Oeyo (於江与), (), Ogō (小督) or Satoko (達子) : 1573 – September 15, 1626) was a prominently-placed female figure in the Azuchi–Momoyama period and early Edo period. She was a daughter of Oichi and the sister of Yodo-dono and Ohatsu. When she rose to higher political status during the Tokugawa shogunate, she took the title of "Ōmidaidokoro". Following the fall of the Council of Five Elders, Oeyo and her sisters were key figures in maintaining a diplomatic relationship between the two most powerful clans of their time, Toyotomi and Tokugawa. Due to her great contributions to politics at the beginning of the Edo period she was posthumously inducted into the Junior First Rank of the Imperial Court, the second highest honor that could be conferred by the Emperor of Japan.

Portrait of Oeyo
Ogo (小督)

DiedOctober 26, 1626(1626-10-26) (aged 52–53)
SpouseSaji Kazunari
Toyotomi Hidekatsu
Tokugawa Hidetada
Family Azai clan
Toyotomi clan
Tokugawa clan
HonoursJunior First Rank (従一位, 1626)

Oeyo married three times, first to Saji Kazunari, her cousin, then to Toyotomi Hideyoshi's nephew, Toyotomi Hidekatsu. She had a daughter with Hidekatsu named Toyotomi Sadako later married Kujō Yukiie. Her third and last husband Tokugawa Hidetada became the second Tokugawa shōgun. She was also the mother of his successor Iemitsu, the third shōgun. She had Senhime, Tamahime, Katsuhime, Hatsuhime, Takechiyo (Iemitsu), and Tadanaga. Hatsuhime was adopted by Oeyo's sister Ohatsu, who is married to Kyōgoku Takatsugu.

Surviving record books from merchants of luxury goods provide insight into patterns of patronage and taste amongst the privileged class of women like Oeyo and her sisters.[1]

Genealogy edit

Oeyo, also known as Ogō, was the third and youngest daughter of the Sengoku-period daimyō Azai Nagamasa. Her mother, Oichi was the younger sister of Oda Nobunaga.[2] Toyotomi Hideyoshi became the adoptive father and protector of Oeyo in the period before her marriage.[3]

Oeyo's oldest sister, styled Yodo-dono, Cha-Cha in birth name, was a prominent concubine of Hideyoshi who gave birth to his heir, Toyotomi Hideyori.[2]

Oeyo's middle sister, Ohatsu was the wife of Kyōgoku Takatsugu and the mother of Kyōgoku Tadataka.[2]

Name edit

Oeyo also known as Sugoin-in, was initially engaged to Saji Kazunari but was later separated from him by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. She subsequently married her adoptive nephew, Toyotomi Hidekatsu, and bore a daughter named Sadatako. Tragically, Hidekatsu died suddenly. For her third marriage, she wed Tokugawa Hidetada, who would become the second shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate. She had two sons and five daughters, including a daughter named Takako.

Regarding her name, "Sugoin-in" was part of her posthumous title. There has been debate over its pronunciation. The authoritative "Kokushi Daijiten" suggests it should be pronounced as "Sūgen'in," with the character "崇" read as "sū." However, a document believed to be authored by Kasuga no Tsubone in the possession of Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto uses the reading "Sōgen'in-sama." Additionally, a provisional edition of "Kansei Shoka Keizu Den" also reads "崇源院殿" as "Sōgen'in den." These sources suggest that she may have been referred to as "Sōgen'in" during her time.

Her childhood name (commonly used name) was "Kogou" based on the oldest record found in "Taikō Sosei Ki." However, different historical sources have assigned the characters "江" or "郷" to her name. The change from the character "督" to "江" may have been due to her marriage to Tokugawa Hidetada, who was known as "Edo-chunagon" at the time.

In pre-modern Japan, most women retained their childhood names throughout their lives and did not have formal given names. However, in the upper classes, women were sometimes given given names to be used in official documents, especially when receiving titles or honors. In the case of Sugoin-in, a formal given name "Michiko" was bestowed posthumously, as recorded in the "Chūin Tsūmura Nikki" from 1626.

In the case of noblewomen, they were often given honorary titles in addition to their childhood and given names. These titles could change based on their residence or status. Sugoin-in had several titles throughout her life, including "Kitano Kata," "Oshinzo," "Go-Shinzo," and "O-Go-Shinzo," each reflecting her changing circumstances and roles.

Biography edit

Early life and marriage to Saji Kazunari edit

Sugoin-in was born in Odani, Omi Province (present-day Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture), as the third daughter of Asai Nagamasa, a powerful regional daimyo. Her mother was Oichi no Kata, the daughter of Oda Nobuhide and sister of Oda Nobunaga.

The exact year of her birth is a subject of debate, with some sources suggesting 1570, based on her age at death, while others propose 1573. The latter is considered more likely, with some scholars estimating her birth month to be August.

In September 1573, Odani Castle, her family's stronghold, was attacked and taken by Oda Nobunaga, leading to the downfall of the Asai clan. Sugoin-in, along with her mother Oichi and sisters, was rescued by Oda Nobunaga's forces. After her father's suicide, she was placed under the care of Oda Nobunaga's brother-in-law, Oda Nobutada.

In June 1582, following the death of Oda Nobunaga in the Incident at Honno-ji, Sugoin-in, her mother, and her sisters were transferred to the care of Oda Nobunaga's uncle, Oda Nobutaka. They resided in Gifu Castle but were soon separated as her mother married Shibata Katsuie, one of Nobunaga's loyal retainers.

Marriage to Toyotomi Hidekatsu edit

Sugoin-in's first marriage took place under the patronage of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. She married her adoptive nephew, Toyotomi Hidekatsu, the lord of Tanba Province. The exact timing of this marriage is uncertain, but it is believed to have occurred in 1584. This marriage served to strengthen ties between the Oda and Toyotomi clans.

However, this union was short-lived due to Toyotomi Hideyoshi's ambitions and conflicts within the Toyotomi clan. After the Siege of Shizugatake in 1583, Hideyoshi ordered the dissolution of their marriage, resulting in Sugoin-in's separation from Hidekatsu.

Second marriage to Toyotomi Hidekatsu edit

After the dissolution of her first marriage, Sugoin-in found herself in a precarious position. During this period, Japan was in a state of turmoil, with various warlords vying for power. She eventually remarried, this time to her adoptive nephew, Toyotomi Hidekatsu, the nephew and adopted son of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The exact date of their marriage remains uncertain, but it likely occurred in the late 1580s or early 1590s.

Hidekatsu was a loyal supporter of Hideyoshi and served as the lord of various domains. Despite their significant age difference, Sugoin-in and Hidekatsu married, and they had a daughter named Sadatako. Hidekatsu died soon after.

Third marriage to Tokugawa Hidetada edit

Sugoin-in's life took another dramatic turn. On September 17, 1595, she remarried in Fushimi, becoming the wife of Tokugawa Ieyasu's heir, Tokugawa Hidetada. Hidetada, who had come to Kyoto in 1590 during the 18th year of the Tensho era, had been engaged to Oda Nobunaga's daughter, Oda Go, who was also a ward of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. However, their wedding plans were never realized due to Go's untimely death. Hidetada and she went on to have seven children, with their eldest daughter, Senhime, born in 1597.

In 1600, during the 5th year of the Keicho era, Toyotomi Hideyoshi expanded the hall of Sennyu-ji Temple and built a shrine dedicated to Oda Nobunaga on the former site of Azuchi Castle. Subsequently, after Hideyoshi's death, she instructed Niwa Nagashige to rebuild the shrine in the ashes of Azuchi Castle.

During the Siege of Osaka in 1614-1615, the Toyotomi clan was defeated, and she lost her sister Yodo-dono. On May 7, 1617, she mourned for Yodo-dono and Toyotomi Hideyori at Yogen-in Temple. When Yogen-in, the temple founded by Yodo-dono in memory of their father, Azai Nagamasa, was destroyed by fire in 1619, she petitioned the Tokugawa shogunate to rebuild it. Her request was granted, and the temple was reconstructed in 1621.

Death and legacy edit

She died on September 15, 1626, at Edo Castle's Nishinomaru (Western Bailey) at the age of 54. Her posthumous Buddhist name was "Sugeden-in Donsho Wako Ninsei Shojotei Ni."

Following her death, she was buried at Zojo-ji Temple in Tokyo's Minato Ward, at the same site as her husband Tokugawa Hidetada and other Tokugawa shogunate members.

There are also memorial pagodas dedicated to her at Kinkai-koji Temple in Kyoto's Sakyo Ward and Kongobu-ji Temple in Koya-cho, Wakayama Prefecture. These pagodas bear inscriptions recognizing her as "Sugeden-in Donsho Wako Ninsei." Another memorial pagoda is located inside the Rokkakudo Pagoda at Konkai Komyo-ji Temple in Kyoto, with the inscription "Sugeden-in Gen Donsho Taishi."

In summary, her life was marked by her marriages to prominent figures of the time, her involvement in the reconstruction of religious sites, and her contributions to the Tokugawa family. Her legacy is commemorated in several memorial pagodas across Japan.

Family edit

by Hidekatsu edit

by Hidetada edit

Timeline edit

Burial edit

After Hidetada resigned the government to his eldest son in 1623, Oeyo took a Buddhist name, Sūgen'in (崇源院) or Sogenin. Her mausoleum can be found at Zōjō-ji in the Shiba neighborhood of Tokyo.[4]

Mausoleum of Sugenin taken in Meiji Era

Honours edit

Taiga drama edit

NHK's 2011 Taiga drama, Gō: Himetachi no Sengoku, is based on the life of Oeyo who is played by the actress Juri Ueno.[5][6]

Notable descendants edit

Together with Odai no Kata (Ieyasu's mother) and Lady Saigo (mother of Hidetada), Oeyo was the matriarch who stabilized the Tokugawa shogunate. Her descendants became shoguns, aristocrats and other prominent political figures. It is speculated that her son, Iemitsu, was the last direct male descendant of Tokugawa Ieyasu, thus ending the patrilineality of the shogunate for the third generation.

Notes edit

  1. ^ Hickman, Money L. et al. (2002). Japan's Golden Age: Momoyama, p. 283.
  2. ^ a b c "The silk coloured portrait of wife of Takatsugu Kyogoku," Archived 2011-05-06 at the Wayback Machine Digital Cultural Properties of Wakasa Obama; Oichinokata Archived 2012-09-08 at archive.today, Gifu prefecture website.
  3. ^ a b Wilson, Richard L. (1985). Ogata Kenzan (1663–1743), p. 40.
  4. ^ Tanabe Yasushi. "On the Sogenin's Mansoleum at Zojoji Temple" (崇源院靈牌所造營考). Transactions of the Institute of Japanese Architects (建築学会論文集). No. 19360331, pp.317-323.
  5. ^ 大河ドラマ 第50作 江(ごう) 姫たちの戦国 Archived 2009-07-11 at the Wayback Machine; "Atsuhime"-Autorin für NHKs 2011er Taiga-Drama gewählt (citing Tokyograph), Archived 2011-05-06 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ J-Dorama.

References edit

  • Hickman, Money L., John T. Carpenter and Bruce A. Coats. (2002). Japan's Golden Age: Momoyama. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-09407-7; OCLC 34564921
  • Wilson, Richard L. (1985). Ogata Kenzan (1663–1743) (PhD thesis/dissertation). Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas. OCLC 19111312