Koto no naishi (勾当内侍)

Koto no naishi was a female court noble during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan). She was said to be the daughter of Tsunetada ICHIJO or Koremasa/Koretada ICHIJO, or the daughter or younger sister of Yukifusa ICHIJO. Her real name is not known. Although it is said that she was the wife of Yoshisada NITTA (his legally wedded wife was a daughter of the Ando clan), descriptions of her relationships with Yoshisada NITTA are included only in "Taiheiki" (The Record of the Great Peace) and it is highly likely that they were imagenary, considering chronological estimates and others. It is also said that the existence of 'Koto no naishi' herself is dubious.

The reason why she became a wife of Yoshisada NITTA in Kozuke Province, who participated in Emperor Godaigo's activities for defeating the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) and contributed to getting control of Kamakura, is said to be as follows: Emperor Godaigo who started the new government in the Kenmu era gave her to Yoshisada NITTA as a prize for his contribution. In 1336, Yoshisada NITTA defeated Takauji ASHIKAGA, who was alienated from the new government, in Kyoto together with Masashige KUSUNOKI and Akiie KITABATAKE, and Takauji ASHIKAGA and his followers fled to Kyushu. Although several reasons were considered for why Yoshisada NITTA did not chase Takauji ASHIKAGA, "Taiheiki" described the reason as follows: He was reluctant to leave Koto no naishi in Kyoto, losing the timing to dispatch troops, and therefore, she was the woman who generated the cause of Yoshisada's fall.

Takauji entered Kyoto and chased Emperor Godaigo, Yoshisada NITTA fled to the Hokuriku region with Imperial Prince Tsuneyoshi placed as Emperor and died in battle at Fujishima of the Echizen Province attacked by ASHIKAGA troops in 1338, and "Taiheiki" makes a description of Koto no naishi at around that time as in the following: Koto no naishi, who parted from Yoshisada NITTA at Imakatata beside Lake Biwa and spent days sadly in Kyoto, was invited by Yoshisada NITTA and started for Hokuriku, but at Somayama (present Najo Town, Fukui Prefecture), she knew that he had died in a battle and became a (female) priest seeing his head hung on a prison gate. It was also described that her father, Yoshifusa, followed Yoshisada NITTA and also died in battle in Hokuriku. A legend also describes that Koto no naishi entered the sea at the Kotogahama beach and died.

In Imakatata, there exists Nogami-jinja Shrine whose god is Koto no naishi and there is a temple for her, Senpuku-ji Temple, and the Nogami festival was also held for consoling her spirit. In addition, after contents of "Taiheiki" became well-known through performances of storytellers in the Edo period, graves of Koto no naishi were built in various places.

It is also pointed out that some of Koto no naishi-tsubone"s (-tubone: a honorary suffix attachde to the name of a high-ranked female in the court) income came from Mikuniminato near to Fujishima where Yoshisada NITTA died in a battle.

Her grave is located in Ojima-machi, Ota City, Gunma Prefecture (former Ojima Town, Nitta County)