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Yoarashi OKINU





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Poisoner - Geisha
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: March 2, 1871
Date of birth: 1845
Victim profile: Kobayashi Kinpei (her lover)
Method of murder: Poisoning
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Status: Executed by decapitation on March 28, 1872

Yoarashi Okinu (夜嵐 おきぬ, ca. 1845 - March 28, 1872) is the moniker of Harada Kinu (原田 きぬ), who was a Japanese female poisoner and geisha and lived from the end of the Edo era to the beginning of the Meiji era. Her nickname Yoarashi means night-storm in Japanese.


Her early life is generally undocumented and has produced many ideas and opinion. Some sources assert that she was a daughter of a samurai of Awa Province, or she was born in Edo. There is another opinion that she was a daughter of Sajiro, a fisherman who lived on the island of Jōgashima at the tip of the Miura Peninsula. According to a non-fiction writer Atsushi Hachisu, she sold herself into geisha because her family was poor, and she worked as a geisha. There is another opinion that she was an employee at the decorative collar shop in the Nakamise neighborhood in front of Senso-ji.

As she was beautiful, people in the Edo longed for her. She became a mistress of Ōkubo Tadayori (大久保忠順) in the capital Edo. He was the daimyo of the Karasuyama Domain in Shimotsuke Province, which was rated at thirty thousand koku. Ōkubo had a son, the successor to the Ōkubo family, by her. However, he hated her, and abandoned her in the Meiji Restoration.

She became a mistress of Kobayashi Kinpei, but she paid for sex with kabuki actor Arashi Rikaku, and then fell in love with him, so she killed Kobayashi with poison on March 2, 1871. Rikaku harbored her but they were arrested. She was sentenced to death, and she was executed by decapitation after she had a child by Rikaku.

Rikaku was sentenced to 3 years in prison, and he was released in September 1874. He became kabuki actor Ichikawa Gonjūrō after his release.

Fictional story

Her case was reported sensationally several years after that, but many researchers such as a Japanese art historian Naoyuki Kinoshita agree that mass media adapted her and there were untruths in her tradition. In 1878, she was called a serial killer Yoarashi Okinu. A book "Night-storm Okinu: Flower-Frail Dreams of Revenge" (夜嵐阿衣花廼仇夢 Yoarashi Okinu Hana-no-adayume) characterized her as a she-devil, and her tradition is based on this virtual fiction.

Real life differences

  • She lost her parents when she was 16 years old, and then she was accepted into her uncle's family as a foster child, living in Edo. There she became a geisha in the restaurant Owari-ya. She gave out as Kamakura Koharu.

  • She met not Okubo Tadayori, but Okubo "Sado-no-Kami (defender in Sado)" (his name was unwritten).

  • She had a son Haruwaka-gimi, in "1857" (At that time, she was about "12 years old". It was Okubo Tadayori's birth year).

  • In those days the woman of low social class couldn't marry a nobleman. Fictional story claimed that Kurosawa Gentatsu, a physician who lived in Nihonbashi, became her foster parent, the middle-class family. She changed her name to Hanayo and became a concubine (In fact she was a mistress).

  • When her son was three years old, her husband died (Okubo Tadayori died in 1914. His father died in 1864).

  • After his death she changed her name to Shingetsu-in. She became a Buddhist nun, and lived a calm life to pray for her dead husband followed the Japanese custom which is that a widow of high status entered nunhood after her husband died. She felt run-down in this life and went to Hakone. She fell in love with another man Kakutarō. She was exiled from the Okubo family (In fact, the Okubo family abandoned her, because Okubo Tadayori had a son by her).

  • A part of her dying word was "Yoarashi" so she was called Yoarashi Okinu (unproved claim


1872: Yoarashi Okinu, geisha

On March 28, 1872, geisha Yoarashi (“Night Storm”) Okinu was beheaded at Tokyo’s Kozukappara execution grounds after killing her lover to run away with a kabuki actor.

A notorious dokufu, so-called “poison-women” that captivated that country in the late 19th century, Night Storm was of humble origins but became a sought-after geisha in Edo.

Her celebrity affairs are treated here (reliability: unknown), but the reason she’s in this here blog is poisoning off the second-last of them with arsenic in order to get free to run off with kabuki actor Arashi Rikaku.

Rikaku himself was up to his eyeballs in this same plot, and was arrested — our source says, during a kabuki performance! — and initially condemned to death.

Since Okinu was pregnant, however, her execution was put off pending childbirth; eventually, Rikaku’s sentence was moderated from capital punishment altogether.

Okinu’s head was cut off, and displayed in public for several days. Her lover served three years in prison, then rebuilt his kabuki career as Ichikawa Gonjuro.



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