- Born: 1846
- Died: 1877
- Personal name: 親子 Chikako
- Buddhist name: 静寛院宮 Seikan-in-no-miya
- Japanese: 和宮 Kazu-no-Miya (Princess Kazu)
Kazu-no-Miya was the eighth daughter of Emperor Ninkô (r. 1817-1846). Her mother was Hashimoto Tsuneko (Kangyôin). Kazu-no-miya is known chiefly as the wife of Shogun Tokugawa Iemochi, and for the large and impressive entourage which accompanied her on her formal journey to Edo in 1861 for that marriage.
She was at one time engaged to Prince Arisugawa Taruhito, but later (in 1860) her marriage with the young shogun Iemochi was decided upon as part of the "Kôbu Gattai ("Union of Emperor and Shogunate") policy. The imperial court was opposed to this marriage for some time, rejecting numerous requests from the shogunate. Once the court finally agreed to the marriage in 1860/8, Kazu-no-miya herself then expressed her firm opposition.
In the end, however, in 1861 she went to Edo via the Nakasendô in a huge procession and married Iemochi the next year. This was perhaps the largest procession to ever march down the Nakasendô, and it included some 20,000 samurai, kuge, and others. All along the route, commoners watching from the sides of the road were obliged to prostrate themselves when the princess' palanquin passed; men sitting on the earthen floor (doma) outside of their homes, and women and children from atop the floor within their homes, or from viewing boxes set up for the occasion.
However, Iemochi died in 1866, and Kazu-no-Miya became a nun, taking the name Seikan-in. At the end of the Boshin War she, the aunt of Emperor Meiji, appealed to the victors for the continuance of the Tokugawa family.
Kazu-no-Miya in Fiction
- Kazunomiya sama Ontome (和宮様御留) CX 1981
- Kazunomiya sama Ontome (和宮様御留) ANB 1991
- Kazunomiya sama Ontome (和宮様御留) Ariyoshi Sawako
- Kôjo Kazu-no Miya (皇女和の宮) Kawaguchi Matsutaro
- Nihon-shi Jiten 日本史辞典 (Dictionary of Japanese History), Obunsha, 2000.
- Ishin Shiryô Kôyô 維新史料綱要, vol 3 (1937), 334.
- For the logistical problems involved, see "The Story of Princess Kazunomiya" http://hkuhist2.hku.hk/nakasendo/kazunomy.htm
- Gallery labels, "Edo-zu-byôbu to gyôretsu" exhibition, National Museum of Japanese History, Sept 2014.
- Described in detail in Clara A. N. Whitney, Clara's Diary: An American Girl in Meiji Japan, Kodansha, 1979.