Tamaudun (玉陵) is one of the three royal mausoleums of the Ryukyu Kingdom, along with Urasoe yōdore at Urasoe Castle and Izena Tamaudun near Izena Castle in Izena, Okinawa. The mausoleum is located in Shuri, Okinawa, and was built for Ryūkyūan royalty in 1501[1] by King Shō Shin, the third king of the Second Shō Dynasty a short distance from Shuri Castle.



The site, covering an area of 2,442m²,[2] consists of two stone-walled enclosures, the three compartments of the mausoleum itself facing north and backed by a natural cliff to the south.[3] A stone stele in the outer enclosure memorializes the construction of the mausoleum, which was finished in 1501, and lists the name of Shō Shin along with those of eight others involved in the construction.[2] The three compartments of the mausoleum are laid out from east to west, with kings and queens in the eastern compartment and the princes and rest of the royal family in the western compartment, the central compartment used for the Ryukyuan tradition of senkotsu [ja];[2][3] remains would only be kept here for a limited time, after which the bones were washed and entombed.[4] The shisa (stone lions) guarding the tomb are examples of traditional Ryūkyūan stone sculpture. The architectural style of the mausoleum represents that of the royal palace at the time, which was a stone structure with a wooden roof.[2][4]

The structure suffered extensive damage in the 1945 battle of Okinawa, and was subsequently looted,[1] but the tombs and royal remains themselves remained intact, and much of the structure has since been restored. In 1992 Hiroshi Shō, the great-grandson of Shō Tai, the last king of the Ryūkyū Kingdom, donated Tamaudun and the royal gardens of Shikina-en to the City of Naha. It was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on December 2, 2000, as a part of the site group Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu and a National Treasure in 2018.[2]


Seventeen of the 19 kings of the Second Shō Dynasty who ruled between 1470 and 1879 are entombed at Tamaudun, along with various queens and royal children. The first person to be buried there was Shō En, for whom the mausoleum was constructed upon the orders of his son and successor, Shō Shin. However, for approximately 25 years, Shō En was not initially interred here, given that he died in 1476 and the mausoleum was not completed until 1501. Other monarchs not interred here include Shō Sen'i (1430-1477), who was not later re-interred here as his brother was, and Shō Nei (1564–1620) who chose to be interred separately in Urasoe yōdore in the aftermath of the Invasion of Ryukyu. The last interree was former Prince of Nakagusuku, Shō Ten, the son of the Ryūkyū Kingdom's last king, Shō Tai, who was entombed there in 1920 in accordance with traditional Ryūkyūan royal funerary rites.


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  1. ^ a b Kerr, George H. Okinawa: The History of an Island People (revised ed.). Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing, 2000. p109.
  2. ^ a b c d e Official pamphlet obtained on-site
  3. ^ a b Kadekawa, Manabu. Okinawa Champloo Encyclopedia (沖縄チャンプルー事典). Tokyo: Yama-Kei Publishers, 2001. p56.
  4. ^ a b c Official plaques and gallery labels on-site.
  5. ^ Nakamura, Toru. 沖縄の世界遺産玉陵被葬者一覧 (Tamaudun, World Heritage Site of Okinawa - List of Persons Entombed). October 2005. Accessed 24 August 2008.
  6. ^ This is a title, not a name. This person was the wife (indicated by kanashi 加那志) of the anji (按司, an aristocratic rank and administrative post/title which might be translated as "local lord") of Aoriya (a placename). See also Okinawan family name for the ways in which these terms were typically used by the Ryukyuan aristocracy at the time in place of personal names.

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Coordinates: 26°13′06″N 127°42′53″E / 26.21833°N 127.71472°E / 26.21833; 127.71472