Sho Tei

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This article is about King Shô Tei (r. 1670-1709). For other figures by the same name, see Shô Tei (disambig).
  • Died: 1709/7/13
  • Titles: 中城王子 (Nakagusuku ôji; Prince Nakagusuku), 琉球国中山王 (Ryûkyû koku Chûzan-ô; King of Ryûkyû, 1670-1709)
  • Japanese: (Shô Tei)

Shô Tei was king of the Ryûkyû Kingdom from 1670 until 1709. Prior to his reign, as Crown Prince, he made several significant visits to Beijing and Kagoshima.

In 1654, as Crown Prince, Shô Tei traveled to Beijing and exchanged the royal seal granted the kingdom by the Ming Dynasty for a new one from the Qing Dynasty, along with official re-affirmation from the Qing of his father, Shô Shitsu, as King of Ryûkyû.

The Crown Prince paid a formal visit to Kagoshima in 1660, setting a new precedent in place of the previous system of the Crown Prince residing in Kagoshima as a hostage; this new system of formal visits from the Crown Prince continued for over a century, until 1773.

Following his father's death on 1668/11/17, the prince was formally crowned king on 1670/1/11.[1] Celebrations of his coronation may have included the first ever performance of Qing music at a formal Ryukyuan court occasion.[2] Shô Tei received investiture from the Qing Court thirteen years later, in 1683.

Shô Tei oversaw the construction of the Confucian temple in Kumemura (in 1671), and of Uchaya udun, a "detached palace" for the entertainment of visiting envoys from China and Satsuma (in 1677)

His eldest son, Shô Jun, died young in 1706. Shô Tei had three other sons: Shô Kei (Tomigusuku Chôryô), Shô Mô (Oroku Chôki), and Shô Ki. After his own death in 1709, however, Shô Tei was succeeded by a grandson, who took the throne as King Shô Eki. Shô Tei is entombed in Tamaudun alongside his queen, Gesshin.

Preceded by:
Shô Shitsu
Reign as King of Ryûkyû
Succeeded by:
Shô Eki


  1. Yokoyama Manabu, Ryûkyûkoku shisetsu tôjô gyôretsu emaki wo yomu, in Kurushima Hiroshi (ed.), Egakareta gyôretsu (University of Tokyo Press, 2015), 169.
  2. 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), 109-110