Tsumaki Hiroko

妻木煕子

Tsumaki Clan

Mino Province

Tsumaki Hiroko

Lifespan:  Kyōroku 3 (1530) (?) to 11/7 of Tenshō 4 (1576) (under another theory, she died on 6/7 of 1576)

Role:  Formal wife of Akechi Mitsuhide

Clan:  Tsumaki

Father:  Tsumaki Norihiro

Children: 

[Daughters]

Eldest daughter (wife of Akechi Hidemitsu), second daughter (wife of Akechi Mitsutada), third daughter (Hosokawa Gracia – wife of Hosokawa Tadaoki), fourth daughter (wife of Oda Nobuzumi)

[Sons]

Chiyojumaru (Mitsuyoshi), Jūjirō (Mitsuyasu), Otojumaru

Tsumaki Hiroko lived during the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods.  She was the formal wife of Akechi Mitsuhide.  In addition to the name of Hiroko, she is variously known as Omaki-no-kata, Omaki, and Fuseya-hime, with her actual name uncertain.  The name Hiroko likely originated from the name of her father – Tsumaki Norihiro.  She may have had as many as three sons and four daughters, although some of the children may have been from different mothers.

While the date of her birth is unknown, based on one theory, she was born as the eldest daughter around 1530.  According to one authenticated source, she was the daughter of Tsumaki Norihiro and the mother of Hosokawa Gracia (the wife of Hosokawa Tadaoki and a Christian convert).

Hiroko and Mitsuhide were said to have gotten along very well.  Just prior to their marriage, she contracted smallpox which left marks on her left cheek, but Mitsuhide did not mind.  In 1556, Mitsuhide supported Saitō Dōsan at the Battle of Nagaragawa.  There is an anecdote that, after Saitō Yoshitatsu (the eldest son of Dōsan who was in an internal conflict with him) toppled Akechi Castle, Mitsuhide carried a pregnant Hiroko on his back while fleeing to Echizen Province.

Having lost his main base and becoming a rōnin, or wandering samurai, Mitsuhide moved from Mino to Echizen and served Asakura Yoshikage.  Despite enduring difficult times, Mitsuhide hosted a renga (linked-verse poetry) event.  Based on another anecdote, Hiroko was aware of the struggles confronted by Mitsuhide to prepare for the banquet and sold her own black hair to cover expenses.

On 10/14 of 1576, Hiroko fell ill.  Mitsuhide requested prayers from Yoshida Kanemi (a Shintō priest) for her convalescence.​  She recovered on 10/24, so silver pieces were donated to give thanks at the shrine.  On 11/2, Kanemi paid a visit to Hiroko at the quarters of Mitsuhide in Kyōto to wish for her continuing recovery and met with Mitsuhide.

She died either on 11/7 of 1576.  Under another theory, the date was 6/7 of 1576.  She was either 36, 42, or 46 years old.  The exhaustion experienced while caring for Mitsuhide during a serious illness was said to have contributed to her own demise.