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Midaidokoro

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  • Japanese: 御台所 (midai dokoro)

The midaidokoro was the principal wife of the shogun, in the Edo period. She held a status above all other consorts or concubines, and was the de facto head of the Ôoku.

Beginning with Tokugawa Iemitsu's wife Takatsukasa Takako, nearly all midai over the course of the Edo period came from Kyoto court noble families, either one of the five sekke houses (Konoe, Ichijô, Nijô, Kujô, and Takatsukasa) or the Fushimi or Arisugawa families.

Though several shoguns married wives from samurai families (such as Tokugawa Iesada's midai Atsu-hime, and Ienari's midai Kôdai-in, both daughters of heads of the Shimazu clan), in these cases too, the wife-to-be was adopted into a court noble family prior to the marriage.

References

  • Cecilia Segawa Seigle, “Tokugawa Tsunayoshi and the Formation of Edo Castle Rituals of Giving,” in Martha Chaiklin (ed.), Mediated by Gifts: Politics and Society in Japan 1350-1850, 134n45.
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