Is Japan in need of a strong woman? (Part II)
Which strong Japanese woman should Hitomi Sakamoto look like? You decide.
Now that Hitomi Sakamoto, producer in seven Radio Detective novels, gets her first spin-off novel, I look at some strong women that preceded her in Japanese history. Check my previous blog here. Today:
Oichi, Oda Nobunaga’s Sister (d. 1583)
Now there’s a woman of pathos: Oichi, a sister of Oda Nobunaga reknowned for her beauty. She married Shibata Katsuie after the latter begged pardon for an abortive rebellion in 1557. Following Nobunaga’s conquest of Mino in 1567, Nobunaga made Shibata divorce Oichi. She then had to become wife to the young Asai Nagamasa, lord of N. Ômi province. Through Nagamasa she bore one son (Manjumaru) and three daughters. Unfortunately, Nagamasa betrayed his alliance with Nobunaga in 1570 and went to war with him on behalf of the Asakura family. The fighting continued for three years until the Asakura were destroyed and Nagamasa’s Odani Castle was surrounded. Nobunaga requested that his sister be returned to him, and this Nagamasa allowed, sending out Oichi and her three daughters. Nagamasa and Manjumaru then perished, leaving Oichi to be shuffled back to Katsuie.
In 1583, following Nobunaga’s death, Shibata Katsuie and Toyotomi Hideyoshi went to war over the issue of succession. Katsuie’s army was crushed at Shizugatake in the hills of northern Ômi. Oichi did send her daughters into Hideyoshi’s care, but stayed herself to die with Katsuie as his castle was engulfed in flames.