June 3, 2019

Tombs in Okinawa

Filed under: resources — Tags: — okinawacollection @ 10:00 AM

Prof. Dana Masayuki (田名真之), currently the Director at the Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum, published an article on tombs in Okinawa in The World of Cultural Heritage (vol. 27, 2016).

The article has ruby (furigana) for some kanji, which often has different reading (pronunciation) in Okinawa. He classifies some tombs by classes. He also explains different shapes of tombs.  The most famous tomb in Okinawa is kāminakūbaka (亀甲墓), whose shape looks like a turtle’s shell/back is on top of the tomb.


Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtleback_tomb#/media/File:Okinawa_turtle_back_tomb.JPG, the image is in Public Domain.

If you are interested in tombs in Okinawa, UH Mānoa Library has some resources.

  • Ochi, Ikuno. (2018). Ugoku haka: Okinawa no toshi ijūsja to sosen saishi = The transformation of tombs in Okinawa. (Tokyo: Shinwasha).
  • Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum. (2015). Ryūkyūko no sōbosei : kaze to sango no tomurai: Heisei 27-nendo Okinawa Kenritsu Hakubutsukan Bijutsukan tokubetsuten = Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum special exhibition in 2015 : funeral ceremony and grave tradition of Ryukyu Islands : a memorial service held by wind and coral circumstances (Naha-shi: Okinawa Kenritsu Hakubutsukan Bijutsukan).
  • Kato, Masaharu. (2010). Amami Okinawa no kasō to sōbosei: hen’yō to jizoku (Ginowan-shi:  Yōju Shorin).


Dana, Masayuki. (2016). “Okinawa no haka ni tsuite = 「沖縄の墓について」in The World of Cultural Heritage (『文化遺産の世界』), Vol. 27.

Some images of turtleback tombs from ARTSTOR can be accessible from UH Mānoa Libraryʻs OAPC. UH Mānoa ID and password are required.

(Image: May, 2010). Turtleback Tombs (Kameko-baka), Exterior. [architecture]. Retrieved from https://library.artstor.org/asset/ACOLUMBIAARTIG_10313270371