Okinawan History Essay

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Ryukyu is the old name for Okinawa that originated from the Chinese, which means “glazed horn-dragon”. It’s a small patch of islands that stretch southwest from Kyushu to Taiwan and is referred as Nansei Islands, “Southwest Island”, by the Japanese (Britannica, 2013). Okinawa is surrounded by beautiful oceans and amazing coral reefs that makes it an attraction for travelers around the world. Okinawa has a history of influences from outsiders since ancient times to the modern era. Pressures from China, Japan, and the United States have been received by the Okinawan people into developing its own unique culture. The history of the Ryukyu Kingdom prior to the Meiji era was of an independent nation that was highly influenced by the Chinese but later destroyed by the invasion of a Japanese clan in the seventeenth century. Regardless of the exchanges that Okinawa had to endure, it has been able to maintain certain elements that remain with its people. One of those elements is the dependency of the women and her role in the life of Okinawa. Although it has appeared that man dominates the land, it’s actually the woman that is the center piece to keeping the flow of life very smooth. As to the mythical tale of the creation of Okinawa is of a Sun Goddess, Amamikyo, that descended down from heaven with her husband, Shinerikyo, to an island drifting on the waves, planted a tree, and claimed the land (Ames & Ashimine, 2000, p. 22). The Sun Goddess isn’t the only mythical legend in the history of Okinawa. The mother of King Satto, Tennyo, was believed to be an angel that was tricked into staying on earth due to Satto’s father hiding her robe of feathers so that she would not be able to return to heaven (Ames & Ashimine, 2000, p. 28). The myth gave Satto his legitimacy to the Mandate to Heaven and capable of ruling as king. These examples are beliefs that Okinawan women
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