For several centuries, there was a branch of warriors among the Japanese nobility that was made up entirely of women. These were the onna-bugeisha, and Japanese history features several of them as renowned warriors more than the equal to their male counterparts. Their ranks included some of the most deadly and cunning women of all time. Read on to learn more about this mysterious order of femme fatales.

1. “Women Who Aren’t To Be Messed With” Was Already Taken

Translated into English, the term “onna-bugeisha” basically means “female martial artist.” However, these women weren’t limited to bare-handed fighting. Not only were they skilled in martial arts, but they also fought equally well with weapons.

1. “Women Who Aren’t To Be Messed With” Was Already Taken

Translated into English, the term “onna-bugeisha” basically means “female martial artist.” However, these women weren’t limited to bare-handed fighting. Not only were they skilled in martial arts, but they also fought equally well with weapons.

2. Equal Opportunity Warfare

An onna-bugeisha’s purpose was to defend one’s home, clan, or honor during a time of great trouble. When the situation was most dire, the onna-bugeisha would fight alongside male samurai. This happened many times across the long years of Japanese history.

3. Room for More Than One Kind of Woman

We do, of course, have to note that despite the presence of the onna-bugeisha, they were still the exception rather than the rule within ancient Japanese culture. Traditionally, Japanese ideas of femininity called for a very submissive sort of woman, which meant that the war prowess of the onna-bugeisha was a starkly contrasting image.

4. We’ve Been Around for Ages!

Incredibly, the onna-bugeisha predate samurai! Long before the samurai were established within Japanese culture, women were trained in the ways of war so that even if the men were absent from a village, there would still be a fighting force around to protect it from raiders.

5. Warrior Queen

Recognized as an onna-bugeisha, Empress Jingū was one of the first warrior-women who appears in the ancient texts of Japan. Jingū was allegedly a regent serving in place of her deceased husband and young child. However, she proved herself an efficient ruler in her own right. One of her most famous (and controversial) achievements was her successful conquest of the Korean peninsula.

6. Wait, What?!

When we say “controversial” to describe Empress Jingū’s conquest of the Korean peninsula, we don’t just mean because of Japan’s prickly relationship with Korea over the years. We mean it’s controversial because many people dispute that Jingū’s conquest, or even Jingū herself, even existed! The conquest is never mentioned in Korean history, and various alleged facts about Jingū point to her being more of a legend than a historical figure.

Read more: https://www.factinate.com/things/deadly-facts-onna-bugeisha-japans-lethal-warrior-women/

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