Tomoe Gozen, born in 1157, was one of the greatest female Samurai warriors of all time. Though female samurais were not unheard of in Japan at this time, Tomoe’s extremely impressive martial arts skills, archery talent, and swordsmanship made her one of the only female warriors whose stories have been recorded in thorough detail in ancient manuscripts.
According to The Tale of the Heike,”Tomoe was especially beautiful, with white skin, long hair, and charming features. She was also a remarkably strong archer, and as a swordswoman she was a warrior worth a thousand, ready to confront a demon or a god, mounted or on foot.”
Tomoe fought most notably in the Gempei War and is believed to have singlehandedly murder-stabbed a group of enemy soldiers, decapitating their leader after he attempted to pull her off her horse. While Tomoe is thought to have survived the war, the legends vary: Some say she became a nun for the rest of her life and others believe that she committed seppuku, the ritualistic Samarai suicide. Either way, questioning her honor is likely to earn you a mighty slap to the mouth when you become a ghost, so don’t bother.
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