gain other people’s favor and do not wish for wealth

Although he was considered a gifted strategist and a man of charisma, often noted for his decency of character and extreme loyalty towards Hideyoshi (to which he even renounced his Christian faith after Hideyoshi told him to), his values lied upon his frugal and modest nature. Yet, many historical writings and contemporary media suggest that while Kuroda may have been feared by his liege. Of course, one cannot die such possibilities given that Hideyoshi witnessed, and avenged, the death of his leader Nobunaga following the betrayal of one of his trusted retainers (and perhaps that is why Kuroda was seen with chains attached to a metal ball around his hands in the Sengoku Basara anime and games – a symbolic representation that Kuroda’s actions were limited by Hideyoshi’s fear). Had Hideyoshi had heard Kuroda’s famous last words, “Do not try to gain other people’s favor and do not wish for wealth,” then maybe Hideyoshi would’ve understood Kuroda’s upmost extreme loyalty and, shortly after his death, raised Hideyoshi’s heir as the official ruler of Japan instead of Tokugawa Ieyasu.