Princess Huisheng – The love suicide pact on Mount Amagi




Princess Huisheng
Princess Huisheng with her parents (public domain)

Princess Huisheng was the favourite niece of Puyi, the Last Emperor of China. She was the first daughter of Prince Pujie (Emperor Puyi’s younger brother and heir to the state of Manchukuo) and his Japanese wife, Princess Hiro Saga. She was most well-known for committing a murder-suicide pact with her lover, Okubo Budo, on Mount Amagi. Her suicide made international headlines and spawned many popular films. Princess Huisheng’s story shows a mother whose ambitions prevented a daughter from marrying the man she loved. This led to one of the Qing Dynasty’s greatest tragedies.

On 26 February 1938, Princess Huisheng was born at a hospital in Changchun. Her father was Pujie, the Crown Prince of the puppet state of Manchukuo. Her mother was Princess Hiro Saga, who was a cousin of Emperor Hirohito of Japan.[1] Her uncle was Puyi, the puppet Emperor of Manchukuo. Princess Huisheng’s birth was a disappointment to the Japanese Kwantung Army.[2] Because Emperor Puyi did not have any children, they hoped that Princess Hiro Saga’s firstborn would be a boy.[3] However, it turned out to be a girl. Even though the Japanese were disappointed with the girl, Emperor Puyi was very happy with her.[4] He gave her the name Huisheng (which meant “wisdom” [5]), and she became his favourite niece.[6] Because the Japanese Kwantung Army was so angry that Princess Hiro Saga failed to produce a son, they sent Prince Pujie and his family to Japan in September 1938.[7] 

On 13 March 1940, Princess Hiro Saga gave birth to another daughter named Husheng, who would later be known as Kosei Fukunaga. In 1931, Princess Hiro Saga and her two daughters joined their father in Changchun.[8] Princess Hiro Saga oversaw Princess Huisheng’s education.[9] Because Huisheng was a Manchukuo princess and a descendant of the royal Qing Dynasty, she had to learn the Chinese language and culture.[10] When Princess Huisheng was four years old, Emperor Puyi gifted her with a piano.[11] Princess Huisheng would later become known for being a skilled musician.[12]

In 1943, Prince Pujie took his family to Tokyo to study military affairs in Japan.[13] In December 1944, Princess Huisheng was left behind in the care of her aunt in Tokyo because she was already enrolled in a primary school.[14] Thus, Princess Huisheng would never see her father again.[15] On 18 August 1945, the puppet state of Manchukuo collapsed. Prince Pujie would be captured and imprisoned by the Soviet Union.[16] He would not be pardoned for his war crimes until 1960. Princess Hiro Saga and Princess Husheng also were labelled as war criminals and went through a series of prisons in Northeast China. They were finally released in 1947 and sent back to Japan.[17] Thus, Princess Huisheng was finally reunited with her mother and sister.[18]

Princess Hiro Saga was very strict with Princess Huisheng.[19] She reminded her that she was a Chinese princess.[20] She constantly told her that she was Chinese and not Japanese.[21] Even though Princess Huisheng was attending a prestigious Japanese school, she had to continue learning the Chinese language.[22] Princess Hiro Saga also made it clear to her that she must marry a Chinese man.[23] In 1955, Princess Huisheng finally contacted her father, who was still imprisoned in China.[24] They continued to stay in contact through letters.[25]

As Princess Huisheng grew older, she was considered as a possible bride for Prince Akihito.[26] However, Princess Hiro Saga was against it because she wanted her daughter to marry a Chinese man rather than a Japanese prince.[27] In September 1956, the eighteen-year-old Princess Huisheng became a college student at Gakushuin University, a college for Japanese nobles.[28] She met her classmate named Okubo Budo, the son of a wealthy railway director from Aomori Prefecture.[29] Because Okubo Budo was not from Tokyo, he was often bullied by his classmates for his dialect and lack of manners.[30] However, Princess Huisheng felt sympathy for Okubo Budo.[31] She taught him the right etiquette and how to speak without an accent.[32] Their friendship quickly turned into romance.[33]

Okubo Budo proposed to Princess Huisheng, and she accepted.[34] She wrote a letter to her father asking for his permission to marry Okubo Budo.[35] Prince Pujie was very confused about Princess Huisheng’s situation.[36] He told her to ask her mother.[37] When Princess Hiro Saga heard that her daughter wanted to marry a Japanese man, she immediately refused.[38] Instead, she told her that since she was a Chinese princess, she should marry a Chinese man.[39] Thus, Princess Huisheng could not marry the man she loved.[40] Since they could not be together, Princess Huisheng and Okubo Budo committed a love suicide pact on Mount Amagi on 4 December 1957.[41]

Princess Huisheng showed no outward signs to her family that she was planning to die with Okubo Budo.[42] Princess Huisheng signed several New Year’s Day cards.[43] She even wrote in her diary about next year’s plans.[44] On 4 December 1957, she supposedly left that morning for school as usual.[45] However, Princess Huisheng did not go to school. Instead, she and Okubo Budo made their way to Mount Amagi, which was known as a famous honeymoon area.[46] Under a hundred-day-old mangrove tree, Okubo Budo placed a gold ring on her finger.[47] Then, he shot Princess Huisheng in the head.[48] She died immediately on impact.[49] Okubo Budo cradled her body in his arms and shot himself.[50] Above their heads was tissue paper containing their hair and fingernails, which was common for love suicides in Japan.[51] Princess Huisheng was nineteen years old.

When Princess Huisheng did not return home from school on 4 December 1957, Princess Hiro Saga and Lady Saga (Princess Huisheng’s grandmother) grew worried and anxious.[52] They stayed up all night waiting for her to return.[53] They feared that someone had kidnapped her.[54] The next morning, the police conducted a public search. They learned that Okubo Budo was missing, and he had taken his gun with him.[55]  Princess Hiro Saga continued to search for her missing daughter. She interviewed their classmates and learned that Princess Huisheng had been planning a trip to Mount Amagi.[56] Princess Hiro Saga hoped that she did not lose her daughter.[57] She even went on public radio and gave permission for Princess Huisheng and Okubo Budo to marry.[58] However, it was too late.[59] Little did she know that she had already lost her.

On 10 December 1957, the police found the bodies of Princess Huisheng and Okubo Budo under a hundred-day-old mangrove tree.[60] The princess’s body was held in Okubo Budo’s arms.[61] At the request of Okubo Budo’s father, they were cremated and buried together.[62] Later, Prince Pujie and Princess Hiro Saga had Princess Huisheng’s ashes. One-half is buried in Beijing.[63] The other half lies with her lover in Yamaguchi Prefecture alongside Princess Hiro Saga and Prince Pujie.

Princess Hiro Saga was heartbroken over Princess Huisheng’s death. She refused to believe that her daughter was willing to die in the murder-suicide pact.[64] Instead, she believed that Princess Huisheng was murdered by her lover against her will.[65] On 28 January 1958, Prince Pujie received news of Princess Huisheng’s death in prison.[66] He was utterly devastated.[67] He wondered how he could continue living if his daughter was no longer alive. He said that losing a daughter was “the deepest grief of a father.” [68] Princess Huisheng’s death was her mother’s greatest tragedy. Princess Hiro Saga learned from Princess Huisheng’s death. She gave permission for Princess Husheng to marry the man she loved.[69]

Princess Huisheng’s death was truly one of the Qing Dynasty’s greatest tragedies. Because she was a Chinese princess, Princess Hiro Saga desired her to marry a Chinese man. Due to Princess Hiro Saga’s stubbornness, Princess Huisheng could not marry the man she loved because he was Japanese. She decided that since she could not be with Okubo Budo in life, then she would be with him in death.[70] If Princess Hiro Saga had allowed Princess Huisheng to marry the man she loved, this tragedy would never have happened. The tragic love story has fascinated popular culture and has continued to produce many movies. Through popular media, Princess Huisheng’s tragic love story will never be forgotten.

Sources:

Birnbaum, P. (2015). Manchu Princess: Japanese Spy: The Story of Kawashima Yoshiko, the Cross-Dressing Spy who Commanded Her Own Army (Asia Perspectives: History, Society, Culture). NY: Columbia University Press.

DayDayNews. (June 21, 2020). “She has the blood of the Japanese imperial family, but she resolutely married a Chinese to become a Chinese citizen and never taught her children to speak Japanese”. Retrieved on 29 November 2022 from https://daydaynews.cc/en/history/amp/629191.html.

DayDayNews. (December 26, 2020). “The last imperial brother, the wandering princess: Brother Puyi married a Japanese wife, is it true love?” Retrieved on 29 November 2022 from https://daydaynews.cc/en/history/amp/962506.html.

Ellis, E. R. & Allen, G. N. (1961). Traitor Within: Our Suicide Problem. NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc. Retrieved on 29 November 2022 from https://archive.org/details/traitorwithinour033019mbp.

iMedia. (n.d.). “Puyi’s younger brother, Pu Jie, married a Japanese wife. The elder brother’s strong opposition was unsuccessful. What happened to the two daughters?”. Retrieved on 29 November 2022 from https://min.news/en/history/911781be385237aa74a2e3b604b42be3.html.

iNews. (n.d.). “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″. Retrieved on 29 November 2022 from https://inf.news/en/history/d51a413369e3f77140c7532af67766b7.html.

iNews. (n.d). “The wandering princess Sagaho and Pu Jie have 50 years of love: Pu Jie was born on April 16, 1907”. Retrieved on 29 November 2022 from https://inf.news/en/history/19d6bc9b361f6d4c22bbca3a126f4907.html.


[1] Birnbaum, 2015

[2] DayDayNews, 21 June 2020, “She has the blood of the Japanese imperial family, but she resolutely married a Chinese to become a Chinese citizen and never taught her children to speak Japanese”

[3] DayDayNews, 21 June 2020, “She has the blood of the Japanese imperial family, but she resolutely married a Chinese to become a Chinese citizen and never taught her children to speak Japanese”

[4] DayDayNews, 21 June 2020, “She has the blood of the Japanese imperial family, but she resolutely married a Chinese to become a Chinese citizen and never taught her children to speak Japanese”

[5] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″, para. 18

[6] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[7] DayDayNews, 26 December 2020, “The last imperial brother, the wandering princess: Brother Puyi married a Japanese wife, is it true love?”

[8] DayDayNews, 26 December 2020, “The last imperial brother, the wandering princess: Brother Puyi married a Japanese wife, is it true love?”

[9] DayDayNews, 21 June 2020, “She has the blood of the Japanese imperial family, but she resolutely married a Chinese to become a Chinese citizen and never taught her children to speak Japanese”

[10] DayDayNews, 21 June 2020, “She has the blood of the Japanese imperial family, but she resolutely married a Chinese to become a Chinese citizen and never taught her children to speak Japanese”

[11] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[12] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[13] DayDayNews, 26 December 2020, “The last imperial brother, the wandering princess: Brother Puyi married a Japanese wife, is it true love?”

[14] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[15] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[16] iMedia, n.d., “Puyi’s younger brother, Pu Jie, married a Japanese wife. The elder brother’s strong opposition was unsuccessful. What happened to the two daughters?”

[17] iMedia, n.d., “Puyi’s younger brother, Pu Jie, married a Japanese wife. The elder brother’s strong opposition was unsuccessful. What happened to the two daughters?”

[18] iMedia, n.d., “Puyi’s younger brother, Pu Jie, married a Japanese wife. The elder brother’s strong opposition was unsuccessful. What happened to the two daughters?”

[19] iNews, n.d., “The wandering princess Sagaho and Pu Jie have 50 years of love: Pu Jie was born on April 16, 1907”

[20] iNews, n.d., “The wandering princess Sagaho and Pu Jie have 50 years of love: Pu Jie was born on April 16, 1907”

[21] iNews, n.d., “The wandering princess Sagaho and Pu Jie have 50 years of love: Pu Jie was born on April 16, 1907”

[22] iNews, n.d., “The wandering princess Sagaho and Pu Jie have 50 years of love: Pu Jie was born on April 16, 1907”

[23] iNews, n.d., “The wandering princess Sagaho and Pu Jie have 50 years of love: Pu Jie was born on April 16, 1907”

[24] iMedia, n.d., “Puyi’s younger brother, Pu Jie, married a Japanese wife. The elder brother’s strong opposition was unsuccessful. What happened to the two daughters?”

[25] iNews, n.d., “The wandering princess Sagaho and Pu Jie have 50 years of love: Pu Jie was born on April 16, 1907”

[26] Ellis and Allen, 1961

[27] iNews, n.d., “The wandering princess Sagaho and Pu Jie have 50 years of love: Pu Jie was born on April 16, 1907”

[28] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[29] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[30] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[31] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[32] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[33] iMedia, n.d., “Puyi’s younger brother, Pu Jie, married a Japanese wife. The elder brother’s strong opposition was unsuccessful. What happened to the two daughters?”

[34] iMedia, n.d., “Puyi’s younger brother, Pu Jie, married a Japanese wife. The elder brother’s strong opposition was unsuccessful. What happened to the two daughters?”

[35] iMedia, n.d., “Puyi’s younger brother, Pu Jie, married a Japanese wife. The elder brother’s strong opposition was unsuccessful. What happened to the two daughters?”

[36] iMedia, n.d., “Puyi’s younger brother, Pu Jie, married a Japanese wife. The elder brother’s strong opposition was unsuccessful. What happened to the two daughters?”

[37] iMedia, n.d., “Puyi’s younger brother, Pu Jie, married a Japanese wife. The elder brother’s strong opposition was unsuccessful. What happened to the two daughters?”

[38] DayDayNews, 21 June 2020, “She has the blood of the Japanese imperial family, but she resolutely married a Chinese to become a Chinese citizen and never taught her children to speak Japanese”

[39] DayDayNews, 21 June 2020, “She has the blood of the Japanese imperial family, but she resolutely married a Chinese to become a Chinese citizen and never taught her children to speak Japanese”

[40] iMedia, n.d., “Puyi’s younger brother, Pu Jie, married a Japanese wife. The elder brother’s strong opposition was unsuccessful. What happened to the two daughters?”

[41] iMedia, n.d., “Puyi’s younger brother, Pu Jie, married a Japanese wife. The elder brother’s strong opposition was unsuccessful. What happened to the two daughters?”

[42] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[43] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[44] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[45] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[46] Ellis and Allen, 1961

[47] iNews, n.d., “The wandering princess Sagaho and Pu Jie have 50 years of love: Pu Jie was born on April 16, 1907”

[48] iNews, n.d., “The wandering princess Sagaho and Pu Jie have 50 years of love: Pu Jie was born on April 16, 1907”

[49] iNews, n.d., “The wandering princess Sagaho and Pu Jie have 50 years of love: Pu Jie was born on April 16, 1907”

[50] iNews, n.d., “The wandering princess Sagaho and Pu Jie have 50 years of love: Pu Jie was born on April 16, 1907”

[51] Ellis and Allen, 1961

[52] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[53] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[54] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[55] Ellis and Allen, 1961

[56] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[57] Ellis and Allen, 1961

[58] Ellis and Allen, 1961

[59] Ellis and Allen, 1961

[60] Ellis and Allen, 1961

[61] Ellis and Allen, 1961

[62] Ellis and Allen, 1961

[63] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[64] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[65] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[66] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[67] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″

[68] iNews, n.d., “Aisin Gioro Huisheng: Once the “Prince of Manchukuo” that the Japanese hoped for, was shot to death by a suitor at the age of 19″, para. 60

[69] iMedia, n.d., “Puyi’s younger brother, Pu Jie, married a Japanese wife. The elder brother’s strong opposition was unsuccessful. What happened to the two daughters?”

[70] Ellis and Allen, 1961






About Lauralee Jacks 178 Articles
I am a former elementary teacher in Tennessee. I have a bachelor’s degree in Liberal and Civic Studies from St. Mary’s College of California, a master’s in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the College of Saint Mary. Because my family are from East Asia, I have a passion for historical Chinese and Korean television shows. I always wanted to separate fact from fiction in dramas. Writing articles from History of Royal Women gives me a chance to dig deeper and explore these royal women as they might have been in real life. Also, it gives me a chance to look at the history and culture of where my family originated. I love researching East Asian royalty because they rarely get enough attention in the West often being overshadowed by European royalty. I find these royal women to be just as fascinating and their stories deserve to be told. Thus, I am excited to write for History of Royal Women!

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