Ryo Kokuen

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  • Born: 1716/4/26
  • Japanese/Chinese: 国琬 (Ryou Kokuen / Liáng Guówǎn)

Ryô Kokuen was a Ryukyuan scholar-aristocrat who was prominent in teaching and training performers of Chinese music for various official court functions. He was appointed to a variety of temporary teaching positions of that sort in 1751, 1759, 1760, 1762, and 1772.

Kokuen traveled to China on tribute missions on at least two occasions prior to the age of 30, and served for a time as a Chinese-language interpreter. In 1751/8, he was appointed to be instructor in Chinese instrumental music for the musicians for an upcoming Ryukyuan embassy to Edo. For much of the following months (prior to the mission's departure in 1752/6), he led daily lessons and rehearsals at the Buddhist temple of Kôtoku-ji. In 1759 and 1760, he was appointed to teach pages (koshô) attached to the shoin within Shuri castle. Kokuen trained musicians for the 1764 mission to Edo as well, beginning in 1762/3, leading lessons and rehearsals at Ankokuzen-ji.

In 1772, he was granted a residence in Shuri, and was assigned to train performers (gakudôji) who would be accompanying the Crown Prince (Prince Nakagusuku) on a mission to Kagoshima. Daily lessons were again held at Kôtoku-ji.


  • Kaneshiro Atsumi, "Gakudôji, gakushi, kagakushi - uzagaku o tsutaeta hitobito" 「楽童子・楽師・歌楽師-御座楽を伝えた人々」, in Uzagaku no fukugen ni mukete 御座楽の復元に向けて, Naha, Okinawa: Uzagaku fukugen ensô kenkyûkai 御座楽復元演奏研究会 (2007), 78-79.
  • Uchida Junko, “Ryûkyû ôken to zagaku” 琉球王権と座楽, in Uzagaku no fukugen ni mukete, 24, citing Naha shishi 那覇市史 資料編 1:6、家譜資料(二)(下), p835.
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