Itō Suketaka


Itō Clan


Hyūga Province

Lifespan:  Ōei 16 (1409) to 4/28 of Bunmei 17 (1485)

Other Names:  Rokurō (common), Yamato-no-kami

Rank:  bushō, sengoku daimyō

Clan:  Hyūga-Itō

Father:  Itō Sukeharu (?), Itō Suketake (?)

Siblings:  Suketake (?), Suketaka, 祐賀, Suketame, Sukeyuki, Suketomo, 存忠, Suketoyo (or, under another account, Sukeie, Suketaka, 祐郡)

Wife: [Formal] Daughter of the Tsuchimochi clan

Children:  Daughter (wife of Tsuchimochi Takatsuna), Sukekuni, Kyōdō-fujin (wife of Shimazu Tatsuhisa), Sukemura, Sukehide, 祐円, 祐兄, daughter (wife of Sadowara Buzen-no-kami), 祐岑, daughter (wife of Migimatsu Kunai-shōyū), Gensei, 玉阿, 大賢, son (monk), Ikkai (high priest), son (monk), 祐具, 祐運, daughter (wife of Nagakura Wakasa-no-kami), daughter (wife of Itō Mimasaka-no-kami), daughter (wife of Sasautsu Ōmi-no-kami), daughter (wife of Kiyotake Saburō), daughter (wife of Kamibeppu Owari-no-kami), daughter (wife of Kiyotake Hyōbu-shōyū), daughter (wife of Itō Kawachi-no-kami)

Itō Suketaka served as a bushō during the Muromachi period.  He was the eleventh head of the Hyūga-Itō clan.

Suketake is surmised to have been the son of Itō Sukeharu, but, according to one theory, Sukeharu had a separate son named Itō Suketake while Suketaka was the son of Suketake.

In 1444, upon the death of Sukeharu, Suketaka inherited the headship of the clan at the age of thirty-six.  He had twenty-five children, including Itō Sukekuni, Itō Sukemura, and many others.  According to one account, Itō Sukeie should have been in line to succeed Sukeharu, but was murdered by Itō 祐郡 in a plot to usurp the successor to the headship.  Unwilling to accept this treachery, the retainers ousted 祐郡 and backed Suketaka as the next head of the family.  Suketaka then proceeded to eliminate those who opposed him, beginning with the Soi clan at Miyazaki Castle.  From 1445, with the consent of the Tsuchimochi clan, he defeated the lords of castles in Kadogawa, Mukasa, and Kiyotake and brought them under his command.

After demonstrating his military might in Hyūga, Suketaka sought to become the military governor, but was opposed by the Tsuchimochi clan so could not obtain the position.  As a result, in 1456, he initiated military action, eliminating Tsuchimochi Kanetsuna of Takarabe and expelling the Tsuchimochi clan from a broad area of flatlands.  He then garnered control of the area extending to Kadogawa in the north and Shiwasuzaki in the south, strengthening the presence of the Itō inside and outside of Hyūga.

In 1461, Suketaka dispatched a messenger to Kyōto and obtained a letter from Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the eighth shōgun of the Muromachi bakufu stating “Retainers of the Itō shall be in the three provinces of Satsuma, Ōsumi, and Hyūga with the exception of Shibuya for the Shimazu.”  There is a high likelihood, however, that this document was fabricated by the Itō clan.

Suketaka maintained friendly relations with the Shimazu clan.  In 1464, he met with Shimazu Tatsuhisa on Mount Udo and arranged a settlement between the clans.  His second daughter, Kyōdō-fujin, wed Tatsuhisa.  In 1480, however, after the Shimazu army attacked Shiwasuzaki Castle, the two clans came into conflict again.

In 1485, Suketaka intervened in an internal conflict in the Shimazu clan and clashed with Shimazu Tadamasa.  Upon request of Shimazu Hisayasu of the Izaku family (a cadet family of the Shimazu), Suketaka deployed along with his son, Sukekuni, to attack Niiro Tadatsugu at Obi Castle in the southern portion of Hyūga.  During the deployment, he died at Kiyotake Castle.  He was seventy-seven years old.