Godai Hidetaka

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  • Japanese: 五代直左衛門秀尭 (Godai Naozaemon Hidetaka)

Godai Hidetaka was a Confucian scholar in service to Satsuma han, who in an 1843 memorial to the daimyô, suggested that Ryûkyû, even with Satsuma's help, could not hope to resist Western ships militarily, and thus had no choice but to approach the situation diplomatically.

He suggested that Ryûkyû tell foreigners seeking to trade that Ryûkyû is a small and poor kingdom, and that its tributary relationship with China did not allow it to enter into separate or additional arrangements; if that did not suffice, Godai advised that the Ryukyuans tell the foreigners that if they wanted to trade at Ryûkyû they would need to negotiate with Beijing, or with the shogunate. If all else failed, Godai advised that Satsuma would have to concede to open some Ryukyuan ports to trade, in order to help guard against having to open any ports in Satsuma. The daimyô, advised additionally by Zusho Shôzaemon, implemented a version of these suggestions.

Godai's son, Godai Tomoatsu, later traveled along with an official bakufu mission to Shanghai in 1862, during which time he arranged with Scottish merchant Thomas Glover for the domain to purchase a steamship.[1]


  • Robert Hellyer, Defining Engagement, Harvard University Press (2009), 154-158.
  1. Hellyer, 194.