Matehime (満天姫)

Matehime (1589 - May 5, 1638), a woman who lived from the Azuchi-Momoyama period to the Edo period, was a daughter of the lord of the Sekiyado Domain in Shimosa Province, Yasumoto MATSUDAIRA who was the half-brother of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA. She was a wife of Masayuki FUKUSHIMA and had a son Naohide DAIDOJI. Later, she became the lawful wife of Nobuhiro TSUGARU and had a son Nobufusa TSUGARU.

Brief biography
First marriage and divorce
She was adopted by her uncle Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, and in 1599, she married Masayuki FUKUSHIMA (the seventh son of Shigemune BESSHO, the husband of Masanori's older sister), the adopted heir of Masanori FUKUSHIMA. However, Masayuki was in confinement due to his misconduct and eventually died in 1607, so she returned to her parents' home partly because of Masanori's consideration (one theory asserts that she later married Tadakatsu FUKUSHIMA, her brother-in-law). However, Matehime was pregnant by Masayuki at this time and soon gave birth to a baby boy.

Remarriage and children
In 1613, with Nankobo Tenkai's advice, Ieyasu had Matehime remarry Nobuhiro TSUGARU, the lord of the Hirosaki Domain in the Tsugaru region. However, Nobuhiro already had a wife. His wife was Tatsuhime, the third daughter of Mitsunari ISHIDA. This was related to the fact that Nobuhiro's brother Nobutake TSUGARU had sheltered his associate page Shigenari ISHIDA as well as Tatsuhime in Tsugaru after the Battle of Sekigahara.

Tatsuhime was eventually moved to Odate Village, Joshu Province (the present-day Ota City [formerly Ojima-cho], Gunma Prefecture), the outland that the Tsugaru family had been given as a reward for the Battle of Sekigahara, and Matehime was received as the lawful wife. She was with the son by Masayuki.

However, Nobuhiro couldn't get Tatsuhime out of his mind, so he visited Tatsuhime's residence in Odate Village at every Sankinkotai (a system in which feudal lords in the Edo period were required to spend every other year in residence in Edo) and became intimacy with her. As a result, Tatsuhime became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy in 1619. The child was named Heizo. Nobuhiro begged Matehime to have Heizo his heir. On the other hand, also Matehime gave birth to a baby boy in 1620.

Because Tatsuhime died at the age of 32 in 1623, Heizo was brought into the residence of the Edo Domain from Joshu Odate Village and raised as Nobuhiro's heir. Heizo later succeeded Nobuhiro and became the third lord of the Hirosaki Domain Nobuyoshi TSUGARU.

The son of Matehime and Masayuki FUKUSHIMA was adopted by the chief retainer of the Hirosaki Domain Naohide DAIDOJI (the adopted child of Masashige DAIDOJI, a vassal of the Gohojo clan) and assumed the name Naohide DAIDOJI. Also, the son of Matehime and Nobuhiro was raised by Matehime as the second son of Nobuhiro. This boy later became Nobufusa TSUGARU, who was the founder of the Kuroishi Domain, a branch of the Hirosaki Domain.

Her husband's death and the tragedy of unsuccessful restoration of the 'Fukushima clan'
In 1631, as Nobuhiro died, Nobuyoshi became the third lord of the domain. Since then, Matehime called herself Yojuin.

On the other hand, Naohide DAIDOJI, who wasn't eligible for the heir of the Hirosaki Domain but asserted himself as a grandchild of Masanori FUKUSHIMA, had already been punished by being deprived of his fief. Naohide became anxious to restore the Fukushima family, which had been reduced to a direct vassal of the shogun, and started to work on it. As Yojuin feard Naohide's activities would make a bad impression on the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) which might bring harm to the Tsugaru family, she became embittered and remonstrated Naohide. However, Naohide did not change his mind, and finally said that he was going up to Edo in order to appeal the restoration of the Fukushima family to the Edo bakufu. In 1636, as Naohide visited the residence of Yojuin to say goodbye prior to his departure to Edo, he emptied a cup of sake Yojuin suggested, whereupon he started to struggle and died. The sake had been poisoned.

In 1638, Yojuin (Matehime) died in Hirosaki. Her mausoleum (National Important Cultural Property) is at Chosho-ji Temple, in Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture.

Battle of Sekigahara folding screen'
When Matehime remarried Nobuhiro TSUGARU, she cried for the 'Battle of Sekigahara folding screen' that Ieyasu had a painter draw, and brought it as a bride's household article. The 'Battle of Sekigahara folding screen' designated as a National Important Cultural Property is currently held in the Osaka Museum of History.