|Died August 13, 1947
Tokyo||Name Iha Fuyu|
|Occupation Scholar and writer (Okinawan culture and history)|
Genre Scientific papers and essays
Literary movement Okinawa has original culture but at the same time is under the influence of Japan
Notable works Ko Ryukyu (Old Okinawa), Studis on Omoro Soshi, a classic of Okinawa
Iha Fuyū (伊波普猷, March 15, 1876 – August 13, 1947) was the father of Okinawaology and a Japanese scholar who studied various aspects of Japanese and Okinawan culture, customs, linguistics, and lore. His signature was Ifa Fuyu in English, because of the Okinawan pronunciation. Iha studied linguistics in the University of Tokyo and was devoted to the study of Okinawan linguistics, folklore, and history. His most famous book on the subject, Ko Ryūkyū (Old Ryūkyū), was published in 1911 and remains one of the best works on Okinawan studies. He devoted much time to the discovery of the origins of Okinawan people to establish their history. He had considerable influence not only on the study of Okinawan folklore but also of Japanese folklore.
This is his representative work and has remained an introduction to Okinawaology. He had corrected previous articles many times, and the reader should read the most recent edition.
Studying various words of Ryukyu and Japan used in days gone by, he came to the conclusion that Okinawa and Japan share the same mother tongue. The studied words include akaru, akezu, akatonki, amori, etsuri, fuguri (scrotum), fuku, hae (glory), hau, hiji, hiraku, hoso (umbricus), kanashi, iga, ikasarete, ikibui, ikutokoro, ime, iriki, kabuchi, kotoi, kuwanari, magu, majimono, mamaki, maru, minjai, mitsumi, monowata, mumuji, naegu, nai (earthquake), nasu, nuuji, sakuri, sayumi, shichiyadan, shishi, taani, tane (penis), tsukakamachi, tsukura, tubi, ugonaari, uwanari, wa, watamashi, yagusami, yokoshi, yomu, and yuimaharu.
The recent trend of the History of the Ryukyus
Three representative statesmen were described. They were given posthumous court ranks at the enthronement of Emperor Taisho, and Iha gave a lecture about them at the Okinawa Normal School. They were Sai On, Haneji Choshu (Shō Shōken (向象賢)) and Giwan Choho. They managed to govern Ryukyu between Satsuma and China. Iha regarded them as the most important figures in Ryukyuan history.
Sai On's advice to the King: Negotiations with China are not difficult. If difficulties will arise, Kume people can manage to handle them. But Japan is not so. On one day, with only a piece of paper, a King may lose his position and it is definitely from Japan.
Okinawa's stand: to Okinawa, who will rule in China does not matter. Okinawa is not allowed to stick to justice. Okinawan people endure everything in order to live, or eat. An Okinawan saying says that who will let us eat, whoever it is, is our master. This is the fate of Okinawan people until the day of the placement of Okinawa Prefecture. To Japan, namely to the Shimazu clan, it did not know how to treat Okinawa soon after the establishment of Okinawa Prefecture.
Seven kinds of Omoro Sōshi
Omoro Sōshi is a collection of songs, 1553 poems and 1267 poems(when the same songs are excluded) in 22 volumes, starting in the middle of the 13th century and ending in the middle of the 17th century. It may be called the Manyoshu of Okinawa. Omoro is the abbreviation of Omori uta, or songs sung in the sacred places of Ryukyu. The themes of the Omoro include the origin of Ryukyu, Kings, Heroes, Voyages, Poets, Sceneries, Heaven and Stars, very rarely Romance. Omoro is the primary source for studying the Ryukyuan languages and ideologies.
The problem of students studying in China (Kansho)
China allowed Ryukyuan princes and others to study in China; at first, Ryukyuan students did not get good achievements. The great king Sho Shin started to allow the people of the town of Kume, who had come from China only 128 years before, to study in China. They spoke Chinese of course, and got high achievements. Four students from Kume who studied in Nanjing came back seven years later. Four others on the next turn, came back seven years later. The people of Kume eventually came to believe that students only came from Kume. Toward the end of the 18th century, the Ryukyuan government, based in Shuri, realized that education and politics went hand in hand and thought students should be also from Shuri. The people of Kume resisted with strikes. This is called the Kansho Problem or Soudou.
The P sound in Okinawan dialects
The changes of the sound of P - F - H in Ryukyuan dialects suggest the changes from P through F to H in the languages of historical Japan proper. Take care that this is in Ko Ryukyu.
In Late Middle Japanese it is written that although Proto-Japanese had a *[p], by Old Japanese it had already become [ɸ] and subsequently [h] during Early Modern Japanese where it remains today.
Other interesting titles
The weakest point of Okinawan People, The establishment of Okinawa Prefecture from the viewpoint of evolution, Did Heike people really come to Sakishima? Important place Urasoe, What does Shimajiri mean in many islands of Okinawa? A mysterious man Amawari, Documents of Wakou in Okinawa, A lovely Yaeyama girl, Nakasone Toyomiya in Miyako, Grand kumi stages of old Ryukyu, Poems of Southern Islands, The Bible translated into the Ryukyu language by Bernard Jean Bettelheim, On Konko-knshuu (Old Ryukyu language dictionary), Akainko, the first Okinawan music musician. Mythologies in Okinawa.
Okinawaology is not an independent field of science, but a general term of various aspects of Okinawa studies. Okinawaology originated from Iha's Ko Ryukyu (Old Ryukyu).
Since Ryukyu was annexed by Japan, the Okinawan people tried to Japanize themselves, while there was a tendency that they were treated as an inferior people at that time. With this as the background, Iha studied the culture of both Japan and Okinawa, especially, the languages, history of Okinawa, and proposed the Okinawan people and Japanese people had the same ancestors. His studies started from Omorosoushi, and covered the study of history, linguistics, anthropology, archaeology, study of religions, mythology, the study of civilization, ethnology and literature. Using the Okinawan language, he tried to raise the pride of Okinawans in their land. His proposals have been established as the basis of Okinawaology. Those who study Okinawaology are not restricted to scholars. Okinawaology covers many other branches, such as politics, economics, laws, and natural circumstances.
His tomb is at Urasoe Castle showing the following epitaph.
No man knows Okinawa more deeply than Iha, No man loves Okinawa more deeply than Iha, No man worries about Okinawa more deeply than Iha, He loves Okinawa because he knows Okinawa, He worries about Okinawa because he loves Okinawa, He was a scholar, an Okinawa-lover and at the same time, a prophet. By Higashionna Kanjun