The Chronicles of Ancient Naha
1543, the introduction of firearms to Japan. The first gun reached the shores of Japan by way of Portugal. Anyone in Japan could relay this fact to you. However, 100 years before this, firearms had already arrived on the shores of Okinawa. Why then, isn’t this included in Japanese history? This is because at the time, Okinawa was not a part of Japan.
That’s right. At one point, Okinawa was actually considered a foreign country. In fact, during the Heian Era, or the 12th century, they were just beginning to establish an agrarian society, over 1000 years behind mainland Japan in terms of advancement. After a period of civil war, in the 15th century the island was united under one ruler. This was the birth of the Ryukyu Kingdom.
The Ryukyu Kingdom had established itself as a successful international trade state. Not only did they trade with the neighbouring countries of China, Korea, and Japan, but their reach extended all the way to Southeast Asia. This period of prosperity continued for many years until the Satsuma invasion occurred. For a period, the island existed autonomously but eventually became a part of the Japanese prefectures in the 19th century. The island existed for over 450 years as its own unique country and culture, the Ryukyu Kingdom. After becoming “Okinawa Prefecture,” the small island continued to develop. That is until a “certain incident” in 1944.
So, let’s uncover the history buried in the soils of Okinawa, shall we?