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Taiwan to Donate Cypress Timber for Shuri Castle Rebuild

Courtesy of the Okinawa General Bureau
Shuri Castle before it was destroyed by fire

TAIPEI — Taiwan plans to donate five red cypress logs to help rebuild Shuri Castle in Okinawa Prefecture, Taiwan’s foreign ministry has said. The castle’s main hall, along with other parts of the compound, were destroyed by a fire in October 2019.

The cypress will be used for ornamentation inside the main hall, just as in the previous restoration of the castle in 1992. The ministry said that the donation is aimed at demonstrating not only deep friendship with Japan, but also a cycle of goodwill.

When Shuri Castle was restored some 30 years ago, about 150 cypress logs from Taiwan were used for pillars and other features. The Japanese side approached Taiwan about a donation of cypress timber for the castle’s reconstruction.

As Taiwan prohibits the logging of cypress trees from natural forests, its government will provide for free five cypress trees — each 3.6 meters and 40-50 centimeters thick — from a man-made forest.

According to the central government’s Okinawa bureau, Taiwan-grown red cypress trees have a high resin content, making them resistant to decay and easy to carve.

Work to reconstruct the castle is underway and expected to finish in autumn of 2026.