Ōhōri Tsuruhime (1526 – 1543) was a Japanese Shinto priestess who took up arms to defend her island home of Ōmishima in the 16th century.
Daughter to the Chief Priest of the Oyamazumi Shrine on Ōmishima, Ōhōri was only 16 when she inherited her father’s title following his death from illness. Her elder brothers had been killed in battle fighting invading Ōuchi forces from the mainland of Honshu. Ōhōri had been in trained in martial arts all her life and when Ōuchi forces further encroached on the Oyamazumi Shrine’s territory, she raised an army to resist them. She claimed that she was not merely a mortal warrior, but a divine avatar of the shrine’s kami (god-spirit), Mishima Myojin.
When Ōuchi samurai raided Ōmishima in 1541, Ōhōri led her forces in driving them back to the sea. When they returned 4 months later, her fleet met them on the open sea and she boarded the Ōuchi flagship to challenge their general to single combat. The general, named Obara, was both surprised and scornful at being faced with the young woman and mocked Ōhōri by likening her to a prostitute. In response Ōhōri cut him down and his ship was bombarded by horokubiya (grenades) launched from her nearby ships, forcing the Ōuchi once more into retreat.
Ōhōri continued to successfully defend her home for a further two years. However following the death of her fiance in battle, she committed ritual suicide by drowning herself. She was 18 years old. To this day she is remembered as a Japanese heroine and her armour remains on display at the Oyamazumi Shrine.