The invasion of Ryukyu (琉球侵攻 Ryūkyū Shinkō) by forces of the Japanese feudal domain of Satsuma took place from March to May 1609, and marked the beginning of the Ryukyu Kingdom's status as a vassal state under Satsuma. The invasion force was met with stiff resistance from the Ryukyuan military on all but one island during the campaign. Ryukyu would remain a vassal state under Satsuma, alongside its already long-established tributary relationship with China, until it was formally annexed by Japan in 1879 as Okinawa Prefecture.
|Invasion of Ryukyu|
Map of Ryukyu Kingdom
|Ryukyu Kingdom||Satsuma Domain of Japan|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Greater than 3,000 men; unknown number of ships||3,000 men in 100 ships|
|Casualties and losses|
|At least 1,500||No more than 500|
The war was called the Disturbance of Kiyū (己酉ノ乱 Kiyū no ran) (1609 being a kiyū (己酉) year in the sexagenary cycle) or the Japanese Disturbance of Kiyū (己酉倭乱 Kiyū Wa ran) by the Ryukyu Kingdom. In Japanese, the war was called the Ryukyu Expansion (琉球征伐 Ryūkyū Seibatsu) or the Ryūkyū iri (琉球入り, "entry into Ryukyu") during the Edo period, and was called the Okinawa Expansion Campaign (征縄役 Sei Nawa no Eki) by many Japanese scholars before WWII.
Satsuma's invasion of Ryukyu was the climax of a long tradition of relations between the kingdom and the Shimazu clan of Satsuma. The two regions had been engaged in trade for at least several centuries and possibly for far longer than that; in addition, Ryukyu at times had paid tribute to the Ashikaga shogunate (1336–1573) of Japan as it did to China since 1372.
In the final decades of the 16th century, the Shimazu clan, along with Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who ruled Japan from 1582 to 1598, requested or demanded various types of aid or service from the kingdom on a number of occasions. King Shō Nei (r. 1587–1620) met some of these demands. Shō Nei sent a tribute ship, the Aya-Bune, to Satsuma in February or March, 1592, and agreed to provide approximately half of his allocated burden in preparation for the invasion of Korea, in 1593. However, Shō Nei also ignored many communications from Shimazu and Hideyoshi, which spurred the Shimazu, with the permission of the newly established Tokugawa shogunate (1603–1867), to invade Ryukyu in 1609, claiming it a punitive mission.
One of the chief events which spurred Satsuma to aggression occurred when Hideyoshi launched the first of two invasions of Korea. In 1591, Shimazu Yoshihisa said that "Hideyoshi ordered Ryukyu and Satsuma to contribute 15000 troops in order to invade China; however, Ryukyu is a far country and Japanese military strategy is unfamiliar to your forces. I exempt you from mobilization of the troops. In exchange, however, you must supply 10 months' rations for 7000 troops. " Sho Nei supplied only half in 1593.
Following Hideyoshi's death in 1598, and Tokugawa Ieyasu's subsequent rise to power, Shō Nei was asked by Satsuma to formally submit to the new shogunate, a request which was ignored. In 1603, some Ryukyu sailors were cast ashore on the coast of the Sendai domain. Tokugawa Ieyasu sent them back to Ryukyu. The Shimazu asked Ryukyu to thank Ieyasu again, but Ryukyu ignored the request. The Shimazu then requested to launch a punitive mission against Ryukyu. Approximately 100 ships carrying roughly 3,000 soldiers concentrated at Yamakawa harbor on March 1, 1609. Ichirai Magobee, who was one of them, would write a diary documenting the expedition. The fleet left harbor on March 4, under the command of Kabayama Hisataka and Hirata Masumune.
The Satsuma fleet arrived at Amami Ōshima on April 7, where the Amamian people did not resist, but assisted the Satsuma army. Tameten (笠利首里大屋子為転), the chief of Kasari, was a subject of Kabayama, and called on the Amamian people to surrender. Shigetedaru (焼内首里大屋子茂手樽), the chief of Yakiuchi, supplied the Satsuma army. On April 10, Shō Nei was informed of Satsuma's landing on Amami, and he sent Ibun (天龍寺以文長老), the priest of Tenryu temple, to Amami in order to surrender, but Ibun missed the Satsuma army for unknown reasons. On April 16, 13 Satsuma ships then left for Tokunoshima in advance, and the others left Amami at 6am on April 20.
On April 17, 13 ships arrived at Tokunoshima and dispersed. Two ships arrived at Kanaguma, but nothing happened. Eight ships arrived at Wanya. The ships were besieged all night by 1,000 people. On April 18, Satsuma troops disembarked, fired into the crowds, and killed 50 people. Three ships arrived at Akitoku, and were attacked at the water's edge by the Akitoku people. However, troops quickly fought back and killed 20-30 people. The Satsuma fleet also arrived at Akitoku at 4pm, April 20. On April 21, Kabayama left for Okierabu Island with 10 ships in advance. Others left Tokunoshima at 10am, April 24, and arrived at Okierabu at sunset. They met Kabayama and his ships there, and quickly departed for Ryukyu Island.
The Satsuma fleet arrived at Unten harbor on the Motobu Peninsula of Ryukyu Island on April 25 at 18:00. On April 27, some disembarked. They found Nakijin Castle deserted, and set fires in several places. As soon as Shō Nei heard of Satsuma's arrival at Nakijin, he called Kikuin (菊隠), the zen master, giving him a royal order: "You had lived in Satsuma for several years, so you know three lords of the Shimazu clan very well. Go and make a proposal for peace." Kikuin and his diplomatic mission (Kian was an assistant) left the Ryukyuan royal capital, Shuri at 8am, April 26, and arrived at Kuraha at 12pm. They left Kuraha for Onna by boat. On April 27, they left Onna, and arrived at Nakijin. Kikuin parleyed with Kabayama, who then ordered peace talks at Naha.
In the early morning of April 29, the Satsuma fleet and Kikuin left Unten harbor. They arrived at Ōwan, near Yomitanzan at 6pm. The Ryukyuan Mission left immediately, and arrived at Makiminato at 10pm, where they left their boat, and arrived late at night. Kikuin reported Kabayama's order to Shō Nei, and went down to Naha in the early morning. At Ōwan, Kabayama sent some of his officers to Naha in order to fulfill his promise, while he disembarked his other men, because he heard that there was a chain at the entrance of Naha harbor. "If there is a chain, no ship can enter the harbor." Kabayama and his army then landed at Ōwan, and marched to Shuri.
At 2pm, May 1, the Satsuma ships entered Naha harbor, and immediately held peace talks at Oyamise (親見世). At that time, there was a fire in Shuri, and Kabayama's force reacted and surged forward. Some Satsuma officers ran up to Shuri from Naha, and calmed down troops. Because Shō Nei gave Kabayama his own brother Shō Ko (尚宏), and all three of his ministers as hostage, Kabayama ordered his men to return to Naha from Shuri, and all of the Satsuma army were there by 4pm, May 1. On May 4, Shō Nei left Shuri Castle, and on May 5, some Satsuma officers entered the castle, and started making an inventory of treasures they found there.
On May 17, Shō Nei departed Unten harbor for Satsuma along with roughly one hundred of his officials. In August, 1610, he met with the retired Shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu in Sunpu Castle. He was then taken to Edo, for a formal audience with Shōgun Tokugawa Hidetada on August 28. On December 24, he arrived at Kagoshima, where he was forced to formally surrender and to declare a number of oaths to the Shimazu clan. In 1611, two years after the invasion, the king returned to his castle at Shuri. In the king's absence, Kabayama Hisataka and his deputy Honda Chikamasa governed the islands on behalf of their lord Shimazu Tadatsune. 14 samurai officials from Satsuma, along with 163 of their staff, examined the kingdom's political structures and economic productivity, and conducted land surveys of all the islands. Following the king's return to Shuri and the resumption of governance under the royal establishment, some Ryukyuan officials went to Kagoshima as hostages.
The surrender documents signed at Kagoshima in 1611 were accompanied by a series of oaths. The king and his councilors were made to swear that "the islands of Riu Kiu have from ancient times been a feudal dependency of Satsuma", and that there was a long-standing tradition of sending tribute and congratulatory missions on the succession of the Satsuma lords, though these were clearly not true. The oaths also included stipulations that the kingdom admit its culpability in ignoring and rejecting numerous requests for materials and for manpower, that the invasion was justified and deserved, and that the lord of Satsuma was merciful and kind in allowing the king and his officers to return home and to remain in power. Finally, the councilors were forced to swear their allegiance to the Shimazu over their king. Tei Dō, a royal councilor and commander of the kingdom's defense against the invasion, refused to sign the oaths, and was subsequently beheaded.
The Ryukyus remained nominally independent, an "exotic realm" (異国, ikoku) to the Japanese. The kingdom's royal governmental structures also remained intact, along with its royal lineage. However, Amami Ōshima and a number of other northern islands now known as the Satsunan Islands were annexed into Satsuma Domain, and they remain today within Kagoshima Prefecture. Though the king retained considerable powers, he was only permitted to operate within a framework of strict guidelines set down by Satsuma, and was required to pay considerable amounts in tribute to Satsuma on a regular basis. Efforts were also made to obscure Satsuma's domination of Ryukyu from the Chinese Court, in order to ensure the continuation of trade and diplomacy, since China refused to conduct formal relations or trade with Japan at the time.
This framework of guidelines was largely set down by a document sometimes called the Fifteen Injunctions (掟十五ヶ条, Okite jūgo-ka-jō), which accompanied the oaths signed in Kagoshima in 1611, and which detailed political and economic restrictions placed upon the Kingdom. Prohibitions on foreign trade, diplomacy, and travel outside of that officially permitted by Satsuma were among the chief elements of these injunctions. Ryukyu's extensive trade relations with China, Korea, and Southeast Asia were turned to Satsuma's interests, and various laws were put into place forbidding interactions between Japanese and Ryukyuans, and travel between the two island nations. Likewise, travel abroad from Ryukyu in general, and the reception of ships at Ryukyu's harbors, were heavily restricted with exceptions made only for official trade and diplomatic journeys authorized by Satsuma.
Hirata Masumune (平田 増宗, 1566 – 7 April 1610) was a Japanese samurai of the early Edo period. He was a retainer and karō in the service of the Shimazu clan of Satsuma Domain.
Hirata took part in Battle of Sekigahara. After Western Army lost the war, he saved Shimazu Yoshihiro's wife and Shimazu Iehisa's wife, let them go back to Satsuma safely.
Shimazu clan decided to invade Ryukyu Kingdom in 1609, Hirata Masumune was appointed vice general. The invasion of Ryukyu was successful, Satsuma troops captured King Shō Nei and his ministers, and took them to Kagoshima. But Hirata got involved in family conflict of Shimazu clan, and was murdered by Oshikawa Kimichika (押川 公近) in the next year.Kabayama Hisataka
Kabayama Gonzaemon Hisataka (樺山 権左衛門 久高, 1560 – 1634) was a Japanese samurai of the early Edo period. He was a retainer, senior advisor (karō), and senior deputy commander in the service of the Shimazu clan.Keichō
Keichō (慶長) was a Japanese era name (年号, nengō, "year name") after Bunroku and before Genna. This period spanned from October 1596 to July 1615. The reigning emperors were Go-Yōzei-tennō (後陽成天皇) and Go-Mizunoo-tennō (後水尾天皇).Kian (tea master)
Kian (喜安, 20 January 1566 – 10 August 1653) was a Japanese tea master and priest who was active in the Ryukyu Kingdom. In Ryukyuan history records, his full name was Bin-shi Kian Nyūdō Bangen (閔氏 喜安入道 蕃元) or Bin-shi Kian Ueekata Bangen (閔氏 喜安 親方 蕃元). He is best known for his diary, the Kian Nikki (喜安日記), which chronicled the 1609 Invasion of Ryukyu.Kian was born in Sakai, Izumi Province, Japan. He studied tea ceremony from Kōin (康印), a disciple of Sen no Rikyū. Later, he learned Waka and Classical Chinese poetry.
Kian came to Ryukyu at the age of 35. He enjoyed a widespread reputation there and several years later he was appointed Chamberlain of the palace and was given the Chinese style surname, Bin (閔).
In the spring of 1609, Satsuma Domain invaded Ryukyu and captured the strategically important Nakijin Castle. Kian went there to request a peace negotiation together with a Buddhist monk named Kikuin, but they were arrested by Satsuma troops. After the war, he was taken to Kagoshima together with King Shō Nei and a number of high officials by Satsuma troops. After Shō Nei returned to Ryukyu, Kian was appointed "imperial tea master" (御茶道).
Kian wrote a Gunki monogatari called Kian Nikki (喜安日記, "Kian Diary") during King Shō Hō's reign. It is a very important account of Satsuma's invasion.Kunigami Seisoku
Kunigami Wōji Seisoku (国頭 王子 正則, ? – ?), also known by his Chinese style name Ba Kokuryū (馬 国隆), was a bureaucrat of Ryukyu Kingdom.
He was the seventh head of the aristocrat family called Kunigami Udun (国頭御殿), and was also the eldest son of Kunigami Seiya (国頭 正弥). His rank was Aji (lord) at first. In 1643, he was elevated to the rank Wōji (prince) though he had no royal blood, and dispatched to express the gratitude of King Shō Ken's accession to Edo, Japan. He reached Edo in the next year, and sailed back to Ryukyu in winter. He was also dispatched to celebrate Tokugawa Ietsuna become the new shōgun in 1653.Prince Kunigami was sent to Satsuma Domain for several times and played important role in diplomacy to Satsuma. He was a friend of Shimazu Mitsuhisa (島津 光久), the daimyō of Satsuma. After the invasion of Ryukyu, a member of sanshikan should be taken as hostage in Kagoshima for three years. Henza Chōchō (平安座 朝暢, also known by Chatan Chōchō) was sent to Kagoshima to seek rescission of it, but was rejected by karō of Satsuma. Prince Kunigami requested it in a banquet and was approved by Mitsuhisa.Prince Kunigami was a political opponent of Haneji Chōshū.List of wars involving Japan
This is a list of wars involving Japan.Mie Castle
Mie Castle (三重城, Mie jō, Okinawan: Mii gushiku) is a Ryukyuan gusuku in Naha, Okinawa. It is located on the northern mouth of the Kokuba River in Naha Port.Military of the Ryukyu Kingdom
The military of the Ryukyu Kingdom defended the kingdom from 1429 until 1879. It had roots in the late army of Chūzan, which became the Ryukyu Kingdom under the leadership of King Shō Hashi. The Ryukyuan military operated throughout the Ryukyu Islands, the East China Sea, and elsewhere that Ryukyuan ships went. Ryukyu primarily fought with other Ryukyuan kingdoms and chiefdoms, but also Japanese samurai from Satsuma Domain and pirates. Soldiers were stationed aboard ships and Ryukyuan fortifications. The Ryukyuan military declined after the 17th century.Minamoto no Tametomo
Minamoto no Tametomo (源 為朝, 1139 – April 23, 1170) (also known as Chinzei Hachirō Tametomo (鎮西 八郎 為朝)) was a samurai who fought in the Hōgen Rebellion of 1156. He was the son of Minamoto no Tameyoshi, and brother to Yukiie and Yoshitomo.
Tametomo is known in the epic chronicles as a powerful archer and it is said that he once sunk an entire Taira ship with a single arrow by puncturing its hull below the waterline. It is also added in many legends that his left arm was about 4 in. longer than his right, enabling a longer draw of the arrow, and more powerful shots. He fought to defend Shirakawa-den, alongside his father, against the forces of Taira no Kiyomori and Minamoto no Yoshitomo, his brother. The palace was set aflame, and Tametomo was forced to flee.
After the Hōgen Rebellion, the Taira cut the sinews of Tametomo's left arm, limiting the use of his bow, and then he was banished to the island of Ōshima in the Izu Islands. Tametomo eventually killed himself by slicing his abdomen, or committing seppuku. He is quite possibly the first warrior to commit seppuku in the chronicles.Motobu Peninsula
The Motobu Peninsula (本部半島, Motobu hantō, Okinawan: Mutubu) is a peninsula in the Yanbaru region of Okinawa Island. It is surrounded by Nago Bay to the south, the Haneda Inland Sea to the north, and the East China Sea to the west. It is mostly mountainous, with a few plains. The peninsula's northeasternmost point is Cape Bise. Its highest point is Mount Yae, whose summit is 593 metres (1,946 ft). Due to a US military communications tower, the summit is off-limits. The peninsula was the center of power for the kingdom of Hokuzan in medieval times, and was the site of fierce fighting during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.Nakijin Castle
Nakijin Castle (今帰仁城, Nakijin Gusuku) is a Ryukyuan gusuku located in Nakijin, Okinawa. It is currently in ruins. In the late 14th century, the island of Okinawa consisted of three principalities: Nanzan to the south, Chūzan in the central area, and Hokuzan in the north. Nakijin was the capital of Hokuzan. The fortress includes several sacred Utaki groves, reflecting the castle's role as a center of religious activity. It is today known for the Hikan cherries which bloom in northern Okinawa between mid-January and early February, providing the first cherry blossoms each year in Japan.Ryukyu Domain
The Ryukyu Domain (琉球藩, Ryūkyū han) was a short-lived domain of Japan, lasting from 1872 to 1879, before becoming the current Okinawa Prefecture and other islands at the Pacific edge of the East China Sea.
When the domain was created in 1872, Japan's feudal han system had developed in unique ways. The domain was a political and economic abstraction based on periodic cadastral surveys and projected agricultural yields. In other words, the domain was defined in terms of kokudaka, not land area. This was different from the feudalism of the West.Ryukyuan missions to Edo
Over the course of Japan's Edo period, the Ryūkyū Kingdom sent eighteen missions to Edo (琉球江戸上り, ryūkyū edo nobori, "lit. 'the going up of Ryūkyū to Edo'), the capital of Tokugawa Japan. The unique pattern of these diplomatic exchanges evolved from models established by the Chinese, but without denoting any predetermined relationship to China or to the Chinese world order. The Kingdom became a vassal to the Japanese feudal domain (han) of Satsuma following Satsuma's 1609 invasion of Ryūkyū, and as such were expected to pay tribute to the shogunate; the missions also served as a great source of prestige for Satsuma, the only han to claim any foreign polity, let alone a kingdom, as its vassal.Shunten
Shunten (舜天, 1166–1237), also known as Shunten-Ō (舜天王, lit. "King Shunten"), was a chief of the Ryūkyū Islands. Shunten is the earliest chief in Okinawa for whom a name is known. He is said to have taken power after defeating a usurper to the throne by the name of Riyū who had overthrown the 25th chief of the Tenson Dynasty.Shō Hō
Shō Hō (尚豊, 1590–1640), also known as Shengfeng, was a king of the Ryukyu Kingdom. He succeeded Shō Nei, whose reign saw the invasion of Ryukyu by Japanese forces in 1609 and the subjugation of the kingdom to Satsuma Domain, and ruled from 1621 until 1640.
Shō Hō was the fourth son of Shō Kyū, the third son of King Shō Gen. In 1616, he was appointed kokushō, a high government position akin to prime minister or chief royal advisor, which would later be replaced with sessei.
Three years later, Shō Hō was named Prince of Nakagusuku and given Nakagusuku magiri as his domain. King Shō Nei died without an heir in 1621, and Shō Hō was selected to succeed him. As the first king to be enthroned since Satsuma's invasion in 1609, formal permission and acknowledgment of the king's authority and legitimacy was required before performing the coronation ceremony, sending heralds to China, and assuming the responsibilities of the throne. In addition, while Shō Hō retained powers related to organization of offices and administration of punishments, along with all the ritual prestige of the throne, Shō Nei was the last king of Ryukyu to rule personally, directly, and absolutely as monarch. Much of the decisions and behavior of Shō Hō's government were subject to Satsuma's approval.Relations with China were also strained. At the start of Shō Hō's reign, Okinawan tribute ships were only welcome in Fuzhou once every ten years. The Chinese Imperial Court had reduced the tribute missions to this frequency following the Japanese invasion in 1609, claiming that it was done in consideration of the instability and poverty that the chaos of the invasion must have brought to the kingdom. In fact, these tribute missions, the only legal method of trading with Ming China, were essential to the kingdom's economic prosperity. Therefore, in 1623, when investiture missions were exchanged, the Ryukyuan officials pushed for a return to the system of sending tribute every other year; it was decided that missions would be allowed once every five years.After a twenty-year reign, Shō Hō died in 1640, and was succeeded by his son, Shō Ken.Shō Nei
Shō Nei (尚寧, 1564–1620) was king of the Ryukyu Kingdom from 1587–1620. He reigned during the 1609 invasion of Ryukyu and was the first king of Ryukyu to be a vassal to the Shimazu clan of Satsuma, a Japanese feudal domain.
Shō Nei was the great-grandson of Shō Shin (尚真, r. 1477–1526) and the adopted son-in-law of Shō Ei (尚永, r. 1573–1586).Tōma Jūchin
Tōma Pekumi Jūchin (当間 親雲上 重陳, 4 February 1591 – 16 May 1676) was a Japanese samurai of Satsuma Domain during Edo period, later became a bureaucrat of Ryukyu Kingdom.Tōma Jūchin was born to a Japanese clan, Ijichi-shi (伊地知氏) of Ōsumi Province, and was given the name Ijichi Tarōuemon (伊地知 太郎右衛門). He was a descendant Hatakeyama Shigetada.
In his early years, he was appointed as Yamato yokome (大和横目, "supervisor of Japan") and sent to Ryukyu. Later, he became a bureaucrat of Ryukyu in 1634, started to wear Ryukyuan clothes, and started to use Japanese style name (大和名, Yamatona) "Tōma Jūchin" and Chinese style name (唐名, Karana) "Hei Keishō" (平 啓祥).After Satsuma's invasion of Ryukyu in 1609, Ryukyu were getting poorer and poorer. Ryukyu had to borrowed money from Satsuma, but the debt was getting heavier and heavier and Ryukyu was unable to pay off it. Tōma Jūchin established government monopoly system of muscovado and turmeric in 1645, which alleviated the intense economic difficulties faced by the kingdom successfully. He also minted Hatome-sen (鳩目銭, "pigeon-eye coins") in 1656.Urasoe Castle
Urasoe Castle (浦添城, Urasoe jō, Okinawan: Urashii Gusiku) is a Ryukyuan gusuku which served as the capital of the medieval Okinawan principality of Chūzan prior to the unification of the island into the Ryukyu Kingdom, and the moving of the capital to Shuri. In the 14th century, Urasoe was the largest castle on the island, but today only ruins remain.Yarazamori Castle
Yarazamori Castle (屋良座森城, Yarazamori jō, Okinawan: Yarazamui gushiku) was a Ryukyuan gusuku in Naha, Okinawa. It was located on the southern mouth of the Kokuba River in Naha Port.
Campaigns of the Shimazu clan