And here's the second part of my HanaNoKa's characters!
I don't even know if all of them will appear here, but here's the post dedicated to the girls!
Back in the days living in Feudal Japan wasn't much of a hype for a woman.
While browsing the internet you probably read about onna bugeisha, about how Japanese women trained with naginata to protect their household, how they could inherit lands or assume political roles... Well, forget the most of it.
In Feudal Japan, those were nothing but mere exceptions, and women rarely got some relevance.
Sure, we have some illustrious examples, but the great majority of women lived a simply a submissive existence, and whenever they got to shine or sport some biographical data, it's just because of their fathers, husbands, brothers or sons' feats.
By taking a glance of the lives of the ladies that I'm about to introduce you, you'd see that the life of a woman was pretty much standardized at the time, even if it wasn't free of strong emotions.
TOKU (徳), also Gotoku, Tokuhime, Toku-no-kata, Okazaki-dono (1559-1636)
The older daughter of ODA Nobunaga, famous for the so-called "Tsukiyama Incident".
Toku, at the age of 9, was sent over to MATSUDAIRA Ieyasu so that she could marry his son, MATSUDAIRA Nobuyasu, as a mean to strenghten the tie between the two clans.
The "story" went like this: Tsukiyama, Ieyasu's wife of Imagawa discent, couldn't stand Toku because her father Nobunaga was the one who destroyed her clan, so she came with the idea of ruining her marriage with her son by bringing in a concubine for Nobuyasu, affiliated with the Takeda. The Takeda were historical allies of the Imagawa, and enemies of the Oda. In a few years she managed to separate Nobuyasu from Toku, making the life of the girl miserable. Toku couldn't stand it anymore, so she wrote a letter to her father, accusing Tsukiyama of complotting against the Oda with the help of the Takeda: Nobunaga then ordered Ieyasu to kill both his wife and his son to remove any doubt about his loyalty, and Ieyasu, shockingly enough, obeyed.
As there are evidences of Toku's letter as mentions of "Twelve Clauses of Nobunaga" ("信長の十二ヶ条"), odering Ieyasu to deal with the conspiracy, it's not very plausible that a concubine would be a reason for such a thing to happen, expecially because wife and mother-in-law rarely shared the same quarters.
The idea of Ieyasu obeying Nobunaga's demands because his relationships with both his son and his wife got sour is getting more and more accepted by historians as time goes by.
While staying at Okazaki castle, Toku gave birth to two girls, Toku (登久) in 1576 and Kuma (熊) in 1577.
After Nobuyasu's death in 1580, she left Okazaki to stay with her brother Nobutada in Gifu but she had to leave her daughters behind because they were considered of Matsudaira descent (they got to marry OGASAWARA Hidemasa and HONDA Tadamasa respectively). Both girls would be raised by their grandfather Ieyasu.
After the death of Nobunaga and Nobutada in 1582, Toku moved under the protection of Nobukatsu, that at the moment was living at Kiyosu castle, but after the Battle of Komaki and Nagakute and the alliance between Hideyoshi and Nobukatsu (1584), she moved to Kyoto as an hostage of Hideyoshi, where she died.
It's worth mentioning that despite being a hostage, Toku was granted some freedom: in 1590 she moved to the Ikoma mansion in Owari, so to be closer to Nobukatsu. She went back to Kyoto in 1600, after the Battle of Sekigahara, though.
Because of the "Tsukiyama Incident" I like to characterize Toku as a bit of an introvert, someone who chose not to show her emotions clearly, giving the impression of a timid and fearful woman.
I like to think that she loved Nobuyasu and she felt responsible for his death... In that occasion she learned that misplaced words can kill, so for the sake of a peaceful life she would keep her mouth shut from there on.
MATSU (松), also Matsuhime (1561-1616)
A daughter of TAKEDA Shingen, famous for being married to ODA Nobutada while being still a child for political reasons.
Contrary to Toku, though, she would never "consume her wedding" because the marriage would be broken in 1572, with the start of the hostilities between the Oda/Matsudaira alliance and the Takeda.
The engagement was declared in 1567, but since then Matsu kept living in the Takeda household because of her young age: she'd be called as "the entrusted lawful wife of Nobutada", her new title being Niitachi Goryonin (新館御料人).
It's worth noting that after this event, both Nobutada and Matsu didn't marry anyone, both figuring as "unmarried" in their biographies.
After Shingen's death in 1574, she moved to a house in the castle town of Takato Castle under the patronage of her older brother NISHINA Morinobu, as Katsuyori inherited the Takeda household in Kofu.
In late 1581, however, ODA Nobutada would invade Shinano during the final acts of the war against the Takeda, besieging Takato castle and forcing Morinobu to seppuku.
The fact that Nobutada and Matsu may have met each other again in this occasion, as women were allowed to leave the castle and not taken as hostages, has been highly dramatized, leading to the legend of Nobutada sending to Matsu a message to reach him at Honnoji with the promise of finally getting together, but the love of the two being interrupted for ever because of the "Honnoji's Incident"... It looks as if Morinobu ordered the evacuation of the castle BEFORE the siege took place, so it seems as if Matsu left the castle before the arrival of Nobutada.
After the fall of Takato, Matsu found protection at Kaitouji, in Yamanashi prefecture, but probably she didn't stop there, and kept wandering around to search for protection.
She wasn't alone in her trips: apparently the daughter of her brother Morinobu, Toku (督), the daughter of her brother Katsuyori, Sada (貞) and the daughter of the Takeda retainer OYAMADA Nobushige, Kogu (香具), followed her in her wandering. The little girls were around 4 years of age at the time.
After Nobutada's death in 1582, Matsu became a nun, living the rest of her days at Shingen'in, in Tokyo.
--I confess you that I really like the idea of Matsu and Nobutada being in love despite the rivalry of their families, it's a very "Romeo & Juliet" situation, but I'll be serious and I won't indulge myself in such a thing. Maybe.
As a woman of the Takeda, Matsu looks very strong-willed, as her dangerous trip looking for safety tells. I'll try to characterize her as a strong woman, but also quite aware of the limits of her situation.
SUZU (寿々), also Suzuhime (鈴姫) (??-1633)
A daughter of SHIOKAWA Nagamitsu, famous for being the mother of ODA Nobutada's first son, Hidenobu, and his concubine.
Nagamitsu was one of ODA Nobunaga's retainers, but once Nobunaga made Nobutada the head of the clan, he went over to Gifu to serve Nobutada as his retainer.
We don't know much about this woman, and all we know comes from a tomb in Shoku-Raikoji, a buddhist temple in Omi Province where she spent her last years; at the moment is even a mystery who her father is, other options being MORI Yoshinari (the father of Ranmaru) or other retainers of the Oda Clan.
Apparently she spent the most of her life in Gifu, first close to Nobutada, then following her son Hidenobu.
She joined monastic life in 1600 under the name Tokujuin and met her death in 1633.
Since so little is known of this elusive girl, I imagined her as not very noticeable and kinda naive, but very sweet and kind, somehow endearing.
I decided to give her those big eyes as a trait of her ingenuity. She's been pretty much a plaything for Nobutada, pressed about producing a heir as soon as possible, following the suggestion of his advisor on the matter.
In the picture above you can see also Ichi, the younger sister of ODA Nobunaga, famous in popular culture for her determination and beauty (AND for her marriage with AZAI Nagamasa, AND for being the mother of Chacha, Hatsu and Go).
--I just wanted to draw her, though, she's not going to star in the comic so-- No bio for her x'D !
As for the references, besides the usual Wikipedia, I found further infos on these girls here and here.