Okinawa Tourism Information:“AStrollintheMythsandHistoryofOkinawa”atSashikiUiGusukuandTsukishiro

“A Stroll in the Myths and History of Okinawa” at Sashiki Ui Gusuku and Tsukishiro

post : 2018.11.30 06:00

Located on the southeastern region of Okinawa Island, the area of Sashiki in Nanjo City is an area rich with culture, preserving the footprints of the Ryukyuan royalty of the First Sho lineage founded by Sho Shisho and Sho Hashi.

The large Torii gate which stands to the east of the Sashiki Elementary School along Route 331 marks the entrance to Sahiki Ui Gusuku.

The area of Sashiki Ui Gusuku is peaceful and tranquil, where you can hear only the sounds trees of this southern paradise dancing to the winds, and the sweet sounds of the birds chirping on the branches.

From atop the hill where Sashiki Ui Gusuku stands, you can command a fantastic view of Nakagusuku Bay and Katsuren Peninsula, as well as Baten, where it is said the Sakami Ufusu, the grandfather of Sho Hashi is said to have come from Iheya.

Sashiki Ui Gusuku is said to have been the residence of Sho Shisho and Sho Hashi. In 1938, the people under the lineage of the First Sho Dynasty erected the Tsukishiro no Miya shrine in honor of the 500th year of commemoration of King Sho Hashi. Enshrined at Tsukishiro no Miya is Sakami Ufusu as the founder of the First Sho Dyanasty, along with the successive generations of Ryukyuan kings. The shrine was named Tsukishiro from the protecting deity of the First Sho Dynasty. Tsukishiro is mentioned in the ancient history books, the Ryukyu Koku Yuraiki, and Omorosaushi which documents ancient poetry and songs. It is also said that there was a spiritual rock by the same name.

Tsukishiro is a name of a god and it also means Yorishiro, an object in which the god of the moon presides. It is believed that its opposite is Tedashiro, the god of the sun. In the two ancient history books, the Ryukyu Koku Yuraiki and the Ryukyu Koku Kyuki, which document the history of the Ryukyu Kingdom, it is written that the Noro Priestess of Baten who was called Tedashiro, gave the name to Kikoe Okimi as a deity name. The Baten Noro felt that the name was too sacred for her to be called the same, so she began to be called Yonawashi Okami. The Baten Noro was the daughter of Sakami Ufusu and the sister to King Sho Shisho who established the First Sho Dynasty. Kikoe Okimi was the Highest Priestess that presided over the goddesses during the age of the Second Sho Dynasty.

Before the First Sho Dynasty, before the Sanzan, or the three kingdoms, were united as one Ryukyu Kingdom, there lived King Eiso of Chuzan, the middle kingdom, who was called Tedako (the child of the sun). Through such historical records, we can see that in the ancient Ryukyu period, people revered the sun as a god. This may be why the Baten Noro was referred to as Tedashiro. The act of passing the sacred deity name of Tedashiro to Kikoe Okimi, is believed to have been an act of passing the religious authority from the First to the Second Sho Dynasties.

The duration of time that Baten Noro was known as Yonawashi Okami is believed to have been short, according to some scholars. It is believed that she was renamed Tsukishiro. Some believe that once Tedashiro was lost as their deity, the First Sho Dynasty replaced the God of the Sun with the God of the Moon as their protective deity. This is backed by historical evidence of the Ryukyu tradition to have revered the God of the Moon as well as the God of the Sun.


[A Stroll in the Myths and History of Okinawa]
Considering the passing of the holy name of Tedashiro, perhaps the legends of Tsukishiro, the deity god of the First Sho Dynasty lineage and the sacred rock of Tsukishiro come after the establishment of the Second Sho Dynasty. The truth, we may never know, but this is one theory. Perhaps again, history is formed by the victorious of the times but even through a single historical episode of Tsukishiro, we can see a glimpse of the political backdrop and history. Of course, there are other theories, but it certainly is interesting to look for clues to understand and reveal the mysteries of the Ryukyuan history and legends. To me, searching deeper into the history of Ryukyu is somewhat philosophical.

Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Mika Asaka


[A Stroll in the Myths and History of Okinawa]
Sashiki Ui Gusuku: 1155 Sashiki, Nanjo City, Okinawa