Historical Figures

Hangaku Gozen, samurai at the head of an army

Hangaku Gozen (“Lady Hangaku”), also called Itagaki, is an onna-bugeisha, a female warrior from 13th century Japan. century.

Kennin's Rebellion

Daughter of Jō Sukekuni, warrior, Hangaku Gozen lives at the time of the end of the Heian period and the beginning of the Kamakura period. She has two sisters, Sukenaga and Sukemoto (or Nagamochi). His family lives in the province of Echigo.

In 1180, the Genpei War, a civil war between the Minamoto and the Taira who supported a different candidate for the imperial throne, broke out. Allied with the Taira clan, the Jō family was defeated during the war, which ended in 1185, and lost power. In 1201, during the Kennin Rebellion, his sister Sukemoto tried to overthrow the Kamakura shogunate. In response, Hangaku and his nephew, Jō Sukemori, raise an army of several thousand men.


Defending a fort in Torisakayama, Hangaku Gozen and his second sister, Sukegana, confront with their 3,000 men an army of 10,000. In battle, Hangaku wields a naginata, a sharp weapon with a curved blade. She is eventually wounded by an arrow and captured, shortly before the defenses give way. Taken to Kamakura (50 km southwest of Tokyo), she meets there the shogun (ruler of Japan) Minamoto no Yoriie as well as Asari Yoshitō, warrior. The latter receives permission from the shogun to marry Hangaku, and the couple settles in Kai.

Hangaku Gozen is quoted in the historical chronicle Azuma Kagami .