Meiji Era

Ryūkyū Disposition
Japanese government forces in front of Kankaimon gate in Shuri Castle at the time of Ryūkyū shobun ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1879 Jan 1

Ryūkyū Disposition

Okinawa, Japan

Ryūkyū Disposition or Annexation of Okinawa, was the political process during the early years of the Meiji period that saw the incorporation of the former Ryukyu Kingdom into the Empire of Japan as Okinawa Prefecture (i.e., one of Japan's "home" prefectures) and its decoupling from the Chinese tributary system. These processes began with the creation of Ryukyu Domain in 1872 and culminated in the kingdom's annexation and final dissolution in 1879; immediate diplomatic fallout and consequent negotiations with Qing China, brokered by Ulysses S. Grant, effectively came to an end late the following year. The term is also sometimes used more narrowly in relation to the events and changes of 1879 alone. The Ryūkyū Disposition has been "alternatively characterized as aggression, annexation, national unification, or internal reform".


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