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Ancient Ryukyu: An Archaeological Study of Island Communities; By Richard Pearson, University of Hawaii Press
Topic Started: Apr 6 2018, 05:19 PM (571 Views)
Nerroth
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Merchant
I was wondering if anyone here has had a chance to read Richard Pearson's Ancient Ryukyu: An Archaeological Study of Island Communities, as published in November 2013 by the University of Hawaii Press.

The remit taken by the author runs from the earliest known human habitation of the Ryukyu islands through to the eve of the Shimazu conquest of 1609. (Which, technically, runs past the end point of the era of "Wajin" Japanese history covered in this sub-forum, but anyway...)

The book is available in print, as well as in Kindle format (where a preview of the work may be found).

Are there any thoughts on this volume, and how (or if) it informs your view of the Ryukyus as they developed prior to the Satsuma invasion?
Edited by Nerroth, Apr 6 2018, 05:35 PM.
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Toranosuke
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Tosa no kami
I haven't read Pearson cover-to-cover, but I definitely own it, and remember skimming through some of it. I'm afraid I don't remember the book well enough right now off the top of my head to say "how (or if) it informs your view of the Ryukyus as they developed prior to the Satsuma invasion," or indeed to give many more thoughts on the book.

But, what I will say is that I'm happy it exists, I think it's really great that we have such a book on Ko-Ryukyu (古琉球, lit. "old Ryukyu", the standard term in Japanese scholarship for the period before Satsuma's invasion). But while there's a lot to like about Pearson's work, I am often frustrated with the way he and other archaeologists present a lot of their findings without offering suggestions as to their significance. I don't recall too clearly whether or not this is a significant problem with this book, but... more so than precisely recorded details about individual finds of pottery, or about the layout of the gusuku, I'd love a bit more about what this helps us understand about the history of Okinawan pottery, history of Okinawan trade, history of Okinawan culture and society in a broader sense. We have your data - now what are your conclusions, your interpretations, from that data?
上り口説 Nubui Kuduchi – Musings on the arts of Japan and beyond
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