Gamō Clan

Wife of Gamō Hideyuki

Mutsu Province

Shōseiin was a woman who lived during the Azuchi-Momoyama and early Edo periods.  She had the name of Furihime and was the third daughter of Tokugawa Ieyasu.  She was born to a consort named Ryōunin.

In the second month of 1595, upon orders of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, she became engaged to Gamō Hideyuki (a daimyō and head of the Gamō clan based in Aizu).  A bridal procession was held on 11/5 of Keichō 3 (1598).  She gave birth to two sons and one daughter (Gamō Tadasato, Gamō Tadatomo, and Sūhōin).  Sūhōin became the formal wife of Katō Tadahiro.  At the Battle of Sekigahara, Hideyuki sided with the Eastern Army owing to his connection to Furihime and resentment at the demotion and transfer of the Gamō clan from Aizu in Mutsu Province to Utsunomiya in Shimotsuke Province.  Hideyuki was rewarded for his contributions and allowed to return to Aizu with a fief of 600,000 koku.

In 1612, Hideyuki suddenly died at the age of thirty and was succeeded by his eldest son, Gamō Tadasato, at the age of ten.  Furihime served as his guardian.  She then came into a severe conflict with the chief retainer of the Gamō clan named Oka Shigemasa over matters of governance of the domain.  This culminated in Ieyasu summoning Shigemasa to Sunpu Castle and ordering him to commit seppuku the following year.

In 1615, upon orders of Ieyasu, Furihime remarried to Asano Nagaakira, the head of the Kishū domain, whereupon she left her children and departed from the Gamō family.  In the fourth month of 1616, a bridal procession was held.  The following year, she joined the Kishū domain and gave birth to Asano Mitsuakira (Asano Nagaakira’s second son).  Furihime died sixteen days later at the age of thirty-eight.  She was interred at the Konkai-Kōmyō Temple in the Sakyō District of Kyōto.  Upon hearing this news, Tadasato (her eldest son) donated land for the Yūzū Temple in Aizu and ordered the construction of a family grave to mourn Furihime (his mother).  Later, after being transferred to Kishū, Tokugawa Yorinobu (the tenth son of Tokugawa Ieyasu) constructed a grave at the Kōon Temple to pay respects to Furihime as his older sister.

In the Asano family, descendants of Furihime continue to the present day, but her sons in the Gamō family died early without heirs whereupon the clan was demoted along with the Katō family to whom Furihime’s daughter, Sūhōin, had wed.