Rin Seiko

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  • Born: Tenpô 12/12/24 (1842)[1]
  • Died: 1880/11/20
  • Title: 名城里之子親雲上 (Nashiro-sato-nushi peechin)
  • Japanese/Chinese: 世功 (Rin Seikou / Lín Shìgōng)

Rin Seikô was a Ryukyuan aristocrat and activist in support of the resumption of Ryûkyû's tributary relations with China following the abolition of the Kingdom of Ryûkyû and annexation of its territory by Japan in the 1870s. He committed suicide in Beijing in protest against China's agreeing to acknowledge Japanese sovereignty over the islands.

Rin Seikô, who is known primarily by his Chinese-style name, was born into the scholar-bureaucrat community of Kuninda (aka Kumemura). As a member of the Ryukyuan gentry class, he studied for a time in Beijing, beginning in 1868[2]. After returning to Ryûkyû, he served for a time as a teacher in the royal academy, before fleeing secretly to China in 1876[2], in the wake of the Japanese dissolution of the kingdom and annexation of its territory. Along with a number of other Ryukyuans who similarly fled to China at this time, he became involved in activist efforts, protesting the Japanese actions and seeking to persuade the Qing Court to take action.

In 1880, after much negotiations and threats of war between China and Japan over the issue of claims over Ryukyu and Taiwan, China was considering signing an agreement which would acknowledge Japanese sovereignty over Okinawa, while taking the Miyako and Yaeyama Islands for China, as a means for resolving the tension. Rin Seikô committed suicide in protest. The agreement was never signed.


  • "Rin Seikô." Okinawa Konpakuto Jiten (沖縄コンパクト事典, "Okinawa Compact Encyclopedia"). Ryukyu Shimpo. 1 March 2003. Accessed 26 October 2010.
  1. Tenpô 12 largely corresponds to 1841 on the Western calendar, but being born at the end of that lunar year, Rin Seikô's date of birth corresponds to a date in the next solar year, specifically 4 February 1842.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Rin Seikô." Dejitaru-ban Nihon jinmei daijiten (デジタル版 日本人名大辞典, "Digital Version, Japanese Biographical Encyclopedia"). Kodansha. 2009. Accessed via Kotobank.jp, 26 October 2010.