The Tale of a Hero Nishitoh
There is the Nishitoh Utaki in front of Machitami Hall. Nishitoh is enshrined as a god of guardian and good harvest of the island so that people gather and pray on the New Year's Day. In the island, as the word "Nishitoh Spirit" remains, he is well respected as a great politician, honest, and a hometown lover. Once elders spoke about him by saluting his name "Sir Nishitoh" with a great respect, and never called him just "Nishitoh."
Nishitoh-On The Stone monument engraved the witticism of Nishitoh
According to the legend, when the allies of Ryukyu Dynasty and Miyako defeated Okeya Akahachi of Yaeyama in 1500, the general of the allies, Ohsato Oyakata, realized Nishitoh's talent and he took the boy to Shuri, the capital city of Ryukyu Dynasty. Nishitoh learned and mastered language, letters, and variety of subject in Shuri, Okinawa's main island, and he became a very famous architect then.
Sonohyan Utaki's stone gate, which has been designated to a world heritage, was constructed by Nishitoh. In addition, it is said that Nishitoh had also repaired the walls of Shuri Castle. Although he had become very famous and been in a very important position as an architect in the capital, he had a strong desire to fulfill. It was to go back to Taketomi Island, his homeland. The story says that when he was constructing the stone gate, Nishitoh had said, "If I were to be able to go home, I would swear to invite the god of Sonohyun Utaki to Taketomi Island."
His dream finally came true, and he went home as kashira (a chief commander) of Yaeyama Islands. He built kuramoto (a government house), and ruled his area. He also built Kuninaka Utaki in Taketomi Island and settled it as a place for pilgrims, in order to keep the promise of what heÅfd sworn to Sonohyun Utaki. Therefore Kuninaka Utaki has become the only Utaki in Yaeyama IslandÅfs to be directly connected to Shuri Capitol, that made people in Taketomi Island proud of their spirits and confidence to live in Taketomi.
Kuramoto remains It is called the grave of NishitohÅfs mother
Later, Nishitoh came to think that Taketomi Island was not really a perfect place to rule Yaeyama Islands for being a small island and lacking water. And he moved the Kuramoto to Ishigaki Island, but he often missed his home island whenever he looked at it from there. It was the time when he made "Shikita Bonbushi" (a traditional dance with a song)
"Shikita Bonbushi" is a song that sings the endless love to the island as if it's on a bon (a tray) to offer the holy mountain in Ishigaki Island. (tray means to be a sacred island). This song is one of the most popular songs in Taketomi Island and is also a song sung and danced in Tanadhui Festival as a bond to unite everyon's mind into one.
Nishitoh lived his latest life in Ishigaki Island and died there, but after his death, he went back to Taketomi Island and was buried in a wonderful grave. That grave is today's Nishitoh Utaki.
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