I was recently informed about some Internet sites dealing with Ryukyuan Independence. Apparently, there are some groups seeking formal political independence for Okinawa and the Ryukyuan islands. The Ryukyu Independent Party official website is sponsored by the Kariyushi Club. Note: … Continue reading →
The blog “A Man With Tea” recently posted “Okinawa Toyota Ads.” Apparently, Toyota Motor Corporation has come out with four TV commercials featuring Okinawan historical figures like: Shô Hashi, Amawari, Gosamaru, and Momoto Fumiagari.
What this means for Okinawan identity in the twenty first century is not yet clear. Is it empowering for Okinawan identity or is it a distortion? Is it exploitative or is it affirmative? What do you think?
Historically, the kingdom of the Ryukyus maintained an active relationship with China from the 1300s to the 1800s. This can be seen in the diplomatic processions between the two countries. This contrasts with mainland Japan which cut off ties with the outside world during the Tokugawa era. This relationship with China put Okinawan culture on a different trajectory from mainland Japan.
In February 2013, a symposium was held at the University of Hawaii at Manoa which examined this historic scroll for clues about the political order and cultural ties between Okinawa and China.
University of Hawaii librarian, Tokiko Bazell, recently uploaded papers and PowerPoint presentations from the symposium held in February 2013. Click here to access the site.
Note: “Ryukyu” is the name of the royal kingdom and the island chain; “Okinawa” is the name of the largest island in the Ryukyuan archipelago. I use the two terms interchangeably because “Okinawa” is more widely known today than the historic name “Ryukyu.” Hopefully, that will change with the rise of Uchinanchu consciousness.