Ryukyu-koku jiryaku

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Not to be confused with the 1757 Ryûkyû-koku shiryaku by Zhou Huang.
  • Written: Arai Hakuseki
  • Japanese: 琉球国事略 (Ryuukyuu koku jiryaku)

Ryûkyû-koku jiryaku (Abbreviated Matters of the Ryûkyû Kingdom) is a text by Arai Hakuseki. Unlike Hakuseki's Nantôshi, which is written in kanbun, the Ryûkyû-koku jiryaku is written in a more Japanese (wabun) form.

Though often included alongside four other texts[1] in a collection known simply as the Gojiryaku (lit. "Five Abbreviated Matters"), it is unclear whether the selection for this collection was made by Hakuseki himself, or by someone of a later time.

The Ryûkyû-koku jiryaku contains sections on the appearance of Ryûkyû in the texts of foreign dynasties (presumably mainly those from China, such as the Book of Sui), Ryûkyû itself, Ryukyuan tribute missions to China and Chinese investiture missions to Ryûkyû, and Ryukyuan governmental offices.

It is unclear precisely when the Ryûkyû-koku jiryaku was written, but its contents hint that Hakuseki wrote it either concurrently with Nantôshi (c. 1719), or at some later time while revising Nantôshi. References to Nantôshi and to his conversations with Ryukyuan envoys in 1710 and 1714 place the text no earlier than 1719 (and certainly no earlier than 1710 or 1714). The Ryûkyû-koku jiryaku also does not state the reason for its composition - unlike many texts, which explain this in the preface. However, scholars believe it was likely in some fashion commissioned or proposed by the shogunate, and was then composed to be formally presented to the shogunate.

The text circulated to a certain extent in early modern Japan in manuscript copies, and was first published in the Meiji period.


  • 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), 131-132.
  1. Gaikoku tsûshin jiryaku 外国通信事略, Honchô hôka tsûyô jiryaku 本朝宝貨通用事略, Kôya-san jiryaku 高野山事略, and Shugô jiryaku 殊号事略.