Kame no mae (亀の前)

Kame no mae (year of birth and death unknown) was a woman, who lived during the late Heian Period. She was the daughter of YOSHIHASHI Taro-nyudo. She was MINAMOTO no Yoritomo's favorite concubine.

It is said that Yoritomo fell in lave with Kame no mae at first sight when he went over to Izu Province, and as attracted by her gentle nature, he came to love her in secret.

In July 1182, while his lawful wife, Masako HOJO was pregnant with his first son (MINAMOTO no Yoriie), Yoritomo invited Kame no mae to Mitsuie KOCHUTA's residence in Kotsubo (present Zushi City, Kanagawa Prefecture) and loved her. Afterwards, he transferred Kame no mae to Hirotsuna FUSHIMI's residence in Iijima (Zushi City) and continued the meeting with her. Masako, who was informed of Yoritomo's affaire from her stepmother, Maki no kata, got outraged by jealousy. On December 14, 1182, Masako ordered Maki no kata's father, Munechika MAKI, to attack and destroy Hirotsuna's residence. Kame no mae was escorted by Hirotsuna and escaped to Yoshihisa OTAWA's residence in Abuzuri (Hayama-machi).

The irate Yoritomo hastened to Abuzuri, and summoned Munechika MAKI to reprehend him and cut his hair to affront him. When Masako's father, Tokimasa HOJO came to know that, this skirmish developed into an incident, in which Tokimasa withdrew to Izu Province leading all his family.

On January 12, 1183, Kame no mae was transferred to Mitsuie KOCHUTA's residence in Kotsubo. Kame no mae was very afraid of Masako's jealousy, but Yoritomo's affection got deeper. Masako could not contain her anger, and on January 18, Hirotsuna FUSHIMI was banished to Totomi Province.

[Original Japanese]