Shō Taikyū

Shō Taikyū
King of the Ryūkyū Kingdom
Reign 1454–1460
Predecessor Shō Kinpuku
Successor Shō Toku
Born 1415
Died 1460
House House of Shō
Father Shō Hashi

Shō Taikyū (尚 泰久, c. 1415–1460,[1] r. 1454–1460[2]) was a king of the Ryūkyū Kingdom, the fifth of the line of the first Shō Dynasty. His reign saw the construction of many Buddhist temples, and the casting of the "Bridge of Nations" Bell (万国津梁の鐘 Bankoku shinryō no kane).

Life and reign

Shō Taikyū was the seventh son of Shō Hashi, founder of the Ryūkyū Kingdom and of the Shō Dynasty. In 1453, he was named Prince of Goeku, and given Goeku magiri (today part of Okinawa City) as his domain.[2]

When King Shō Kinpuku died in 1453, a succession dispute erupted between the king's son Shiro (志魯) and his younger brother Furi (布里). Shuri Castle was burned down in the conflict, which ended in the death of both Shiro and Furi, and the succession of Shō Taikyū to the throne.[2]

Having studied under Kaiin, a Zen monk from Kyoto,[3] Shō Taikyū had a number of Buddhist temples founded, including the Kōgen-ji, Fumon-ji, Manju-ji, and Tenryū-ji.,[4][5] and the so-called "Bridge of Nations" Bell cast.[3] The bell, with an inscription describing the kingdom's prosperity in maritime trade and diplomacy, hung in Shuri Castle for centuries and became a famous symbol of the castle and of the kingdom.

Shō Taikyū's reign was, indeed, a period of prosperity in maritime trade. Historian George H. Kerr writes that Okinawan merchants sometimes earned as much as a thousand-percent return on luxury goods, that Naha grew more fully into a prosperous-looking port town, and the estates of the local lords (anji) grew as well. However, Kerr also writes that Shō Taikyū's patronage of Buddhism and temple-building efforts far exceeded that which would have been demanded or supported by the populace, and that these activities impoverished the royal treasury.[6]

The reign of Shō Taikyū also saw one of the more famous episodes of political intrigues among the Aji in the history & legends of the kingdom. Informed by Amawari, lord of Katsuren gusuku and son-in-law of the king, that Gosamaru, lord of Nakagusuku and father-in-law to Shō Taikyū, was plotting to overthrow the kingdom, Shō Taikyū allowed Amawari to lead a royal contingent to subjugate Nakagusuku. Following Gosamaru's defeat and subsequent death, the king discovered that it was in fact Amawari who had been plotting against him from the beginning, and whose schemes led to the destruction of a loyal retainer. Katsuren was then subsequently attacked by the Ryukyuan army led by Uni-Ufugusuku, and Amawari captured and executed.[7][8][9]

Upon his death in 1460, Shō Taikyū was succeeded by his son, Shō Toku.

See also


  1. While the Encyclopedia of People of Okinawan History gives his birth year as 1415, the Okinawa Compact Encyclopedia gives it as 1410.
  2. 1 2 3 "Shō Taikyū." Okinawa konpakuto jiten (沖縄コンパクト事典, "Okinawa Compact Encyclopedia"). Ryukyu Shimpo (琉球新報). 1 March 2003. Accessed 27 July 2009.
  3. 1 2 "Shō Taikyū." Okinawa rekishi jinmei jiten (沖縄歴史人名事典, "Encyclopedia of People of Okinawan History"). Naha: Okinawa Bunka-sha, 1996. p42.
  4. Kerr, George. Okinawa: The History of an Island People. (revised edition). Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing, 2000. p99.
  5. Shinzato, Keiji, et al. Okinawa-ken no rekishi ("History of Okinawa Prefecture"). Tokyo: Yamakawa Publishing, 1996. p53.
  6. Kerr. pp99-100.
  7. Okinawa G8 Summit Host Preparation Council. "Three Castles, Two Lords and a Ryukyuan Opera." The Okinawa Summit 2000 Archives. Accessed 25 July 2009.
  8. "Gosamaru-Amawari no hen." Okinawa konpakuto jiten (沖縄コンパクト事典, "Okinawa Compact Encyclopedia"). Ryukyu Shimpo (琉球新報). 1 March 2003. Accessed 25 July 2009.
  9. "知花城跡." おきなわ物語. Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau, n.d. Web. 27 Jan 2014. <>.


Preceded by
Shō Kinpuku
King of Ryūkyū
Succeeded by
Shō Toku
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