Princess Yoshiko (Arisugawa no miya)

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  • Born: 1804
  • Died: 1893
  • Japanese: 吉子女王 (Yoshiko joô)

Princess Yoshiko was a daughter of Imperial Prince Orihito (Arisugawa no miya), wife to Tokugawa Nariaki (lord of Mito han), and mother of Tokugawa Yoshiatsu (lord of Mito han) and Tokugawa Yoshinobu (head of the Hitotsubashi family, later, Shogun).

After being married to Tokugawa Nariaki, lord of Mito han, Yoshiko lived for many years in the domain's mansions at Komagome and Koishikawa in Edo. After the death of Shogun Tokugawa Iesada, Nariaki got caught up in factional disputes over the shogunal succession, and was ultimately ordered by the shogunate to retire to Mito. He did so, taking Yoshiko and much of their household with them; Yoshiko then lived in Mito castle for a time, through Nariaki's death in 1860.

Following the death of her son Yoshiatsu in 1868, Yoshiko became for a brief time de facto ruler in Mito. Following the Meiji Restoration, the family was forced to reduce its mansions and its staff, but Yoshiko is known to have continued to look after her former ladies-in-waiting and other staff to at least some extent. In the 1890s, she loaned money to Nishimiya Hide, one of her former ladies-in-waiting, to help Hide's son start a shoemaking business to support himself and his mother (Hide).

Yoshiko died in 1893 in Tokyo; a funeral train carried her remains to Mito to be buried there.


  • Anne Walthall, "Nishimiya Hide: Turning Palace Arts into Marketable Skills," in Walthall (ed.), The Human Tradition in Modern Japan, Scholarly Resources, Inc. (2002), 45-60.