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Lady Shirai

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Ninomaru Palace
Ninomaru Palace

Lady Shirai (白井局, d. 1565) was a Japanese woman of the Sengoku period. She was born to the Nagao clan in Shirai, who were head retainers to the Uesugi clan in Kantō. She was the wife of Narita Nagayasu, the lord of Oshi castle in Musashi. She is also thought to be either the daughter or granddaughter of Nagao Kageharu.[1]


Lady Shirai was a relative of Nagao Kagetora (the famed Uesugi Kensin). In 1560, Uesugi Kenshin, a warlord of Echigo province, made large expedition to Kanto region against the Later Hōjō clan. Nagayasu Narita, once belonged to Kenshin, but there arouse a quarrel between Kenshin and Nagayasu and Kenshin insulted him, thus furious Nagayasu left Kenshin and went back to Hojo clan. After that Narita clan had been an important retainer of Hojo clan, and expanded Oshi castle as a basement of this area.[2]

Lady Shirai would divorce her husband once her turned his back on the Uesugi clan,and serve the 13th Shōgun, Ashikaga Yoshiteru. At this point, she was over 50 years old, but she was still beautiful, and as she always served in close proximity to Yoshiteru she used the opportunity to talk about Uesugi Kenshin, and build a diplomatic bridge between the two figures.[3]

Yoshiteru declared war on Miyoshi Nagayoshi because Miyoshi had a great influence in the capital. Nagayoshi continued as the real power in Kyoto. In 1565, Miyoshi Trio laid siege against the Ninomaru Palace and Honmaru Palace (currently Nijō Castle). With no help arriving in time from the daimyōs that could have supported him, Yoshiteru and the few troops under him were overrun by Miyoshi. Lady Shirai took her naginata and fought for the last time. When Matsunaga Hisahide entered the Yoshiteru's Palace, the Shogun committed suicide, Lady Shirai continues to resist and ends up dying in battle.[4]

It is unclear if she gave birth to Nagayasu's sons. If so, she was the paternal grandmother of Kaihime along with the maternal one, Akai Teruko.


  1. ^ 日本人名大辞典+Plus, デジタル版. "白井局(しらいのつぼね)とは". コトバンク (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  2. ^ Ken, 投稿者. "Oshi Castle -Castle rejected flood attack-". Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  3. ^ Heibonsha. Dai jinmei jiten (in Japanese). Heibonsha.
  4. ^ Klaproth, Julius von (1834). Nipon o daï itsi ran: ou Annales des empereurs du Japon (in French). Oriental Translation Fund.
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Lady Shirai
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