Yodo-dono (淀殿?) or Yodogimi (淀君?) (1569–1615) was a prominently-placed figure in late-Sengoku period. She was a concubine and second wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who was then the most powerful man in Japan. She also became the mother of his son and successor, Hideyori. She was also known as Lady Chacha (茶々). After the death of Hideyoshi, she took the tonsure, becoming a Buddhist nun and taking the name Daikōin (大広院).
The great wealth and changing fortunes of her husband and son affected Yodo-dono's life as well. Surviving record books from luxury goods merchants provide insight into patterns of patronage and taste amongst the privileged class of women like Yodo-dono and her sisters.
After Nagamasa's death, Toyotomi Hideyoshi became the adoptive father and protector of Cha-Cha. Her status changed when she became his concubine. Her status and her name were changed again when Yodo-dono became the mother of a male heir for the aging Taiko.
In 1570, her father, Nagamasa, broke his alliance with Oda Nobunaga and there was a three-year period of fighting until 1573 when Nobunaga's army surrounded Nagamasa at Odani Castle. Nobunaga, however, requested the safe return of his sister, Oichi. Yodo-dono along with her mother, and her two sisters left the castle with her. Odani Castle fell, and amongst those who died were Lady Yodo's father and her brother.
Nobunaga's death in 1582 caused open hostilities between Katsuie and Toyotomi Hideyoshi over the issue of succession. Katsuie's forces were defeated at the Battle of Shizugatake.
However, before Oichi perished, she passed Cha-Cha and her other daughters to the care and protection of Hideyoshi.
Concubine of Hideyoshi
Yodo-dono became Hideyoshi's concubine and soon moved to Yodo Castle (from which she took her title). Hideyoshi's wife, Nene, was said to be unable to conceive; and thus Lady Yodo inherited many of her privileges. She had two sons with Hideyoshi, Tsurumatsu, who died young, and Hideyori born in 1593 who became the designated successor of Hideyoshi. Hideyoshi was also the enemy of her parents; first her father, then her step-father and mother.
In 1594, the family moved to Fushimi Castle, but tragedy befell when Hideyoshi died in 1598 and the Toyotomi clan lost much of its influence and importance. Yodo-dono moved to Osaka Castle with her son Hideyori and plotted the restoration of the Toyotomi clan.
Tokugawa Ieyasu, who seized control from Hideyori after the death of his father, now viewed Hideyori as an obstacle to his unification of Japan. He laid siege to Osaka Castle in 1614, but the attack fell through, and subsequently he signed a truce with Hideyori.
However, in 1615, Ieyasu broke the truce and once again attacked Osaka Castle, and this time he succeeded. Yodo-dono and her son Hideyori committed suicide, thus ending the Toyotomi legacy.
A fictional character based on Yodo-dono appears in James Clavell's Shōgun. This contrived protagonist is Lady Ochiba, who dislikes Toranaga (Tokugawa Ieyasu) because he presumably suspected her son was not fathered by the Taikō (Toyotomi Hideyoshi). However, she admires and trusts the Taikō's widow, Yodoko (Nene), who urges both her and Toranaga to marry so that Japan would remain united, and when the heir, Yaemon (Toyotomi Hideyori) comes of age, he can safely take control. In James Clavell's later novels it is revealed that, just as in real history, Toranaga eventually besieged Ochiba and Yaemon in their castle, prompting them to commit suicide.
She also appears in Capcom's recent addition of the Onimusha series, Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams, as Toyotomi Hideyoshi's concubine and sister to playable character Ohatsu, who affectionately calls Yodo by her childhood name, "Cha-Cha". She was transformed into the Genma Mother Tree, and was replaced by Ophelia, who took on her form. Ophelia, the Genma High Priestess, is a member of the Genma Triumvirate, whose ultimate goal is to resurrect the Genma/Demon God of Light Fortinbras by using Hideyoshi as his vessel. Yodo was rescued by Soki and his friends, and she fled Fushimi Castle. At the end of the game, it is seen that Yodo now lives with her sister Ohatsu.
In the current 2011 Taiga drama, Gō: Hime-tachi no Sengoku, Cha-cha is portrayed by the actress, Rie Miyazawa. In the drama series Nobunaga no Chef (2013) - Episode 5, Chacha makes her appearance as a child by her parents' side. A great part of this episode revolves around her and the fact that she would not eat meat. Out of her mother's concern, the main character of this series is asked (or rather forced, else he would face death) to make a dish that will make Chacha like meat.
- Hickman, Money L. et al. (2002). Japan's Golden Age: Momoyama, p. 283.
- "The silk coloured portrait of wife of Takatsugu Kyogoku," Digital Cultural Properties of Wakasa Obama; Oichinokata, Gifu prefecture website.
- Wilson, Richard L. (1985). Ogata Kenzan (1663-1743), p. 40.
- "Ueno Juri's Two Older Sisters" (上野樹里の２人の姉), Sponichi Annex; retrieved April 14, 2010.
- Hickman, Money L., John T. Carpenter and Bruce A. Coats. (2002). Japan's Golden Age: Momoyama. New Haven: Yale University Press. 10-ISBN 0-300-09407-8; 13-ISBN 978-0-300-09407-7; OCLC 34564921
- Sengoku Expo: biography