Talk:Ryukyuan religion

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Creating page[edit]

This is my second attempt at creating a page. I know it needs citation etc. but all that's coming. Let me know what you think, here or at my User Talk page. Turly-burly 16:06, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

I'm actually getting conflicting views from both of my sources now... not sure how much is specualtion on their parts but I'm trying to make sense of their rambling. -- Makaio 04:50, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Whens and Wheres of Ancestors[edit]

The subheading "Ancestors and Their Place in Time" is awkwardly-placed, I think. I would like to tie it more to the paragraph that preceeds it. Any help is greatly appreciated. Turly-burly 14:21, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Fafuji?[edit]

I removed this section pending confirmation by a factual source of non-original research (that is, by a non-anime source and a source that isn't asking one's friends who are kind of studying this sort of thing). Talking to people is helpful to confirm things or get leads, but can't be a basis for article content. Now, no one I've talked to has ever heard these accounts of how futu ("the dead") appear, and some published accounts of both yuta visions and those who have had visions of their ancestors contradict this account of drab costume and indistinguishability. The fact that futu living in the middle age have all become One in a collective spirit may contribute to this idea of indistinguishibility. I also don't think it is naka ga yuu nu futu who intervene; as a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure it is only those ancestors living in the present age (i.e. those dead within 25 generations before now) who visit the living, can be contacted through yuta, and cause "ancestral notice" (indication that family relationships aren't right). I'll spend some time in the library this weekend and try to sort all this out through readings of documented research.

As far as nomenclature is concerned, I'm going to spend today looking at word lists to see if I can ferret out the truth. Turly-burly 01:08, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Upon a convo with my friend at Baylor who I hadn't heard from until last night, actually told me alot of the information I presented was false. I'm afraid I've simply confused things for your article. I can see now that it is impossible to really believe ones own friends especially when you haven't had any reason to believe them in the past. Again I personally have to apologize, I jumped to conclusions when I was adding things on, not even considering if they were the truth. I am terribly angry about this and I apologize for wasting alot of your own and especially alot of my own time. -- Makaio 03:18, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

As far as nomenclature is concerned, I'm going to spend today looking at word lists to see if I can ferret out the truth. Turly-burly 01:08, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

I am changing all references after the initial reference to the futuki to be "futuchi". These are the reasons:
1) "Futuchi" is the term used in "Ancestors Worship", which we know to be a reliable source.
2) "fafuji" doesn't appear in either Okinawan Conversation by Nakamatsu or The Okinawan Language: A Synchronic Description by Loveless. Granted, neither claims to be comprehensive, and "futuchi" appears in neither. However, "futuki" does appear in The Okinawan Language as meaning "Buddha", which makes me think the word probably holds the other Japanese meanings of 仏 ("futsu-", including "the dead", as when it is used in "butsudan", ancestral altar). "Futuki" becomes "futuchi" in Okinawan language by means of a common consonantal shift between Japanese and Shuri dialect; for example, "yuki" (snow) becomes "yuchi".[1]
3) Although none of the Romanized words fafuji, futuki, or futuchi have any significant English Google presence, I found "futuki" at a Japanese-language Uchinaaguchi website.
4) The word "fafuji" may appear in Miyako, Yaeyama, or other Uchinaaguchi dialect, but both its rarity would render it inappropriate for use as a standard term in the article.
5) Since we aren't sure where the word comes from or what it really means, it definitely shouldn't be used as a standard term.
Eh, I think all that makes sense. Turly-burly 03:40, 9 March 2006 (UTC)


I have little to no knowledge of okinawan beliefs, but I can add my two cents as a linguist. Under number 2) above, you speculate the word futuki could be the okinawan equivalent of the mainland word futsu or 仏. I think it is indeed this word, written with the exact same kanji, only read hotoke in mainland japanese. Hotoke means buddha, and much more commonly, the spirit of the dead, or a deceased person. Hope this helps. --213.172.254.4 22:45, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Buchidan[edit]

What is the physical appearance of the Buchidan? Is it a shrine, or a room in the home? I was wondering when I looked it over. -- Makaio 04:58, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

It's kind of like a little closet or cabinet. I'll describe it later...if I can get my girlfriend to let me take a picture of hers, I will. Shisa pic looks great Turly-burly 09:43, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

I added a bit more descriptives to the butsudan section. References are somewhat problematic; however, my wife's mother has a large book that explains how to set up the butsudan for each of the festivals, and it is broken down by region. It seems that the butsudon is adorned differently in Nago than it is in Naha than it is on Ishigaki Island. I will try to add that as a reference at a later date.

Article renamed[edit]

I've renamed this article from Ryukyuan religion to Ryūkyūan religion in accordance with the guidelines in the Manual of Style for Japanese articles. Bobo12345 12:01, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

Moving this back per the moves at Ryukyuans and Ryukyuan languages and the talk at MOS:JP. Dekimasu 11:49, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

May I ask to consider renaming the article "Ryukyu Shinto"? That is how it the religion of Ryukyu is known as in Japan (not only in the mainland, but also in Okinawa). If you kindly would check with this articles: http://www.aozora.gr.jp/cards/000933/files/18391_22335.html http://www.aozora.gr.jp/cards/000933/files/46323_26565.html

It's true that the religion of Ryukyu is a combination of Shinto, plus some stuff from the continent, as well as some unique variations, but the base is Shinto. Please give it some serious thoughts. All the best.

124.33.177.82 (talk) 08:59, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

Katakana to Hiragana[edit]

Pretty sure these words are Uchinaguchi and thus would be spelled with katakana (a la "haisai"). any comment? -- Turly-Burly (sorry, not logged in on this comp)

There is no common practice in this regard. It seems that isolated words in Okinawan that are used in otherwise Japanese text are written in Katakana to emphasize their foreign nature, while hiragana is most frequently used for Okinawan text on its own. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 149.169.57.242 (talk) 10:21, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm not an expert, but here's what I know: There is some kind of conflict on that matter. While Naicha (Japanese mainlanders) usually use Katakana, the Okinawan people primarily use hiragana for non-kanji words in Uchinaguchi. Actually the Ryukyuans used hiragana for official texts much earlier than the Japanese. In recent time Naicha living in Okinawa or businesses have adopted the Okinawan way of spelling, with hiragana. So you'll mostly find those spellings: めんそーれ (mensoore = welcome), はいさい (haisai = hello (male form)), 美らさん (churasan = beautiful), まーさん (maasan = delicious/tasty). --180.7.58.61 (talk) 15:13, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

Ryukyuan Shinto?[edit]

It seems that the usage of the term "Shinto" can be very misleading. First of all, Japanese "Shinto" itself can hardly be called a unified religion, and there is an important distinction to be made between local religious practices, Shinto as practiced by local shrines, and Shinto as it historically developed under State Shinto. Secondly, to call Ryukyuan practices "Shinto" makes a direct lineal connection between Japanese Shinto and Ryukyuan religious practices, which in fact reinforces a colonial position. Colonial policies by the Japanese in the Ryukyus deliberately and systematically tried to reinterpret local sites as Shinto shrines, as George Kerr among many other scholars have related. This aspect is very disturbing considering much evidence to point towards a very separate development of local practice up until the colonization of Okinawa in 1879. Some of the sources themselves may use such terms to describe local religious practices/beliefs in the Ryukyus, but we have to interrogate both the authors and the time periods in which they were writing and not unconsciously use these terms without question. As a point of reference, would anyone call Korean local religious practice "Korean Shinto"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.12.253.44 (talk) 22:38, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Ryukyuan religion is NOT Shinto. This should be reverted to Ryukyuan religion. User:DaAnHo (talk) 05:26, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
神道(Shinto) is NOT mean religion in Japanese.it is A proper noun that religions from Koshintō,therefore other traditional religion never are in Korea,Taiwan and Ainu community--LittleFoxJpn (talk) 19:46, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Moved the article. I have never heard nor read of Ryukyuan religious beliefs being referred to as Shinto. The article states that there are some common practices and beliefs, but they are not similar enough to be called the same religion...they have distinct mythologies, distinct gods, and distinct shamanic practices. PLEASE do not revert this back to "Ryukyuan Shinto" without first talking about it here and providing significant proof that Ryukyuan religion is considered close enough to Japanese Shinto to merit being classed as Shinto.
I also have a sneaking suspicion that the article may have been renamed out of cultural bias, just like Ryukyuan language has historically been treated as a dialect of Japanese instead of a distinct language in its own right. Please do not assume that something is Japanese simply because it sounds like something Japanese, and definitely do not assume something Ryukyuan is Japanese simply because Japan has historically dominated the Ryukyu islands. User:DaAnHo(talk) 05:48, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Please do not "move" the article as you did again. There are proper ways and improper ways of moving articles, and the way you did it was very improper and completely against policy as it removed the history of contributions by editors of the page. I have fixed this move now. If you want the article moved, the proper way to do it is to first discuss the issue here on the talk page (and let interested parties know by leaving notes about the discussion on the talk pages of any projects with tags at the top of this talk page). Thanks. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WikiProject Japan! 16:17, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
OK. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DaAnHo (talkcontribs) 07:23, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
"Ryukyuan religion" is awkward, as a reader unfamiliar with the subject might assume that the article describes a religion which goes by the name "Ryukyuan". I'm wondering if something like "Ryukyu Islands indigenous religion" or "Religion in the Ryukyu Islands" would be better. I agree that the majority of English-language sources do not present Ryukyuan indigenous beliefs as Shintoism—although there is support in references for influence from and some syncretism with Shinto, Buddhist, and other religious traditions. That isn't enough to warrant including "Shinto" in the title, since what is being described is an indigenous belief system (raising the issue of WP:Undue). • Astynax talk 17:47, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, I agree that "Ryukyuan religion" seems a bit broad, but it's actually more specific than it should be, given that some peoples between Amami Oshima and Miyako-jima do not consider themselves Ryukyuan. Whatever the case, I'm glad you, too, can see that including "Shinto" in the title is out-of-bounds! DaAnHo (talk) 01:58, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Shinto is a common name for the religions of the Japanese people, meaning the Japanese ethnic group. Ryukyuans, though they had their own country for years (just as England was originally petty kingdoms), are ethnically Japanese and do speak a Japanese dialect. The Ryukyuan dialect is closer to standard Japanese than Low German is to High German (in fact Low German has a different origin entirely and thus can be considered a language) yet Low German is considered a dialect of German; Ryukyuan is a dialect.

Ryukyuans have a distinct culture because they were not unified with Japan until quite late but they are still Japanese, just as the Northumbrians were English before being unified with the Wessex-led Kingdom of England. Wikipedian's bias against counting Ryukyuans as Japanese (which is an ethnic group as well as a nationality) is quite silly and not at all accepted. Ryukyuans have the same origins as the mainland Japanese (and have close similarities, culturally and linguistically, with Kyushuans) unlike the Ainu who really are a distinct ethnic group. 94.7.58.116 (talk) 09:39, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

Shinto is therefore an adequate name for the

I believe 琉球神道(Ryukyuan shinto) is a suitable name,because Japanese and Ryukyuan shinto have common origin as ko-shinto(古神道,ancient shinto) .--LittleFoxJpn (talk) 11:58, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
Although Okinawans do visit and worship at shrines, the term Shinto has actually a very negative connotation. It is usually associated with the Emperor (who is deeply resented, if not hated in Okinawa) and right-wing "Naicha" (Japanese mainlanders) and is felt as a symbol of occupation, cultural oppression and false or Pseudohistory aimed at robbing the people of the Ryukyu islands of thier roots. Therefor I highly doubt it to be "suitable". Also like other commentators said, there is no such thing as "Korean Shinto" or "Chinese Shinto". Even if the roots, rules and practices are similar (like the Abrahamic religions). --180.7.58.61 (talk) 15:36, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

Requested Move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: moved Kotniski (talk) 11:22, 30 August 2010 (UTC)


Ryukyuan ShintoRyukyuan religion — As stated in the article, Japanese Shinto may have influenced/been influenced by indigenous Ryukyuan traditions, but calling the religion "Shinto" misleads the reader to think that Ryukyuan traditions are more directly analogous to Japanese Shinto than they actually are. Also, in my research (the books listed in the works cited and bibliography sections of the article), I did not once find a reference to "Ryukyuan Shinto" or even "Okinawan Shinto". The Contents of the article itself mention Shinto only three times, and then in passing. I propose that the article be moved back over to Ryukyuan religion over the redirect now in place. DaAnHo (talk) 13:27, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

  • A couple of comments

In summary:

1. Support for the change is to allow a broader, comprehensive description of the religions of Ryukyu Islands, not only that of mainland Okinawa Island may be fine.

2. Nevertheless, "Ryukyu Shinto" does exist as a terminology; it IS a type of Shinto. It was also the title of a book written by a Japanese monk who came to Okinawa early 17th century, being ordered by King Shonei of Ryukyu.

You can actually find mentions on "Ryukyu Shinto" or "Okinawa Shinto", as well as articles on the book above, in English: just perform a search on those external web site listed on the article, and you'll find them out pretty easily. If you wish, you may perform your search using kanji characters to find more hits in Japanese. Remember those are sites made by people of Okinawa, and that it's not the only place where you can find those terms.

Do not speculate that Ryukyu Shinto is not a Shinto based on the ground that terms like "Ryukyu Shinto" or "Okinawa Shinto" are not populary found, or just how many (or few) times "Shinto" is mentioned in the article. The article accounts enough for the worshipping of different kami, which is the required element for it to be called a Shinto belief.

Unlike Buddhism or Christianity, whose central figure, or founder is naturally and clearly known, Shinto is only a term used to collectively refer to any religion that worship various deities, or kami. There is no doubt that the notorious State Shinto lineage is the one predominantly known in the West than any other type of Shinto, and given the role it played during Japan's early modernization, it is understandable that some people come up with a perception that Shinto is not suitable to describe other Japanese Shinto type religions, including that of Okinawa, which do not revere the gods which are tied to the imperial family of Japan. The word Shinto, however, is the least restrictive but rather the most universal terminology covering any kami religions. The Shinto article on Wikipedia also explains this as well in the first paragraph, but it seems that this is too often forgotten. "Shinto" is exactly the right word to represent any religion on the archipelago that reveres one or more kami.

While the term "Shinto" was introduced to the West during as early as the Tokugawa Shogunate period when the Portuguese arrived in Japan, it largely remained a scholarly nomenclature, dealing with every type of "kami" faith. It was an uncommon word among the public, until people were presented with a Shinto separated from Buddhism under the growing nationalism during and following the Meiji period. Nowadays, the term itself has become common, but that did not make people be conscious of praying for Shinto belief as a unified religion at all. When people visits a shrine, it is specifically to see their favorite oinari-san asking for good harvest, or wishing the super talent Tenjin-san share them success at school or in business, etc. Yet, "Shinto" is the only useful word that can represent these beliefs altogether.

That's not to say there's no nationalist in Japan, but there is no need to be overly obsessed by a thought that whenever "Shinto" is spelled out, there is a military march stamping into the earth. Chesaydo (talk) 08:24, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

Great linguistic points! But...do we call ALL English articles dealing with people who worship multiple gods "Someplace Shinto"? What I mean is that there's no issue with the meaning of "Shintou" in Japanese; the problem is that the traditions of the islands are broader than those of Japanese "state" Shinto, which I think is what most people think of when they are searching for information about "Shinto" on English Wikipedia. Maybe "Shinto" is a useful word in Japanese, but (for whatever reason!) it's not in English. I also think the argument that a Japanese monk called Okinawan beliefs "Shintou" doesn't go far in disproving that the name "Ryukyuan Shinto" smacks of imperialism. DaAnHo (talk) 13:37, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
How about a Ryukyuan Shinto section in the article? There's also a relatively new Shinto-derived religion on the island, Ijun. These definitely fall under the umbrella of "Ryukyuan religion". DaAnHo (talk) 08:28, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Origin of Ryukyu Religion[edit]

Several issues with this section, esp. POV. There also seems to be a lack of discussion of the origins of Ryukyuan Religion, but it may be obscured by the difficult-to-follow English. Removing it. DaAnHo (talk) 02:56, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

Furu no Kami[edit]

Hello I mentioned this to some folks from Okinawa and they didn't seem to know what I was talking about. Thinking they were just young folk and may never have learned about the native religion of Okinawa, I googled ふうるのかみ and couldn't find any mention of it. This may be because I don't know the kanji for ふうる and google doesn't match hiragana to kanji with that yomi. Do wikipedia articles about Japanese culture tend to include the kanji alongside romanization? Zeigfreid (talk) 17:20, 17 July 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 216.251.139.74 (talk)

I know I didn't just make the info up out of thin air; if I can find the book, I'll cite that info. I got some information for this article from museum exhibits, too. This may have be taken from the recreated Okinawan village next to Churaumi Aquarium.

The word "fuuru" is probably a local word and thus usually written in katakana; it might not be associated with a kanji, and if it is, that kanji may be nigh-impossible to find except in some great database that also features historical local readings. If I were going to guess, I'd say that because this god's function is a little like fudo-myo, fuuru might be 不動. It's a wild guess though.

Regarding Okinawan people not knowing what you were talking about. It happened to me, too, when I lived there. It really all depends on whether or not the people you're talking to are interested in the subject; it also depends on where they're from in Okinawa. I found that rural people knew much more than people who spent most of their life in Naha and on the Japanese mainland. 125.196.65.1 (talk) 15:04, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

Whether spelling is in Hiragana or Katakana is not conclusive. While I have no statistics my observation is that Naicha (Japanese mainlanders) use Katakana more often and Okinawan use Hiragana for Okinawan/Uchinaguchi words. This is also underlined by the fact that the Ryukyuans utilised Hiragana in official Texts much earlier than the Japanese. It is also seems more "authentic" to use Hiragana for Okinawan terms. --180.7.58.61 (talk) 16:00, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
Okinawan should be written in a hiragana/kanji mix. Writing Okinawan in katakana is a 20th century invention. If the kanji is unknown (for Wikipedia's sake) romanization only should suffice. ミーラー強斗武 (StG88ぬ会話) 05:24, 26 March 2016 (UTC)

Ryukyuan Tombs, "Turtle" or "womb"?[edit]

When I first read the article, I was somewhat surprised, that it says the form of the tombs resembles a turtle. I was always told these tombs symbolise a womb or uterus, meaning the dead return, where they come from. I'm not an expert on the matter, but I read severaly articles stating the same, like here: http://www.oki-islandguide.com/culture-lifestyle/the-traditional-okinawan-turtleback-tomb ; http://www.stripes.com/military-life/on-okinawa-families-show-respect-for-the-dead-with-tradition-1.49217 The book "The Great Loochoo: A Study of Okinawan Village Life" by Clarence J. Glacken also refers to the womb-symbol. I think it deserves to be mentioned. --180.7.58.61 (talk) 15:47, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

Most sources, especially Western ones, refer to them as "turtleback" tombs, but you're right about the womb symbology. I actually have a copy of Great Loochoo, so I can add that tomorrow. ミーラー強斗武 (StG88ぬ会話) 05:27, 26 March 2016 (UTC)