Shō Kō

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Shō Kō
King Sho Koh.jpg
Official royal portrait of Shō Kō, painted by Mō Chōki in 1837.
King of Ryukyu
Reign 1804–1828
Predecessor Shō Sei
Successor Shō Iku
Born (1787-07-14)14 July 1787
Died 5 July 1834(1834-07-05) (aged 46)
Spouse Omokametarugane, Sashiki Aji-ganashi
Era dates
Jiaqing 嘉慶
Daoguang 道光
House House of Second Shō
Father Shō Tetsu
Mother Manabetarugane, Kikoe-ōgimi ganashi

Shō Kō (尚灝, Chinese pinyin: Shàng Hào) (1787–1834) was a king of the Ryūkyū Kingdom, who held the throne from 1804 to 1828, when he was forced to abdicate in favor of his son, Shō Iku. This was only the second time in the history of the kingdom that a king abdicated;[1] the 1477 abdication of Shō Sen'i was the first.[2]

It is said that towards the end of his reign, Shō Kō's "behavior became strange, unbalanced, and unpredictable."[1] The Sanshikan (the council of the top three elder royal advisors) appealed to the government of Japan's Satsuma Domain and, with Satsuma's approval, forced Shō Kō to abdicate in 1828 and to retire to the countryside. An envoy mission was prepared to formally inform Beijing of the change in rulership, and a second royal manor was established in the countryside, to maintain the prestige and dignities appropriate to Shō Kō's status.[1]

Historian George H. Kerr suggests the possibility that Shō Kō did not in fact suffer from any mental illness, but rather contemplated radical actions such as seeking the kingdom's independence from Satsuma, to which it was a vassal tributary, in the hopes that this would alleviate the intense economic difficulties faced by the kingdom.[3] If this were the case, perhaps the Sanshikan feared that such action was too radical, and too risky, and felt the need to prevent the king from going through with it.


  1. ^ a b c Kerr, George H. Okinawa: The History of an Island People. (revised ed.) Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing, 2003. p244.
  2. ^ Kerr. p104.
  3. ^ Kerr. p245.

Shō Kō
House of Second Shō
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Shō Sei
King of Ryukyu
Succeeded by
Shō Iku