Hai Sai! Welcome to my Blog.

Hello, my name is Tom Corrao and I am the blogger behind the Okinawaology Blog. I created this blog to share and discuss all things Okinawan. I’m also the Public Relations Officer and Minkan Taishi to the Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai. My experience with Okinawa is derived from the time I spent there during the 1980's and 90's (10 years) when serving in the United States Air Force. I've also been married to an Okinawan woman for 30 years now and have been immersed in many things Okinawan through both friends and family. I do not claim to be all knowing about everything Okinawan but I try hard and study the history and culture. I welcome everyone that is interested in Okinawa and hope that I can provide useful information to those uchinanchu that may be curious about their culture and heritage. I also welcome those who are not of Okinawan heritage but have experienced, or are experiencing, the islands culture while stationed there with the United States Military. Comments are welcomed and will be published as long as they are in good taste and on track with the purpose of this blog. My hope with this blog is to bring Uchinanchu people around the world a little closer to their cultural roots by expressing information that has started to fade in light of a more modern world. We should never forget our culture or the people who came before us and through the Blog my intentions are to meld the old with the new and implant knowledge that will help maintain the traditions and culture of an island people.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Interesting Information about Shurijo Part 2

Life in Shurijo Castle ~ A place both secular and sacred

Besides being the center of the government administration, Shurijo castle was a place where the king and his family lived. The king oversaw royal duties in a building called the Shoin situated behind the Nanden. After working the king would retire to the Nikaiden or the Kugani-udun, located to the rear of the Seiden. This area, called the Ouchibara, was a private living space.
1934 Shurijo Palace
There were also many sacred areas inside the castle, the largest of which was called the Kyou-no-uchi.  Worship was performed by priestesses.
A Ryukyuan Priestess
Sacred Areas Within the Castle Walls

The processions to Edo ~ Cultural exchange between Japan and the Ryukyu Kingdom

During the Edo period (1603-1872) when there was a change of king in the Ryukyu Kingdom or a new shogun assumed office in Japan, the Ryukyu Kingdom was required under its tributary relationship with Japan to Dispatch envoys to Edo. (Present Day Tokyo) These processions were known as Shaon-shi in the case of a change of king and Keiga-shi in the case of a shogun change. The term Edo-nobori or "going to Edo" was applied to both occassions.

From 1634 to 1850 envoys were dispatched on eighteen occassions. The Ryukyu Kingdom envoys went together with the party of envoys from the Shimazu Clan of the Satsuma-han, present day Kagoshima Prefecture. The Ryukyuan envoys enjoyed a good reputation among the Japanese, whose government had enforced a strict national isolation policy with very few exceptions.

King Shō Hō 尚豊 1621–1640
King Shō Ken 尚賢 1641–1647

These processions to Edo provided an opportunity for cultural exchanges and allowed the Ryukyuans to promote themselves as an independent kingdom.

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