Princess Takako (喬子女王)

The Princess Takako (July 29, 1795 - February 18, 1840) was the legal wife (Midaidokoro) of Ieyoshi TOKUGAWA, the 12th seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") of the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). Her childhood name was Sazanomiya, and the honorific Buddhist title was Jokanin.

Brief Personal History
She was the sixth princess of Arisugawanomiya Imperial Prince Orihito. Her mother was a concubine, Atsuko TAKAGI (commonly called Tokiwagi, but later called Joshinin entering nunhood after the death of the Imperial Prince Orihito). Takako had Arisugawanomiya Imperial Prince Tsunahito, the Cloistered Imperial Prince 承眞 of Sanzen-in Temple, the priestly Imperial Prince 舜仁 of Rinno-ji Temple and priestly Imperial Prince Soncho of Chion-in Temple as the older brothers, and the Princess Yoshiko (Teihoin, the legal wife of Nariaki TOKUGAWA, the lord of the Mito Domain) as the younger sister.

Takako was engaged to Ieyoshi on October 18, 1803, then on October 6, 1804, when she was only nine years old, she left the capital Kyoto to move to Edo as the favor of the bakufu, and lived in the Nishinomaru compound of Edo-jo Castle until the wedding five years later. On January 6, 1810, Takako officially married Ieyoshi. She gave birth to the first son, Takechiyo on November 22, 1813, the second daughter, Tomohime on March 17, 1815, and the third daughter, Saigen-in on December 11, 1816, but, all of them died very young.

On April 22, 1822, Takako was conferred Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank). As Ieyoshi succeeded to become the Shogun on May 6, 1837, she moved into O-oku, the inner palace of the keep, and was addressed to Midaidokoro, the honorific title of shogun's legal wife.

Takako died at the age of 46 on February 18, 1840. However, it was officially announced that she died on February 26, 1840. Her posthumous Buddhist name was 浄観院殿慈門妙信大姉. Takako was buried at Kanei-ji Temple, and a monument containing her hair was built at Isshin-in Temple in her native Kyoto. Takako was posthumously conferred Junii (Junior Second Rank) On March 30, 1840, and Juichii (Junior First Rank) on July 7, 1845.

On June 9, 2008, the early-modern graveyard research group led by Hideichi SAKAZUME excavated the mausoleum of the Tokugawa family of Kanei-ji Temple in the precinct of the Yanaka graveyard, for its renovation work. They announced that they found the domestically largest epitaph (2.9 m in length and width, 28 cm thickness, 5.3 tons), which had the engravings of 15 lines with 189 letters, and they also found other burial goods such as a pair of wooden framed spectacles.

Some say that Takako advised her younger sister, the Princess Yoshiko to marry Nariaki TOKUGAWA.

[Original Japanese]