Sho Sei (尚清)

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Shô Sei was king of the Kingdom of Ryûkyû from 1527 to 1555. He was the fifth son of King Shô Shin, who he succeeded to the throne.

Born to a royal consort named Kagô 華后, Shô Sei was initially not in the line of succession. However, his elder half-brother Shô Ikô (eldest son of Shô Shin) was for some reason in disfavor for much of his life; though Shô Ikô was formally named crown prince in 1507, Shô Sei was granted the title a year or two later and Shô Ikô driven into exile.

Following Shô Shin's death in 1526, the Ming Board of Rites, suspicious about various questionable or inconsistent aspects of the succession in previous generations and in the contentions between Shô Ikô and Shô Sei requested certification that Shô Sei was indeed the legitimate heir. This then became standard practice from then on.

Shô Sei took the throne in 1527 and received investiture shortly afterward. He suppressed a rebellion on Amami Ôshima in 1537, and took steps to improve defenses against wakô that same year.

Shô Sei fell ill in 1555, and called upon his top advisors, the Council of Three, to protect and support his heir, Shô Gen. All agreed, but later two of those advisors, Kunigami Keimei (Wa Ibi) and Gusukuma Shûshin (Katsu Kashô), turned against Shô Gen, declaring him weak and unfit for the throne and supporting Prince Ie (Shô Kanshin) instead. The third Council member, Aragusuku Anki (Mô Ryûgin), remained loyal to Shô Gen, admonishing the other two. The Chûzan seikan, an official history compiled by officials in service to the Shô dynasty several centuries later, asserts that all the loyal and righteous officials in the court supported Aragusuku and Shô Gen against these two "wicked" ministers. What truly transpired next is unclear, but in the end, following Shô Sei's death later that same year, Aragusuku's faction won out. Shô Gen took the throne, and Kunigami and Gusukuma were exiled to Kumejima and Iheyajima respectively.[1]

Preceded by:
Shô Shin
Reign as King of Ryûkyû
Succeeded by:
Shô Gen


  • Kerr, George (1958). Okinawa: The History of an Island People. Rutland, Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle Company.
  • Smits, Gregory (1999). Visions of Ryukyu: Identity and Ideology in Early-Modern Thought and Politics. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.
  • Smits, Maritime Ryukyu, University of Hawaii Press (2019), 132-133.
  1. Smits, Maritime Ryukyu, 142.