Emperor Itoku

Hear this tale on Episode B13 of our Podcast, the Japan Archives.

Emperor Itoku
Artistic renderring of Emperor Itoku.

Table of Contents

Emperor Itoku

Emperor Itoku (懿徳 天皇) was the fourth Emperor of Japan also known as Oyamatohikosukitomo (大倭日子鉏友命).12 He ruled from 510-477BC.1


Emperor Itoku was the second son of Emperor Annei and Nunasoko Nakatsuhime123 though we are not sure why he was chosen over his older brother to take the throne.1 Itoku would go on to marry Amatoyotsuhime and together they would have the future Emperor Kōshō.124 The Kojiki mentions an additional child by the name of Takeshihiko.4


Emperor Itoku ascended to the throne in 510BC,3 having been made heir to the throne in the “11th year, Spring, 1st month” of Annei’s reign. He is said to have been 16 at the time.2

Events from his reign detailed in the Nihongi are as follows:

    • 1st year, Spring, 2nd month, 4th day Itoku takes the throne.
    • Autumn, 8th month, 1st day. Emperor Annei is buried in his misasagi.
    • 9th month, 14th day. He gives the Empress the title Kodaigo.
    • 2nd year, Spring, 1st month, 5th day. Capital is moved to Karu residing in the Palace of Magario.
    • 2nd month, 11th day. Amatoyotsuhime is made Empress.
      • Two alternative versions say this was:
        • Idzuhime, daughter of Otoite, son of Haye, Agatanushi of Shiki.
        • Ihihime, daughter of Futomawakahiko, Agatanushi of Shiki.
    • 22nd year, Spring, 2nd month, 12th day. Kōshō is made heir.
    • 34th year, Autumn, 9th month, 8th day. Itoku passes away.2

Emperor Itoku died aged 773 and is said to have reigned for 45 years in the Kojiki and not 34 years like in other sources.4

His misasagi is located on Mount Unebi.4


1. Ponsonby, F. (1959) “The Imperial House of Japan.” Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society.
2. Aston. W.G. (1896) “Nihongi Volume 1: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to AD697”. Tuttle Publishing.
3. Varley, H.P (1980) “A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns: Jinnō Shōtōki of Kitabatake Chikafusa.” New York: Columbia University Press.
4. Yasumaro. O, translated by Gustav Heldt. (2014) “Kojiki. An Account of Ancient Matters”. New York: Columbia University Press.

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