Ancient letter from Shimazu to Ryukyu king found in Ehime

April 13, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

On April 13, a letter sent from Yoshihisa Shimazu, a Satsuma warlord, to Sho Nei, king of the Ryukyu Kingdom was discovered in an old house in Iyo City, Ehime Prefecture , according to Kyodo News. The letter was a request to send envoys, celebrating Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s subjugation of the Kanto region.

The letter is known as the 1950 “Shimounake County Public Office Preserved Document” (Ancient documents related to Ehime Prefecture from the Meiji Era) and copies of it have been confirmed. Satoru Kuroshima, an associate professor of History from the Historiographical Institute, the University of Tokyo believes that this is the original letter because it bears Yoshihisa’s stylized signature.

The letter is about 33 cm long and 45 cm wide. In the same year this letter was written, Hideyoshi defeated Hojo and dominated the whole country. To seal the Satsuma victory, Hideyoshi sent a letter requesting envoys to be sent to Kyoto as soon as possible. The letter is written in an oppressive tone, warning that there would be consequences if the Ryukyu king failed to oblige.

(Translation by T&CT, Kaya Doi)

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