Author: hidemi1600

A Case for Canonization: Hosokawa Gracia

In the eyes of the Catholic Church, all Christians are called to be saints. Despite this, only a select few ever receive the title. Recently, I have managed to get a copy of Two Japanese Christian Heroes by Johannes Laures, S.J., which is a mini biography on two of Japan’s most well known Christian converts: Takayama Ukon and Hosokawa Gracia. While Takayama Ukon was beatified by Pope Francis in Ōsaka on February 7, 2017, Gracia has not been brought up for discussion for the same honor. I believe that Gracia should be considered for sainthood, due to her love of her faith and her martyrdom. The Life of Gracia Hosokawa Gracia was born Akechi Tama (or Tamako) in 1563, the third daughter to Akechi Mitsuhide. She was a beautiful and intelligent woman who loved to learn and was not satisfied with half hearted answers. On top of this, she was an extremely independent woman who had a melancholic disposition.(1) She was married off to Hosokawa Tadaoki at around fifteen or sixteen years of age, and during their marriage, they …

Sengoku BASARA: The Last Party Review

I know this is ten years too late, but I am still going to do a review. That being said, where do I begin with this one? I am a huge fan of the Sengoku BASARA series, not just for the video games, but also for the anime. The hidden historical details that are inserted throughout make it fun for those who know Sengoku Jidai history all too well. Despite this, I feel like the film fell flat, which is why I think Sengoku BASARA: Judge End was released three years later. This does not mean the movie is bad. I just think it missed the mark. WARNING! Although the anime has been out for over ten years, I still have to put a spoiler alert for those who are just discovering this. Sengoku BASARA: The Last Party was released in Japanese theaters on June 4, 2011. It was a big project that was supposed to end the anime series, which lasted two seasons. The story is simple: Ishida Mitsunari is on a quest to revenge his lord’s death all while …

Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan Review (Abridged)

I finally get to cover something current! That being said…oh boy… I really wanted to like this, because I saw a golden moment in the progress of Sengoku Jidai history. This is the only documentary I can think of that covers the lives of the Three Unifiers; Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu, in English. This could have been groundbreaking. Sadly, we were given a pathetic excuse for a documentary on one of the most exciting eras in Japanese history. I actually had to step away from doing this review the week I watched the documentary because had I written this in the moment, we would be here all day. Yet, notice this says “abridged”. Once I go back and fact check certain things, a will publish a breakdown of each individual episode (though I have studied this for years, there is still a lot I do not know. I am not ashamed to admit that.). In the meantime, the following will be an overview on the series as a whole. First Impressions (The …

The Honnōji Incident

Date(s): June 21, 1582 Armies: Oda vs. Akechi Casualties: Unknown number for both sides   The Honnōji Incident was a coup brought on by Akechi Mitsuhide against Oda Nobunaga in the early morning hours of June 21, 1582. This is one of the most significant events in the Sengoku Jidai, with the end result being the death of Oda Nobunaga. Despite the incident being a famous event, little is known on how the battle went down and why Mitsuhide suddenly betrayed his lord.   Before the Battle Nobunaga was on the path to conquer Japan. In the early months of 1582, Nobunaga finished off the last of the Takeda at the Battle of Tenmokuzan. By this point, Nobunaga had control over central Japan and the last power enemies he had to deal with were the Hōjō, Mōri, and Uesugi. These clans, however, were falling apart from the inside, giving Nobunaga an opening. Nobunaga sent Shibata Katsuie to invade Echigo, Taigawa Kazumasu to watch the Hōjō clan’s movements from Kōzuke and Shinano Provinces, and Niwa Nagahide …

Lady ChaCha

Kanji: 茶々 Date(s): December 1567 (1569?)-June 4, 1615 Other Known Names: Kikuko (childhood), ChaCha, O-Cha, Yodo no Kata, Ni no Maru-dono, Nishi no Maru-dono, Yodo-gimi, Yodo-dono, Daikōin Lady ChaCha, also known as Yodo-dono, was the eldest daughter of Azai Nagamasa and Oichi, Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s second wife and the mother to Toyotomi Hideyori. She became one of the most influential women in the Toyotomi clan, especially after Hideyoshi’s death in 1598. She was also extremely skilled in Waka poetry, interested in politics and administration, and she bore a striking resemblance to her mother, a woman whose beauty was renowned.(1) During her early childhood, the Azai turned against the Oda after Nobunaga declared war on the Asakura clan. Sadly, her father and brother Manpukumaru were killed at the Siege of Odani Castle in 1573.(2) While some sources claim that Lady ChaCha and her sisters and mother stayed with one of Nobunaga’s younger brothers, Oda Nobukane, others claim that she and her family stayed with Oda Nagamasu and ChaCha was raised by Kyōgoku Maria and her daughter Kyōgoku …

Kyōgoku Maria

Kyōgoku Maria in Sengoku BASARA 4. Kanji: 京極マリア Date(s): 1543-August 20, 1618 Other Known Names: Yōfuku-in Azai clan mon Kyōgoku Maria was the daughter of Azai Hisamasa and the older sister to Azai Nagamasa. Very little is known about her, the only place being on Wikipedia, which is strange considering that she is claimed to be one of the best catechists in Kyōto-Ōsaka area. There are no records of a birth name, but she got the name of Maria when she was baptized alongside her husband, Kyōgoku Takayoshi, in 1581. From the list of family on her Wikipedia page, it looks like there was only one other member of her family that became a Christian, one of her daughters, Kyōgoku Magdalena, but with no dates of birth or death, or any other information whatsoever, it is just a guess on my part just based on the daughter’s name alone. The other daughter Kyōgoku Tatsuko, was one of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s favorite concubines. Sadly, her husband died not too long after their baptism. After her husband’s death, she …

Kaihime

Kaihime in Samurai Warriors 4 Kanji: 甲斐姫 Date(s): circa. 1572(?)-17th Century (year and cause of death unknown) Other Known Names: N/A Hōjō clan mon Kaihime was an onna-bugeisha from the Narita clan who served the Later Hōjō clan. She is well known for her grace and beauty, being called “the most beautiful woman in east Japan”, and she was known for her bravery which has been recorded during the sieges of Oshi Castle during the Odawara Campaign in 1590 and Ōsaka Castle in 1615. She was also one of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s wives. It is unclear when Kaihime was born, but most historians speculate that she was born around 1572. She was the daughter of Narita Ujinaga, a retainer of the Later Hōjō clan. She had two other sisters, Makihime and Atsushihime. Kaihime’s father lamented at the fact that he only had daughters as heirs. To make up for this, Kaihime trained as an onna-bugeisha. She was married to Yura Narishige, but he would pass away in 1578. Her first recorded feat of bravery was at the …

Tachibana Ginchiyo

Kanji: 立花 誾千代 Date(s): September 23, 1569-November 30, 1602 Other Known Names: N/A Tachibana clan mon Tachibana Ginchiyo was head of the Tachibana clan and onna-bugeisha from the Sengoku Jidai. She was the only surviving child of Tachibana Dōsetsu, the “Lightning God”. She was an unconventional leader, and one of the few that had an entourage of trained and armed women and is well-known for her solo stance against the Eastern Army during the Kyūshū Sekigahara Campaign in 1600. When Ginchiyo was born in 1569, her father was the one to personally name her. Ginchiyo’s name roughly means “one who would not listen idly to others”, which became an extremely fitting name as she got older. She rejected much of her mother’s teachings to be a lady, focusing more on martial arts. It is said that Ginchiyo was a stern and strict woman who excelled in communication. Ginchiyo took over the clan in 1575 at the age of six, inheriting her father’s territory and belongings, namely the sword known as Raikiri (“Lightning Cutter”). Her other …

Ii Naotora

  Ii Naotora in Samurai Warriors 4. Kanji: 井伊 直虎 Date(s): 1530s(?)-September 1582 Other Known Names: “Female Landlord”, Jirō Hōshi Ii clan mon Ii Naotora was a daimyo and possible onna-bugeisha during the reign of Oda Nobunaga. She was the only daughter and only child of Ii Naomori, the eighteenth head of the clan, and Yuushun-in (background unknown). She was the one who brought independence to the Ii clan and were loyal to the Tokugawa clan. There is no record of her ever marrying or having any children of her own, but she did adopt Ii Naochika’s children, the most famous being Ii Naomasa. There is very little information about her life, and some of what we know is conflicting. What is known is that she was the only child of Ii Naomori and Yuushun-in. To secure an heir, Naotora’s uncle Naomitsu tried to marry her to his son, Ii Naochika. This way, Naomitsu could inherit the clan. At this point, the Ii clan served the Imagawa clan, and Naomitsu planned on rebelling against the …

Ōhōri 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   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 …