Kozosu (birth date unknown – April 1626) was born into a samurai family and lived from the Azuchi Momoyama period to the early Edo period, becoming the top joro (high ranking female servant) to Kodaiin and later to Hidetada TOKUGAWA. Kozosu' was the name she took as a joro, her actual name is unknown. Her father was Katsushige KAWAZOE, a vassal of the Gamo clan.
Although there are no specific historical documents showing the exact date she started to serve Kitanomandokoro (Kodaiin), it is thought that she was in charge of inner affairs by the time Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI became kanpaku (chief adviser to the Emperor). In 1590, when Masamune DATE was suspected of treason, Kozosu, as Hideyoshi's representative, delivered the letter asking for an explanation and in 1597, she was in charge of managing Hideaki KOBAYAKAWA's transferal from Chikuzen Province to Echizen Province as punishment for his mistake during the Siege of Ulsan. From this, it is believed her authority was on a par with the Gobugyo council of five elders established later by Hideyoshi.
She held such authority at the time that it was said 'external affairs are controlled by Nagamasa ASANO, inner affairs by Kozosu.'
Hideyoshi died in 1598 and the next year, 1599, Kozosu left Osaka-jo Castle with Kodaiin, moving to Sanbongi in Kyoto (near present-day Gion). She served as Kodaiin's steward, liaising with Ieyasu TOKUGAWA. However, in 1614, she suddenly left Kodaiin and transferred to Edo (see 'Reasons for leaving Kodaiin'). She later served Hidetada TOKUGAWA and was given a residence in Edo-jo Castle. In October 1625, she received property worth 200 koku in Kawachi province. She died the next year. Since Kozosu did not marry during her lifetime and had no children, as a special measure her nephew, Shigetsugu KAWAZOE, became her adopted son and inherited the 200 koku. It is said that her niece, Tokuko KAWAGOE, gave birth to Hideyoshi's daughter.
Her grave is at Nansen-ji Temple in Nishinippori, Arakawa Ward, Tokyo Prefecture.
Kozosu and Mitsunari ISHIDA
There is a hypothesis that Ieyasu's concubine, Chaa no Tsubone, was a relative. According to this hypothesis, negotiations between Kodaiin and Ieyasu were conducted through Kozosu and Chaa no Tsubone. On the other hand, there is a hypothesis that says she was on close terms with Mitsunari ISHIDA. This hypothesis states that Kozusu was the reason why Mitsunari's second daughter was taken in by Kanetsugu NAOE and married to his nephew's wife's brother, Hanbe Shigemasa OKA (Hideyuki GAMO and Tadasato GAMO's chief retainer and grandfather of Iemitsu TOKUGAWA's concubine, Jishoin) and that she conducted negotiations over the surrender of Otsu-jo Castle during the Battle of Sekigahara. There is also a hypothesis that states Kozosu was influential in making Yamada Hayato no sho, Mitsunari's eldest daughter's husband, the chief retainer of Tadateru MATSUDAIRA, who was Ieyasu and Chaa no Tsubone's child.
Reasons for leaving Kodaiin
Hypotheses about her move to Edo in 1614 include:
she decided to decamp from the Toyotomi clan and left Kodaiin
she was accused by Yododono of spying for the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) and escaped to Edo because she felt endangered. Various conflicting theories abound and the real reason remains a mystery. Like Katsumoto KATAGIRI, she may have been the victim of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA's divide and conquer strategy. She officially received the 200 koku from Hidetada in October 1625, which was just after the one year anniversary of Kodaiin's death.