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Kyōgoku Maria

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Kyōgoku Maria (京極マリア) or Yōfuku-in (養福院) (1543 – August 20, 1618) was a Japanese woman from the Sengoku period. She was the second daughter of Azai Hisamasa as well as Azai Nagamasa's elder sister and the mother of Kyōgoku Takatsugu and Kyōgoku Takatomo. She was the mostly successful woman catechist with her own assistants as well as Naitō Julia and her women catechists.[1]


Her birth name is unknown, but she was given the name "Maria" after her conversion to Christianity. She was baptized with her husband Kyōgoku Takayoshi in the Jesuits church in Kyoto in 1581, though Takayoshi died soon after being baptized. After becoming a widow, she began preaching her new religion to people around her, and Jesuits named her one of the best female catechists of the Kyoto-Osaka area.[2]

Sometime in 1606 or 1607, Maria moved to Wakasa Province under Takatsugu's protection, and in 1609 she moved again to a remote place in Tango Province to avoid the persecution of Christians. She died peacefully in a small hut belonging to a Buddhist nunnery Sengen-ji (泉源寺) in 1618.

One of her daughters, Kyōgoku Tatsuko, is notable for being one of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's favorite concubines.



  1. ^ Ward, Haruko Nawata (2009). Women religious leaders in Japan's Christian century, 1549–1650. Farnham, England: Ashgate. p. 232. ISBN 0754664783.
  2. ^ O'Malley, John W. (2006). The Jesuits II: Cultures, Sciences, and the Arts, 1540–1773. University of Toronto Press. p. 649. ISBN 9780802038616.
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Kyōgoku Maria
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