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Oyamise

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  • Japanese/Okinawan: 親見世 (oyamise / weemishi)

The Oyamise was an office of the royal government of the Ryûkyû Kingdom which oversaw the administration of the four districts of Naha, the royal government's trade efforts, and relations with the zaiban bugyôsho (office for the Satsuma han resident officials).

Established at least as early as the first half of the 15th century, the oyamise was located right between the Higashi and Nishi areas of Naha (today, Naha-shi Higashi 23-1), close to the ufumachi (great market), Tenshikan (guesthouse for Chinese investiture envoys), and zaiban bugyôsho. A road extending from the gate of the oyamise down to the harbor served as the dividing line between the Nishi ("west") and Higashi ("east") neighborhoods.

The site was originally known as O-mise (御店), and only later became renamed oyamise. In 1609, following Satsuma's invasion of Ryûkyû, the capitulation/surrender was formally conducted here. In addition to managing trade matters for the kingdom, the oyamise also prepared food to be provided to the zaiban bugyôsho. It was headed by two oyamise ôyako (O: weemishi ufuyaku), who served for single-year appointments, and was staffed by two secretaries (hissha), two temporary secretaries (kari hissha), and nine junior secretaries (waka hissha), among others.

Following the abolition of the kingdom in the 1870s, the site of the oyamise was first taken over in 1876 by the Kumamoto garrison. From 1884 until 1915, the site then became a Naha city police station, and after 1915, home to the Yamagataya department store.

References

  • Plaques on-site at former site of the Oyamise.
  • Naha shizoku no isshô 那覇士族の一生 (Naha: Naha City Museum of History, 2010), 14.

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