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Shosatto

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  • Japanese: 承察度 (Shou satto)

Shôsatto was perhaps the name of a king of the Okinawan kingdom of Nanzan in the late 14th century.

Very little is known of this figure. Some records indicate that a figure named Shôeishishi, "uncle of Shôsatto, king of Sannan," and Shôeishishi's son, sent tribute to the Ming dynasty in 1388. The Míng shí lù ("Veritable Records of the Ming") indicates that in 1394/1, tribute arrived in China from both Shôsatto, king of Sannan, and from Satto, king of Chûzan; however, the Joseon Veritable Royal Records record in the same year that in 1394/9, an embassy from King Satto of Chûzan arrived in Korea, seeking the return of "Sannan prince Shôsatto" from his exile in Korea.

If Shôsatto did in fact send tribute in the 1st month and then go into exile in Korea soon enough afterwards that his return might be requested by the 9th month of the same year, nothing is known about why or when exactly he went into exile, or when or if he ever returned. As a result of this confusion, some scholars have suggested that the man in exile may have been not "prince Shôsatto" but rather "the prince of Shôsatto," i.e. his son. Others have suggested that the identity or very existence of a distinct figure known as Shôsatto may be even more unclear: they suggest that Chinese references to "Satto" 察度・査都 or "Shôsatto" might not in fact be references to the personal names of individuals, but rather to a more generic Ryukyuan noble title, sato 里 or satunushi 里主・里之子. They note that the Korean term sado 使道 also refers to local magistrates or locally powerful families or individuals. Thus, all Chinese references to "Satto" or "Shôsatto" might not in fact be references to specific individual figures, but rather to a myriad of different, overlapping and ambiguously (not) identified, leaving us forced to admit that perhaps we cannot in fact reliably pin any particular record (of actions, identities, or whereabouts) to any one particular "Satto" or "Shôsatto," but rather have to admit that any of these records could refer to any number of different individuals.

References

  • Gregory Smits, Maritime Ryukyu, University of Hawaii Press (2019), 82-83.
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