Shuri, The Once Capital District of Okinawa
Many people heard of Shuri because of its association with the Shurijo Castle World Heritage Park. But at one time Shuri was the capital district of the Ryukyu Kingdom. This was so until 1879 when the Satsuma Domain (current Kagoshima Prefecture) had attacked the kingdom, forcing it to submit under its control thereby making Okinawa part of Japan. The Japanese army then temporarily took over Shuri Castle and established it as its headquarters. Subsequently, responsibilities of all civilian governmental affairs were removed from Shuri Castle proper and were transferred to other areas within the Shuri District and also to areas to what is now considered downtown Naha. Shuri Castle would later be handed back to the Okinawans for restoration only to be reoccupied again by the Japanese military during World War II. This would prove to be a devastating move as it would later be heavily attacked during the Battle of Okinawa.
Shuri would see itself become a city in 1921. This only lasted for a short while as it would merge with Naha City in 1954. Shuri Castle served many functions during the Ryukyu Kingdom era. It was not only a place where the royal family resided, but it also dealt with governmental affairs that affected the entire island. During this era, Shuri would eventually grow with people, many possessing varying knowledge and skills, working in and around the area.
Thus, by the vary nature of a flourishing population, the areas around the castle eventually expanded into three districts. Today, there are some local people who consider themselves Shuri citizens, and do not identify themselves as part of Naha. There is no doubt that there is a lot of history in and around the Shuri District.
As aforementioned above, during the Ryukyu Kingdom era, Shuri grew into three prominent districts: “Hae-nu-fila”, “Maaji-nu-fila” and “Nishi-nu-fila”.