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Ōhōri Tsuruhime

Yukiden_-_Tsuruhime

Ōhōri Tsuruhime in Sengoku BASARA Yukimura-den

Kanji: 大祝鶴姫
Date(s): 1526-1543
Other Known Names: the “Joan of Arc” of Japan

Kono_clan_mon

Kono clan mon

 

Ōhōri Tsuruhime, or simply known as Tsuruhime, was possibly an onna-bugeisha who fought against the Ōuchi clan in the early years of the Sengoku Jidai. She was the head priestess at Ōyamazumi Shrine on Ōmishima Island in Iyo Province. With her amazing fighting skills and her divine inspiration, she has been compared to Joan of Arc.
Tsuruhime was born in 1526 and by the time she was fifteen, she had lost her brothers due to the Ōuchi/Kōno conflict on Shikoku and her father to illness. It was after the death of her father that she was made head priestess of Ōyamazumi Shrine and took charge of protecting the shrine from the Ōuchi. In 1541, she led an army against the Ōuchi, and managed to drive them back to the open sea.
Four months later, the Ōuchi arrived outside of Ōmishima. Tsuruhime snuck onto the ship belonging to Ohara Takakoto and challenged him to a one on one fight. He laughed, thinking she was a prostitute and she proceeded to cut him down. The ships were then bombarded with hōrokubiya (spherical bombs), and the Ōuchi were once again driven away from Ōmishima.
Tsuruhime’s life would end two years later when the Ōuchi returned. She led her army to battle, however, when her fiancé was killed in action, she committed suicide by drowning. It has been recorded that her last words were “As Mishima’s ocean as my witness, my love shall be engraved with my name.
Sadly, it is unclear if Tsuruhime was a real or just a legend or a fictional character. According to the website, Rejected Princess.com, no one had heard of Tsuruhime before 1968, even people who lived on Ōmishima where she was supposedly from. While there is an armor at Ōyamazumi Shrine that is said to be hers, the head priest at the shrine has not really helped historians prove or disprove her existence. Regardless, this does not stop the people of Japan from celebrating her life in festivals every year.