Research Association published an open letter to Kyoto University


August 24, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo


On August 23, Professor Yasukatsu Matsushima, representing the Research Association for the Repatriation of Ryukyu Remains, published an open letter to Kyoto University regarding the holding of Ryukyuan remains.

The remains of Ryukyu people appear to have been excavated in 1928-1929 from Mumujana Grave in Nakijin by researchers from the former Imperial Universities and kept at Kyoto University.

The Association requested answers to its questions by the end of September.

The Association also requested a document concerning the remains (a list of the numbers of people whose remains are being kept).

At the interview, Kyoto University did not reveal the details of how the remains are being stored.

The open letter claims that taking remains “infringes on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which violates international law” and is also “blasphemy to the deceased because it ignores traditional beliefs.

” Regarding the refusal to answer some questions on the storage situation of the remains asked by Professor Matsushima in May, Professor Matsushima criticized this saying it was a “colonialistic reaction.”

Furthermore, the Association showed that the Association of Comprehensive Studies for Independence of the Lew Chewans (ACSILs) had submitted to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in April a report requesting the return of the remains.

The Association also indicated that Taiwan University announced an intention to return remains to Okinawa.

It has requested the return of remains of Ryukyu people as well as an apology.

There are six requests including 1) the storage situation of the remains, 2) the background to the storing of the remains 3) the result of research using the remains, 4) the existence of the remains of indigenous peoples of Taiwan.

The Association also requested that a forum for dialogue between the Association and the University be established.

Professor Matsushima said, “Administrative staff at the university have received the letter.

However, at the meeting, information on the remains and the universityʻs opinion were not revealed.

We will continue to work with the prefecture’s elected Diet members and Taiwanese researchers to request a return.”


(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)


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