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Makiminato

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  • Japanese/Okinawan: 牧港 (Makiminato / Machinato)

Makiminato is a neighborhood of Urasoe City, Okinawa prefecture. It is among the nearest harbors to the north of Naha and Tomari on the main island of Okinawa. Prior to the 15th century relocation of the royal capital from Urasoe to Naha, Makiminato was one of the chief ports of the kingdom, along with Tomari.

According to legend, this was where Minamoto no Tametomo's wife waited loyally and longingly for his return, thus giving the harbor its name (machi minato, "harbor of waiting"). Alternative theories suggest that the port is named more simply for its proximity to historical farms or grazing meadows (maki, 牧), and it being the chief port (minato, 港) from which Ryukyuan horses were shipped to Naha to then be shipped overseas.

It was to this port that the Shimazu clan fleet retreated briefly after being repulsed at Naha during their 1609 invasion of Ryukyu; a Ryukyuan group, including official Kyan ueekata Bangen, came ashore at Makiminato as well, earlier in the battle, when trying to negotiate with the invaders.

References

  • Umezaki Harumitsu 梅崎晴光, Kieta Ryûkyû keiba 消えた琉球競馬, Naha: Borderink (2012), 82.
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