Gerhart M. Karen
- Kyushu University, School of Letters, Graduate School of Humanities, Faculty of Humanities
- Journal of Asian Humanities at Kyushu University (ISSN:24334855)
- no.4, pp.1-20, 2019-03
Akahashi Nariko (1306–1365) was the primary wife of the first Ashikaga shogun Takauji (1305–1358) and the mother of his heir and six other children. Her natal family. the Akahashi Hōjō, were descendants of the Taira clan who had served for over a century as regents of the military government in Kamakura and later as its de facto rulers. But even with this notable pedigree, Nariko has garnered little scholarly attention: she seldom rates more than a footnote in studies about her famous husband, no monograph or article about her has been written in English, and there exists only one publication about her life in Japanese. While scholars have written much about the military and political machinations involving the Ashikaga shoguns in the fourteenth century, few have written about their wives and mothers. Seeking to develop a fuller understanding of Akahashi Nariko, this essay offers a picture of a strong-willed woman who had a close relationship with and powerful influence over her husband, and was a fierce protector of her children and their political and social interests.