Uni Ufugushiku, Lady Fumiagari and royal family dispute in Old Ryukyu

So while working on a short overview about the legend of Uni Ufugushiku, I decided to present – a rather entertaining – glimpse of what happend back around 1458. Similarities with people alive or other karate authorities are purely accidental and not intended!

gosamaru_amawariAmawari was married to Lady Fumiagari, the daughter of King Shō Taikyū. King Shō Taikyū was married to Gosamaru’s daughter. Amawari forced Gosamaru into suicide (with his wife and two kids), so he actually killed his grandfather-in-law plus appendixes. Then Amawari decided to kill King Shō Taikyū, his father-in-law. But Amawari’s wife Lady Fumiagari, i.e. Shō Taikyū’s daughter and the late Gosamaru’s granddaughter, squealed her husband Amawari. Her retainer Uni Ufugushiku – disguised as a woman – killed Amawari, i.e. Lady Fumiagari’s husband, King Shō Taikyū’s son-in-law, and the late Gosamaru’s grandson-in-law. Then Uni Ufugushiku married Lady Fumiagari.

Some time later King Shō Taikyū’s son Toku, i.e. Lady Fumiagari’s brother, the late Amawari’s brother-in-law, and the late Gosamaru’s grandson, became king. But a different guy known as Shō En, who had no family or blood relation whatsoever, had enough and ended the whole dynasty and all were dead. Except Lady Fumiagari, who was exiled to a hut were she died still at young age.

The new king Shō En wrote a letter to the Chinese Emperor, saying his father Toku (of course he was not his father!) had died and he was the rightful heir. So the Chinese Emperor send him a crown and brocat garments and a seal and said “You are the new king!” King Shō En then told his historiographers to write a likable story and so they did and the kingdom lived happily ever after.

True story!

See the whole drama here ↓

BTW, Ufugusuku (or Ufugushuku, Ufugushiku, Uhugushiku etc.) 大城 is pronounced Oshiro today. It is a very common name, like Smith or Miller, Müller – Meier – Schmitz. Ufugushuku Kenyū lived in the 15th century and died shortly after the establishement of the 2nd Royal Dynasty of Ryukyu, established under King Sho En in 1469.

Ufugushuku Kenyū is a famous person in old Ryukyuan history. When the Bureau of Genealogies was established around the 1680s, some families traced their lineage back to Ufugushuku Kenyū. But the generations in between are difficult, because the genealogy was established more than 200 years after Ufugushuku’s death – and before the establishment of the Bureau, there were no genealogies… The main branch of this is the Mabuni Dunchi, i.e. the 1st born patrilinear son of the Mabuni House; but the genealogy seems to be a loss of war. The grave of the Mabuni Dunchi (head of family) was originally situated at Ufugushuku Kenyū’s tomb. All other sons of the Mabuni House are not Mabuni Dunchi and buried somewhere else; like Mabuni Kenwa, who was the 3rd or 5th son, and who is buried in Osaka.

There is only one lineage in existence going back to Ufugushiku, and it is a branch family established by Tansui Uekata, a famous court musician. Here again, 7 or 8 generations after Ufugushiku’s death are “difficult”, meaning it is rather unclear what exactly happened.

So, typically for Okinawa, the number of rumors and stories are inversely proportional to the lack of clear records and evidence.

Actually, Oshiro is the 3rd most often used name in Okinawa.

© 2016, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

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