Mochizuki Chiyome

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Mochizuki Chiyome (望月 千代女), also known as Mochizuki Chiyojo (望月 千代女) or Mochizuki Chiyo (望月 千代),[1] was a feudal Japanese noblewoman of the 16th century who created an all-female group of ninja agents in service of the Takeda clan.[2]

Biography[edit]

Mochizuki Chiyome, originally descended from the ninja Mochizuki Izumo no Kami of the Kōga clan, was the wife of Moritoki (jp:望月氏), a samurai lord from Shinano's Saku District who was killed in the Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima in 1561. While Nobumasa was off for war, she was often left in the care of the daimyo Takeda Shingen, who also was the uncle of her husband. It was then when Shingen approached her and gave her an important mission to recruit women and create an underground network of kunoichi (female ninja) agents. Takeda’s plan was to have fully trained female operatives who could act as subversive agents used to gather information and deliver coded messages to his allies; Chiyome was the best candidate for this, since she came from a long line of Kōga ninja. She accepted the task, set up her operation in the village of Nazu in the Shinshu region, and began her search for potential candidates for training.

Chiyome recruited several young women who were recently orphaned, prostitutes or victims of the civil wars of the Sengoku period. She also recruited girls who were either lost or abandoned. Many people believed that she was helping these women, and giving them an opportunity to start up a new life. But in reality, they were trained to become highly efficient information gatherers and verifiers, seductresses, messengers and when necessary, assassins. The girls were taught all the skills of a miko (Shinto shrine maiden or a wandering priestess), which allowed them to travel virtually anywhere without suspicion, receiving religious education to complete their disguise. Over time, Chiyome's kunoichi learned to effectively use more disguises such as actresses, prostitutes or geisha. This allowed them to move freely within villages, towns, castles and temples, and get access to their targets. Eventually, Chiyome and her kunoichi had set up an extensive network of some 200-300 agents that served the Takeda clan and Shingen was always informed of all activities, putting him one step ahead of his opponents at all times until his mysterious death in 1573, after which she disappeared from historical records.

In popular culture[edit]

Mochizuki Chiyome is featured in many video games (mostly Japan-exclusive social games) in which she is often shown in a partial or full miko costume, including Ayakashi: Ghost Guild,[3] Blood Brothers,[4] Chain Chronicle,[5] Full Boko Heroes,[6] Hero Hunter,[7] Hyakuhime Ryoran! Sengoku Asuka,[8] Jikuu Haoden,[9] Juggler×Monster,[10] Kamigoku no Valhalla Gate,[11] Legend of the Cryptids,[12] Legends of Drift,[13] Nobunaga's Ambition: Souzou (DLC),[14] Puzzle & Dragons,[15][16] Samurai Princess Muramasa,[17] Samurai Retsuden,[18] Samurai Souls,[19] Sangoku Collection,[20][21] Sengoku Hagyo,[22] Sangoku Heroes,[23] Sangoku Saga,[24] Sangoku Taisen,[25] Sekigahara Engi,[26] Sengoku Hime 3,[27] Sengoku IXA,[28] Shin Sengoku Buster,[29] Shirogane no Seisen,[30] Soul Circle,[31] The Samurai Kingdom,[32] Tenka Touitsu Chronicle,[33] and Toukiden: The Age of Demons.[34] She is mentioned as a trainer of the playable character Kunoichi in Samurai Warriors and appears in person in Samurai Warriors 2, and is Shingen's mistress and the master and surrogate mother of Kurenai, the protagonist of Red Ninja: End of Honor.[35]

Chiyome appears in Assassin's Creed: Memories,[36] where she is recruited by the Templars after the death of Shingen and becomes an enemy of Hattori Hanzo, and in Onimusha Soul, in which she works with the evil Genma and appears in several very different forms, ages and art styles.[37][38][39][40][41][42] She is a non-playable character using Ground and Dark type pokémon in Pokémon Conquest,[43] and elite versions of generic "Kunoichi" enemies in Marvel: Avengers Alliance are named "Chiyome". Innocent World (Japanese version of Aura Kingdom) offered a catgirl version of Chiyome as a player character,[44][45] and another game has her in a full cat form.[46] In Sangoku Taisen, she is voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro.[47] Yatsuko Tanami played her in the film Sanada Yukimura no Bōryaku (also known as Death of the Shogun, Renegade Ninjas, and The Shogun Assassins).[48]

References[edit]

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Sources[edit]

  • Stephen K. Hayes, Bill Griffeth, Mike Lee, Gregory Lee, Legacy of the Night Warrior (1984), p. 109-112
  • Stephen K. Hayes, The Mystic Arts of the Ninja (1985), p. 4
  • Peter Lewis, The Way to the Martial Arts (1986), p. 112
  • Vicki León, Uppity Women of Medieval Times (1998), p. 8

External links[edit]