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Tsuruhime (鶴姫?) or Ōhōri Tsuruhime (大祝鶴姫?, 1526–1543) was a Sengoku period female warrior (Onna-bugeisha). She was the daughter of Ōhōri Yasumochi, a head priest of Ōyamazumi Shrine on the island of Ōmishima in Iyo Province. She went to battle several times whose claim to divine inspiration coupled with fighting skills has led to her being compared with Joan of Arc.[1]


Tsuruhime was born in 1526. At that time the island was under threat from the growing power of Ōuchi Yoshitaka from Yamaguchi on the mainland of Honshu, and fighting took place between the Ōuchi and the Kōno (河野) on Shikoku, under whose jurisdiction the shrine fell. Tsuruhime's two elder brothers were killed in one such conflict, and when Tsuruhime was 15 years old her father died of illness, so she inherited the position of chief priest. She had been trained since childhood in the martial arts, and when the Ōuchi made further moves against Ōmishima she took charge of the military resistance. She led an army into battle and drove the Ōuchi samurai back into the open sea when they raided Ōmishima in 1541.[2]

Four months later the invaders returned, and while an Ōuchi general, Ohara Takakoto, was being entertained on his flagship he came under attack from Tsuruhime in a raid. At first he mocked her presumption, but Tsuruhime cut him down. This was followed by a deluge of hōrokubiya (焙烙火矢; spherical exploding bombs) from Tsuruhime's allies to destroy many ships, which drove the Ōuchi fleet away. Two years later, at the age of 17, she was again in action against an attack by the Ōuchi, but when her fiance was killed in action she committed suicide by drowning. Her last words were:

"As Mishima's ocean as my witness, my love shall be engraved with my name."

She is romanticized to have died when she was young, but there aren't any records that suggest as such. Her body armor is said to be kept at Ōyamazumi Shrine. According to epic poetry and local folklore, her soul still protects the island from harm.


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