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Yoshimoto Imagawa

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Yoshimoto Imagawa
Yoshimoto Imagawa
Name (Kanji) 今川義元
Name (Romaji): Yoshimoto Imagawa
Characteristics / Profile
Gender: Female
Hair Style Dark brown
Eye Color: Amber
Height: Small
Weapon of choice: Katana
Personal Status
Status: Active
Occupation: Shogun
Position:
  • Shogun of Japan
  • Head of the Imagawa clan
Affiliation:
  • Imagawa Shogunate
  • Imagawa clan
  • Nobuna Oda's alliance
Relatives: Yoshiteru Ashikaga (distant cousin), Yoshiaki Ashikaga (distant cousin)
Media Debut
Light Novel: Volume 1; Chapter 1
Anime: Episode 1
Seiyū: Mamiko Noto

Yoshimoto Imagawa is the 1st Shogun of the Imagawa Shogunate, current officially recognized Shogun of Japan, head of the Imagawa clan and former daimyo of Suruga. Yoshimoto was considered "the warlord closest to conquering Japan" due to possessing the larger force and her kinship to the Ashikaga clan, the former ruling Shoguns. However, because of her arrogance, her main army was defeated at Okehazama when the Oda Faction launched a surprise attack. Yoshimoto was spared from being killed thanks to Yoshiharu. Later, she became a member of Nobuna Oda's alliance and Nobuna made Yoshimoto the new Shogun as her figurehead to legitimatize her claim for Kyoto after Ashikaga clan went into exile. However, Yoshimoto's rule as Shogun is challenged by Yoshiaki Ashikaga, heir of the old Ashikaga Shogunate.

PersonalityEdit

000000063

Yoshimoto demonstrating her arrogance and ruthlessness by calmly drinking Saké while sending her vassals into death.

Yoshimoto is a cheery, easy-going, and fun-loving person, and is almost always smiling and giggling. Therefore, she usually has a ball with her, and enjoys playing with it often. Due to her playful and arrogant nature, she often appears simple, and is so judged. For example, Nobuna Oda called her "a bit dim". However, this is a complete misjudgement. In fact, Yoshimoto is highly intelligent and a capable strategist. Her plan to help the Ashikaga Shogun to gain power herself showed her skills as well as her decision to rather wait for the right moment to strike the Oda than deal with them head-on. She also immediately recognized Hanzou's lie when he said that the Mikawa troops had suffered greatly, since she knew that Motoyasu "would never fight like that". To achieve her goals, she also willingly sacrificed her vassals. This was demonstrated when she said she would let the Mikawa soldiers take all the damage, and have her own troops move in unharmed. Nevertheless she always speaks politely and friendly to her subordinates, even though she doesn't much care for their lives.

Yoshimoto playing ball

The cheery, easy-going, and fun-loving Yoshimoto playing ball.

However, she certainly has one major weakness: Enormous pride and arrogance. Yoshimoto neither can accept defeat nor recognize her own faults. Anyway, it appears rather that she is interested in the admiration of others, than in real power. She glowingly accepted the position as Shogun, even though she knew that she was only a figurehead. When Nobuna even called her a figurehead in her presence, she just replied that she is a "shiny pretty figurehead" which shows that was the reputation of the position she aspired, not power. Her former desire to conquer Japan likely stems from this wish as well.

She has been shown to fear death, but is too proud to surrender, so when confronted by Katsuie she only surrendered after Yoshiharu appeared and noted it would be a waste to let a beauty like her die there. She was also quite shaken to ask who Yoshiharu was, seeing him so effortlessly subdue Katsuie by groping her as he did. She seems to be somewhat attached to Yoshiharu following this, as when Hanbei mentioned the curse of the first Himiko in Kyoto she promptly embraced him, which earned her a headbutt from Nobuna.

BackgroundEdit

At some point of her life, Yoshimoto became the head of the Imagawa clan and daiymo of the Suruga province, joining the many female warlords of the era.

An arrogant and power-hungry person, Yoshimoto quickly began to expand her territory. After the conquest of the Totomi province, she finally subjugated the Mikawa province, making the local rulers and samurai, especially Yoshimoto's later second-in-command Motoyasu Matsudaira, servants and vassals of the Imagawa. Successful with her military campaigns and able to use her kinship with the Ashikaga Shogun, she became the most powerful daimyo of the Tokaido region. Her ultimate goal was, after uniting Tokaido under her rule, to break through to Kyoto. There, she would ally herself with the Ashikaga, restore the power of the Shogun and conquer Japan in the name of the Ashikagas.

Prior to the war with the Oda Faction, people said that she was "the warlord closest to conquering Japan", surpassing even famous warlords like Shingen Takeda and Kenshin Uesugi in power.

PlotEdit

Arrival in the Sengoku Period ArcEdit

"So you failed to slay that idiot Oda?" - Yoshimoto Imagawa reproving Motoyasu Matsudaira.

Yoshimoto and Motoyasu both first appear when Yoshiharu accidentally stumbles upon her main camp. fearing for his life Yoshiharu tries to get Yoshimoto to make him her vassel, but she refuses and orders Motoyasu to kill him. Motoyasu chases Yoshihatu away, but he is saved by a traitorous footsoldier and survives the join the Oda clan.



Imagawa army advancing

Slowly but steadily the Imagawa army advancing into Owari.

Yoshimoto intended to continue her charge towards Kyoto, unfortunately, the way to Kyoto was blocked. One of the last rulers of the Tokaido region who opposed her, Nobuna Oda, ruled the Owari province and hindered her plan. However, due to the mighty arquebusiers of the Oda and their excellent defensive positions at the border between Owari and Mikawa, Yoshimoto hesitated to directly attack her enemy with full force. Instead, she battled the Oda in minor skirmishes to weaken Nobuna's forces.

During one of her several battles with the Oda, Motoyasu was able to encircle the Oda army and attack Nobuna directly. However, the battle ended in a narrow defeat for the Imagawa, since the Imagawa troops wasted the unique opportunity to kill Nobuna Oda and were eventually forced to retreat. Back at Sunpu Castle in Suruga, the Mikawa samurai had to justify her failure while playing Kemari with Yoshimoto. Matsudaira said that "somebody" interfered when her troops were about to kill Nobuna. Nevertheless, Yoshimoto was not really angry about Motoyasu's failure, and just cut Matsudaira's payment as punishment. Shortly afterwards, Hanzo Hattori reported that the man who had interfered was called "Monkey" by the Oda clan, causing the Imagawa daiymo to burst out laughing. Amused, she concluded that Nobuna definitely was the "Fool of Owari", since she even hired monkeys.

"F-Fine. I'll let you off easy, just this time, so you don't look bad." - Yoshimoto Imagawa surrendering to Yoshiharu Sagara and the Oda after her defeat at Okehazama.

Imagawa invading Owari

Yoshimoto invading Owari, full of self-confidence.

Yoshimoto's chance for final victory over the Oda Faction came, when Nobuna's army moved from the borders northward to Mino, in an attempt to save Yoshiharu Sagara and Dousan Saitou, the daiymo of Mino from Saito rebel forces. Using the absence of the Oda army, all Imagawa forces, over 25.000 men, invaded Owari under the leadership of Daiymo Yoshimoto Imagawa and her vassals Motoyasu Matsudaira, Yasutomo Asahina, Nagateru Udono, and Motonobu Okabe.

The sheer size of her army completely overwhelmed the Oda forces, and soon many of the strongholds in Owari fell to the Imagawa, notably Marune, Washidzu, Oodaka and Narumi. Finally, her troops were approaching the city of Kiyosu, center of Owari and stronghold of the Oda faction. The Imagawa daiymo was confident that Nobuna would surrender or be crushed. Yoshimoto's strategy during the war, however, was rather ruthless and demonstrated her arrogance best. Rather than using her own troops to attack and destroy the Oda castles and rearguards, she ordered the armies of her vassals to defeat the Oda army. Her intent was nothing but to "enter the capital elegantly and unscathed" like a "noble", while the "country samurai" could suffer during the conquest of Owari.

Burning Owari

The Oda castles in Owari burning, destroyed by the Imagawa vassals.

However, Yoshimoto was not aware of the fact that the Oda footsoldier Yoshiharu Sagara knew the location of her army's basement in the valley of Okehazama. After finding the camp, Nobusumi, Nobuna's brother and his bodyguards distracted Yoshimoto's men so that Yoshiharu could give the camp's location to Nobuna. However, Yoshiharu's entourage was confronted by ninjas led by Hanzou Hattori. Despite Sagara's men holding them off, Hanzou ultimately captured Yoshiharu but the latter managed to convince Hanzou to let him go as if Yoshimoto would be defeated, his master, Motoyasu Matsudaira, would no longer be a vassal of the Imagawa clan and suffer from Yoshimoto's bad leadership. Finally receiving Yoshiharu's intel, Nobuna and her army led a surprise attack on Yoshimoto's camp. Due to rain and her men drunk due to Nobusumi, Yoshimoto's men were caught off guard and easily defeated by the Oda army.

Imagawa spared

Yoshimoto is spared by Yoshiharu Sagara.

Nobuna's general Katsuie Shibata was the first of the Oda army reaching Yoshimoto. The samurai was about to finish the Imagawa Daiymo who screamed that she did not want to die, but then Yoshiharu stopped her. Argumenting that it would be a waste to kill a "cute girl like that", he saved Yoshimoto's life. However, due to her enormous pride, at first the Imagawa leader refused to give up, but after Yoshiharu charmed her, she agreed to surrender, ending the war.

After her defeat, Yoshimoto Imagawa could return to her castle in Suruga, but lost her position, and had to disband her army. Suruga and Totomi became part of the growing Oda faction, while Mikawa gained independence and formed an alliance with the Oda. Nevertheless, the Imagawa leader accepted her fate and spent her new free time with ball games.

Kyoto ArcEdit

"It's finally the era of the Imagawa Shogunate! Excellent work, Nobuna-san." - Yoshimoto Imagawa to the generals of the Oda Faction.

Shogun Yoshimoto Imagawa

Yoshimoto proudly announcing the beginning of the Imagawa Shogunate.

But this should not be the end of Yoshimoto Imagawa. After Ashikaga family had fled Japan due to a coup of a group of conspirators called "The Miyoshi Three", Nobuna Oda conquered Kyoto to increase her influence and restore order in the capital city of Japan. However, without an Ashikaga clan member, Nobuna was not able to legitimately claim Kyoto but her general Mitsuhide "Jubei" Akechi suggested they could make Yoshimoto the new figurehead Shogun as she was a relative of the Ashikaga clan.

After the conditions had been met, especially to pay 120,000 kan to the imperial court and to drive the forces of the Miyoshi Three out of Kyoto, Yoshimoto was about to be declared Shogun of Japan. However, the Myoshi Three would not allow this to happen. Their ally, Hisahide "Danjyou" Matsunaga, invaded Kyoto during the absence of the Oda main army. The Matsunaga, around 3000 men, quickly pushed the 800 Akechi defenders back. Knowing that Matsunaga was after Yoshimoto and sent to kill the future Shogun, Jubei barricaded herself, her troops and Imagawa within Kiyomizu Temple. Yoshimoto Imagawa, trusting Akechi, declared that she counted on the Oda general.

Imagawa trusting Jubei

The confident Imagawa Shogun trusting Jubei's skills as military.

Due to her magical powers, however, Danjyou easily entered the temple and forced a duel with Jubei. After a bitter fight, Mitsuhide was about to lose, while the Matsunaga troops overwhelmed the Akechi forces and entered the burning temple. Before they could kill Jubei and Yoshimoto, Nobuna Oda, her retainers and allies, the Christian Daiymos, arrived and defeated them. Shortly afterwards, Yoshimoto Imagawa was declared Shogun, establishing the new Imagawa Shogunate.

A few weeks later, many clans had accepted Yoshimoto as the new Shogun, but there were still some who refused to acknowledge her, particular those allied with the Miyoshi Three. This led to a new war, in which Nobuna Oda's alliance confronted the rulers of Wakasa, Echizen and Oumi, allies of the Miyoshi Three.

Harem King ArcEdit

She very briefly appears while the Oda forces and playing a game of football to take Yoshiharu back from the cat temple maidens, she manages to score their side a goal which fills the enemy with utter despair since they realise she cannot be beaten, however she is soon taken out of the game entirely, ultimately appearing only for a very brief time.

TriviaEdit

  • Surprisingly, she is more or less a constant thorn in Kampaku Konoe's plans and an unwitting savour in times of need, she appears, usually out of nowhere, when her aid is specifically needed by Nobuna's group, without any form of summons given. This has become something of a gag, but is at the same time very relevant to the plot as she is consistently the cause for Konoe's plans failing.

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