Kokuo shotokuhi

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A reconstruction of the kokuô shôtoku-hi, which stands outside Shuri castle today
  • Erected: 1543
  • Japanese: 国王頌徳碑 (koku ou shou toku hi)

The kokuô shôtoku-hi (lit. "stele of poem of the king's virtue") is a stele erected in 1543 which stands just outside the compound of Shuri castle, the royal palace of the Ryûkyû Kingdom. It is, for that reason, also known as the "Ishijô no higashi no himon," or "Stele to the East of the Stone Gate [to the palace]."

The inscription, by Sengan, sixth abbot of Engaku-ji, praises King Shô Sei, who had the road paved running from the shrine at Bengadake, the highest point in Naha, to Shuri castle, and had pine trees planted all along its length. The inscription on one side of the stele is written in classical Chinese, and that on the other side in a combination of kanji and kana. The latter reads in part:


Shuri okiyakamoi ganashi no miyo ni miyako yori chiganemaru mikoshi mitama no watari môshi sôrô toki ni tatemôshi sôrô hinomon

"Stele erected on the occasion of the dispatch from Miyako of a sword named 'Chiganemaru' and sacred beads during the reign of King Shô Shin."[1]

The stele is believed to have been erected in commemoration of that occasion. Other elements of the inscription include a proscription against self-immolation following the king's death.

The open area around the stele came to be known as Himun-nu-mo ("Hair of the Stele Inscription"), and beginning in 1935 it came to be the terminal of the Naha-Shuri bus line. The stele was destroyed in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa; a reconstruction stands on the site today, based on surviving portions of the original, and on other surviving stelae.


  • Okinawa bijutsu zenshû 沖縄美術全集. vol. 4. Okinawa Times, 1989. Description of Plates 81-82.
  • Plaques on-site.[1]
  1. Text, romanization, and translation from Okinawa bijutsu zenshû.
The inscription on the kokuô shôtoku-hi.
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