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Nakijin Chofu

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  • Born: 1847/6/4
  • Died: 1915/8/11
  • Japanese: 今帰仁朝敷 (Nakijin Choufu)

Nakijin Chôfu, often known simply as Prince Nakijin, was the third child of King Shô Iku of the Ryûkyû Kingdom, and thus a younger brother to Shô Tai, the last ruler of the kingdom. During the various stages of the Japanese overthrow of the kingdom in the 1870s, Prince Nakijin frequently served as a representative or intermediary for his brother, who was either ill, or feigned illness in order to protest or delay the overthrow, or to at least avoid the loss of face involved in having the King face such events firsthand.

Chôfu held the title of Prince Gushikawa earlier in life, but was later named Prince Nakijin. He served as the chief representative of the royal government on a number of occasions during the 1870s, including chiefly interactions with Matsuda Michiyuki, who was in 1875 officially designated by the Meiji Emperor as the chief Japanese official in charge of the "disposal" of the kingdom. The Prince met Matsuda for the first time later that year, on July 14, 1875, at which time Matsuda conveyed a series of demands from the Meiji government, including demands that the kingdom end Ryukyuan tribute missions to China; speaking on behalf of his older brother the king, Nakijin rejected all of Tokyo's demands. Nakijin's second interaction with Matsuda took place on January 26 1879, when Matsuda presented him with a formal letter from the Prime Minister of Japan reproaching Ryûkyû for breaking the prohibition imposed by Japan on sending diplomatic missions to China, and for obstructing the implementation of Japanese law enforcement and criminal administration in the islands, which had already begun to be implemented in the islands. Matsuda then returned to Tokyo, but came back to Ryûkyû yet again that March, presenting to Prince Nakijin on March 27 the official order from Tokyo dissolving the Kingdom of Ryûkyû, and annexing its territory into Japan as Okinawa Prefecture.

References

  • "Nakijin Chôfu," Okinawa Compact Encyclopedia, Ryukyu Shimpo, 1 March 2003.
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