In Sengoku period in Japan, women were merely pawns for their father’s, brother’s, or even for their husband’s success.
“Ichihime” also called “Oichinokata”, who was sister of Nobunaga Oda, was represented the such tragedic destiny.
Although She was sacrificed for her own brother, she had strong will against the destiny.
Responsibility of Sengoku women was “pawn of political marriage”
In Sengoku period, marriage was tool of making peace, showing the will of obedience.
Busho (leader of samurai group) used their sisters and daughters for these political marriage.
Among such ladies forced marry with no love, I can say the most tragedic woman was Ichihime.
Ichihime was born as younger sister of Nobunaga Oda, and forced to marry Nagamasa Azai, who was ruler of Omi.
Purpose of this marriage was to strengthen Nobunaga’s power to win the governance of Mino area.
Mino was the hottest area for Busho tried to grab at that time.
But this marriage was not done smoothly, because Asakura, rival of Oda, tried to prevent from formation of their alliance.
For that reason, Nobunaga showed special respect for Nagamasa after their marriage done, sending betrothal gift to Nagamasa against Japanese tradition (traditionally the gift should be sent from bloom in Japan).
Even though political marriage, Ichihime and Nagamasa was gettign along well.
This period might be the most peaceful days for Ichihime.
But this was story of The Sengoku.
After Nobunaga accompliehd his purpose of ruling Mino area, killed Nagamasa with no mercy.
Political marriage again, Oichinokata
Killed her husband by her own brother, again forced to marry politically.
Because Nobunaga Oda was already died at Honnoji temple, Hideyoshi Hashiba (Hideyoshi Toyotomi), next ruler of Mino area, decided to marry her to Katsuie Shibata.
The purpose of this marriage was to try to persuade Katsuie to obey Hideyoshi allowing him to marry beautiful woman with political power.
(Cause Ichihime is Nobunaga’s sister. Even after he died, there remained a large number of follower.)
But this marriage didn’t work well.
The conflict between Hideyoshi and Katsuie got harder, Hideyoshi decided to destroy Katsuie.
Hideyoshi persuaded Ichihime to escape from Katsuie, but this time, she did’nt obey him.
She killed herself with her husband.
She forced to marry, so maybe she didn’t love Katsuie.
But I think she didn’t want to let someone decide her destiny anymore.
Not only Ichihime, Nobunaga forced his daughters including 5-year kid to marry politically.
That was usual in Sengoku period, but what these women felt is …
Not so different as I imagine, I think.
(For Japanese version, click →戦国女性の哀しみを象徴「信長の妹・お市の方」の生涯）