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Images of Samurai Women

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Hangaku Gozen
Print by Yoshitoshi Taiso, 1885.

Hangaku Gozen, another Genpei War-era female samurai, who was allied with the Taira Clan, c. 1200.

Library of Congress Prints Collection.

Another famous female fighter of the Genpei War was Hangaku Gozen, also known as Itagaki. She was allied with the Taira clan, which lost the war.

Later, Hangaku Gozen and her nephew, Jo Sukemori, joined in the Kennin Uprising of 1201, which tried to overthrow the new Kamakura Shogunate. She created an army and led this force of 3,000 soldiers in defense of Fort Torisakayama against an attacking army of Kamakura loyalists numbering 10,000 or more.

Hangaku's army surrendered after she was wounded by an arrow; she was captured and taken to the shogun as a prisoner. Although the shogun could have ordered her to commit seppuku, one of Minamoto's soldiers fell in love with the captive, and he was given permission to marry her instead.

The female samurai and her husband, Asari Yohito, had at least one daughter.

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