Orikuchi Shinobu

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  • Born: 1887
  • Died: 1953
  • Japanese: 折口信夫 (Orikuchi Shinobu)

Orikuchi Shinobu was among the pioneers of Okinawan Studies. Along with Yanagita Kunio, he advanced the notion that Okinawa represented an earlier stage of Japanese tradition, and that study of Okinawan folklore, religion, and so forth could reveal much about Japan's own history.

He attended a significant Southern Islands Symposium (Nantô danwakai) held by Yanagita on 1921/4/21, and in July to August that year, visited Okinawa, returning to Okinawa again in July through September 1923, where he met with Ifa Fuyû and other prominent Ryukyuan scholars. From December 1923 onwards, he was a regular attendee at Yanagita's minzokugaku (folklore studies) symposia, and the following year he published an essay entitled Okinawa ni sonsuru waga kodai shinkô zangetsu ("The Remains of Our Ancient Faith, Which Exists in Okinawa"), in which he argued that Ryukyuan religion was not only of the same lineage as Japanese Shinto, but that it was in fact of a type with the origins of Shinto.


  • Yokoyama Manabu 横山学, Ryûkyû koku shisetsu torai no kenkyû 琉球国使節渡来の研究, Tokyo: Yoshikawa kôbunkan (1987), 9-10.