Irohahime (五郎八姫)

Irohahime (August 2, 1594 - June 4, 1661) was the legal wife of Tadateru MATSUDAIRA, the sixth son of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA. She was the eldest daughter of Masamune DATE. Her mother was Masamune's legal wife, Yoshihime (or Megohime), the daughter of Kiyoaki TAMURA. She was also called Tenrinin.

In August 2, 1594, she was born in the Jurakudai mansion in Kyoto. She was the long-awaited first child of Masamune and his wife, Yoshihime, who had been married for 15 years. Although the couple would obviously have been longing for a boy to take over the Date family, the baby born to them was a girl. It is said that the parents had only chosen a boy's name, Gorohachi, so Masamune decided to use the same Chinese characters with a different pronunciation.

They say they gave the child a boy's name because they were anticipating celebrating kitanokata (legitimate wife; here, Yoshihime) giving birth to an heir' (from 'Date Jige Kiroku').

Having moved from place to place, from Jurakudai to Fushimi, and then to Osaka, Irohahime was engaged to Ieyasu's son, Tadateru, on January 20, 1599, as part of Ieyasu's strategy for strengthening relationships with powerful daimyo (feudal lords). In 1603, she moved from Fushimi to Edo, and on December 24, 1606, she married Tadateru. It is said although she and Tadateru were a loving couple, they had no children. In 1616, she divorced Tadateru when he was stripped of his position, and returned to her father, Masamune, thereafter living in Sendai. As she lived in the Nishikan (the west annex) of the main castle in this period, she was also called Nishikan-dono (Lady Nishikan). She died on June 4, 1661. She was 68 years old. Her grave is in Tenrinin in Matsushima. Irohahime was such a beautiful and intelligent daughter that her father was led to lament, "imagine if she had been a boy." Tadamune DATE, a younger brother by the same mother, also relied on her for her intelligence.

Irohahime was allegedly a Christian, as her real mother Yoshihime had been a Christian for a time. When she divorced Tadateru, she was still in her early twenties and her father, Masamune, and her mother, Yoshihime, concerning about their beloved Irohahime, allegedly asked her to remarry, but she kept refusing.
It is generally accepted that she refused offers of marriage throughout the rest of her life, no matter how earnestly her parents and those around her advised her to remarry, because she believed in Christian doctrine, which does not allow 'divorce.'

Now, in the museum annex to Zuigan-ji Temple, beside satues of her father, Masamune, and mother, Yotokuin Yoshihime, there is a statue of their daughter, Tenrinin Irohahime, dressed in priestess's clothes.