Chelsea Bernard from Tofugu.com has started a new series chronicling - you guessed it - female badassery in Japanese history. As she says, Japanese history, like most national histories, tends to be a bit of a sausage fest, but it’s her hope that this series will fill in some of those gender gaps and show you why the badassery of Japan’s women deserves to be recognized too!
The first woman to be recognized in the series is none other that Tomoe Gozen, a 12th century warrior woman who slashed her way to samurai stardom, leaving countless severed heads in her wake.
Equiped with a strong bow, oversized sword, and sheathed in leather armor, Tomoe was undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with. Her liege and lover, Lord Kiso no Yoshinaka, was so impressed by her skill as an archer and her courage as a warrior, he appointed her as his leading commander (ippo no taisho) in the Genpei War.
Key instances of Tomoe’s badassery include: 6th month of 1181 at the Battle of Yokotagawara: Tomoe defeats and collects the heads of 7 mounted warriors (at a time and in a place when head collections were coveted like Oscar trophies). 5th month of 1183 at the Battle of Tonamiyama: Leads over 1,000 of Lord Kiso no Yoshinaka’s cavalry to victory. 1st month of 1184 at the Battle of Uchide no Hama: Leads 300 of Lord Kiso no Yoshinaka’s forces into an impossible battle against 6,000 Taira cavalry and emerges as one of only 5 Minamoto survivors. In her final act as a warrior, Tomoe rode head on into a pack of 30 mounted Taira warriors, picked the worthiest opponent among them, famed strongman Onda no Hachiro, and promptly beheaded him.
Read the full article here.