Hime (姫?) is the Japanese word for princess or a lady of higher birth. Although “princess” is usually given as the translation, daughters of a monarch are actually referred to by other terms, e.g. Ōjyo (王女), literally king’s daughter, even though Hime can be used to address Ōjyo. The word Hime initially referred to any beautiful female. The antonym of Hime is Shikome (醜女), literally ugly female, though it is archaic and rarely used. Hime may also indicate feminine or simply small when used together with other words, such as Hime-gaki (a low line of hedge).

Hime is commonly seen as part of the Japanese female divinity’s name such as Toyotama-hime. The Kanji applied to transliterate Hime are 比売 or 毘売 rather than 姫. The masculine counterpart of Hime is Hiko (彦, 比古 or 毘古,) which is seen as part of the Japanese male gods’ name such as Saruta-hiko. Unlike Hime, Hiko is neutral, non-archaic and still commonly applied in modern Japanese male given name, for example Nobuhiko Takada.


Type Azuchi-Momoyama castle Built 1333-1346; major expansions 1601-1608 Built by Akamatsu clan (original); Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1580) Ikeda Terumasa (17th c. expansion) Construction materials Wood, stone, plaster, tile In use 1333-1868 Demolished 1580, and rebuilt by Toyotomi Hideyoshi Current condition Largely intact, restoration work begun in 1956 Controlled by Akamatsu clan (1346-1580), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1580-1598), Tokugawa shogunate (1603-1871), Japan (1871-present) Commanders Kuroda Yoshitaka (c. 1580-1590s), Ikeda Terumasa (c. 1601-1610s)


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