Ifukube no Tokotarihime (IFUKIBE no Tokotarihime) (伊福吉部徳足比売)

IFUKUBE no Tokotarihime/IFUKIBE no Tokotarihime (year of birth unknown - July 26, 708) was a female family member of the Ifukube clan, a local ruling family of Inaba Province from the Asuka Period

Brief Personal History

Born as a daughter of the Ifukube clan, she became a court lady for Emperor Monmu and was awarded the rank of Jurokuijushichii (Junior Sixth Rank, Junior Seventh Grade) in 707, which was rare for someone coming from a local ruling family at the time. However, she died of illness at the Fujiwara-kyo (the Fujiwara Palace; the ancient capital of Fujiwara) on July 26, 708. After a three-year funeral period, her corpse was cremated in October 710, as cremation was becoming popular at the time, and the cremains were sent to Inaba Province of her hometown to be buried on the hillside of the Inabayama Mountain (Tottori) overlooking the Tottori Plain. Her brief personal history noted above was based on the epitaph below and, according to the fact that she was appointed court lady as a daughter of the Ifukube clan, it is clear that the Ifukube clan was the governor of Inaba Province or at least a hereditary district magistrate, according to the norm at the time.
It is unknown, however, where the origin or roots of Tokotarihime was, since the Ifukube clan had at least two lines, including one from the Homi County and another from Omi County
Incidentally, the Ifukube Clan of Homi County served as Shinto priest of the Ube-jinja Shrine, the highest ranking shrine in the area, until the first year of the Meiji Era (1868).

The Remains of the Tomb and Epitaph

During the Edo period in 1774, a stone burial lid made from two pieces of tuff with 140 cm length, 86 cm wide, and 47 cm thickness, and a cist made from anvil stone were found on the hillside at the back of the Muryoko-ji Temple in Miyashita Village, Inabago, Homi County, Inaba Province (present-day Miyanoshita, Kokufu Town, Tottori City, Tottori Prefecture), and there was a cinerary urn buried in the center hole of the stone burial lid. The 16.5 cm-height cinerary urn was made of copper with a coupled lid and it is said that there was blue-gray ash-like substance inside. On the surface of the 26.4 cm-diameter lid, 108 Japanese characters are radially inscribed in 16 lines, which details of the biography and funeral of Tokotarihime.

The remains of the tomb of IFUKUBE no Tokotarihime became a national historical site and her cinerary urn is stored in the Tokyo National Museum as one of the major national museum pieces, as well as an important cultural property. These are valuable resources to learn about funeral etiquette for a female family member of a local ruling family, and the epitaph, among others, is the oldest written resource found in Inaba Province.

[Original Japanese]