Naata Ufushu

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Naata Ufushu was a Ryukyuan local chief who supported the forces of the Kingdom of Ryûkyû in suppressing the rebellion of Oyake Akahachi, another regional chieftain.

Naata[2] was born on Hateruma Island and traveled to Ishigaki-jima at the age of eight[1]. According to some accounts, he was a childhood friend of Oyake Akahachi, and they relocated to Ishigaki together.[3] Over the years, however, as Naata gained power, eventually uniting Ishigaki Village and becoming its head, he became a rival of Akahachi's.[1]

According to some accounts, Akahachi approached Naata and a number of other local chieftains seeking to have them join him in rebellion against the Kingdom of Ryûkyû. Naata is said to have been quite loyal to the king, and sought to appease Akahachi by offering him his younger sister Koitsuba's hand in marriage; this failed, and Akahachi escaped to Iriomote-jima with Koitsuba and her two younger brothers[1]. Akahachi was defeated in the end by royal forces, with Naata's support[1]. In some such accounts, Naata had two brothers who also died in the fighting before Naata himself escaped to Iriomote, and alerted Nakasone Tuyumya of Miyako Island to alert Shuri to send forces to stop Akahachi's "rebellion."[4]

Other accounts, however, suggest a less romantic version of events, in which Naata, Akahachi, and others (many of whom may have in fact been wakô leaders, and not the indigenous heroes/chieftains legends sometimes present them as) simply vied for power against one another, resulting in a complex multi-directional conflict which ultimately ended in all involved being defeated by forces dispatched from Shuri (i.e. the Ryûkyû Kingdom) to "pacify" or conquer the islands.[4]

It is sometimes said that Naata was the son of Nakasone Toyomiya, or otherwise descended from him, but this seems unlikely[5], as Nakasone is known to have lived sometime around 1500-1530, which would make him younger or contemporaneous with Naata, not old enough to be his father or other ancestor.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Naata Ufushu." Okinawa rekishi jinmei jiten (沖縄歴史人名事典, "Encyclopedia of People of Okinawan History"). Naha: Okinawa Bunka-sha, 1996. p53.
  2. This is the Okinawan language pronunciation of the name. This would be "Nagata" in Japanese. Ufushu (Ôshu or Ônushi in Japanese) is not a name, but rather means "great leader."
  3. Gregory Smits, Maritime Ryukyu, University of Hawaii Press (2019), 57.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Smits, 57-58.
  5. "Naata Ufushu." Okinawa konpakuto jiten (沖縄コンパクト事典, "Okinawa Compact Encyclopedia"). Ryukyu Shimpo (琉球新報). 1 March 2003. Accessed 9 September 2009.