Episode 332 – Lady Kasuga

This week, we tackle the life of one of Japan’s most interesting women, who rose from obscure origins to become a major power player in the early Tokugawa period: Saito Fuku, better known as Lady Kasuga.



Seigle, Cecilia and Linda Chance. Ooku: The Secret World of the Shogun’s Women.

Sadler, A.L. Shogun: The Life of Tokugawa Ieyasu

Totman, Conrad. Politics in the Tokugawa Bakufu, 1600-1843.


I mentioned that Lady Kasuga had appeared in several Taiga dramas; I didn’t realize she flat out got one all to herself! That’s how you know you’ve made it as a historical figure in Japan.
Lady Kasuga’s grave at Rinsho-in, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo.
A portrait of Lady Kasuga later in life.
Lady Kasuga fights a bandit, c. 1880. By the time of the Meiji Period, many stories like this one — where, accosted on the road, Lady Kasuga just beats the hell out of some dudes — had begun to crop up. It’s near impossible to sort truth from fiction here, but it does demonstrate just how much of a popular historical figure she had become.