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.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Interesting Information About Shurijo Castle Part 1

Shuri Oyaguni is an archaic expression of reverance for the Shuri area. The town of Shuri, along with the castle, prospered as the capitol of the kingdom and is deeply immersed in the kingdom's history.

Main Palace of Shurijo
The arrangment and function of the facilities withing the castle played two important roles. The first was to function as a public office, in charge of politics and the administration of the Shuri royal government. The second role was to provide living quarters for the King, his family and court ladies. These two spheres were called Omote and Uchi. Omote means the face that is shown towards the public. Uchi means the inside or that which is hidden or private.

Map showing the castle complex
In the Ryukyu kingdom various annual events and rites were carried out by the King to ensure peace and security of the country. They reflected the strong influence of both China and Japan. The grandest of all events though was carried out on New's Years eve and culminated in a ceremony performed on New Years morning. The heir to the throne, the "Aji" along with various chieftons, ministers, and other courtiers would line up in rows in the "Una" (courtyard) where a solemn Chinese style ceremony would be performed. Here are some Pictures I took of the re-enactment of the ceremony which I attended in 2002.

Ryukyu Court Officials
Royal Court Musicians
The King & Queen
The Royal Guard 親雲上 Pēchin
A Ritual Gathering of the Royal Court

The administrative organization of the ryukyu Kingdom was comprised of the Shuri Royal Government. Headed by the King and a regnet as well as three prime ministers with various named civic offices under them. A Ministerial class called the Omotejyuugonin organized of fifteen members from the civic offices studied issues of concern to the administration and reported their findings to the top ministers. The regent and prime ministers conducted affairs in Hokuden which is the north hall of Shurijo. The ranks of government officials in those times were determined by the color of hat they wore so they could be easily distinguished in public.

This photo shows the casual and court dress of the "Aji"

More to come tomorrow!


  1. Really enjoy your site. Was wondering what colored hat that the peichin would be wearing?

    1. I believe the red striped ones were of the highest rank as there are fewer peichin wearing those type in pictures I've seen. This is just a guess though.