Koteko (小手子)

Koteko was a wife of Emperor Sushun.

Koteko was a wife of the 32nd emperor of Japan, Emperor Sushun (reign; 587 - 592) who was assassinated by the SOGA clan. She was a daughter of OTOMO no Murajinukate. Koteko and Emperor Sushun had one son and one daughter, Hachiko no oji (Prince Hachiko) and Nishikite no ojo (Princess Nishikite).

In the Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan), there is a description that Koteko, who was resentful about the Emperor whose love toward her had withered away, secretly informed SOGA no Umako of the words the Emperor had said to himself when he saw a boar presented to him, "Some day I will kill the man I hate just like cutting off the boar's head," which triggered assassination of the Emperor.

Legend of Otehime

A legend of Koteko called "Otehime densetsu" (Legend of Princess Koteko) has it that Koteko escaped safely to Kawamata-machi, Fukushima Prefecture (referred to by today's place names) and introduced sericulture to the place.

It is said that Koteko's son, Prince Hachiko, escaped from the capital at the discretion of Prince Umayado (Prince Shotoku), and became the founder of Dewa Sanzan (Three Sacred Mountains of Dewa) in Tsuruoka City, Yamagata Prefecture.
Koteko also fled to Tohoku region with her own father and her daughter, Princess Nishikite, searching for Prince Hachiko,
It is said that after losing Princess Nishikite during the escape, Koteko stayed in the regions having similar atmosphere to her hometown, Yamato Province, which regions are present Kawamata-machi, Date-gun, Fukushima Prefecture and Tsukidate-machi, Date City, Fukushima Prefecture, and she planted mulberry trees there and passed on the art of sericulture to the people living there. It is said that lamenting over not being able to see Prince Hachiko, she drowned herself in clear water in Oshimizu, Kawamata-machi.

There exist several historic sites related to Otehime in and around Kawamata-machi, and Tsukidate-machi is carrying out a campaign to promote the town as "Otehime no sato" (the town Otehime lived in), led by the commerce and industry association of the town.

Historic Sites
Hataori-jinja Shrine (Kawamata-machi) enshrines the spirit of Otehime.
(Kawamata-machi Oshimizu)

Kawamata-machi erected the statue of Otehime in Chuo-koen Park in the town in 1992. A sculpture of Otehime as a deity is housed in Yakushi-do Hall located in Higashi Fukusawa Oaza, Kawamata-machi. It is a wooden sculpture of 14 centimeters in height.

There is a theory that Kawamata-machi was named after Kawamata, Takaichi-gun, Yamato Province (Nara Prefecture at present), which was Koteko's hometown.

Mt. Megami (literally meaning Goddess' mountain) (Tsukidate-machi, Kawamata-machi) having an altitude of 599.4 meters. It is said that Otehime and her party built a temporary housing on a flat area in the hillside of the mountain. It is one of the "100 Most Beautiful Mountains in Fukushima Prefecture".

Local Specialty
Otehime Kinu Youkan (azuki-bean jelly) (product of Shogetsudo Honten, a sweets shop in Tsukidate-machi), Otehime Udon (Japanese wheat noodle) (product of the business union of developers of local products in Tsukidate-machi)

[Original Japanese]