Shuri Castle - the ancient capital of Okinawa kingdom

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Once Okinawa had been unified in 1429 by Sho dynasty, Shuri became its capital. Okinawa kingdom being a vassal state of China, all the architecture of the palace has been so strongly influenced by the Chinese civilization that it creates an unique atmosphere in Japan.

For this reason, all of the castle has become a national treasure in 1925. Unfortunately, during the landing operation on Okinawa in June 1945 by Americans, the castle was reduced to ashes.

In order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the return back of Okinawa in 1972, the Japanese government has decided to restore Shuri castle following a plan of 1846 and the castle has been reopened to the public in 1992.

Shurei Gate (Shurei no Mon)

Located on the west of Shuri castle, this gate has been used to welcome a procession of the Chinese ambassador. Like other buildings of the castle, it had been completely destroyed during the world war II but restore in 1958.

In order to commemorate a G8 summit in Okinawa, the Japanese government has chosen this gate as the motif of a newly created bank note of 2000 yens. But this has provoked an irritation among Japanese nationalists because the notice at the top of the gate tells that "Shurei no kuni" i.e. "the country which respects the protocol", in short "Okinawa wants to obey the Chinese Emperor forever".

History of Okinawa island

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Photo Copyright, Keiko Mori
Last update: May 17, 2001
Text Copyright, Free Light Software