"It's strange that a character as important as the madam of the Tsuruya ageya is never given a proper name. It probably doesn't really matter; in this kind of life, where all the girls have fake names to hide their identities, there's certainly no reason to delve deeply into one's character or background.
The madam is a shrewd businesswoman who seems willing to do anything for a profit--and profit she does. She has a stern, disapproving attitude towards Kiryuu Kazumanosuke 桐生一馬之介, but, she's not exactly unwilling to cooperate with him.
When the Tsuruya is burned down, she is clearly in on the plot. She has been paid--no doubt by the Tokugawa bakufu running Japan--for the use of her establishment. She also shows her secret, crafty side in the way she procures new girls. When a batch of girls arrives at Gion, she has Yoshino 吉野 parade about and show off her appearance, so that all girls will think that they can be made that beautiful by her training and technique, and so, they are willing to take her low payments for their bodies.
An important an powerful figure about town, everyone seems to know and respect her."