Tenshō-in

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Tenshō-in
天璋院
Tenshoin by Kawamura Kiyoo.jpg
Born (1836-02-05)February 5, 1836
Kagoshima, Satsuma Domain Japan
Died November 20, 1883(1883-11-20) (aged 47)
Tokyo, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Other names
  • Atsu-hime
    *Fujiwara no Sumiko
    *Tenshoin-dono Jusanmi Yukinori Tesedaishi (Kaimyo)
    * Genji Minamoto no Atsuko
Title Princess Atsu

Tenshō-in (天璋院, February 5, 1836 – November 20, 1883), also known as Atsuko (篤子), was the wife of Tokugawa Iesada (徳川 家定), the 13th Shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan

She was the daughter of Lady Oyuki and Shimazu Tadatake (島津忠剛), who was the head of the Imaizumi Shimazu (今和泉島津) branch of the Shimazu in Satsuma.

She was originally named Okatsu (於一) by her parents. When she was adopted by Shimazu Nariakira, her name was changed to Atsuko (篤子) or Atsu-hime because Shimazu Nariakira was a daimyō, and later to Fujiwara no Sumiko (藤原の敬子) upon her adoption by Konoe Tadahiro.

It is said that Tenshōin liked dogs while her husband did not, so when she lived in Ooku she kept two cats, Michihime and Satohime.

Biography[edit]

Tenshōin was born in Kagoshima in 1835. In 1853, she became the adopted daughter of Shimazu Nariakira. On August 21, 1853, she travelled by land from Kagoshima via Kokura to the Edo jurisdiction, never to return to Kagoshima again.

Atsuko was thought to have been sent to Edo castle with the aim of helping Shimazu Nariakira politically. The question of the next heir to the Shogunate was divided between the choice of Tokugawa Yoshinobu, then head of the Hitotsubashi-Tokugawa house and Tokugawa Yoshitomi, then head of Kii-Tokugawa house and later known as Tokugawa Iemochi. In order to ensure that Yoshinobu became the next in succession, Atsuko was arranged to wed into the Tokugawa clan.

On 18 November 1856, Atsuko married Tokugawa Iesada and became a Midaidokoro. In 1858, both Tokugawa Iesada and Shimazu Nariakira died. The 14th shogun was decided to be Iesada's cousin and adopted son, Tokugawa Iemochi. Following the demise of her husband, Atsuko took the tonsure, becoming a Buddhist nun, and took the name Tenshōin on 26 August 1858, and she was given Junior Third Rank. In 1862, as part of the Kōbu Gattai ("Union of Court and Bakufu") movement, Iemochi was married to Imperial Princess Kazu-no-Miya Chikako daughter of Emperor Ninkō, and younger sister of Emperor Kōmei. The Satsuma clan brought up the request for Tenshōin to return to Satsuma, but was rejected by Tenshōin herself. In 1866, Iemochi died. Tokugawa Yoshinobu became the next shogun. During the Meiji Restoration, Tenshōin and her daughter in law, Seikan'in (Kazu-no-Miya's name after tonsure) helped negotiate for the peaceful surrender of Edo Castle.

She spent her remaining years nurturing Tokugawa Iesato, the 16th head of the Tokugawa clan. She moved into Tokugawa Residence in Sendagaya, in the Shibuya district, Tokyo. She suffered from Parkinson's disease which eventually took her life in November, 20th 1883 at 47 years old. She was buried in Kaneiji in Ueno, Tokyo, together with her husband, Onkyoin (Iesada). Beside Onkyoin and Tenshoin tombs, There is Loquat tree planted as it was Tenshoin's favorit food.

The 2008 NHK Taiga drama Atsuhime (fifty episodes) was a dramatization of her life.

Family[edit]

  • Great great great great great great great grandfather: Shimazu Iehisa
  • Great great great great great great grandfather: Shimazu Mitsuhisa (1616-1695)
  • Great great great great great great grandmother: Sogen-in
  • Great great great great great grandfather: Shimazu Tsunahisa (1632-1673)
  • Great great great great great grandmother: Koto-in
  • Great great great great grandfather: Shimazu Tsunataka (1650-1704)
  • Great great great great grandmother: Oshige no Kata
  • Great great great grandfather: Shimazu Yoshitaka (1675-1747)
  • Great great great grandfather: Osuma no Kata
  • Great-great-great grandfather: Shimazu Tsugutoyo (1702-1760)
  • Great great great grandmother: Tonehime
  • Great-great grandfather: Shimazu Shigetoshi (1729-1755)
  • Great-great grandmother: Shimazu Tomihime (1727-1745)
  • Great-grand father: Shimazu Shigehide (1745-1833)
  • Great-grand mother: Chima no Kata
  • Grandfather: Shimazu Nariobu (1771-1841)
  • Father: Shimazu Tadatake (1806-1854)
  • Mother: Lady Oyuki
  • Adoptive Fathers:
  • Adoptive Mothers:
  • Husband: Tokugawa Iesada
  • Adopted son: Tokugawa Iemochi

Honours[edit]