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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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The Ryukyu Kingdom under the Bakuhan System

The Ryukyu Kingdom under the Bakuhan System

(p.58) Chapter Four The Ryukyu Kingdom under the Bakuhan System
The Ryukyu Kingdom

Mamoru Akamine

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

Toyotomi Hideyoshi moved to unify Japan and gave the Shimazu clan in Satsuma the right (not acknowledged by Ryukyu) to control Ryukyu. Satsuma successfully invaded Ryukyu in 1609, forcing King Shō Nei to accompany them to Edo to honor the Tokugawa Shogun, who agreed to allow the Ryukyu royal government to continue functioning as is, asking them to mediate in Japan-China relations. China balked and reduced Ryukyu trade missions drastically. In early 1600s, Tokugawa fear of Christianity led to isolationist sakoku policy; Ryukyu included. From 1630s, Ryukyu was subject to Japan’s rice tax assessment, as part of Satsuma. From 1630s, Ryukyu begins to send periodic envoys to Edo (Edo-nobori, or Edo-dachi). Satsuma tightened control over Ryukyu’s trade activities. This chapter examines the complicated trade strategies that developed between Japan, Satsuma, Ryukyu, and China. With the Qing Dynasty in the mid-seventeenth century, Ryukyu tribute envoys also become intelligence “agents” for Satsuma.

Keywords:   Satsuma and Shimazu clan, Satsuma invasion of Ryukyu, Ryukyu as intermediary, Christianity, Nagasaki, sakoku, rice assessment, Edo-nobori / Edo-dachi, Qing Dynasty, Ryukyu envoys gather intelligence

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