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Akai Teruko

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Akai Teruko
Castellan of Ushiku castle
(Yura clan head)
In office
Succeeded byYura Kunishige
Personal details
Spouse(s)Yura Shigeru
ChildrenYura Kinishige
Nagao Akinaga
FatherAkai Terumitsu
RelativesKaihime (granddaughter)
Military service
Akai clan
Later Hōjō clan
Toyotomi clan
Yura clan
Battles/warsSiege of Kanayama castle
Siege of Odawara (1590)
Siege of Matsuida castle

Akai Teruko (赤井輝子, November 6, 1514 – December 17, 1594) or Myoin (妙印尼) was a late-Sengoku period Onna-bugeisha and female samurai warrior. Teruko was a woman trained in ko-naginata, fought in many battles when younger and commanded three thousands of soldiers in Kanayama castle at 70 years old[1] She was the daughter of Akai Terumitsu, spouse of Yura Shigeru the retainer of Hōjō clan, and grandmother of Kaihime.[2]


Teruko was born as the daughter of Tatebayashi Castle lord Akai Terumitsu. She married with Yura Shigeru and gave birth to Yura Kunishige and Nagao Akinaga. She took the administration of Kanayama castle, in currently Gunma Prefecture, alongside Kunishige, in 1578 after Shigeru death.[2]

Kanayama castle
Kanayama castle

When Hōjō clan suddenly exhibited hostility against Yura clan in 1584, Yura Kunishige and his brother Nagao Akinaga were captured by the Hōjō of Odawara. The Hōjō's troops marched to took Kanayama castle. Akai Teruko at the age of 71, commanded the defense of the Battle of Kanayama Castle (1584), she led her 3,000 remaining soldiers and resisted over 15 months, and finally under the condition of returning captured leaders Yura clan voluntary opened Kanayama castle[2][3]

At 76 years old, the Conquest of Odawara (1590) took place. She sided with Toyotomi clan and turn to the retainer of Maeda Toshie with her grandson, Yura Sadashige. Together with Toshiie, Teruko took part in the Siege of Matsuida castle. Teruko was greatly admired by Hideyoshi and Toshiie for their heroic deeds as a warrior. Hideyoshi gave her as a reward the territory of 5435 koku in Ushiku and became the owner of Ushiku Castle, but soon she transferred the property to Kunishige.

Teruko died in 1594 and was buried in Togetsu-in in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture. She was known as ''The Strongest Woman in the Warring States Period'' (戦国時代最強の女丈夫)[4]

Popular Culture

She makes appearances in the Samurai Warriors and Nobunaga's Ambition series of games.

See also


  1. ^ 新田の史蹟 (in Japanese). 岡部福蔵. 1938.
  2. ^ a b c Jōmo oyobi Jōmojin (in Japanese). 1931.
  3. ^ Ken, 投稿者. "Kanayama Castle -Impregnable castle with mystic atmosphere-". Retrieved 2019-04-27.
  4. ^ Turnbull, Stephen (2012-01-20). Samurai Women 1184–1877. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781846039522.
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Akai Teruko
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