Yodo-dono (淀殿) or Yodogimi (淀君) (1567 – June 4, 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). In 1614, she led an Anti-Shogunate rebellion.
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.
- Father: Azai Nagamasa
- Mother: Oichi
- Adopted mother: Nene
- Husband: Toyotomi Hideyoshi (hideyoshi also is her adopted father)
- Toyotomi Tsurumatsu (1589–1591)
- Toyotomi Hideyori
- Adopted Daughter:
Yodo-dono, also called Chacha (茶々) in her youth, was the eldest of three daughters of the Sengoku period daimyō Azai Nagamasa. Her mother, Oichi was the younger sister of Oda Nobunaga.It was speculated that Chacha wasn’t Nagamasa’s Daughter but Oda Nobunaga’s daughter since Oichi married Nagamasa on September 1667 and Yodo was born between December 1667 (based on legend).
After Nagamasa's death, Toyotomi Hideyoshi became the adoptive father and protector of Chacha. 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 Taikō.
In 1570, Chacha's 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. Chacha, along with her mother and her two sisters, left the castle with her. Odani castle fell, and amongst those who died were Nagamasa and Manpukumaru, Chacha's only brother.
Nobunaga's death in 1582 caused open hostilities between Shibata Katsuie and Hashiba Hideyoshi over the issue of succession. Katsuie's forces were defeated at the Battle of Shizugatake, and he was forced retreat to Kitanosho castle. With Hideyoshi's army laying siege to his home, Katsuie set the castle ablaze; he and Oichi perished in it.
However, before Oichi died, she passed Chacha, Oeyo, and Ohatsu 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 have been 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 Hideyoshi's designated successor. 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, and she became the true head of Osaka Castle.
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 Toyotomi.
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.
In the 2009 film Goemon (五右衛門), Cha-Cha is portrayed by Ryōko Hirosue, and is depicted as being in love with Ishikawa Goemon (the equivalent of Robin Hood or Ned Kelly). She is eventually forced to marry Hideyoshi, though Goemon attempts to save Cha-Cha to no avail, dying in the attempt.
In the 2011 Taiga drama, Gō: Hime-tachi no Sengoku, Cha-cha was portrayed by Japanese 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.
In Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider Gaim & Wizard: The Fateful Sengoku Movie Battle, Cha-Cha (portrayed by Hikaru Yamamoto) appears in Gaim's portion of the film, in the World of the Sengoku Period.
Among video games, she appears in Capcom's most 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 also appears as a playable character in Samurai Warriors: Sanada Maru. She also appears under the name Chacha, a Berserker-class Servant in Fate/Grand Order. Yodo-dono also appears as a main antagonist and final boss in Nioh's final DLC Bloodshed's End.
- Hickman, Money L. et al. (2002). Japan's Golden Age: Momoyama, p. 283.
- "The silk coloured portrait of wife of Takatsugu Kyogoku", Archived May 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. 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) Archived April 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., 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. ISBN 978-0-300-09407-7; OCLC 34564921
- Sengoku Expo: biography