Oichi-no-kata

お市の方

Oda Clan

Oichi-no-kata

Owari Province

Lifespan:  Tenbun 16 (1547) to 4/24 of Tenshō 11 (1583)

Clan:  Oda

Religion:  Tendai sect of Māhāyāna Buddhism

Father:  Oda Nobuhide

Mother:  Dota Gozen

Husband:  Azai Nagamasa → Shibata Katsuie 

Siblings:  Nobunaga, Nobuyuki, Hidetaka, Oinu-no-kata, other siblings from a different mother

Children:  Chacha, Hatsu, Gō

Ochi-no-kata, the younger sister of Oda Nobunaga, lived during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods from 1547 to 1583.  She was also known as Odani-no-kata and Odani-dono.  She was the fifth daughter of Oda Nobuhide.  Her natural mother was Dota Gozen – the same for Nobunaga.  Other brothers included Nobuyuki and Hidetaka, and a sister named Oinu-no-kata.  Oichi-no-kata first wed Azai Nagamasa of Ōmi Province, and later married Shibata Katsuie, a senior retainer of Nobunaga.

Her children included Chacha (a consort of Toyotomi Hideyoshi), Hatsu (formal wife of Kyōgoku Takatsugu), and Gō (second wife of Tokugawa Hidetada).  Grandchildren included Toyotomi Hideyori (Chacha’s son), Toyotomi Sadako, Senhime, Tokugawa Iemitsu, Tokugawa Masako (Gō’s sons and daughters).  Masako became the empress dowager of Emperor Go-mizunō, while her daughter became Emperor Meishō, the 109th emperor.  There are few records of the first-half of Oichi-no-kata’s life.

Either in the autumn of 1567 or early 1568, Oichi-no-kata we Azai Nagamasa with Ichihashi Nagatoshi, lord of Fukuzuka Castle in Mino Province, serving as the intermediary.  This marriage formed a political alliance between the Oda and Azai clans.  Nagamasa was engaged to the daughter of Hirai Sadatake, a retainer of the Rokkaku clan, but this plan came to an end with his marriage to Oichi-no-kata.

Oichi-no-kata bore three daughters with Nagamasa.  Nagamasa had at least two sons at this time, but not from Ochi-no-kata.  In 1570, Nobunaga attacked Asakura Yoshikage, the lord of the Asakura of Echizen Province and a close ally of the Azai.  This ruptured the friendly relations between the Azai and the Oda.  Although Nagamasa and Ochi-no-kata were in a political marriage, they got along well.  Despite the deterioration of relations between the Azai and the Oda, the couple stayed together after the birth of their daughters.  After fleeing Odani Castle, Oichi-no-kata bore her third daughter, Gō, in Gifu.

After Nagamasa lost at the Battle of Anegawa, Odani Castle fell in 1573.  After their defeat to Nobunaga, Nagamasa and his father, Hisamasa, took their own lives.  Oichi-no-kata, along with her three daughters (Chacha, Hatsu, and Gō) were rescued by Fujikake Nagakatsu and taken to the Oda.  Thereafter, Nobunaga pardoned and placed them under the protection of his older brother, Oda Nobukane, in Kiyosu Castle where Oichi-no-kata and her daughters resided peaceably for over nine years.  During this period, Nobunaga treated Oichi-no-kata and her daughters with kindness and generosity.  Nobukane also cared for and helped raised his nieces.  Under an alternate theory, Oichi-no-kata and her daughters may have been taken care of by Oda Nobutsugu (Nobunaga’s uncle), lord of Moriyama Castle in Owari Province.

After the death of Nobunaga in 1582, Shibata Katsuie and Hashiba Hideyoshi agreed and received consent from participants at the Kiyosu Conference for the re-marriage of Oichi-no-kata to Katsuie.  This outcome served to appease Katsuie in view of his displeasure with other matters at the conference.  The wedding was held at Gifu Castle four months after the coup d’état against Nobunaga known as the Honnō Temple Incident.  Later in 1582, Katsuie arranged a Buddhist ceremony at the Myōshin Temple in Kyōto to mark one hundred days after the death of Nobunaga.

In 1583, Hideyoshi defeated Katsuie at the Battle of Shizugatake, after which she killed herself along with her husband at the Kita-no-shō Castle in Echizen.