Abstract We first discuss and determine the isospin mixing of the two 2− states (12.53 MeV and 12.97 MeV) of the16O nucleus using inelastic electron scattering data. We then evaluate the cross section of 4.4-MeV γ rays produced in the neutrino neutral-current (NC) reaction 16O(ν, ν′)16O(12.97 MeV, 2−) in a water Cherenkov detector at a low energy, below 100 MeV. The detection of γ rays for Eγ > 5 MeV from the NC reaction 16O(ν, ν′)16O(Ex > 16 MeV, T = 1) with a water Cherenkov detector in supernova neutrino bursts has been proposed and discussed by several authors previously. In this article, we discuss a new NC reaction channel from 16O(12.97 MeV, 2−) producing a 4.4-MeV γ ray, the cross section of which is more robust and even larger at low energy (Eν < 25 MeV) than the NC cross section from 16O(Ex > 16 MeV, T = 1). We also evaluate the number of such events induced by neutrinos from supernova explosion which can be observed by the Super-Kamiokande, an Earth-based 32-kton water Cherenkov detector.