Tokiwa Gozen

Tokiwa Gozen fleeing through the snow with her three sons; 19th-century woodblock print by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Tokiwa Gozen (常盤御前) (1138 – c. 1180), or Lady Tokiwa, was a Japanese noblewoman of the late Heian period and mother of the great samurai general Minamoto no Yoshitsune. Sources disagree as to whether she was a concubine or wife to Minamoto no Yoshitomo, to whom she bore three sons, of which the youngest was Yoshitsune. She was later captured by Taira no Kiyomori, whom she served as a concubine in exchange for assurances of the safety of her family, and had a daughter with.[1]

After leaving Kiyomori, Tokiwa married Fujiwara no Naganari.

Lady Tokiwa is primarily associated, in literature and art, with an incident in which she fled through the snow, protecting her three young sons within her robes, during the 1160 Heiji Rebellion.

She is also known as Hotoke Gozen, or Lady Buddha.


  1. ^ Morris, Ivan (1975). The Nobility of Failure. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. p. 71-72. ISBN 9780030108112.
  • Frederic, Louis (2002). "Tokiwa Gozen." Japan Encyclopedia. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
  • Lane, Richard (1978). "Tokiwa Gozen." Images of the Floating World. Old Saybrook, CT: Konecky & Konecky.

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