Oroku Ryochu

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  • Born: 1819
  • Other Names: 克承 (Ba Kokushô / C: Mǎ Kèchéng)
  • Japanese: 小禄 良忠 (Oroku Ryouchuu)

Oroku Ryôchû, also known by his Chinese-style name Ba Kokushô, was a Ryukyuan aristocrat-official, known both as the most popular[1] gakudôji in the history of the Ryukyuan embassies to Edo, and, later as father-in-law to King Shô Tai (r. 1848-1872), and a member of the Sanshikan ("Council of Three").

Ryôchû was the eldest son of Oroku Ryôkyô, a member of the Sanshikan under King Shô Iku (r. 1835-1847). In 1832, while holding the court rank or title of satunushi, Ryôchû served as a gakudôji (singer/dancer) in that year's embassy to Edo. Japanese popularly published guides to, or records of, that mission, published at the time, such as the Ryûkyûjin gyôretsu ki, identify him as "[a] beautiful young man, up until now and from now on,"[2] an indication of the attention he received at the time. One of Ryôchû's sons, known by the Chinese-style name Ba Shûjun, also served as a gakudôji on a later Edo mission.[3]

Ryôchû served as a dancer/performer welcoming and entertaining Chinese investiture envoys in 1837 as well, and was regarded as exceptionally talented at the performing arts.

He became the father-in-law of King Shô Tai in 1852, and journeyed to Fuzhou. He was appointed to the Sanshikan in 1857, but was dismissed from that post in 1859, in the aftermath of the Makishi-Onga Incident. Ryôchû was imprisoned, and then sentenced to a 500-day exile at the Buddhist temple of Shôtai-ji on Iejima. Though Ryôchû appears in the Ba Family (Oroku House) kafu (geneology / family records), his date of death does not.


  • "Oroku Ryôchû." Okinawa Compact Encyclopedia 沖縄コンパクト事典, Ryukyu Shimpo, 1 March 2003.
  • Sakihara Ayano 崎原綾乃, "Ryûkyû shisetsu no bunka kôryû - bungaku, geinô" 琉球使節の文化交流~文学・芸能, in Ryûkyû shisetsu, Edo he iku! 琉球使節、江戸へ行く!, Okinawa Prefectural Museum, 2009.


  1. Sakihara, 63.
  2. 「至而美少年ナリ」. Sakihara, 63.
  3. Liao Zhenpei 廖真珮, "Ryûkyû kyûtei ni okeru Chûgoku kei ongaku no ensô to denshô" 琉球宮廷における中国系音楽の演奏と伝承, in Uzagaku no fukugen ni mukete 御座楽の復元に向けて, Naha, Okinawa: Uzagaku fukugen ensô kenkyûkai 御座楽復元演奏研究会 (2007), 124., citing the kafu in Naha shishi 那覇市史, vol 7, 534-535, 541-542.