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The Ryukyu KingdomCornerstone of East Asia$
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Mamoru Akamine and Robert Huey

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824855178

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824855178.001.0001

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Ryukyu in the East Asian Trade Sphere

Ryukyu in the East Asian Trade Sphere

(p.32) Chapter Three Ryukyu in the East Asian Trade Sphere
The Ryukyu Kingdom

Mamoru Akamine

, Lina Terrell, Robert Huey
University of Hawai'i Press

In the 1400s, the East Asia trade sphere stretched to Southeast Asia, with Ryukyu, a key player, relaying luxury goods from there to Japan. Japanese merchants and Buddhist monks began to move into Ryukyu in the mid-fifteenth century. The early 1400s saw the Ryukyu Kingdom unified under the first Shō Dynasty. Ryukyu was recognized as second to Korea among China’s tributary states. Overseas Chinese in Naha became important in the trade system. In the late 1400s, China restricted Ryukyu’s tribute trade to one mission every two years. Japan started to deal directly with China, undercutting Ryukyu. Japan empowered the Satsuma domain to monitor Ryukyu trade activities. In 1470, the second Shō dynasty took power. The Portuguese began to dominate Southeast Asia trade; the wakō pirates grew more successful. By the late 1500s, Satsuma was aggressively controlling Ryukyuan shipping activities, which alarmed China. Ryukyu began to decline.

Keywords:   East Asia trade sphere, Southeast Asia, Bridge of Nations bell, Yongle coins, Buddhism in Ryukyu, Overseas Chinese, First Shō Dynasty, Second Shō Dynasty, Portuguese traders, wakō pirates, Satsuma domain

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