“The Ryukyu Kingdom adorns the southern seas, imbued with the masterpiece of the kingdoms of Korea shared with our Ming liege [in China] and is fortunately close to Japan. From this utopia between the two powers of China and Japan, our ships serve as a bridge to all nations and carry the riches that grace our lands.”
The bell was cast in 1458, but these sentiments continue to resonate five and a half centuries later.
The people of Okinawa have long been influenced by their position close to Japan, Korea and China. And their willingness to reach out to the major powers in the neighborhood speaks for the confidence of their culture.
For the Ryukyu Kingdom, its location was an advantage rather than a vulnerability, and foreign ties were the key to affluence. Long before Japan had opened its doors to the world, Okinawa played an active part of the regional Asian economy. For the people here, openness is the key expanding trade, sharing skills and developing new ideas.
© 2015, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.