ONNA BUGEISHA

Tammera

Sacramento, United States

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Onna-bugeisha

An onna-bugeisha (女武芸者?) was a type of female warrior belonging to the Japanese upper class. Many wives, widows, daughters, and rebels answered the call of duty by engaging in battle, commonly alongside samurai men. They were members of the bushi (samurai) class in feudal Japan and were trained in the use of weapons to protect their household, family, and honour in times of war. They also represented a divergence from the traditional “housewife” role of the Japanese woman. They are sometimes mistakenly referred to as female samurai, although this is an oversimplification. Significant icons such as Empress Jingu, Tomoe Gozen, Nakano Takeko, and Hōjō Masako are famous examples of onna bugeisha.

Early history
Long before the emergence of the renowned samurai class, Japanese fighters were highly trained to wield a sword and spear. Women learned to utilize naginata, kaiken, and the art of tantojutsu in battle. Such training ensured protection in communities that lacked male fighters. One such woman, later known as Empress Jingu (c. 169-269 AD), utilized her skills to inspire economic and social change. She was legendarily recognized as the onna bugeisha who led an invasion of Korea in 200 AD after her husband Emperor Chūai, the fourteenth emperor of Japan, was slain in battle. According to the legend, she miraculously led a Japanese conquest of Korea without shedding a drop of blood. Despite controversies surrounding her existence and her accomplishments, she was an example of the onna bugeisha in its entirety. Years after her death, Jingu was able to transcend the socioeconomic structures that were instilled in Japan. In 1881, Empress Jingū became the first woman to be featured on a Japanese banknote. Designed to stop counterfeiting, her image was printed on oblong paper. In addition to economic changes in Japan, onna bugeisha also stretched social structures.

Tomoe Gozen
During the earlier Heian and Kamakura periods, women who were prominent on the battlefield were the exception rather than the rule. Japanese ideals of femininity predisposed most women to powerlessness, in conflict with a female warrior role.2 Women warriors were nonetheless pioneers in this role, and some even went on to lead their own clans.
Source:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Artwork Comments

  • BasantSoni
  • Tammera
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