“Father of the sanshin” memorial unveiled on Tsuken Island, Uruma

“Father of the sanshin” memorial unveiled on Tsuken Island, Uruma

People celebrate at the unveiling of the completed memorial at the birthplace of Akainko (February 21, Tsuken Island, Uruma)

March 4, 2021 Ryukyu Shimpo


Tsuken Island, Uruma – A memorial and an explanatory sign were recently erected on Tsuken Island, the birthplace of Akainko, father of the sanshin. The memorial was prepared by the executive committee of a volunteer organization on the island that works to maintain Akainko’s birthplace. The unveiling ceremony was held on February 21, and participants celebrated by playing the sanshin. On Sanshin Day (Sanshin no Hi), March 4, there was a series of performances in front of the memorial.

Koichi Kamiya, representing the executive committee, said “Akainko’s achievements were great. Uta-sanshin is even known on the opposite side of the world. I hope that this memorial attracts many visitors.”

Akainko served the king during the reign of Sho Shin (1477-1526). His activities were varied, from poetry and music to architecture. He is also known as the father of the sanshin.

On Tsuken Island, there is a legend that a pregnant woman from Sobe, in Yomitan fled to Tsuken to protect herself. She had her child in Shinugu Gama Cave on the island. That child was Akainko.


The area around Shinugu Gama was in need of clean up after being hit by a typhoon that left boulders strewn about. Donations were collected from supporters of creating a memorial and the area was cleaned up. At the unveiling ceremony, six individuals and organizations were given certificates of appreciation.


(English translation by T&CT and Ellen Huntley)

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