Tachibana Ginchiyo (立花 誾千代, September 23, 1569-November 30, 1602) was a female samurai (onna-bugeisha) head of the Japanese Tachibana clan during the Sengoku period of the 16th century. She is the daughter of Tachibana Dōsetsu, obligated to the Ōtomo (rivals of the Shimazu clan at the time).
Because Dōsetsu has no sons, he requests that Ginchiyo be installed as head of the family after his death. About five years later, Ginchiyo was married to Tachibana Muneshige, who continued Dōsetsu's line, and who had no male heir.
Tachibana Ginchiyo Biography
Already at the age of 6, she leads the clan during a difficult period. She inherited her father's advantages such as the status of squire, territories, property as well as the famous sword Raikiri (雷切, Lightning Cutter).
She recruits women to be her elite guard and has all the girls in the castle taught the arts of war to intimidate visitors and prevent her domain from possible attacks from other clans. She married Tachibana Muneshige, whom the family had adopted, and thus continued her father Dōsetsu's line after her.
In 1586, the Shimazu clan launched its troops to conquer Kyūshū, and attacked the Ōtomo clan in Bungo province as well as Tachibana Castle in the north. The Tachibana clan then retaliated against the Shimazu.
The Ōtomo family documents (大友家文書録) state that when the Shimazu commanders arrive near Tachibana Castle, Ginchiyo arms the women with guns to then defend the main gate.
When Toyotomi Hideyoshi sent 200,000 soldiers to conquer Kyūshū, the Shimazu army retreated to Higo province. The Tachibana forces have no choice but to flee during the Kyūshū campaign.
Tachibana Castle fell into the hands of Hideyoshi, who then entrusted it to Kobayakawa Takakage. Ginchiyo and Muneshige allied with Hideyoshi in the campaign against their longtime rival, the Shimazu clan.
Tachibana Ginchiyo In popular culture
She is a playable character in the Koei games: Samurai Warriors 2, 3 and 4.