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Okinawan Studies: BLOG / News

This guide to introduce you to resources on Okinawa and Ryukyu.

Devastated Fire at Shuri Castle

by Sachiko Iwabuchi 岩渕祥子 on 2019-10-31T15:00:00-10:00 | Comments

On October 31, 2019 (Japan Time), most of the Shuri Castle in Naha City was burned down due to fire. The cause has not been determined. 

The New York Times reported the news with the headline, "The World Heritage site, a symbol of the southern island of Okinawa, was once the seat of a kingdom that spanned 450 years."

A devastating fire on Thursday destroyed most of Shuri Castle, a top tourist destination on the Japanese island of Okinawa and a World Heritage site that was once the seat of a kingdom that spanned 450 years.

No one was injured in the blaze, which was first reported at 2:40 a.m. and was extinguished by 11 a.m., according to local officials and news reports. But the fire burned seven buildings to the ground, including the austere main hall, according to NHK, the national broadcaster.

Television images showed flames engulfing the skeleton of the main hall, a symbol of Okinawa that sat on a hill overlooking the city of Naha. Officials have not yet determined the cause of the fire... Kurayoshi Takara, a professor at the University of the Ryukyus, told NHK that the fire took not just the building and its history, but also many of the priceless artifacts, like tools used in the kingdom. 'I cannot accept the reality,' he said.

Victor, Daniel. 31 October 2019. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Video clip from The Ryukyu Shimpo:

The Hawai'i United Okinawa Association started funding to rebuild the Shuri Castle, says The Ryukyu Shimpo. 


海外でも再建支援への動きが出ている。火災発生から約6時間後、米国ハワイでは県系人3世の糸村ジョーン昌一さん [Jon Itomura] (56)が県人会組織ハワイ沖縄連合会(HUOA)を代表し、再建資金を募るサイトを開設した。100万㌦(約1億800万円)を目標とし、日本時間の31日午後2時現在、1100㌦余が集まっている。  糸村さんはHUOA元会長で、会員制交流サイトのフェイスブックで「(30日の)世界のウチナーンチュの日の後、ひどい火事が首里城を襲った。助けてく ださい」と呼び掛けた。


琉球新報、「首里城再建へ募金の動きが続々 沖縄県、那覇市、熊本県、ハワイも」、2019年10月31日。


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