Hiki no ama (比企尼)

Hiki no ama (years of birth and death unknown) was a woman who lived in the last years of Heian period. HIKI no ama's parents are unknown. Hiki no ama was a wife of Kamonnojo HIKI who was a daikan (local governor) of Hiki County in Musashi Province and whose family lineage stretched back to FUJIWARA no Hidesato. Hiki no ama was a wet nurse ('menoto' in Japanese) of MINAMOTO no Yoritomo.

Hiki no ama is called so because her real name is unknown. Since MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo was defeated by TAIRA no Kiyomori at Heiji War in 1159, Kiyomori made an order that Yoshitomo's 14-year-old heir Yoritomo be banished to Izu Province.
Hiki no ama and her husband Kamonnojo, who was the local governor of Hiki County in Musashi Province, moved from the capital (Kyo) to the Hiki County, where she continued sending money to Yoritomo for two decades until the fall in 1180 (according to a passage, November 14, 1182, in "Azuma Kagami" [Mirror of the East].)
Hiki no ama had three daughters, and according to "Yoshimi Keizu" (literally, the genealogy of the Yoshimi clan) which is a genealogy of MINAMOTO no Noriyori, Kamonnojo HIKI and Hiki no ama's oldest legitimate daughter, Tango no naishi (the term naishi means a lady-in-waiting to the emperor), had illicit intercourse with KOREMUNE no Hirokoto and thereby gave birth to Tadahisa SHIMAZU, and the Tango no naishi then moved to the Kanto district to remarry Morinaga ADACHI who became Yoritomo's close aide. Hiki no ama and Kamonnojo's second daughter became the wife of Shigeyori KAWAGOE who was a powerful local clan of Musashi Province, whereas their third daughter married Sukekiyo ITO who was a powerful local clan of Izu Province, and after her husband's death she remarried Yoshinobu HIRAGA who belonged to the Minamoto clan. Daughters of the oldest daughter and the second daughter married to MINAMOTO no Noriyori and MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune, respectively, who were both half brothers with different mothers of Yoritomo. Hiki no ama kept sending rice from the Hiki County to Yoritomo and made her three sons-in-law serve Yoritomo.

However, as Hiki no ama and Kamonnojo did not have a son, they had their nephew Yoshikazu HIKI succeed the Hiki's family estate. It is held that without this Hiki no ama's support, Yoshikazu would not be able to wield power when serving MINAMOTO no Yoriie later. Further, the second and third daughters of Hiki no ama both served Yoriie as his menoto. Hiki no ama's husband Kamonnojo had died before Yoritomo raised his army.

On July 4, 1186, and on October 12, 1187, MINAMOTO no Yoritomo and his wife Masako HOJO visited Hiki no ama at her residence where they held parties to enjoy the seasons such as the summer evening party and a chrysanthemum viewing party. The last days of Hiki no ama after her husband's death is unknown, and it is likely that she died somewhere before or after the Yoritomo's last known visit.