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  • Japanese: 国吉丸 (Kuniyoshi-maru)

The Kuniyoshi-maru was a Shimazu clan vessel which traveled to Ryûkyû on several notable occasions in the late 16th century.

At some point in the late 1560s or early 1570s, the Kuniyoshi-maru was received with great violence upon arriving at Naha, the main port of the Ryûkyû Kingdom. Very little is known of this incident, but the Shimazu later claimed that the first mate of the ship was beheaded, and cited this among a list of offenses committed by the kingdom against maintaining a good relationship with the Shimazu.

After this, the Kuniyoshi-maru did not sail to Ryûkyû for a number of years.

After Ryûkyû made efforts to make amends for its various supposed offenses in 1577-1578, the Shimazu dispatched the ship to Naha once again in 1579, as a show of the restoration of good relations. An official who traveled to Naha aboard the Kuniyoshi-maru at that time, Yamashita Chikugo, was assigned by the Shimazu to observe King Shô Ei's investiture ceremonies and to gather intelligence about the kingdom.


  • Gregory Smits, Maritime Ryukyu, University of Hawaii Press (2019), 210-212.
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