Tōma Jūgō (1895-1971)

Tōma Jūgō (1895-1971) was a judge and politician of pre-war Okinawa prefecture and post-war Ryūkyū government, mayor of Naha, and administrative chief of the Ryūkyū government (November 1956 – November 1959). In his memoirs (1969) he remembers his Karate training under Nagamine Shōshin of Matsubayashi-ryū, and also talks about his activities in Sumō.

Jūgō was born in Naha as the son of journalist and Naha mayor Tōma Jūshin (1876-1923).

After finishing the 1st Prefectural Middle School in Shuri, he studied at the Faculty of Law of Kyotō Imperial University, from which he graduated in 1920.

Here the question arises: When did Tōma attend the 1st Prefectural Middle School in Shuri? According to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, school age started at age 7, followed by 6 years elementary school, 4 years middle school, 3 years higher school, and 3-4 years university.

Therefore, Tōma might have entered elementary school in April 1902 (when he had just had turned 7), attended elementary school from 1902-1908, attended Shuri Middle School from 1908-1912, attended higher school from 1912-1915, and attended university from 1915-1918 or 1919. He also might have attended elementary school in April 1903 (when he had just had turned 8). Then his years at Shuri Middle School would be 1909-1913 and the university graduation year 1919 or 2020, which fit his timeline.

In any case, his four-year course at Shuri Middle School was somewhere between 1908-1913. At this time, karate was a mandatory school subject at Shuri middle school.

In 1939 he was elected mayor of Naha. From 1940-45 he served as the director of the Okinawa branch of the “Imperial Rule Assistance Association.” Following the Battle of Okinawa (April, 1945) he served in successive jobs as member and director of the Department of Administrative Law under the Okinawa Civil Government. As a previously experienced person, in 1946 he was appointed mayor of Naha by the US armed forces.

Afterwards, he served as the chief judge of the Ryūkyū Appellate Court. Following mayor Matayoshi Kōwa’s demise in 1953, Tōma was again elected mayor of Naha.

In 1956, following Higa Shū’ei’s demise, Tōma assumed office as head of administration of the Government of the Ryūkyū Islands. While in office issues revolving around US military areas on the island arose during which he got in all-out confrontation with the “Ryūkyūan People’s Party”. This led to his forced abatement, with Senaga Kamejirou elected as his successor.

Following his resignation, he assumed office as company president of Radio Okinawa and the Okinawa Television Broadcasting Corporation. Seeing the sceptical attitude towards the “Ryūkyū Independence Movement,” and along the slogan “make Okinawa Okinawan again,” he supported the formation of the “Ryūkyū Independence Party” under Sakima Toshikatsu.

© 2020, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

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