NAKANO TAKEKO, THE LAST SAMURAI WOMAN. Among the famous samurai, NAKANO TAKEKO the last samurai woman deserves great recognition of her bravery.
She is remembered for being the last samurai woman who had a command of onna bugeishas, to fight in the Boshin War, in which she found death.
She was a samurai warrior of strong conviction, well instructed and trained to fight with great and strong opponents.
At such a young age she immortalized her name forever, as a symbol of feminine strength and samurai honor, by fighting without fear of death for maintaining the shogunate.
NAKANO TAKEKO, THE LAST SAMURAI WOMAN IN THE HISTORY OF JAPAN
Nakano Takeko is the last samurai woman who fought in the history of Japan. She was born in 1847 in the domains of Izu, and she was a descendant of a prestigious samurai family.
His father was an Izu officer, General Nakano Genai, who could see his daughter Takeko from an early age showed skills for war.
Therefore, Takeko was trained since childhood to be a onna bugeisha or martial arts expert, her teacher was Akaoka Daisuke, who later adopted her.
Takeko was also instructed in the history of Japan and literature, so she had a great admiration for Tomoe Gozen, another samurai woman from the time of the Genpei War, who will soon become the heroine of the very young Nakano Takeko.
NAKANO TAKEKO CHILDHOOD
While other girls of her age have fun with women’s activities, Nakano Takeko prefers “boys” activities. Which include being instructed in martial arts, both in self defense and attack.
During his training as onna bugeisha or samurai woman, Nakano demonstrated great skills to handle the naginata and other samurai weapons.
The naginata was the special weapon of the samurai women, however, Takeko was not limited to it, and also practiced the use of katanas, although her stron point was always the naginata.
Its slim and stylized complexion gave the impression that Nakano could not even lift a naginata. But she quickly forged his fame by surprising her adversaries in training, with agile and ruthless movements.
NAKANO TAKEKO BECOMES A SAMURAI WOMAN
At the young age of 15 she had already conquered the knowledge necessary to be a samurai woman, and at 16 he began training other women in the art of war, under the supervision of his master Daisuke.
It is said that Nakano Takeko was disciplined and very correct, however, she kept the freshness and rebellion typical of the adolescence.
Her father, General Nakano Genai, had agreed to a marriage between her and a son of her teacher Akaoka Daisuke, but Takeko refused and arrange was dissolved. She argued to her father that she was too young to marry and that to do so she had to get away from what she loved most: the fighting.
NAKANO TAKEKO PRIOR TO MEIJI RESTORATION
The young Nakano lived in the most difficult period for the samurais, the time before its extinction, when the samurais lost their privileges as a caste.
Japan was fighting a war between those who wanted to retain power for the shogunate with the samurai forces, and those who thought it was time to regain the power of the Imperial Court. In addition, Japan was under threat of being invaded by the United States if they did not allow the US ships landing in Japan.
The shogunate established by Tokugawa Leyasu in 1603, was a believer from Japan would remain for the Japanese. It would not allow any type of ships to approach Japan and its coasts, much less to disembark.
Faced with the impending US attack, the shogun in turn Tokugawa Yoshinobu signed the Kanagawa agreement to allow access to US ships.
NAKANO TAKEKO IN THE BATTLE OF IZU
The Imperial Court forces had foreign support and their western firearms made a big difference with the samurais.
Those who preserved the Japanese tradition of fighting face to face, with honor and pride, won the best fighter, but with firearms, the rules changed.
While the imperial forces held an army of more than 15,000 men well armed with Western rifles, the samurai resistance were only 3,000 to 5,000 warriors with katanas and few almost obsolete arcabuces.
When Nakano Takeko saw the bleak picture for his beloved caste: the samurais, she did not choose to take refuge like the other women. Instead, she recruited a command from just 20 women onna bugeisha willing to fight in the Boshin War.
NAKANO TAKEKO AND HIS ARMY OF SAMURAI WOMEN
In 1868, with only 21 years, the youth ahead and the burning blood, Nakano Takeko and her brave women squad, including his sister Nakano Yuko, went to war.
Takeko requested permission from the general of the samurai army for her and her onna bugeisha to head the battlefield and gain some advantage.
At the beginning of the war, the imperial forces had the order to capture the samurai women alive, so the female army had an advantage.
But after the huge number of casualties caused by just 20 women, the imperial general reconsidered his decision and ordered all women to be shot.
One of the first to fall was Takeko, she received a shot in the chest, despite the severity of the injury, it is said that she killed a couple more men.
DEATH OF NAKANO TAKEKO
When she couldn’t take it anymore, she asked her sister Yuko to decapitate her head after she stuck a dagger to commit seppuku, although women were not allowed to perform this type of suicide exclusively for samurai men.
It is said that she told her sister, “they will not take my head as a trophy,” so her sister decapitated her and took her head to bury her under a tree in the Hokagi Temple.
With his death, she ended the era of samurai women, as the imperial forces won and restored their power, distorting the samurais as a privileged class destined to disappear from Japan.
Currently, there is a Monument to Nakano Takeko where every year hundreds of women commemorate the last samurai woman.
In his honor, this white katana that brings together her most representative characteristics was also forged.
White Katana Nakano Takeko, the last samurai, made of steel and carbon with base.