N is for Nakano Takeko

Born in 1847 Nakano Takeko was an onna-bugeisha or Japanese female warrior samurai who was fully trained in the martial arts. She is one of only a few female warrior samurai in the history of Japan. Nakano Takeko was also highly skilled in the long spear. Her teacher Akaoko Daisuke adopted Nakano. She later worked with her adoptive father as a martial arts instructor during the 1860s.

She entered Aizu during the Battle of Aizu and fought with a naginata and was the leader of a Women’s Army which consisted of female combatants who independently fought in the battle. The senior Aizu leader did not allow them to fight as a part of the army.

In the town there is annual Aizu Autumn Festival, where a group of young girls wear hakama and white headbands in the procession, which commemorates the actions of Nakano and the Women’s Army of the Joshigun.

Takeko fought against the Japanese Imperial Army in the Boshin War, serving with great distinction until she took a bullet to the chest. Knowing that she would die, the 21-year-old ordered her sister to behead her and bury it, denying her enemy the privilege.

Bibliography

www.askmen.com/top_10/entertainment/top-10-legendary-female-warriors

http://asianhistory.about.com/od/imagegalleries/ss/samuraiwomen_10.htm

http://samurai-warriors.org/women-samurai-warriors-tomoe-gozen-nakano-takeko/

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