When Dai Sensei Yagi Meitoku was first introduced to Chojun Miyagi by his grandfather, he was identified as a descendant of Jana Oyakata and of the original Chinese immigrants of Okinawa. Jana Oyakata was celebrated as a pro-Ryukyu minister of 1600′s who made the ultimate sacrifice of his life for the kingdom he served.
Jana Oyakata Teidō 謝名親方鄭迥 , was the head of Kume village in Naha and was also one of the top 3 ministers known as the Sanshikan 三司官, who served the king of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Oyakata was the title given to these ministers. Jana Oyakata was a scholar educated in China and served the King Sho Nei during the invasion of the the Shimatsu clan in 1609. The historical significance of this event is that it would end Okinawa’s sovereignty as an independent nation and begin its 250-year occupation under military rule.
The Satsuma invaders had had long claimed Okinawa as a part of its own domain. This claim was disputed by Okinawa, then known as the Ryukyu Kingdom. Inhabitants of the Ryukyu Kingdom had always distinguished themselves as an independent nation and had the support of China to who also considered the Ryukyu as independent. The close relationship between China and Ryukyu built a strong trade and cultural exchange between the two countries.
By 1609 in Japan, the Tokugawa unification had already begun. The Shimazu Samurai of Satsuma were given the authority to invade Ryukyu. Jana Oyakata was at his post in Kume fending off the invasion from Satsuma but upon hearing that the capital of Shuri had overtaken left his position to defend the king’s city. King Sho Nei and his entourage which included his Sanshinkan and servants were captured and imprisoned. King Sho Nei and his Sanshikan were compelled to sign over Okinawa’s independence to their captors and altering the lineage and history of the Ryukyus. The king and 2 of the Sanshikan signed the document thus granting them their freedom. Jana, however, refused in patriotic defiance. To make an example of such defiance, the Shimatsu clan sentenced Jana Oyakata to his death. Some say that he was brutally boiled in oil while other reports indicate a beheading. Without the third signature of Jana Oyakata, Okinawa history has remained true and his sacrifice has contributed to keeping Okinawa cultural significant to this day.
The monument to Jana Oyakata overlooks the bay in Kume where he stood against the Satsuma clan.