본문 바로가기
  • Home

Myths for Kingship of the Ryukyu Kingdom in the 17th and 18th Centuries

Jeong, Jin-hee 1

1아주대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Myths for Kingship of the Ryukyu Kingdomin the 17th and 18th CenturiesJeong, JinheeIn the 17th and 18th centuries, when the Ryukyu kingdom had been invadedand controlled by Japan, some official texts about ‘history’ were documented. In that texts, there are some myths about the kings-Syunten(舜天), Eiso(英祖),Satto(察度), Syouhasi(尙巴志), Syouen(尙圓)-who founded dynasties of Ryukyukingdom. This study attempts to delineate the features and meaning of those foundermyths as a polotial discourse for kingship. The results of this study are asfollows. 1. The founder myths are discourses to describe the genealogy of the Ryukyukingdom as the result of Mandate of Heaven(T’ien Ming, 天命). 2. In ancient okinawa, the sun was a symbol of ruler. The king of Ryukyukingdom was thought as ‘son of the sun’, ‘Tedako(てだこ, 太陽子) in thetime of Syou dynasty(尙王朝). But in the founder myths, the only oneTedako is Eiso. 3. In the myths, the ‘historical’ founders are described as the king foragriculture. They were said to make the farming instruments with iron andrule the spring water for farming. The iron and water for fariming wasthought to represent the power of king and the kingship. 4. The writers of myths aimed to be separated from the mythical kingshipof past Ryukyu(古琉球). So, they threw the idea of Tedako(=mythicalkingship) into the prison of mythical ages by rewriting myth of King Eiso. Instead of it, they built up the new image of agriculture-king who rulesand controlls the iron and water for good farming. The meaing of thischange, from ‘shiny sun’ to ‘cultural king’, is that the abstract and generalpower of kingship was turned into a concrete and restricted power ofkingship. On the bases of it, there was the confucian political ideas from154 비교문화연구 제35집 (2014. 6.)China, T’ien Ming thought(天命論). Under the influence of not only China but also Japan, the writers of mythsattempt to find a new way for their kingdom by reconstructing kingship withruminating over the kingship of past. The myth of founders in the 17th and 18thCenturies shows the aspects of kingship of Ryukyu kingdom and tells us thatthose myths are the political discourses identifying kingship and Ryukyukingdom.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.