A wonderful place, Okinawa  5 : history and culture

A lion dance of Okinawa

< A lion dance of Okinawa >

This time, I introduce the history of Okinawa and the culture.

We can know Okinawa that played an active part in marine trade once.

Although the lion mask of the photo resembles the thing of Japan’s mainland, the body is not a cloth like curtain and is the style (lion dance of the Nanjing town) of China.






woman dance of Ryukyu dance, Eisa, and Sanshin 

< woman dance of Ryukyu dance, Eisa, and Sanshin >

This woman dance is the bravest dance, and the brilliant kimono was made by a traditional dyeing technique (Bingata) of Okinawa.

The forceful Eisa that is danced with striking a drum was danced at Bon time of summer.

This started with the spread of Nenbutsu folk dances of Buddhism that came from Japan’s mainland.

Speaking of musical instrument of Okinawa, it will be Sanshin, but the origin is stringed instrument of Fujian, China.

Because, Ryukyu(old dynasty in Okinawa)traded through Fujian with China.









Shuri castle, main hall

< Shuri castle, main hall >

This became the Ryukyu king’s castle from the 15th century.

The castle and many of things in Okinawa disappeared by the Pacific War.

It is the maximum and only was rebuilt in Okinawa.

This king’s palace is colored in bright vermilion, and many China styles are adopted.







Shuri castle: a gate、castellated wall、a throne

< Shuri castle: a gate、castellated wall、a throne >

Shuri Castle has neither towers nor clay walls on the stone wall like the castle in Japan’s mainland.

It is resembled Hwaseong Fortress of Suwon in South Korea, then is the style of China.





 the remains of Nakijin Castle 

<  the remains of Nakijin Castle >

This castle (gusuku) in northern part of main Okinawa island is typical of mountain castle, and built about the 13th century.

That time was about 200 years before the age of provincial wars of Japan’s mainland.




an old folk house, a warehouse, a small shrine(Utaki) 

< an old folk house, a warehouse, a small shrine(Utaki) > 

These are saved in a park and might been not seen actually in main Okinawa island.

The roof of red tile and white mortar have been a little in the country.

Small shrines that I saw at Daisekirin mountain was very simple.


The old culture (language, clay pot, religious faith) of Okinawa was integral with Japan.

However, from 600 years ago, Okinawa became to have relation deeply with China as an independent country.

At that time, it became a maritime state that had traded with Japan, China, and Southeast Asia.

From Edo Period, the rule of Japan in Okinawa progressed, and U.S. ruled it after World War II.

Finally, Okinawa has returned to Japan and had continued to be influenced by mighty nation.

 Next time, it becomes the last. We look at people and life of Okinawa.














Categories: culture+society, history+evolution, <english language, <japanese language, travel+photo | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “A wonderful place, Okinawa  5 : history and culture

  1. aquacompassさん今晩は、沖縄琉球の文化が解り易く拝見できました。紅型等の色も綺麗です。

  2. ありがとうございます。

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