Lifespan: Tenbun 12 (1543) to 1/14 of Tenshō 18 (1590)
Role: Formal (second) wife of Tokugawa Ieyasu
Father: Chiku Ami
Mother: Naka (Ōmandokoro)
Siblings: Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Asahihime
Husband: [First marriage] Saji Hyūga-no-kami; [Second marriage] Tokugawa Ieyasu
Asahihime lived during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.
Asahihime was a younger sister of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, either born to the same or a different father. She was the formal wife (second wife) of Tokugawa Ieyasu. She was called Asahi. After her marriage to Ieyasu, she was known as Suruga Gozen, and, posthumously, as Nanmei-in.
In 1543, Asahihime was born to Chikuami (father) and Ōmandokoro (mother) and wed a farmer in Owari Province. Along with the rise of Hideyoshi under Oda Nobunaga, her husband was elevated to the status of a bushi and adopted the name of Saji Hyūga-no-kami.
After the death of her first husband, Hyūga-no-kami, she may have wed a retainer of the Oda named Soeda Kanbei Yoshinari. There is another theory that she divorced Hyūga-no-kami prior to his death. There are various conflicting stories in this regard. Her status until 1586 is not certain.
In 1586, Hideyoshi compelled his younger sister to divorce her husband. On 2/22, retainers of Oda Nobukatsu (Takigawa Katsutoshi and Hijikata Katsuhisa) were dispatched as messengers to Yoshida in Mikawa and, via Sakai Tadatsugu, proposed a marriage to appease Tokugawa Ieyasu. Ieyasu accepted the proposal and sent Sakakibara Yasumasa as his representative to Kyōto to exchange betrothal gifts.
In the fourth month, Asahihime departed from Ōsaka Castle and went to Hideyoshi’s formal residence in Kyōto known as jurakutei. In the fifth month, a wedding procession departed from the capital with over 150 participants including Asano Nagamasa, Tomita Tomonobu, Tsuda Shirōsaemon, and Takigawa Gitayū. During the procession, retainers of Nobukatsu including Oda Nagamasu and Takigawa Katsutoshi also joined. On 5/11, the procession reached Nishino in Mikawa, and, on 5/14, arrived in Hamamatsu whereupon she was marred into the Tokugawa family as the formal (second) wife of Ieyasu. At this time, Ieyasu was forty-five years old and Asahihime was forty-four. Thereafter, Asahihime kept a residence in Fuchū in Suruga so she was referred to as Suruga Gozen.
Even after completion of the wedding ceremony, Ieyasu did not go to Kyōto so, on the premise that Ōmandokoro would visit Suruga Gozen in Okazaki, she further became a hostage, whereupon Ieyasu went to Kyōto and entered into a peace arrangement with Hideyoshi.
Later, in 1588, Suruga Gozen visited Kyōto to visit her ill mother, but, before long, she began to recover, so, on 9/9, she returned to Suruga. It is not certain when she went to Kyōto again, but while residing in Hideyoshi’s residence, she fell ill in the first month of 1590, and died on 1/14 at the age of forty-seven.
Around this time, Ieyasu was preparing for an expedition known as the Conquest of Odawara, and, while concealing his mourning, interred her at the Tōfuku Temple in Kyōto. Suffering from ill health in her later years, Suruga Gozen became a follower of the Rinzai sect of Buddhism, and her posthumous name is Nanmei-in. A memorial tower was built at the Tōfuku Temple so that Ieyasu could pay tribute to her after her death. This is the family temple for the Tokugawa shōgun family where her portrait is kept.
Ieyasu also had built a grave at the Zuiryū Temple on Mount Taiun in Sunpu. Hideyoshi visited this site to pay his respects while en route on the Conquest of Odawara. A memorial tower was constructed for memorial services and he donated lands to the temple.