Momourasoe rankan monument

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  • Erected: 1509
  • Japanese: 百浦添欄干之銘 (momourasoe rankan no mei)

The Momourasoe rankan no mei is a 1509 inscription on the stone balustrade (rankan) in front of the Seiden (main hall), or Momourasoe nu udun ("palace ruling over the many harbors"), at Shuri castle, extolling the praises of King Shô Shin of the Ryûkyû Kingdom.

The eleven items listed in the classical Chinese inscription include mention of Shô Shin's patronage of Buddhism; his enlightened administration; the subjugation of Yaeyama; the confiscation of weapons and strengthening of the kingdom's military and economy; the establishment of a system of court ranks indicated by colored hachimaki and hairpins; the beautification of the palace; the restoration of prosperous relations with the Ming Empire; and the learning & adopting of Chinese models of Imperial court ritual, administration, and bureaucracy.[1]

This inscription is the chief primary source from which most understandings or arguments about Shô Shin's confiscation of all weapons, and the subsequent pacifism of the Ryûkyû Kingdom, derive. However, some historians argue that this should not be interpreted to mean that Shô Shin did this with pacifistic intentions, to collect all weapons and destroy them (or hide them away). Rather, they argue, the king sought to consolidate military power in the hands of the kingdom, denying it to the regional lords (anji), and thus safeguarding against their plotting rebellion. The weapons were not destroyed, or "hidden away" from use, but stored, as an armory to be accessed when needed for the defense of the kingdom.


  1. Smits, Maritime Ryukyu, University of Hawaii Press (2019), 139-140.