Yae Niijima, who grew up in the Aizu domain, was a spunky girl despite her mother’s wishes that she be feminine. Because of anecdotes of how she barricaded herself with 500 women in Tsuruga Castle while being besieged during the Boshin War, and fought with guns, she was acclaimed as the “Joan of Arc of the late Edo period”. After the Meiji Restoration, she became the wife of Niijima Jo, who had returned from America. She soon joined the Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War together with her Aizu comrades as Japan’s first volunteer nurses, going from warrior woman to Japan’s Nightingale.
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