Princess Matsu (松姫)

Princess Matsu (1561 - May 31, 1616) was the fifth daughter of the Sengoku daimyo (Japanese territorial lord in the Sengoku period [period of Warring States]) Shingen TAKEDA. Her mother was a concubine Aburakawafujin, and she was a younger sister of Morinobu NISHINA. She was called Shinshoni after becoming a nun.

Kai era

She was born in Kai. In 1567, at age 7, she became engaged to Nobutada ODA (11), an heir of Nobunaga ODA. Princess Matsu and Nobutada had not actually seen each other in person, but spent time exchanging mail, and eventually had a spiritual connection. She stayed with the Takeda family and was formally treated as 'the entrusted lawful wife of Nobutada,' and was called Niitachi goryonin.

In 1572, when Shingen TAKEDA started to conquer westward, the Battle of Mikatagahara broke out against Ieyasu TOKUGAWA. Because Nobunaga sent reinforcement to Tokugawa, the relation between the Takeda and Oda families broke and the engagement to Princess Matsu (11) was also canceled.

Takato era

In 1573, Shingen TAKEDA deceased. She moved to a house in the castle town of Takato-jo Castle under the patronage of her brother Morinobu NISHINA.

In 1580, Morinobu became the lord of Takato-jo Castle.

The fall of the Takeda family and death of Nobutada ODA

In 1582, to avoid subjugation of Takeda by the Oda army led by her former fiance, the supreme commander Nobutada ODA, she went to Ongata, Tama County, Bushu (Hachioji City, Tokyo) where many old retainers of the Takeda clan lived to live in kosatsu Kinsho-an (ancient temple, Kinsho-an Retreat) (located in Kamiongata-machi, Hachioji City).

On April 3, the Oda army lead by Nobutada ODA who departed for the front from Gifu-jo Castle besieged Takato-jo Castle. Nobutada recommended surrender, but Morinobu NISHINA refused it. Nobutada started all-out assault, and after a fierce battle, Morinobu finally committed suicide (subjugation of Takeda). Nobutada, chasing Katsuyori TAKEDA who set fire to Shinpu-jo Castle, entered Kofu on April 9 and put the headquarters. On April 13, Katsuyori TAKEDA and his son Nobukatsu TAKEDA and others, driven into a corner by Kazumasu TAKIGAWA, the Assistant Deputy General of Nobutada, committed suicide in Tano in Tenmoku-zan Mountain, and the Takeda clan and the Kai-Takeda clan fell (Battle of Tenmoku-zan).

After subjugation of Takeda, an envoy of Nobutada ODA visited Princess Matsu who escaped to Hachioji to bring her back. On July 1, when Princess Matsu was on a journey to see Nobutada, the Honnoji Incident broke out, and Nobutada attacked Mitsuhide AKECHI at Nijo-gosho Palace and beat the Akechi army three times. However, he was hopelessly outnumbered and committed suicide (according to some historical materials, the real mother of Nobutada's child Hidenobu ODA was actually Princess Matsu, but even the possibility that Princess Matsu and Nobutada met while they were alive is low, and it is considered to be some mistake).

Becoming a nun

In autumn of the same year, she moved to Shingen-in Temple (Shimoongata-machi, Hachioji City) when she was 22, and became a nun. She called herself Shinshoni and they say that she prayed for the soul of Nobutada as well as the Takeda family.

In 1590, she moved to a hut in Goshomizu, Hachioji (present Dai-machi, Hachioji City). While living as a nun, it is said that she taught reading and writing to local children in a Terakoya (temple elementary school in the Edo period), did sericulture, and weaved cloth to earn money to raise her three princesses.

Nagayasu OKUBO, who used to be a vassals of Takeda family and then daikangashira (the head of feudal government) of the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), is said to have helped Shinshoni including building a thatched hut for her. In addition, it is said that she served as spiritual support of Hachioji Sennin Doshin (junior officials in Hachioji) composed of many of the old retainers of the Takeda clan.

She died in 1616. Her age at death was 56. Her thatched hut is present Shinsho-in Temple.

Personal Profile

Princess Matsu's mother Aburakawafujin was famous as the most beautiful woman in Koshu, and Princess Matsu herself was also famous for her beauty along with her sister Princess Kiku (lawful wife of Kagekatsu UESUGI). According to the theory that the mother of Princess Matsu's another older sister Shinryuin was also Aburakawafujin, Princess Matsu's sisters were Princess Mari and Princess Kiku.