The blade knows no gender

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Tomoe Gozen , lady Samurai (onna bugeisha) during the 12th Century Genpei War.  The above woodblock illustration print by Yōshū Chikanobu, done in 1899, is of her decapitating the Samurai Honda no Moroshige of Musashi during the Battle of Awazu.

According to an account, the English translation of Heike,

Tomoe was especially beautiful, with white skin, long hair, and charming features. She was also a remarkably strong archer, and as a swordswoman she was a warrior worth a thousand, ready to confront a demon or a god, mounted or on foot. She handled unbroken horses with superb skill; she rode unscathed down perilous descents. Whenever a battle was imminent, Yoshinaka sent her out as his first captain, equipped with strong armor, an oversized sword, and a mighty bow; and she performed more deeds of valor than any of his other warriors.

One comment

  • She’s wielding a Naginata in that painting, which is appropriate. The naginata is traditionally a woman’s weapon, a polearm used for home defense. Even to this day women practice naginata-do with bamboo versions of the weapon.

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