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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Female Guards Of Chiyoda Palace

Above, is an ukiyo-e print from artist Chikanobu Toyohara (1838 - 1912), from 1892. The oban triptych (large three panel ukiyo-e) depicts, according to the title of the artwork - The Retreat (Otachinoki), we see the Guard Ladies of the Chiyoda Palace.

Say wha - ?

Guard Ladies - as in female guards?

Well... apparently Chiyoda Palace is the inner palace of Edo-jo (Edo Castle), and whenever there is a something akin to a disturbance or, in the case of the image above, a fire, the women of Edo Castle are responsible for protecting the palace residents.

The six women are identically dressed in heavy black robes and headgear designed to protect them against the fire. They are not meant to fight the fire, but are there to protect the elite, and are considered to be elite guards of the Inner Palace, and all the women would have come from families whose father, brothers, and uncles were from a samurai background.

So, yes... these women were doing work that could easily have been given to men. It's remarkable only because Japan is still heavily dominated by men, and this is from the 19th century

These three prints are in total 37-centimeters (14.56-inches) high by 75-centimeters wide (29.53-inches), and was published by Akiyama Buemon (Kokkeido).

The information and print was found at Check'em out if you are looking for some really cool artwork.

Andrew Joseph


  1. Very interesting. If I ever get the budget for some samurai war gaming, this unit is on the list.