The probaby oldest physical evidence for the Royal Coat of Arms of Ryukyu


igaonna Kanjun was one of the principal Okinawan historians who followed the trend of local cultural studies initiated by the father of Okinawan studies, Iha Fuyu. These two as well as other academics from the same field were in lose contact with Karate masters. Iha Fuyu, for example, wrote a quite extensive essay on the origin of martial arts in Ryukyu, which he dedicated to Funakoshi Gichin. The peculiar movement of local Okinawan studies essentially influenced the development of theories concerning the origin of Karate, brought forward by the masters of the time. Consequently these theories, with all their flaws, still circulate today.

The Tomb of the 100 Anji

But this post is not about these great academics. Rather, I’d like to show a photography which had been printed in Higaonna’s 1957 book “The History of Ryukyu,” and probably shows the oldest evidence for the coat of arms of the royal family, namely the “three left-turning commas,” or Hidari-gomon.

The coat of arms was found on an old wooden chest which was placed in the “Tomb of the 100 Anji,” Nakijin. This tomb served as the mausoleum for successive generations of the Guardian of Hokuzan and his family since the time of King Sho Shin.

Royal coat of arms of Ryukyu on an old wooden chest

Bibliographic reference: Higaonna Kanjun: Ryukyu no Rekishi (The History of Ryukyu). Shibundō, Tōkyō 1957.

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