Tuesday, 6 May 2014

References for 花の香は撞く (Hana no Ka wa tsugu) - Pt.II

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.


  1. I remember reading things about ninja business going on about Tsukiyama (as in Toku somehow used ninja to spy on her) but that's just random nonsense theory.

    Or that Toku was lying and she just reported her mother-in-law because "Grr, my mother in law is a bitch!" But... that would bring the question why Nobunaga believed her if there is no proof.

    I always like reading other people's interpretation of these figures XD As for me, even though I know about history I always end up turning my knowledge into WTF interpretations regardless (I feel so ashamed of myself >.<)

    1. I have the impression that the most of Sengoku ladies lived such boring lives that it was necessary to make up some bullshit to make them interesting (or at least to make them recognizable from each other) D:

      Yeah, I remember that ninja stuff-- It was from a manga, "Hanzo no Mon"! That was quite epic, to be honest XD

      The idea of wives acting as "spies" from the original family seems to have connections with reality, though.
      I read somewhere about a Takeda motto to keep mouth shut around their wives!
      --But maybe not all of them did such things. No idea about Toku! All Nobu's sons seem to have some kind of temper, but she comes out as quite the meek type...

    2. Hanzo no Mon? I read about it in someone's blog. Maybe they were talking about that manga. I haven't actually gotten to that part yet in the manga. It was too tiring to read D:

      Maybe Toku actually does have a temper, but because she is a woman she has to keep manners and so she does revenge in a different way XD

      I always have the mental image that all of Nobu's children are hot-headed, even the girls.

    3. Probably! --Or maybe that's some drama/Edo fabrication too XD !

    4. Aaargh, I really hate Edo era sometimes. So many rumours and strange stories happen in that time and makes real history become confused >:(

    5. It's mostly because of kabuki plays, you know?
      I'm researching stuff for my next ukiyo-e article, and it's incredible how much crap came from these XD It's all about Mitsuhide being tortured and humiliated by Nobu XD !

    6. So Akechi being tortured really wasn't true, eh? I came across articles saying that it wasn't true, but I can't find good follow-ups. The articles don't give source and I'm not sure where to look.

    7. He was treated poorly, probably, but not more or less than the other retainers...
      In the Go drama Nobu mentioned the past as a ronin of Mitsuhide, that could be a nice interpretation, maybe.

      --The more I think about the whole thing, the less it looks weird that Mitsuhide wanted to take control in Nobu's stead.

  2. Well, yeah, according to the sources he moved around employment a lot (as mentioned in Taiko and also Hanzo no Mon).

    One book mentioned that the "public humiliation" was actually Nobu being drunk and joking around, but Akechi couldn't take the joke or something. I don't think he's that narrow-minded =___= Then again, this book doesn't list the info source, so I don't trust this.

    I also think it makes sense if he decided he wanted to take over for the good of the people. What Nobu is doing is really strange to a lot of people, so maybe Akechi was afraid that Nobu has gone insane and he's going to end up destroying the nation or something.

    ... I actually find the conspiracy theory that the one who put Akechi up to it is Ieyasu interesting. Ieyasu is not a saint anyway. It's about as crazy as Hideyoshi being the mastermind, but anything is possible.

  3. By the way, are you doing anything for Nobu's birthday? XD
    Do you celebrate on the Gregorian date (June 23) or Lunar date (May 12)?

    1. I don't buy the Hideyoshi's plot, Hideyoshi was busy fighting everywhere during that time, I don't think that he had the time to plot against Nobu... And his relation with both Mitsu and Yasu was not of the best kind.
      I don't think that Ieyasu had a reason to plot against Nobu either. He was having his share of fun, after all, and historically he doesn't seem like the "impatient" kind.
      I say that Mitsu didn't look like wanting to take power because he made no plans to keep the battlefields where Nobu was busy.
      He left Hideyoshi alone on the West front, and all he cared was looking for allies from the Hosokawa and the Imperial family. If he was as petty as his condition of ronin suggested, he only cared about his land, wanted to live in peace there and didn't care one bit about unifying the country.

      Also, Nobu "humiliated" lots of people in his time, and took away fiefs from his most loyal retainers too... Mitsu is the only one who cared about that to such an extend to rebel, probably not aware of what would happen after his treason... Maybe he thought that all the retainers of Nobu were as pissed about his policies as he was...
      --There was also that theory about his mother being held hostage and being killed because of Nobu!

      Anyway, Mitsu is indeed an example of how difficult to read and understand Nobu was at the time because of his peculiar personality.

      --Nobu's birthday!
      I adopt the date of June 23 XD I would like to celebrate somehow, maybe I'll draw a short comic :D Who knows! I'll be so busy with work in that period anyway T^T

  4. Well, at least Ieyasu being the evil mastermind is new =__= I'm sick of seeing Hideyoshi and Akechi being shown as evil conspirators. That makes no sense, but at least it's different.

    I'm really curious if Nobu actually celebrated birthdays in his lifetime. I've never seen any record of anyone celebrating birthdays in Shinchou Ko ki or any other book O___O

    1. I think that Yasu being a mastermind is more probable XD !
      Hide doesn't give me that kind of impression :o Les was suggesting on his blog that at a certain point he may have suffered of siphilis... But again, who knows! Japanese people tend to be conservative, so they were suspicious of "revolutionists" like Nobu or people like Hideyoshi who made a name for themselves from the lower ranks of society... So they assumed that they were evil, crazy or psychos because they couldn't understand them.

      Japaneses didn't celebrate birthdays, traditionally.
      They got "one year older" every new year.
      The day of death was more important, 'cause it was part of the traditional celebrations for the defuncts, that exist in both Shinto and Buddhist religions.

    2. I know, right? Hide is a poor farmer from nowhere and he suddenly gains so much power, so a lot of people of the time can't accept it. Besides, he did kind of go crazy when he gets older...
      I wonder if all the power makes him become proud or something <.<
      Or he went so crazy he starts thinking he's ue-sama or something, I don't know.

      I don't want to speak badly of Ieyasu, but he's trickier than he looks. It makes more sense for him to be the evil mastermind. Because the quiet ones are always the evil ones! XD

      (okay, I stop now, this conspiracy theory is getting insane)

      Ah yes, I remembered reading that people just get counted as one year older every new year, but I thought I might remember wrong.

    3. --But, can I ask you guys why do you think that Hideyoshi was crazy?
      I'm talking about the same issue with Les on his blog... He says that he was syphilitic (or how the hell it's spelled!)...

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Nevermind the above. I saw what Les said.

    Either way, let me clarify that when I say "crazy" I mean it in the sense that "he makes poor judgements on his actions". NOT that he actually has mental illness.

    The thing about the syphilis is something I don't really believe either. I need to see the actual article first.

    1. WTF, why did I delete my other comment?

      Anyway. you get my point. The Kore invasion and what he did to Hidetsugu were very bad idea. Pretty sure there's a reason why he did them, but that's still crazy actions.

    2. Fortunately Blogger sends me also the deleted comments XD !

      Why was it a bad idea? The country was mostly unified, it looked interesting that he aimed to gain a closer stepping stone for China, India or West, to increase commercial treats from these neighbouring countries or getting further taxes and wealth by predating just Korea.

      Well, as usual, we don't know the whole deal with the issue with Hidetsugu, as we don't know the whole deal with Nobu and Mitsuhide, or Ieyasu and Nobu with the Tsukiyama Incident.
      Sure, he got paranoid with the age, but who wouldn't in his place, in that situation..?

      All of this feels to me like when people said that Nobu was a fool in his youth...
      The bad thing with history is that we can't have proof of everything, and the most of the informations are built around the opinions of other people in our exact situation.
      --So sometimes I don't see the need of reading a dissertation about something that can be refuted as easily as saying "Is there any actual proof of it?" :/

    3. The one with Hidetsugu I can tolerate. Issues like that can be terrible, and there's a change for revenge at some point.

      Not the Korea invasion. If he wants relations with China and India, it doesn't have to be invasion. It could just be friendly diplomatic relationship. War is a waste of effort and resources, so I consider this bad move.

      The war of unification was necessary. The invasion to Korea wasn't. Especially when Hide often wins wars by making the enemy agree to surrender or make peace, so this is a bit out of character. I know people change when they grow older, but really. This is not a good change.

      That's why I want to read the dissertation. The professor would cite his sources in his dissertation, so I want to know what documents make him say all those things about Hide. If there is proof, even if it's bad Edo era proof, he would say what it was. Then I can judge for myself whether it makes sense in context or not.

    4. Again, we can't know.
      Maybe you can really consider it as a divertion to keep his vassals busy and motivated. All the wars are declared so to get new feifs and increase the level of influence. As it's true that wars are expensive, they are also an investment.
      I'm sure that Japan at the time was on "friendly terms" with everyone, but just because it's pretty much isolated and irrelevant. One thing is dealing with a country from an island, another is dealing with a country from a continent.
      You can see it as a contribution to the unification of the whole country, too. To have a common enemy and the promise of further benefits is a way to have everyone to colaborate for a similar task.
      Then sure, the timing was pretty bad, and I agree that a war is not the best way to tame a country at war, but it has its motivations.
      After all, I'm no strategist and so you are, we can't really see the big picture XD

      I was interested in the work of that author because of his considerations on Japan at war at the time, exactly because it was a collection of "eyewitness accounts".
      The one about Hideyoshi feels like one of those "Ehy, I read this story about Hideyoshi, let's prove that it's true" thing XD After what happens with Nobunaga, I'm extremely biased towards certain denegrating essays...

    5. My problem is not with Hide's reasons. I simply do not like conquest wars XD

      Until someone gives me proof that this war is unavoidable or brings good for all sides involved (Korea, Japan, Chines), I will always think that this war is bad. Sorry. It's just my personal opinion because of personal issues >.<

    6. Well, I don't think that there's really ANYTHING wrong with thinking bad of wars or conflicts, on the contrary!
      But those were different times and people had different needs and interests... If you think about it, even the wars to unify Japan could be considered unjust or extremely violent from the perspective of the losers.