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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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Reform and Sinification of the Kingdom

Reform and Sinification of the Kingdom

Chapter:
(p.79) Chapter Five Reform and Sinification of the Kingdom
Source:
The Ryukyu Kingdom
Author(s):

Mamoru Akamine

, Lina Terrell, Robert Huey
Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824855178.003.0006

In mid-1600s, Ryukyu reformed government to better align with Tokugawa Japan. This chapter details how class distinctions were codified and genealogies (kafu) became important, and also provides a description of the reorganized royal government. Ryukyu learned to play both sides—remaining a tributary state of China, and a vassal of Satsuma. Ryukyu began to “sinify” as a means to counterbalance Satsuma’s rule; yet Satsuma also benefited, since its “vassal,” Ryukyu, thereby maintained China’s trust. This chapter details aspects of Chinese culture, including architecture, feng shui, and family names, which Ryukyu embraced. The Kumemura district, home of many Chinese and Chinese scholars, gained importance. Selected Ryukyu students were again permitted to study in China officially, and unofficial “working students” also joined tribute ships’ crews to study in China during long layovers there. Satsuma’s “policy of concealment” discouraged openly “Japanese” behavior among Ryukyuans, to persuade China that Ryukyu was independent from Japan.

Keywords:   reform, genealogies (kafu), Edo-nobori / Edo-dachi, Sinification of Ryukyu, feng shui, Shuri Castle, Kumemura, Confucianism, study in China – official and unofficial, concealment

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