Baten utaki

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  • Japanese: 場天御嶽 (Baten utaki)

Baten utaki is a sacred space of the traditional Ryukyuan religion, located in Sashiki Shinzato, in what is today Nanjô City, in the southern part of Okinawa Island. The site is strongly associated with the founders of the first Shô Dynasty, Shô Shishô and Shô Hashi.

Official histories produced by the Ryûkyûan royal court in the 17th-18th centuries identify the daughter of Samekawa (and thus sister to Shô Shishô) as the priestess of Baten. The legends related in these official histories indicate that she traveled to Kyushu and brought back certain fish (known as kibinago in Kyushu, and by a variety of names on Okinawa); local festivals in Okinawa celebrated this accomplishment, as well as the supposed site where Samekawa's fishing nets hung to dry, and such related matters. In certain ritual contexts, she took on the deity name Tedashiro 太陽代 (proxy of the sun).

Though a prominent and powerful figure in the Ryûkyû Kingdom during the First Shô Dynasty (c. 1400-1469), the Baten priestess lost all prominence and influence under the Second Shô Dynasty, becoming replaced by the Kikôe-ôgimi.[1]


  • Gregory Smits, Maritime Ryukyu, University of Hawaii Press (2019), 110.
  1. Smits, 130.