Rodney Inefuku’s latest post, “Okinawan and Japanese Boats” (8/6/16), prompted me to google Okinawan boats, and in the process I stumbled on one of the best sites on both Okinawan history and Okinawan karate — Ryukyu Bugei. The owner is Andreas Quast. (See his bio below.)
Quast’s series of articles on early Okinawan trading ships is based on Tobe Yoshihiro’s (戸部良煕) comprehensive 18th-century historical record, Ōshima Hikki (大島筆記), which focuses on interviews with a Ryūkyūan named Shiohira Pēchin. Tobe, a young Confucian scholar and retainer of the Tosa daimyō, lived in Ōshima, a small island off the southern tip of Tosa province in today’s Kōchi Prefecture (高知県).
Shiohira Pēchin was the warehouse manager aboard a Ryūkyūan tribute ship (kaisen 楷船) bound for Satsuma from Naha harbor on 26 April 1762. Quast recounts the circumstances that led up to the interviews:
The ship had fifteen sails, was approximately 36m long with a width of 8.20m and carried an additional rowboat…. From the evening of the 15th to the 16th day they encountered a violent storm. The main mast had to be cut and was washed away; the helm broke, and large parts of the cargo were lost…. On the 21st day they entered Kashiwajima 柏島 [in Tosa province, Shikoku] from the open sea. Discovered by the government official (yakunin) of Kashiwajima, the Ryūkyū tribute ship was told to drop anchor at this place. There was also a consultation about this with the Satsuma no Kami 薩摩守. Afterwards the Ryūkyūan ship was pulled by tugboats to Ōshima, and on the 22nd day of the 7th month of 1762 they entered the harbor of Ōshima and dropped anchor. At a guesthouse run by the local government on Ōshima, Tobe Yoshihiro 戸部良熈 met with the Ryūkyūans and inquired about all sorts of things.
Read Quast’s articles based on Tobe’s Ōshima Hikki:
Andreas Quast, Ōshima Hikki – 001, Ryukyu Bugei, 18 Apr. 2016. 大島筆記
Andreas Quast, Ōshima Hikki – 002 – The Course of the Ship, Ryukyu Bugei, 19 Apr. 2016.
Andreas Quast, Ōshima Hikki – 003 – About the Tribute Ship (Kaisen 楷船), Ryukyu Bugei, 19 Apr. 2016.
Andreas Quast, Ōshima Hikki – 004 – The Order of Ryūkyūans Who Drifted Ashore (琉人漂着次第), Ryukyu Bugei, 19 Apr. 2016.
Andreas Quast, Ōshima Hikki – 005 – The Description of The Ryūkyūan Crew Members (I), Ryukyu Bugei, 23 Apr. 2016.
Andreas Quast, Ōshima Hikki – 005 – The Description of The Ryūkyūan Crew Members (II), Ryukyu Bugei, 24 Apr. 2016.
Andreas Quast, Ōshima Hikki – 005 – The Description of The Ryūkyūan Crew Members (III), Ryukyu Bugei, 16 May 2016.
Quast’s bio from his Amazon books page:
Andreas Quast is the author of “Karate 1.0” (2013), “A Stroll Along Ryukyu Martial Arts History” (2015), and “King Wu Once Buckled on his Armor” (2016), among others. Unpretentious and industrious, he has certificates as a skilled mechanic (ICC), state-certified engineer in mechanical engineering (technical college), health and safety officer (technical college), and technical writer (tekom), with practical experience as a florist, heavy duty welder, paraglider, bartender, SAP coordinator, antiquarian bookseller, guitar player, author and publisher, football player etc.
Living in Düsseldorf, Germany, he’s been digging through archives around the globe in search for literary truffles of Okinawa Karate and Kobudo, the findings of which he publishes for an international audience in a unique way on his popular blog ryukyu-bugei.com. His activities in martial arts, which included about 2 years in Japan and Okinawa, resulted in a number of prestigious awards for his ongoing research (International Ryukyu Karate Research Society, Ryukyu no Kaze Society), a drawer of certificates (Jiu-jitsu, Karate, Ryukyu Kobudo, Mugai-ryu Iaido, Hachiman-ryu Battojutsu), and a network of like-minded friends and colleagues around the globe. After more than 15 years of study into the subject, he also contributed an analysis featured in the new edition of “Bubishi: The Classic Manual of Combat”, written by world-famous practitioner and researcher Patrick McCarthy, released June 2016. Turning 50 years of age in 2016, Quast claims “It’s about halftime!”