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Nakijin Castle is one of many castles, built across Okinawa during the era of the Ryukyu Kingdom. The independent kingdom had existed for several centuries prior to becoming a Japanese prefecture in 1879. Only ruins remain of the Nakijin Castle today..Nakijin Castle is among the sites, which were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites under the collective title "Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu" in the year 2000..Nakijin Castle is believed to have been built at around the 13th century, and was gradually expanded over a number of years. It played an important part in Okinawan history, and influenced the culture of the north, which still to this present day has distinct differences from southern Okinawa in language, religious ceremonies, and other aspects of Okinawan culture. ??During the 13th century, Okinawa was governed by territorial lords and chieftains called "anji". None of the lords could be recognized as a true king during this century, as their power and authority was limited. Each lord had their own retainers and estates. The "anji" governed the lands surrounding the castles of each lord, and paid their allegiance. They carried arms, and proclaimed themselves the head of the smaller outlying villages. Through this system the lords were able to control their own areas and levy taxes through the "anji". ??In the early part of the 14th century, three major areas emerged. The south came to be known as "Nanzan", and was controlled by the lord of Ozato CCastle. The central area, called "Chuzan", was dominated by the lord of Urasoe Castle, who enjoyed a more modern style of central government already in place, and was in control of the major castle towns and harbors. The third area, "Hokuzan", was overseen by the lord of Nakijin Castle in the north. The three seperate provinces each competed for recognition among China, and regularly traded independently of each other. ??Excavation at the Nakijin site has revealed its independ
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© 2005 Gianluca Colla
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Okinawa, the island of centenarians
Nakijin Castle is one of many castles, built across Okinawa during the era of the Ryukyu Kingdom. The independent kingdom had existed for several centuries prior to becoming a Japanese prefecture in 1879. Only ruins remain of the Nakijin Castle today..Nakijin Castle is among the sites, which were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites under the collective title "Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu" in the year 2000..Nakijin Castle is believed to have been built at around the 13th century, and was gradually expanded over a number of years. It played an important part in Okinawan history, and influenced the culture of the north, which still to this present day has distinct differences from southern Okinawa in language, religious ceremonies, and other aspects of Okinawan culture. ??During the 13th century, Okinawa was governed by territorial lords and chieftains called "anji". None of the lords could be recognized as a true king during this century, as their power and authority was limited. Each lord had their own retainers and estates. The "anji" governed the lands surrounding the castles of each lord, and paid their allegiance. They carried arms, and proclaimed themselves the head of the smaller outlying villages. Through this system the lords were able to control their own areas and levy taxes through the "anji". ??In the early part of the 14th century, three major areas emerged. The south came to be known as "Nanzan", and was controlled by the lord of Ozato CCastle. The central area, called "Chuzan", was dominated by the lord of Urasoe Castle, who enjoyed a more modern style of central government already in place, and was in control of the major castle towns and harbors. The third area, "Hokuzan", was overseen by the lord of Nakijin Castle in the north. The three seperate provinces each competed for recognition among China, and regularly traded independently of each other. ??Excavation at the Nakijin site has revealed its independ