Who were the Saio?

Women held few positions of power in ancient Japan, but one of the notable positions I've come across is the Saio (or the Saiin that I recently discover whom I think served a different shrine). The Saio was the unmarried, young female relative of a Japanese Emperor.  She was also known as Itsuki no Miko and…

Japanese Women: Mochizuki Chiyome and the Kunoichi

Ever since the West has been in contact with the Japanese, the ever powerful, mysterious, and seemingly magical ninjas have captured Western imagination. Ninjas were a secret group of special forces, high trained, spies in Medieval Japan. Although popularized today, traditionally ninjas commonly did not wear the all black costume that we imagine them in,…

Who were the Onna-Bugeisha and Onna-Musha?

Utagawa Kuniyoshi [Public domain] Wikimedia Commons This is part of a series exploring Japan while I research the history and culture of Japan for my book series, The Messengers. Feel free to point out any errors or if you have anything to add! In my series on famous Japanese women and their roles, I would…