Photo from :http://www1.nhk.or.jp/kanbe/
Sengoku jidai(the Warning States of Period) in Japanese history is from late 15th century to 16th century. and thre warlords, Nobunaga Oda, Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Ieyasu Tokugawa are the three busho(military commander). You may have heard the three haiku of cuckoo which describe their character.
If she does not sing for me, I will kill her (Nobunaga)
If she does not sing for me, I will make her to sing (Hideyoshi)
If she does not sing for me, I will wait till she sings (Ieyasu)
Those haiku have been made in later period, the three warlords did not actually make these haiku but they describe their character, merciless Nobunaga, resorceful Hideyoshi and patient Ieyasu. They are known as these strong and very different character.
In the above photo from NHK TV drama, Nobunaga(in the left), Hideyoshi (middle) and Ieyasu is in the right, and the guy in front, wearing a black jinbaori is Kanbei Kuroda.
It was a highlight of the drama tonight, Honnoji Incident. It was Nobunaga who was ruling the whole country at that time but Honnoji Incident forced him suicide by his samurai general Akechi Mitsuhide(June 21, 1582). Nobunaga, a carismatic and very ambitious warlord was dreaming about seeing abroad also. He has been terrified by other generals by his strong power and his merciless method of ruling, but ironically, the betroyal by his general, his age was finished. In that era of rivalry between warlords, Kuroda Kanbei was the most important and influential figure. Gunshi means `strategist' -- He was a Chief Cabinet Secretary in a way. By knowing the death of Nobunaga, he advised Hideyoshi to attack Akechi Mitsuhide(who betrayed Nobunaga) and seize the whole power. Kuroda Kanbei was the key man of this turnng point period. As a young samurai, he served Kodera family. Kanbei knew and believed Nobunaga's talent as a ruler, he advised Kodera to become layal to Nobunaga. Through the chaotic war period, Kuroda Kanbei had the outstanding eyes as a strategist.
At first, he was a rather a loyal and honest samurai but surviving one - year of confinement by failing to persuade Murashige Araki, a general who tried to rebel against Nobunaga, he grew as a person with more realistic and severe character. Only for a short period of time, Hideyoshi took place of Nobunaga- it was the result of Kanbei's big success as a strategist.
He was a unique figure-usually samurai had mistresses but he had only his wife for life and prohibited suicide-following the master into the grave was considered to be the way as a samurai but he pursuaded the preciousness of life in that war period to others. He has been baptized in Kyusyu by the encounter with Ukon Takayama, who was known as a Christina Daimyo.
If you are interested in this particular period of Japanese history, Kuroda Kanbei is the person you will be interested!