Pirates of the Seto Inland Sea 瀬戸内海の海賊と戦闘機

Brave warriors

Demons, Ghosts, and Spirits; Dantesque historical battles; pirates and brave warriors, Japanese myths and folklore... The Seto Inland Sea is at the heart of many legends, famous throughout the land of the rising sun. Let's explore the story of the Murakami and Tsuruhime pirates, the onna-bugeisha who roamed the Seto Inland Sea during the Warring Provinces era (1477-1573).


Battle of Miyajima. Print by Utagawa Sadahide

Miyajima Hakubutsukan

Trained in martial arts by her father from an early age, the onna bugeisha leads the Kono troops to victory. Tsuruhime no longer presents herself as only the guardian of the Oyamazumi temple but as the incarnation of the god of war, Oyamatsumi.

In October, she repulsed a second Ouchi attack in the waters of the Seto Inland Sea. Dressed in her armor, she leads the Kono fleet and attacks enemy ships without fail. In 1543, the Ouchi clan again sent troops to try to re-establish their supremacy in this area of the Seto Inland Sea. But during this third battle, her fiance Yasunari Ochi dies in battle. Throwing all her strength into battle, the young woman manages to push the Ouchi out of Omishima again.

However, once the battle is over, Tsuruhime unbearable for the loss of her beloved rushes in despair to the depths of the Seto Inland Sea.

The abundant literature retracing the life of the fighter, including the novel A Woman and Her Armor: Joan of Arc of the Seto Inland Sea by Yasukiyo Mishima (1966) lends her last words: "With the Mishima ocean as a witness, my love is engraved in his name".


Sculpture of Tsuruhime in the Seto Inland Sea

Wikimedia Commons

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