Hananchi was the third and final king of the Okinawan kingdom of Hokuzan.
He became king in 1397, upon the death of his father. He sent missions to Korea announcing his succession, and to China seeking investiture and recognition as ruler of all of Okinawa. He was the most active of all kings of Hokuzan in diplomacy and trade with China, sending 14 tribute missions.
Hananchi is said to have had great military prowess, but to have relied too much on his personal strength and skill, to the detriment of his relationship with his retainers. When his home castle of Nakijin gusuku came under attack from the armies of Shô Hashi in 1416, the attackers were kept at bay for a time, as the castle itself was quite strong. However, Hananchi was betrayed by a retainer, Motobu Taihara, who opened the gates and allowed Shô Hashi's forces in. Defeated, Hananchi committed suicide, supposedly with the famed sword Chiyoganemaru.
Much is unclear about Hananchi's reign; some have suggested that the -anchi portion of his name in fact refers to the aristocratic title anji 按司, making him perhaps "the anji of Han," though it then becomes unclear the placename this might refer to.
- Kerr, George. Okinawa: The History of an Island People. Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing, 2000. p82.
- "Hananchi." Okinawa rekishi jinmei jiten (沖縄歴史人名事典, "Encyclopedia of People in Okinawan History"). Naha: Okinawa Bunka-sha, 2002. p64.
- Gallery label, Naha City Museum of History, August 2013.
- Gregory Smits, Maritime Ryukyu, University of Hawaii Press (2019), 83.
|Reign as King of Hokuzan