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NAKIJIN CASTLE RemainsbHISTORY

HISTORY

IN DECEMBER 2000, GUSUKU SITES AND RELATED PROPERTIES IN OKINAWA PREFECTURE, INCLUDING NAKIJIN GUSUKU RUINS, WERE REGISTERED AS WORLD HERITAGE.

Nakijin-jo Site (or Hokuzan Gusuku)

Although who constructed the gusuku and when are still uncertain, archeological excavations prove that construction started by the 13th century.

Sanzan Period

A Chinese book rom the 14th century mentions three kings of the northern Ryukyus:Haniji, Min, and Hananchi. Around this period, Okinawa Island was divided into three principalities-northern Hokuzan, central Chuzan, and southern Nanzan. The Hokuzan principality controlled most of the northern reaches of the island and traded independently with China, until conquered by King Sho Hashi of Chuzan in 1416(or possibly 1422), and the Hokuzan history came to an end.

Kanshu Period

After defeating Hokuzan, Chuzan stationed a kanshu (Administrator) to govern the north, and the gusuku became his residence in 1422. However, during the 1609 Satsuma invasion of the Ryukyus, much of the gusuku was burnt to ashes. The site remained a spiritual center for the people of Okinawa long after it was no longer used as the Administrator's residence. Worshippers still come from throughout the islands.

World Heritage Value

To register gusuku sites and related properties as World Heritage included evaluation of some unique cultural aspects : these exhibit the unique Ryukyuan culture formed through close ties with Japan, China, and the other kingdoms of Southeast Asia. Thus, gusuku epitomized Ryukyuan society while also serving as a spiritual sanctuary for locals.

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