About the end of the 5th century, the head family of Katsuragishi was destroyed by Emperor Yuryaku.  The next emperor called Emperor Seinei, died without leaving an heir.  To decide a successor, the people of Oshimi found two princes related to the royal family.  However, these brothers, Okukeio and Kokeio gave way to each other and would not take the crown.

To fill in the absence of the crown, it was Princess Iitoyo that temporarily took the responsibility of government.  She governed at "Takagino Tsunosashi Palace in Oshimi”, which was so beautiful, it became an object of poems:

What I wish to see around Yamato is this Tsunosashi Palace of Takagi in Oshimi. (Nihonshoki, The Chronicles of Japan)


The name of Empress Iitoyo is not included in a pedigree of successive emperors and empresses.  She was not regarded formally crowned, but just temporarily reigned.  In Fuso Ryakki*, an abbreviated chronicles of Fuso, there are several descriptions of Empress Iitoyo, that do not match.  In some sections, she was said to be a child of Emperor Richu, and in others a child of Prince Ichinobeoshiki.  Judging from the fact that she was also called Oshimibu Jyo, it is probable that she was once an empress here in Oshimi, Katsuragi, and governed.


Empress Iitoyo entombed in Imperial Mausoleum of Empress Iitoyo at the Hill of Hanikuchi (Iitoyotenno Hanikuchi-no-Oka-no-misasagi).  Even at present, Oshimi people regard the eleven faced standing kannon placed in Oshimidera Temple, as the incarnation of the Empress Iitoyo. Oshimidera Temple is next to Tsunosashi Jinjya Shrine which was once the place of the Tsunosashi Palace.  On the 17th of each month, they hold a Buddhist memorial service recollecting the empress.



*A history book written in chronological form from Emperor Jinmu to Emperor Horikawa by a priest called Koen of Tendai Sect.  Out of the 30 volumes in all, 16 volumes are extant.  Many articles on Buddhism with sources described.