Eihime

栄姫

Kuroda Clan

Eihime

Bungo Province

Eihime was a woman who lived during the Azuchi-Momoyama and early Edo periods.  Eihime was the second wife of Kuroda Nagamasa, the first head of the Fukuoka domain in the Edo period.  She was also known as Nene-hime and, after entering the priesthood, adopted the name of Dairyō-in.

In 1585, Eihime was born as the daughter of Hoshina Masanao, the lord of Takatō Castle in Shinano Province.  Her mother, Takehime, was the daughter of Hisamatsu Toshikatsu.  Takehime’s mother was Odai-no-kata, the natural mother of Tokugawa Ieyasu so she was the niece of Ieyasu.

On 6/6 of 1600, Eihime, as an adopted daughter of her uncle, Ieyasu, wed Kuroda Nagamasa after he separated from his previous wife, Itohime.  Itohime  was the daughter of Hachisuka Maskatsu, a daimyō and retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, serving as the lord of Tatsuno Castle in Harima.  Her separation and the subsequent marriage of Eihime to Nagamasa occurred at the request of Ieyasu for political purposes.  This event caused a break in relations between the Hachisuka and Kuroda families that persisted for the following 127 years until the middle of the Edo period. 

On the occasion of her marriage, Eihime received a dowry of 1,000 koku in the Kusu District of Bungo Province in northeast Kyūshū.  Eihime further received from Ieyasu a valuable short sword under the name of Inaba Shizu for personal protection.

Just before the Battle of Sekigahara, in view of a plan by the Western Army to take wives as hostages, Eihime was guided by Kuriyama Toshiyasu to flee from the Kuroda residence in Tenma in Ōsaka by boat to Nagamasa’s territory in Nakatsu in Buzen Province in northern Kyūshū.  With Nagamasa, Eihime bore five children (three boys and two girls) including Tadayuki (the eldest son and second head of the Fukuoka domain), Nagaoki (a member of the Akizuki domain – a branch of the Fukuoka domain headed by an outside lord),  Takamasa (a member of the Tōrenji domain), Tokuhime (the formal wife of Sakakibara Tadatsugu), and Kameko (the formal wife of Ikeda Teruoki).

In 1635, after an internal disturbance in the Fukuoka domain known as the Kuroda Disturbance, despite ill-health, Eihime accompanied her grandson, Kuroda Mitsuyuki (the second-generation head of the Fukuoka domain) to meet Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third shōgun of the Edo bakufu at Edo Castle.  Soon thereafter, Eihime died at the Sakurada residence of the Kuroda domain in Edo.  She was interred at the Tentoku Temple in Nishikubo.