Keigin-ni

慶誾尼

Ryūzōji Clan

Hizen Province

Keigin-ni was a woman in Japan during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.  She is also called the widow of the Ryūzōji.

Keigin-ni was born as the daughter of Ryūzōji Tanekazu, the sixteenth head of the Muranaka-Ryūzōji (the main branch of the Ryūzōji clan).  She became the formal wife of Ryūzōji Kaneie.  Together with Kanie, she bore a lineal heir, Ryūzōji Takanobu.  Kaneie’s second son, Ryūzōji Nobukane and third son, Ryūzōji Naganobu, may have been born to a different mother.  In 1545, Kaneie was murdered in a plot orchestrated by a senior retainer of the Shōni clan named Baba Yorichika.  In 1556, Keigin-ni became the second wife of Nabeshima Kiyofusa, a retainer of the Ryūzōji clan and, subsequently, the stepmother of his lineal heir, Nabeshima Nobuo (Naoshige).  As a result, Takanobu and Naoshige were cousins and, at the same time, in-laws of one another.

In 1570, at the Battle of Imayama, Saga Castle was surrounded by a large army led by Ōtomo Sōrin.  This led to falling spirits among those inside the castle so that Takanobu and Nobuo considered surrendering to the Ōtomo.  At this time, Keigin-ni appeared in front of Takanobu and scolded him, saying “You are acting like a scared mouse in front of a cat.  Rely upon Nobumasa to lead a nighttime attack.”  As a result, those inside the castle made a decision for Nobuo to lead a nighttime attack against the main encampment of the Ōtomo on Mount Ima.  As on this occasion, Keigin-ni was always close to the deliberations, gathered opinions, stirred action, and provided a foundation for Takanobu’s decisions.

In 1584, after Takanobu died at the Battle of Okitanawate, Keigin-ni supported Ryūzōji Masaie and participated in governance of the province. 

She died on 3/1 of Keichō 5 (1600).  She is said to have been ninety-two years old although there are other theories regarding her age. 

Character

Keigin-ni was courageous and always carried a short sword.