Higa Shunchô was one of the most prominent Okinawan historians of the 20th century.
Born in Nishibaru, Okinawa, he graduated from Okinawa Normal University with a teaching certificate, and worked for a time as an elementary school principal. After retiring from teaching, he joined the Okinawa Mainichi Shinbun as a reporter, and became involved with the socialist movement.
In 1923, Higa moved to Tokyo, where he studied under Yanagita Kunio and Iha Fuyu, becoming a researcher focusing on Okinawan history and culture. His research covered a wide range of topics, including Okinawan history, folklore, language, arts, social movements, literature, and economics. Higa was a contributor in the compilation of the Okinawa-go jiten ("Dictionary of the Okinawan language"), and produced a survey of the University of Hawaii's Sakamaki-Hawley Collection.
Following World War II, he helped found the Okinawans' Association (Okinawajin renmei) and Okinawa Cultural Association (Okinawa bunka kyôkai).
The Okinawa Prefectural Library maintains a collection of his notes, manuscripts, diaries, and other personal documents, roughly 5,900 items in total, as the "Higa Shunchô Collection" (Higa Shunchô bunko). These were a gift to the library from his wife, Higa Eiko, in 1983. Some of the most significant of these documents are also included in the five-volume "Collected Works of Higa Shunchô" (Higa Shunchô zenshû) published by the Okinawa Times in 1971.
- Okinawa-go jiten (Dictionary of Okinawan Language), 1963.
- Ryûkyû geinô zenshû (Ryukyuan Performing Arts), 1956.
- Okinawa no rekishi (History of Okinawa), 1965.
- Sanson kaison minzoku no kenkyû (Research on Folk Customs of Mountain Villages and Ocean Villages), 1984.
- "Higa Shunchô." Nihon jinmei daijiten 日本人名大辞典, Kodansha, 2009.
- "Higa Shunchô." Okinawa Compact Encyclopedia 沖縄コンパクト事典, Ryukyu Shimpo, 1 March 2003.