Anekoji (姉小路)

Anekoji was another name for so-called Otoshiyori or Joro-otoshiyori. In O-oku (the inner halls of Edo Castle where the wife of the Shogun and her servants reside), this name was often used for Joro-otoshiyori. The Joro-otoshiyori during the times of the 4th seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") of the Edo bakufu Ietsuna TOKUGAWA and during the times of the 11th general Ienari TOKUGAWA were famous.

Anekoji during Ietsuna's period

The Joro-otoshiyori who accompanied queen Akiko, a daughter of the Imperial Prince Sadakiyo of Fushimi no miya Palace (who became the royal kitchen bureau with ASUKAI no Tsubone), to descend to Edo.

Anekoji during Ienari's period or Ieyoshi's period

Anegakoji (March 16, 1810 to August 9, 1880) was a Joro-otoshiyori in O-oku during the late Edo period. Her name was Katsuko. In O-oku, she was called Iyo. Her father was Sanenari HASHIMOTO. Her elder brother was Sanehisa HASHIMOTO, and her younger sister was HANANOI, the head of waiting women of the Mito clan. She is said to have become one of the most powerful people in O-oku during the times of the 12th general Ieyoshi TOKUGAWA. She is also said to have committed legendary misdeeds, schemed plots against her rivals, and furthermore obstructed the Tempo Reforms. Briefly speaking, she is criticized as a rare wicked woman of the history. It is assumed that, during the period from the 11th general Ienari TOKUGAWA to the 12th general Ieyoshi TOKUGAWA, she reigned over O-oku, extended her influence even to political management, and made the financial conditions of the bakufu very tight, which is one of the factors that led to the collapse of the shogunate government. She was the great-aunt of the imperial princess KAZUNOMIYA Chikako.

Anegakoji entered the Nishi no Maru O-oku as a little Joro attending the lady lord Takako, who was married into the shogunate family as the successor Ieyoshi's legal wife in 1804. When Kazuhime (Ienari 's daughter) was married into Narito MORI, Anegakoji followed Kazuhime and entered the Mori family 's residence in Edo. However, when Kazuhime died in 1830, Anegakoji returned to O-oku again. In 1836, Anegakoji became a Joro-otoshiyori.

Together with her younger sister HANANOI, the head of waiting women of the Mito clan, she was famous as a beautiful lady. According to one theory, it is even said that she went to bed with Ieyoshi together.

It is said that O-oku began to dislike the Mito Tokugawa family in the late shogunate period because Anegakoji began to dislike them. The reason for such dislike is said to be the criticism by Nariaki that the expenditures of O-oku were too large. However, it should be noted that Anegakoji was on intimate terms with the various feudal lords of the Hitotsubashi faction and was cooperating with the Mito family.

This may have had an influence when Nairaki was placed on probation. At that time, Nariaki attempted to beg for forgiveness of the probation via the maid Mihono who worked in O-oku. However, hearing of his attempt, Anegakoji laid off Mihono.

In 1842, a fire was caused due to the tempura that Anegakoji was eating, and Honmaru (the keep of a castle) was burnt down. This fire led to a large disaster in which hundreds of maids working in O-oku died. Anegakoji laid the blame on the Joro-otoshiyori named UMETANI who served Kodaiin. No one knows what happened to UMETANI after that.

After Ieyoshi died, she got her head shaved, took up the title Shokoin and retired from being a Joro-otoshiyori. She moved out from O-oku to the Mori family's residence in Edo. Although she retired, her political influence was still there.

In connection with the policy of receiving Kazunomiya, a granddauthter of her elder brother Sanehisa, into the royal kitchen of the 14th general Iemochi TOKUGAWA as part of the Kobugattai (combining noble and general) process, Anegakoji is said to have asked many times the Hashimoto family and her niece Keiko HASHIMOTO (Kazunomiya's mother) for the rank-down marriage of Kazunomiya. There was even an occasion when Anegakoji went all the way to Kyoto in order to request for the rank-down marriage.

She returned to her home town in Kyoto after the Edo shogunate had collapsed.

It is said that she died in 1880 at the age of 70.

[Original Japanese]