Nakano Takeko, Nakano is the family name, was a female samurai warrior who lived from 1847—1868 CE. She was born in Edo, and was the daughter of Nakano Heinai. Her mentor, Akaoka Daisuke, taught her many things such as martial arts, literature, mathematics, etc. She was adopted by Akoaka later in her life, and worked with him as a martial arts instructor. When the Boshin War broke out in 1868, Nakano and her teacher fought on the side of the Aizu domain.
Being unable to join the army officially, Nakano led a troop of all women samurai fighters against the Imperial Army. This corps would later be called the Women’s Army. Among the women was her sister, Nakano Yuko. The women fought primarily with the naginata, a Japanese pole-arm that allows the bearer to even the odds when fighting against bigger opponents.
While leading a charge against Imperial forces in the Ogaki Domain, Nakano was mortally wounded. As she did not want to be taken prisoner by the army, and also knew that she would be a liability during the fighting if she asked her troop to look after her, she asked her sister to cut off her head so that it would not be a prize for the Imperial Army.
Her head was buried next to a temple under a pine tree. A monument also stands next to the temple to honor her.