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gate, Shuri Castle’s first gate, for a mere thirty-two yen was a case in
point. He criticized Okinawan people for being taken in by a sense of “destructive
civilization,” such that the “heritage from our forefathers is everyday falling victim to
material civilization and destroyed.” He warned that if the few pieces of heritage that
remained were not rescued from destruction, “our native place will be like a country
built atop a desert, or a newly colonized place.” In other words, Higashionna argued
that the loss of Okinawa’s cultural heritage would impact directly on the position that
Okinawa would occupy within the Japanese nation-state. As importantly, by casting
Okinawa’s cultural heritage as a source of pride for Okinawan people, Higashionna
explicitly introduced a new way for people to think about these old objects. These
objects were thus not just the material traces of ancestors who came before, but
were now imbued with a political relevance in the present, for they meant the
difference between whether Okinawa would be regarded as a Japanese colonial
possession, or as an equal member of the Japanese nation-state.
The issue of Shuri Castle was resolved in 1909 when the Japanese government
finally approved the sale of the castle site and its buildings for ¥1514.55 and ¥887.30
respectively.[103] However, Shuri Castle and its site did not undergo the planned
preservation and development. The castle site served as temporary premises for
different schools throughout the 1910s, including Shuri City First and Second primary
schools, Shuri City Women’s Craft School, and the Okinawa Prefectural First
secondary school. The prefecture simply did not have the funds to undertake the
expensive repairs that the castle’s buildings needed, and they fell into further
disrepair. In the end, it was events from a different direction that decided Shuri
Castle’s fate.

1. “Kanrei jūyon gō,” Yomiuri shinbun, 5 April 1879.
2. After the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the new Japanese nation-state chose to
continue treating the Ryūkyū Kingdom as a subordinate autonomous territory. In
1872, the Meiji government informed the kingdom that it was now a Japanese domain
(han), that Shō Tai was hence “domain king” (han’ō), and that the islands’ foreign
affairs would be dealt with by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Inoue Kiyoshi,
“Okinawa,” in Iwanami kōza nihon rekishi (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1962), 321-322.
3. “Kumamoto chindai ogura bun’ei ni ryūkyū han he no shucchō junbi wo meirei” and
“Ryūkyū he haken no Matsuda Michiyuki naimu shokikanra, keieitai to tomoni
yokohama wo shukkō” both Yomiuri Shinbun,12 March 1879; and “Kagoshima zaikin
no junsa yaku yon-hyaku nin ga ryūkyū ni shucchō,” Yomiuri shinbun, 22 March 1879.
4. “Okinawa ken no secchi genchi wa heion kyū Ryūkyū ō wa meirei wo uke jōkyō,”
Yomiuri shinbun, 8 April 1879.
5. “Kyū ryūkyū han (okinawa ken) ka i’pan jinmin he no kokuyusho zenbun,” Yomiuri
shinbun, 15 April 1879.
6. Shō Tai was given a rank of jusan’i and his son, Shō Ten, a rank of jugo’i .
Endo Tatsu and Seishin Gotō, “Ryūkyū shobun teikō,” in Meiji bunka zenshū (Tokyo:
Nihon hyōron sha, 1929), 140.
7. “Ryūkyū mondai no kaiketsude Matsuda Michiyuki naimu daisho ga kikyō,” Yomiuri
shinbun, June 26, 1879. Mori Yoshio argues however that the significance of the
Ryūkyū Shobun lies not in the events of 1879—which he contends is nothing more
than the administrative disposition (gyōsei shobun) of replacing domains with
prefectures (haihan chiken)—but rather in the years after until the end of the First
Sino-Japanese war, during which time the Qing court acted more vigorously than is
usually acknowledged to regain control of the Ryūkyū Islands. Mori Yoshio, “Ryūkyū
wa “shobun” saretaka - kindai Ryūkyū taigai kankeishi no saikō,” Rekishi hyōron 603
(July 2000), 44-59.
8. For example, while Basil Hall Chamberlain wrote with general approval of the
Japanese state’s annexation of the kingdom in terms of the benefits it brought to the
Ryūkyū Islands, he nevertheless recognized the incorporation’s forced and coerced
nature. Basil Hall Chamberlain, “The Luchu Islands and Their Inhabitants: I.
Introductory Remarks,” The Geographic Journal 5 (1895), 289-319.
9. Maru maru chinbun, no. 109, 24 May 1879, 1733.
10. The text tells a tale that since ancient times, a Colossus constructed of Chinese
bronze and Japanese gold stood astride a harbor, its feet planted firmly on both sides
without leaning in particularly in either direction. Then the Colossus began to collapse
because of an “earthquake” which is Matsuda himself. The text makes a clever play
on Matsuda’s name by incorporating it into the phrase “a large earthquake began” –
dai jishin ga hajiMATSUDA = daijishin ga hajimatta.
11. “The Thirty-sixth ken.” Chōya shinbun, translated and reprinted in the Kobe
Shipping Register, April 10, 1879.
12. Michel Foucault dealt extensively with the question of power and the production of
productive subjects. See the essays in Michel Foucault, Power/Knowledge: Selected
Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977 (New York: Pantheon, 1980).
13. As a result, making Okinawans “Japanese” did not entail sowing the seeds of
national consciousness where there had been none, but rather necessitated
eradicating the bad practices that had accumulated in order to return Okinawans to
being Japanese people of “ancient times.” Oguma Eiji, ‘Nihonjin’ no kyōkai: Okinawa,
Taiwan, Ainu, Chōsen shokuminchi shihai kara fukki undō made (Tokyo: Shinyōsha,
1998), 45.
14. This series of events is recounted in many histories of Okinawa. For a succinct
account of the triangular relationship between the Ryūkyū Kingdom, Japan, and China
that captures its complexities, see Satō Saburō, “Ryūkyū han shobun mondai no
kōsatsu,” Yamagata Daigaku kiyō 3 (1954), esp. 47-49.
15. In addition, a Japanese garrison was also to be established and ten young
Ryūkyūans were to be sent to Tokyo for education. Shō Tai was also to present
himself at Tokyo as a “gratitude envoy” (sha’on shi). Endō Tatsu and Gotō Seishin,
“Ryūkyū shobun teikō,” in Meiji bunka zenshū (Tokyo: Nihon hyōron sha, 1929), 129-
16. Endō and Gotō, “Ryūkyū shobun teikō,” 131.
17. Matsuda responded that the Ryūkyū Kingdom’s severance of its relationship with
China could not count as betrayal if Japan’s benevolence was far greater and more
important, reasoning that the Ryūkyū Kingdom’s subordination to China was, in fact, a
kind of slavery. As for the issue of administrative reform, Matsuda reminded the court
that while Shō Tai bore the label “king,” he was really a regional official (chihō no
kan) whose mandate came from Japan. Endo and Gotō, “Ryūkyū shobun teikō,” 131-
18. Shiitada Atsushi reminds us in a recent book that this lack of knowledge about
Ryūkyūan resistance—and by implication, the construction of these events as small or
ineffective—has the political significance of skewing the historical narrative in a
particular way. Shiitada Atsushi, Ryūkyū kyūkoku undō: kōnichi no shisō to kōdō
(Naha: Shuppansha Mugen, 2010).
19. Gregory Smits has shown how the Ryūkyū Kingdom possessed and practiced a
sophisticated vision of itself as a historical actor throughout the early modern period
while deftly negotiating the demands of China and Japan. Gregory Smits, Visions of
Ryukyu: Identity and Ideology in Early-Modern Thought and Politics (Honolulu:
University of Hawaii Press, 1999).
20. “Ryukyu must be punished,” Chōya shinbun, January 10, 1879. This article was
translated by the Tokyo Times and reprinted in the Kobe Advertiser and Shipping
Register, January 24, 1879. All quotations are taken from the English translation.
21. “Ryukyu must be punished”
22. Oguma Eiji, ‘Nihonjin’ no kyōkai,” 19.
23. Matsuda Michiyuki, “Ryūkyū shobun,” in Meiji bunka shiryō sōsho, vol. 4 (Tokyo:
Kazama shobo, 1972), 217.
24. Matsuda, Ryūkyū shobun, 228.
25. Matsuda, Ryūkyū shobun, 201-204.
26. Matsuda, Ryūkyū shobun, 204.
27. Arasaki Seichin, Omoide no Okinawa (Naha: Arasaki sensei chosho shuppan
kinenkai, 1956), 51.
28. Several pieces of literary work have also sought to give voice to the annexation
from the Okinawa side. In 1930, Yamazato Eikichi’s play, “Shurijō akewatashi” (The
Handing Over of Shuri Castle), played to full houses during its month long run at
Naha’s Taishō Theater. Yamazato’s play pays attention to the actual eviction itself,
and brings to life the indignities of the Ryūkyū court’s removal from the castle.
Yamazato Eikichi, “Shurijō akewatashi,” in Okinawa bungaku zenshu, vol. 10 (Tokyo:
Kokusho kankokai, 1990), 255-273. See also Ōshiro Tatsuhiro, Shōsetsu Ryūkyū
shobun (Tokyo: Kōdansha, 1968), 518-520.
29. Kishaba Chōken, Ryūkyū kenbunroku ichimei haihan jiken (Naha: Oyadomari
chōteki, 1914).
30. Kishaba, Ryūkyū kenbunroku ichimei haihan jiken, 118.
31. Kishaba, Ryūkyū kenbunroku ichimei haihan jiken, 118.
32. This was a connection that Higashionna Kanjun also made later. Higashionna
Kanjun, Ryūkyū no rekishi (Tokyo: Shibundō, 1957), 85.
33. Cited in “A healthier view of the Riu Kiu question,” Chōya shinbun, translated and
reprinted in Kobe Advertiser and Shipping Register, 23 April 1879.
34. “Ryūkyū no dokuritsu seshimu beki wo ronzu,” Aikoku shinshi, no. 26, 1881, 1-9.
35. The Times of London reported quite widely on Japan’s “annexation.” See, for
example, “China and Japan,” The Times of London, December 26, 1879.
36. Reprinted in “The Lewchew Islands,” translated and reprinted in Kobe Advertiser
and Shipping Register, 22 May 1879.
37. “The Lewchew Islands.”
38. For narrative account of these events, see Taminato Tomoaki, “Kindai ni okeru
Okinawa,” in Iwanami Kōza Nihon Rekishi (Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 1976).
39. “Shina seifu no kōron ni taishite waga nihon ni Ryūkyū tō wo senryō subeki shuken
aru oboegaki,” in Ryūkyū shozoku mondai kankei shiryō, vol. 1 (Tokyo: Honpō
shoseki, 1980), 1-31.
40. The memorandum gave eight reasons for the legitimacy of Japan’s claims to the
Ryūkyū Kingdom: ancient history, geographic and other kinds of proximity, Ryūkyūan
written language, Ryūkyūan spoken language, religion, racial characteristics, customs
and practices, and early modern history, and posited these proximities and similarities
implied deep and original connection. “Shina seifu no kōron ni taishite waga nihon ni
Ryūkyū tō wo senryō subeki shuken aru oboegaki,” 7.
41. According to the story, after his defeat in the Hōgen Rebellion of 1156, Tametomo
was exiled to the island of Izu Ōshima, over which he established his domination. One
day, he noticed some interesting-looking birds, and upon pursing them, arrived at the
“Isle of Devils” which he also brought under his control. Upon his subsequent return to
Izu Ōshima, he came under attack from imperial forces and committed suicide. See
William R. Wilson, Hōgen Monogatari: Tale of the Disorder in Hōgen (Ithaca: Cornell
East Asia Series, 2001).
42. Known also as Shō Shōken. The point of contact between the Hōgen monogatari
and the Chūzan seikan is the “Isle of Devils” that Tametomo arrives at after chasing
the birds from the coast of Izu Ōshima, which the Chūzan seikan interpreted as the
Ryūkyū Islands.
43. Morishima Chūryō’s Ryūkyū banashi, first published in 1795, is a good example
of the shift of the Tametomo story. For a study of Morishima’s text, see Yokoyama
Manabu, Ryūkyūkoku shisetsu torai no kenkyū (Tokyo: Yoshikawa kōbunkan, 1987).
44. Edoki Ryūkyūmono shiryō shūran, vol. 4 (Tokyo: Honpō Shoseki, 1981).
45. Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1977), 168. Bourdieu examined the production of the “sense of
reality” in his discussion of how established orders produce the misrecognition of their
arbitrariness. He wrote: “when there is quasi-perfect correspondence between the
objective order and the subjective principles of organization . . . the natural and social
world appears as self-evident. This experience we shall call doxa, so as to distinguish
it from an orthodox or heterodox belief implying awareness and recognition of the
possibility of different or antagonistic belief.”
46. The Tametomo story was given a powerful boost in the early 19th century with
publication of Takizawa Bakin’s Chinsetsu yumihari zuki, a fantastical novel loosely
based on Tametomo and the Hōgen mnogatari. Bakin’s novel was extremely popular
and exerted much influence on how people imagined the Ryūkyū Kingdom well into
the Meiji period. For example, Itō Chūta writes in the opening section of his Ryūkyū
kikō that while he had never done any research on Ryūkyū before, “thanks to having
read Bakin’s Yumihari tsuki at bedtime, my head was filled with a story-like Ryūkyū.”
Itō Chūta, “Ryūkyū kikō,” Kagaku chishiki 5 (1925), 3. Takayama Chogyū gives
another example of Bakin’s influence when he notes that Bakin successfully captured
Tametomo as the epitome of manliness and heroism and that “Tametomo went to the
Ryūkyū as Bakin says he did.” Takayama Chogyū, “Yo ga konomeru jinbutsu,” in
Chogyū zenshū (Tokyo: Hakubunkan, 1926), 524-525 (emphasis mine).
47. “Shina seifu no kōron ni taishite waga nihon ni Ryūkyū tō wo senryō subeki shuken
aru oboegaki,” 9. Takara Kurayoshi examines the basis of these claims in his Ryūkyū
ōkoku no kōzō (Tokyo: Yoshikawa kōbunkan, 1987), 236-239.
48. This translation appears in George H. Kerr, Okinawa: The History of an Island
People (Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1975), 160-161, which he notes is the
official translation used during negotiations with China in 1871-72. The oath that Shō
Nei’s councilors were forced to sign is similar in tone and content. The councilors’
oath, as well as the fifteen articles of conduct demanded by Satsuma that they
agreed to are also in Kerr, 162-163.
49. Kerr, Okinawa, 161. The analysis that follows is also Kerr’s (161-164).
50. Kerr, Okinawa, 162. The term translated here as Chieftain is kokushu in the
Japanese original. The term has two meanings: it can refer to the king of a country,
or is an abbreviation for kokushu daimyo , a domain lord in feudal Japan.
51. “Shina seifu no kōron ni taishite waga nihon ni Ryūkyū tō wo senryō subeki shuken
aru oboegaki,” 20.
52. “Shina seifu no kōron ni taishite waga nihon ni Ryūkyū tō wo senryō subeki shuken
aru oboegaki,” 22.
53. “Shina seifu no kōron ni taishite waga nihon ni Ryūkyū tō wo senryō subeki shuken
aru oboegaki,” 23.
54. “Shina seifu no kōron ni taishite waga nihon ni Ryūkyū tō wo senryō subeki shuken
aru oboegaki,” 24.
55. “Shina seifu no kōron ni taishite waga nihon ni Ryūkyū tō wo senryō subeki shuken
aru oboegaki,” 27-29.
56. “Shina seifu no kōron ni taishite waga nihon ni Ryūkyū tō wo senryō subeki shuken
aru oboegaki,” 31.
57. Kikuchi Kenjirō, “Ryūkyū ga honpō oyobi shina ni taiseru kankei wo ronzu,”
Shigaku zasshi 7: 9 (1896), 18-36 continued in “Ryūkyū ga honpō oyobi shina ni
taiseru kankei wo ronzu,” Shigaku zasshi 7: 10 (1896), 1-11.
58. Kikuchi, “Ryūkyū ga honpō oyobi shina ni taiseru kankei wo ronzu,” 7: 9, 24.
59. Kikuchi, “Ryūkyū ga honpō oyobi shina ni taiseru kankei wo ronzu,” 7: 9, 27.
60. He reached this same conclusion about the superficial nature of the Ryūkyū

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