On this date in 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 (English Wikipedia entry | Japanese) 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.