WOMEN OF HISTORY: Tomoe Gozen (1157 - 1247)
Play • 5 min

Today we’re talking about Tomoe Gozen, a warrior worth a thousand men. Tomoe is known as a leading commander and the first female general of 12th century Japan. She was extremely talented with bow and arrow, long sword, martial arts, and riding horses. 

Legend has it that she was “ready to confront a demon or god, mounted or on foot” and that she “performed more deeds of valor than any other warriors.” She fearlessly beheaded the enemies and presented their heads to her commanding officers. 

Tomoe Gozen was not just a fearless warrior, but she was also a cunning strategist and inspirational leader. Now in 12th century Japan, it was not entirely unusual for women of the samurai class to be trained in martial arts as well as to use various weapons, but their role was expected to be primarily defensive, protecting themselves and their households in the event of an enemy attack.

What made Tomoe stand out was her superior skill and ability to effectively command, as well as holding her own in an offensive role, rather than defensive. 

Tomoe Gozen stands out as one of the bravest, boldest, most cunning and fiercest warriors of all time. Her example can help all of us be a little bit braver and to be warriors in our own lives. She also inspires us to be confident and self-assured when it comes to taking on leadership roles, including leading groups of predominantly men. Girls can do anything! Just like Tomoe.

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