Restored Japanese castle no more a monument

World | 31 Oct 2019 10:35 am

Television footage today showed large orange flames engulfing the Shuri castle in Japan's Okinawa prefecture.

Naha city mayor Mikiko Shiroma told reporters that she is “very shocked” about the fire. “It is extremely regrettable,” she said. Kyodo, AFP-Jiji reports.

“It is a World Heritage site that represents Okinawa. More than anything, I am very worried about the fact that many Naha citizens live in neighboring areas, and I have received reports that the fire might be threatening or affecting residents of the areas,” she added. The city will make its “greatest possible efforts” to deal with the fire and its aftermath, she said.

The castle uses both Japanese and Chinese architectural styles, underlining unique characteristics of the Ryukyu Kingdom, which long served as a transportation hub connecting China and Japan.

Thanks to reconstruction, the castle was registered along with the surrounding complex and other Ryukyu sites in the region as a World Heritage Site.

In total, about 4,200 square meters have been destroyed, the city of Naha’s fire department said. 

“Five hundred years of Ryukyuan history (12th-17th century) are represented by this group of sites and monuments,” the entry on the UNESCO website explains. “The ruins of the castles, on imposing elevated sites, are evidence for the social structure over much of that period, while the sacred sites provide mute testimony to the rare survival of an ancient form of religion into the modern age.”

The reconstructed main hall in particular is praised in the entry as “a great monument symbolising the pride of the Ryukyu people.”



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