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Sugen-in


  • Biography
1573-1626. The wife of the 2nd shogun, Hidetada Tokugawa. Sugen-in was the third-born daughter of Nagamasa Asai and Oichi (younger sister of Nobunaga Oda) and the younger sister of Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s concubine Yodo. She was commonly called Ogo or Oeyo. She lost her parents in two attacks on the castle she and her family lived in and was taken under the protection of Hideyoshi. Following her divorce from the Owari Ohno castellan Yokurokazunari Saji and the death of her cousin Hidekatsu Hashiba, she married Hidetada, who was 6 years her junior, in 1595 and gave birth to two boys and five girls, including Senhime, Iemitsu, Tadanaga, and Kazuko.

  • Association with Minato City
The shogun’s wife, who was tossed about by her strange destiny, peacefully rests in Zojo Temple

Even though the marriage of Sugen-in and Hidetada was a political one for uniting Toyotomi and Tokugawa, legend has it that Hidetada was the only shogun of all the 15 who did not have a concubine. Oeyo was blessed with children. Senhime became the wife of Hideyori Toyotomi; Iemitsu became the 3rd shogun; Tadanaga became the castellan of Suruga Castle; and Kazuko became Empress Tofuku Mon-in, the wife of Emperor Gomizunoo. Although Sugen-in obtained her position as the wife of the shogun, she came into antagonism with her sister, Yodo, in the battle of Osaka. She was partial to her second-born son Tadanaga, whom she raised by herself, which deepened her feud with her other son, Iemitsu. She died on September 15, 1626, at Edo Castle. Her remains were cremated in a grand fashion in a ceremony attended by chief priests of venerable temples from all over Edo, and her ashes were buried in Shiba Zojo Temple. Sugen-in was the only member of the shogun family who was cremated, and it is believed that the site of her cremation was in Gazenbodani, which stretched from east to west in the area that is now Azabudai 1-chome. Back then, Zojo Temple had splendid mausoleums belonging to the shogun family, which included the mausoleum of Sogen-in built by Iemitsu, but most of them were burned down in the air raids in World War II. In the subsequent reburial, the tombs of the Tokugawa family were combined and placed in a corner at the back of the main temple.

References:
Nihon Jinmei Daijiten (Japanese Biographical Dictionary) (Kodansha)
Nihon Josei Jinmei Jiten (Biographical Dictionary of Japanese Women) (Nihon Tosho Center)

  • Related Publications
Tokugawa Hidetada - Tokugawa Seiken no Ishizue wo Kizuita Otoko (Hidetada Tokugawa - The man who Built the Foundation of the Tokugawa Regime) (Meiji Momose / PHP Bunko)
Tokugawa Hidetada Jo Ge (Hidetada Tokugawa Part 1 & 2) (Shinjuro Tobe / Mainichi Newspaper)
Tokugawa Sandai to Nyobo tachi (Three Generations of Tokugawa and their Wives) (Michiko Nakajima / Rippu Shobo)
Issatsu de Nomikomu Ieyasu, Hidetada, Iemitsu Tokugawa Sandai (Three Generations of Tokugawa; Ieyasu, Hidetada, and Iemitsu - A Digest) (Edited by Tetsuo Owada / Tokyo Shoseki)
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