On October 31, 2019, the symbol of Okinawa Shuri Castle was destroyed in a massive fire. 1,500 artifacts and documents vanished include some 400 important cultural properties related to the ruler of Ryukyu kingdom.
I was asleep when Shurijo (Shuri Castle in Japanese) was in flame. When I watched the local news in the morning, the scene where the burning mainframe of the main building collapsed and then submerged into the massive fire was played repeatedly.
For someone who lives within one hour away from Shuriji, I often take the fact for granted. I visited Shurijo three times in the last four years when families came for a visit. Each time I rushed through it without thinking how much history and emotions have gone into that very place I was standing.
The hardest part of the restoration is not raising money. The reconstruction of Shurijo is a challenge, as the entire structure was made of wood and was put together without a nail. The red tiles used on the roof are dyed with a special red color mug found in Kumijima, a small island northwest from Okinawa main island. The challenge is finding people who still hold on to these traditional techniques.
I may or may not see Shurijo stand up again in my lifetime. As an artist living Okinawa, I pay tribute to the symbol of Ryukyu kingdom and Okinawa with my art.
The artwork is free to download and printed for non-commercial use. I hope you will print it, frame it, and find a place for it in your home, your office, and your heart.
Co-Founder of Oki Soical
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Oki Social Original Shuri Castle Ornament
We created a Shuri Castle ornament to support the Shuri Castle restoration project. Please hang it on your tree, by the window, in your car, somewhere close to your heart.