Sundays, 8.00 – 8.45 p.m. from 9 January 2011
It is the beginning of summer in the eleventh year of the Eiroku period (1568) in the vicinity of Lake Biwa in Omi (present day Shiga prefecture). Oichi no Kata, marries Azai Nagamasa, who governs this land, in a strategic union desired by her older brother, Oda Nobunaga. True love unexpectedly grows between Ichi and Azai. However, that happy life does not last long as the destiny of a Nobunaga-Azai duel cannot be avoided. Ichi turns her back on her brother and chooses to live as Azai’s wife. But Azai yields to the combined forces of Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu, and commits suicide. Ichi also tries to kill herself and the new life within her, but her eldest daughter, Chacha, entreats her to deliver the baby. Ichi gives birth to her third daughter in the burning castle. This daughter is named, Go, who grows up to be an innocent girl with no memory of her father … …
Ueno Juri as Go
The youngest of the three daughters of Azai Nagamasa, the lord of Odani Castle in Omi province, and Oichi, the younger sister of Oda Nobunaga. Go has no memories of her father. Shortly after her birth, he was wiped out by Nobunaga. Oichi and her three daughters, who were forced out of Omi for being traitors, went to live quietly at Ueno Castle in Ise. Kept in the dark by her mother, Go’s childhood was simple and innocent. Then, the grown-up Go met Nobunaga, whose attempt to gain possession of the whole country was gaining momentum, at Azuchi Castle, and learned for the first time that he is her father’s enemy but felt herself drawn to his charm … The whole country was thrown into unrest with the incident at Honnoji Temple, where Nobunaga was killed by Akechi Mitsuhide. Oichi remarried Shibata Katsuie. Go and her sisters moved to live at Kitanosho Castle in Echizen (current day Fukui prefecture). However, it was short-lived too. They lost their mother and were placed in the custody of the enemy, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Go was the first of the sisters to marry but she was forced to divorce her husband, Saji Kazunari, because he was in the camp opposed to Hideyoshi. In her second marriage, Go conceived a baby, but her husband, Hashiba Hidekatsu, died of illness during an expedition in Korea. Her third marriage was to the son of Tokugawa Ieyasu, Hideyoshi’s greatest rival, and later the second shogun, Hidetada. Before long, she had to contend against her older sister, Yodo (Chacha), who had become Hideyoshi’s wife … She and Hidetada were blessed with five daughters and two sons. Her daughter, Kazuko, married Emperor Gomizuno-o, and her eldest son, Iemitsu, became the third shogun.
Miyazawa Rie as Chacha/Yodo
The eldest of the three daughters. She loved her younger sisters and was gentle and quiet, but like her mother, Oichi, she sometimes startled people around her with her hidden intensity. She lost her parents in the second fall of the castle and was placed in the custody of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, but Hideyoshi had a burning desire to make Chacha his own. Hideyoshi, who looked like a monkey, was the most loathsome enemy of her parents. However, the “love story of beauty and beast” unfolded. Before long, Chacha gave birth to Hideyoshi’s long-awaited heir, but that was the start of further tribulations … After Hideyoshi’s death, the Toyotomis fought against the Tokugawas whom Go was married to. She bore the full brunt of the battle which divided the country in two, and ended her life in the Summer Seige of Osaka Castle.
Mizukawa Asami as Hatsu
The second of the three daughters. She does not like everything that her younger sister, Go, does. However, because she is easily moved to tears and emotional, she will immediately voice her feelings, and above all wear her heart on her sleeve. She married Kyogoku Takatsugu of the noble Kyogoku family. Hatsu was the only one of the three sisters who was not blessed with children and made Go’s daughter her adopted daughter. At the battle of Sekigahara, she and her husband were torn between the western and eastern forces, and in the end aligned themselves with the Tokugawas. At the Seige of Osaka Castle, she became the representative envoy for the Toyotomis and scrambled for peaceful negotiations for the sake of her older sister, Yodo, and her younger sister, Go, who had married into the Tokugawa family.
Tokito Saburo as Azai Nagamasa
The father of Go, Yodo and Hatsu. A feudal lord of Omi province. The third generation of the Azais and the last of the family. A famous commander who built a sturdy mountain castle in a valley facing the beautiful Lake Biwa. He formed an alliance with Oda Nobunaga and took Nobunaga’s younger sister, Oichi, as his legal wife. The two men mutually accepted this existence, and Nagamasa and Ichi were deeply in love with each other. Chacha and Hatsu were born, but the honeymoon between the Odas and Azais did not last long. Before long, an all-out battle with the Odas broke out … Chacha, Hatsu, and finally, Go were conceived from the love between Nagamasa and Oichi, and given great destinies. How did a principled man decide to battle with Nobunaga and carry on his love with Oichi?
Suzuki Honami as Oichi
The younger sister of Oda Nobunaga and a woman of great beauty. The mother of Go, Yodo and Hatsu. Oichi loved her older brother, Oda Nobunaga. She married the Azai family for the sake of him and the family but Azai Nagamasa was a man who captured her heart … The honeymoon between the Odas and Azais did not last for long. She gave birth to Go in wartime, but her beloved husband was eventually wiped out by her brother, and she was burdened with the fate of being the “traitor’s wife”. After the incident at Honnoji Temple, she married a second time to Shibata Katsuie for the sake of the Odas. However, Katsuie’s castle, Kitanosho Castle in Echizen, fell to Toyotomi. Oichi ended her life, leaving her daughters behind, but her flexible way of life continued to exert a large influence on the lives of her daughters.
Toyokawa Etsushi as Oda Nobunaga
Oichi’s older brother. The uncle of Go, Yodo and Hatsu. The most famous, charismatic person during the Warring States period in Japanese history. He killed the girls’ father, Azai Nagamasa. Nobunaga, who had completed Azuchi Castle, which was unprecedented in its luxury and splendour, invited Oichi and her three grown-up daughters. And came one-on-one with Go. He was an iron-fisted despot whom everyone feared. An aloof tyrant whom no one trusted. And furthermore, to Go, Nobunaga was the enemy of her father. However, Go was attracted to him, and he exerted the biggest influence in her life. Nobunaga’s life was ended at Honnoji Temple just as he was on the verge of unifying the whole country.
Kishitani Goro as Toyotomi Hideyoshi
One of the most successful figures in the Warring States period who unified Japan. He excelled at Machiavellianism, and rose from peasant to chief adviser to the Emperor. He became a great success – a daimyo of the period in possession of a castle – through the attack on the Azais which killed Azai Nagamasa. After Oda Nobunaga’s death, he defeated Shibata Katsuie, the chief retainer of the Oda family, at the Battle of Shizugatake, and took the three sisters, who had lost their mother, into custody. Hideyoshi admired Nobunaga and was ardently in love with Nobunaga’s younger sister, Oichi, and these feelings which were not reciprocated, were soon heightened for her daughter, Chacha. Hideyoshi’s ambitions brought about many tribulations in the lives of Go and her sisters.
Kitamura Yukiya as Toyotomi Hidetsugu
The eldest son of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s older sister, Tomo. He was adopted to be the successor of Hideyoshi who did not have children. In the battle of Komaki and Nagakute, he became the supreme commander of the detached forces and attacked Mikawa. But he incurred Hideyoshi’s wrath when he was ambushed by Tokugawa Ieyasu, did not help his side and barely fled with his life. After that, he achieved military glory in the attack on Shikoku. Hidetsugu gradually won Hideyoshi’s trust and eventually became his chief adviser. However, Hidetsugu’s tragedy began when Chacha gave birth to an heir … In contrast to the elevation of Chacha and her son, Hideyori, to important roles, Hidetsugu became a nuisance. In the end, he was suspected of plotting to overthrow the government and made to commit suicide.
Saito Takumi as Kyogoku Takatsugu
A male cousin of Go, Yodo and Hatsu. Hatsu’s husband. He was born to the noble Kyogoku family, which had been supplanted by the Azais and fallen on ruin. His dream and ambition is to restore the Kyogoku family. His mother was the older sister of Azai Nagamasa. Takatsugu was forced into life as a fugitive because he sided with Akechi Mitsuhide in the incident at Honnoji Temple. However, he came to serve Toyotomi Hideyoshi following the entreaties of his elder sister, Kyogoku Tatsuko, who became Toyotomi’s concubine. After that, he became the husband of Hatsu and Chacha was his sister-in-law. He was called the ‘Firefly daimyo’ for rising to a high position by riding on the coattails of his older sisters. At the battle of Sekigahara, he barricaded himself with Hatsu in Otsu Castle in Wakasa province. He drew more than ten thousand of the western forces’ troops towards himself and held them back from advancing to Sekigahara. He became the lord of Obama Castle for this meritorious deed and restored the Kyogoku family.
Suzuki Sawa as Kyogoku Tatsuko/Matsu no Marudono
A concubine of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. A female cousin of Go, Yodo and Hatsu. Her younger brother is Kyogoku Takatsugu, who became Hatsu’s husband. During the incident at Honnoji Temple, her husband, who sided with Akechi Mitsuhide, was killed by Hideyoshi and she became a traitor’s wife. However, she found favour with Hideyoshi and became his concubine. She accepted her fate and lived flexibly. After the fall of Kitanosho Castle, she became a good conversational partner of the three sisters, who were brought to Hideyoshi. Even after Chacha was made Hideyoshi’s wife, she remained Hideyoshi’s number three concubine, and after his death she lived with Hatsu and Takatsugu.
Mukai Osamu as Tokugawa Hidetada
The third son of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Go’s third husband. The second shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate. He is cold about everything, and also has no interest in what his father does. He was sent to a strange land, became Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s hostage and a political chess piece … That is why he learned to live with no expectations. Go became the marriage partner to this sort of man. And the encounter between the two of them was worst … After Hideyoshi’s death, heavy responsibilities fell on him as the successor in the plans of Ieyasu, who was ageing and slowing down, but before long, a deep bond grew between Go and Hidetada and they were blessed with five girls and two boys. Hand-in-hand with Go, he overcame many challenges and made progress as a shogun shouldering the whole country despite his resistance towards his father, who was bigger than life, and the sense of helplessness he suffered. Hidetada and Go built up a world of peace.
Kitaoji Kinya as Tokugawa Ieyasu
A great man of the Warring States Period along with Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. He put an end to the Warring States Period, and became a great, unifying leader who laid the foundations of the Tokugawa shogunate. He was closely tied to the lives of Go and her sisters, from the start of the alliance with Nobunaga to the death of Hideyoshi. During the incident at Honnoji Temple, Ieyasu was touring Sakai with a few vassals, and crossed Iga at the risk of his own life. He did not stand by and passively observe Hideyoshi defeat Akechi Mitsuhide at the Battle of Yamazaki, make a remarkable breakthrough and beat him to the path of being the ruler of the country. Go became married to Ieyasu’s third son, Hidetada, as the struggle between Hideyoshi and Ieyasu continued …