Takenouchi no Sukune

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Takenouchi no Sukune drawn by Kikuchi Yosai

Takenouchi no Sukune (武内宿禰?) or Takeshiuchi no Sukune was a legendary Japanese hero-statesman, and is a Shinto kami.


Takenouchi no Sukune was supposedly the son of Princess Kagehime, and is said to be grandson to Imperial Prince Hikofutódhimakoto no Mikoto. [1] Also descended from Emperor Kōgen, Takenouchi no Sukune served under five legendary emperors, Emperor Keikō, Emperor Seimu, Emperor Chūai, Emperor Ōjin, and Emperor Nintoku, but was perhaps best known for his service as Grand Minister to the Regent Jingu, with whom he supposedly invaded Korea. While Jingu was regent to her son, Ojin, Takenouchi was accused of treason. He underwent the "ordeal of boiling water" as a way to prove his innocence.

In addition to his martial services to these emperors, he was reputedly also a saniwa, or spirit medium.


Twenty-eight Japanese clans are said to be descended from Takenouchi no Sukune, including Takeuchi and Soga. He is a legendary figure, and is said to have drunk daily from a sacred well, and this helped him to live to be 280 years old. Further, he is enshrined as a Kami at the Ube shrine, in the Iwami district of the Tottori Prefecture and at local Hachiman shrines. His portrait has also appeared on the Japanese yen, and dolls of him are popular Children’s Day gifts.

Takenouchi no Sukune is grandfather of Takenouchi no matori (竹内真鳥?) who created manuscript books of Takenouchi monjo (竹内文書?) which depicted ancient Japan before the era of Kojiki and Nihon Shoki. The copies still exist in Kōsō Kōtai Jingū shrine in Ibaraki prefecture.

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