Freakin’ Video Games

Someone on the SCA Japanese Facebook page was looking for a way to document Otadzu-no-Kata (Tsubaki-hime), none of which is in Name Construction in Medieval Japan, the go-to documentation source for SCA heralds and Japanese names.

So as I am a herald, I did some digging and found that the client was basing her knowledge from a video game character. That site says the name was an Edo-period creation, a name assigned to the unknown wife of samurai Iio Tsuratatsu, whose sole claim to fame seems to be that he was the son of Iio Noritsura, who was in the service of the Imagawa clan and had possession of Hikuma Castle. Tsuratatsu died in 1565, whereupon his wife took possession of the castle and held it until December of 1568, when Tokugawa Ieyasu attacked.

She was claiming some sources “written in archaic, cursive Japanese” to which I suppose she means Edo-period texts written in kuzushiji, which I fully admit is beyond my own poor skills. However, from digging around, it looks like there are a lot of legends and fictional stories about this woman.

What I did find was a physical shrine, Tsubaki-hime Kannon, whose website gave a brief history.

Okay, best I could get was that her original name was probably Oda Tsuru (Otadzu or Otatsu was a nickname–the O is a honorific, tatsu seems to be another pronunciation of 田鶴, the Japanese love their wordplay.). The Tsubaki-hime part seems to come in play after she and several other women (18 in total) were killed defending Hamamatsu castle (then known as Hikuma castle) from Tokugawa Ieyasu in December of 1568. They were buried in a mound where camilla trees (tsubaki) were planted. So Tsubaki-hime is collective, referring to all the women, not just her. Here’s a link to the webpage of a shrine that was built to honor them by Ieyasu (a replica, the original was long gone.)

Hikuma castle was built by Iio Noritsura, who died in battle in 1560. Otatsu was married to his son, Iio Tsuratatsu, who died in 1565, which was when she took control of the castle. Ieyasu took possession at the end of 1568.

I don’t know if you want the surname Oda, but it’s listed in NCMJ p. 324. Tsuru is NCMJ p. 387. You might be able to argue the おたづ (Otadzu, Otatsu) from the shrine website, which clearly indicates that’s how the name was pronounced. No-kata is also an honorific, so not registrable.

I’ve managed to get some names through without NCMJ by referring to Japanese place websites, so it’s worth a try at least.

No, it’s not perfect. Japan, I love that you are mining your history for video game fodder, but dang, it makes digging online harder!

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