Taira no Tokuko was adopted by the Emperor of Japan, Go-Shirakawa, in 1171 at the age of 17. A year later she married the Emperor’s fourth son, Takakura. This arranged marriage brought their two fathers-in-law together to support each other.
Takakura and Taira no Tokuko had a son in 1178, Prince Tokihito. A year later, Kiyomori, Chancellor of the Realm, rebelled against the Emperor. Takakura was forced to abdicate, and his son took the throne under the name Emperor Antoku.
Five years later the Taira and Minamoto fought their last battle. The Taira were defeated and many members of the Taira samurai and royal family threw themselves into the sea. Emperor Antoku was drowned when his grandmother leapt into the sea, clasping him tightly in her arms.
Taira no Tokuko also attempted suicide, but was dragged from the sea by her hair. She later became a recluse.