Kyogoku Maria (京極マリア)

Maria KYOGOKU (around 1542 - August 20, 1618) was a woman who lived during the Sengoku period (period of warring states) (Japan). Her real name was unknown. Since couples had different surnames at that time, it was not suitable to call her with a family name of Kyogoku.

She was born around 1542 at Kotani-jo Castle as the second daughter to Hisamasa AZAI, the family head of the Azai clan who snatched away power from the Kyogoku clan to rule the Omi Province, and as the older sister to Nagamasa AZAI.

She married Takayoshi KYOGOKU and had children, Takatsugu KYOGOKU in 1563 at Kotani-jo Castle, Takatomo KYOGOKU in 1572, Tatsuko KYOGOKU (date uncertain), and two other daughters (the wives of Yukihiro UJIIE and Nobutsuna KUTSUKI). Her husband sent his progeny, Takatsugu, to Nobunaga ODA as a hostage before 1573 and retired at Johei-ji Temple, and it is believed that she resided there as well.

She was christened with her husband at the castle town of Azuchi-jo Castle by Priest Gnecchi-Soldo Organtino in 1581 and received the Christian name of Donna Maria, but her husband died a few days later.

She continued to pursue Christianity even after Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI declared a deportation edict of Christians in 1587, and four of her children are believed to be christened; all her children other than Tatsuko, who became the concubine of Hideyoshi. She performed missionary works in Kyoto and Osaka, moved to Sengenji Village, Tango Province (Maizuru City, Kyoto Prefecture) ruled by her second son Takatomo after the Battle of Sekigahara, performed missionary works centered around the building called Komido patronized by Takatomo, and further pursued her religion. Sengenji Village was chosen since it was located at the most eastern part of Tango and closest to the border of Tango-Wakasa, and she occasionally visited Obama in Wakasa ruled by her eldest son.

She was praised by the local people as 'Sengenji sama' (Lady Sengenji) and passed away on August 20, 1618. Her Homyo (Buddhist name) has been said to be Yofukuin dono Hozan Jukei Daizenjoni.