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Origin[]

Lady Kai (甲斐姫) ("hime" means lady, princess, woman of noble family), speculated to have been born in 1572, was the daughter of Narita Ujinaga, retainer of theLate Houjou clan in the Kantou region. She is known as the legendary woman who helped her father's resistance at Oshi Castle against Toyotomi Hideyoshi's army during the Siege of Odawara. Though known for her bravery and beauty, modern historians are unsure if she actually performed the deeds in the tales surrounding her and it is highly likely that many of her feats stem from contemporary historical novels or folklore from the Edo period.

In June 1590,Ishida Mitsunari led a 20,000-man army to take Oshi Castle. Owing to lack of foresight and planning, his army was devastated by a water attack. Kai was said to have volunteered to rout the remaining soldiers, donning armor and riding on horseback with 200 men. When Ishida was reinforced bySanada Masayuki, Sanada Nobushige and Asano Nagamasa, she was said to have slain the Sanada retainer, Miyage Takashige. When Odawara Castle surrendered, her father also chose to do the same with the hope of ending warfare.

She and her father were put under Gamou Ujisato's care for a time. Sometime when her father was away, an internal rebellion was caused by Hamada Shugen and his younger brother (historical records suggest that the revolt was actually started by Ujinaga's brothers). During this time, Kai's mother-in-law was killed. As soon as she heard about the incident, Kai brandished a sword and sought to end the rebels. She slew the instigator and two followers, effectively repressing the bloodshed. Hideyoshi heard of her bravery and named her one of his concubines. As a result, her father became one of Hideyoshi's trusted generals. He was rewarded with Karasuyama Castle and 20,000 koku.

Much later, near the end of the Siege of Osaka Summer Campaign, she is said to have fled with Toyotomi Hideyori 's concubine and Hideyori's daughter, Nāhime. The three of them became nuns at Tokei-ji.

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