Calligraphy by King Sho Ikuou of Ryukyu Kingdom discovered

An original calligraphy of a Chinese poem written in 1838 by the 18th King of the Ryukyu Kingdom, Sho Iku, known as a chirographer was found in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture.

The calligraphy was passed to Masako Kanna (nee Masako Sho), who is a granddaughter of Sho Iku. Masako’s  grandson, Hajime inherited the calligraphy and had kept it in trust. Hajime eventually donated it  to Okinawa Churashima Foundation, which takes care of Shuri Castle and Churaumi Aquarium.  There is a signature of Sho Ikuou and a pen name of Rin Kounen who is a herald of the Chinese Emperor on the calligraphy. The calligraphy is thought to have been written from Sho to Rin in 1838 when Rin was staying on Okinawa, and King Sho Iku was learning calligraphy from him. Written on high quality Chinese silk, it was difficult to write on. This indicates that Sho Iku had high skills for writing.

The curator of Okinawa Churashima Foundation says, “we confirmed its authenticy comparing it to other known Sho Iku’s works. If it was found in original house, it might have been designated as a national treasure.”  Okinawa Churashima Foundation is planning to show the calligraphy to the public. “I rather give it back to Okinawa than keep myself. I will be happy people see it and hope that this opportunity will be the chance for many people to know my grandmother.’ Hajime said.