Historical play – “Surrender of Shuri Castle”

Historical play - “Surrender of Shuri Castle”

The scene in which King Sho Tai (second from left) surrenders the castle and bids farewell to his loyal followers after receiving the order to do so from the Meiji government. December 2, at the Naha City Hall.


December 3, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

On December 2, at the Naha City Hall, the Ryukyuan historical play “Surrender of the Shuri Castle,” which depicts the annexation of the Ryukyu Kingdom by the Meiji government, was performed. According to the Okinawa Actors’ Association, this play had not been performed for about 24 years since the last time it was at the Hall in 1988. The hall was very crowded and some of the audience had to watch standing. This significant work depicting the history of Okinawa was very well-received by the audience.

The Naha Municipal Office, the Okinawa Actors’ Association, and the Ryukyu Shimpo cooperated in hosting the event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Naha City Culture Association.

The play tells the story of when the Meiji government ordered the abolishment of the Ryukyu han (feudal domain) and forced the surrender of Shuri Castle. A confrontation ensued between the pro-Japan party and the pro-China party. King Sho Tai’s farewell scene, in which he surrenders the castle and parts from his loyal followers, brought tears to the eyes of many in the audience.

Yukari Kudaka, a student of Shuri High School, said, “We aren’t taught about Ryukyuan history at school. I was really moved by the scene in which King Sho Tai surrendered.” Toru Tamaki from Itoman said, “I associated the story with contemporary Okinawa. I hope there will be more such historical performances.”
Photograph: The scene in which King Sho Tai (second from left) surrenders the castle and bids farewell to his loyal followers after receiving the order to do so from the Meiji government. December 2, at the Naha City Hall.

(English translation by T&CT, Megumi Chibana and Mark Ealey)

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