The Info List - Okinawa

Okinawa Prefecture
Okinawa Prefecture
(Japanese: 沖縄県, Hepburn: Okinawa-ken, Okinawan: ウチナーチン Uchinaa-chin) is the southernmost prefecture of Japan.[1] It encompasses two thirds of the Ryukyu Islands in a chain over 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) long. The Ryukyu Islands
Ryukyu Islands
extend southwest from Kyushu
(the southwesternmost of Japan's four main islands) to Taiwan. Naha, Okinawa's capital, is located in the southern part of Okinawa Island.[2] Although Okinawa Prefecture
Okinawa Prefecture
comprises just 0.6 percent of Japan's total land mass, about 75 percent of all United States military personnel stationed in Japan
are assigned to installations in the prefecture.[3] Currently about 26,000 U.S. troops are based in the prefecture.[4]


1 History

1.1 1945–1965 1.2 1965–1972 (Vietnam War) 1.3 1973–2006 1.4 2007–present

1.4.1 Marine Corps
Marine Corps
Air Station Futenma relocation, 2006–present 1.4.2 Helipads construction in Takae
( Yanbaru

2 Geography

2.1 Major islands 2.2 Cities 2.3 Towns and villages 2.4 Town mergers 2.5 Natural parks 2.6 Fauna 2.7 Flora 2.8 Geology 2.9 Climate

3 Demography 4 Language and culture

4.1 Language 4.2 Religion 4.3 Cultural influences 4.4 Other cultural characteristics 4.5 Karate 4.6 Architecture

5 Education 6 Sports 7 Transportation

7.1 Air transportation 7.2 Highways 7.3 Rail 7.4 Ports

8 Economy 9 Military

9.1 United States military installations

10 Notable people 11 See also 12 Footnotes

12.1 Notes 12.2 References

13 External links


History of Ryukyu


Prehistoric pre–14,000 BC

Early Shell Mound 14,000–300 BC

Middle Shell Mound 300 BC–750 AD

Late Shell Mound 750–1187

Gusuku 1187–1314

Sanzan 1314–1429

First Shō Dynasty 1429–1469

Second Shō Dynasty 1469–1879

Invasion of Ryūkyū 1609

Ryūkyū Domain 1872–1879

Annexation of Ryūkyū 1879

Meiji 1879–1912

Taishō 1912–1926

Pre-World War 2 1926–1945


Battle of Okinawa 1945

American Occupation 1945–1972

Koza riot 1970

Okinawa Prefecture 1972–present

Kagoshima Prefecture 1953–present


Ryukyu Kingdom


Ryukyu independence movement


v t e

Location of Ryukyu Islands

See also: History of the Ryukyu Islands
Ryukyu Islands
and Historic Sites of Okinawa The oldest evidence of human existence on the Ryukyu islands is from the Stone Age
Stone Age
and was discovered in Naha[5] and Yaeyama.[6] Some human bone fragments from the Paleolithic
era were unearthed from a site in Naha, but the artifact was lost in transportation before it was examined to be Paleolithic
or not.[5] Japanese Jōmon influences are dominant on the Okinawa Islands, although clay vessels on the Sakishima Islands
Sakishima Islands
have a commonality with those in Taiwan.[10] The first mention of the word Ryukyu was written in the Book of Sui.[note 1] Okinawa was the Japanese word identifying the islands, first seen in the biography of Jianzhen, written in 779.[note 2] Agricultural societies begun in the 8th century slowly developed until the 12th century. RefnMasahide Takemoto suggested in his 1972 paper that the 10th century sites he excavated was formed on the hillsides suited to agriculture, where remains of Chinese celadonware were also excavated as signs of the beginning of the Gusuku
period or centralized governing system.[13][14][15] Since the islands are located at the eastern perimeter of the East China Sea
East China Sea
relatively close to Japan, China and South-East Asia, the Ryukyu Kingdom
Ryukyu Kingdom
became a prosperous trading nation. Also during this period, many Gusukus, similar to castles, were constructed. The Ryukyu Kingdom
Ryukyu Kingdom
entered into the Imperial Chinese tributary system under the Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty
beginning in the 15th century, which established economic relations between the two nations. In 1609, the Shimazu clan, which controlled the region that is now Kagoshima Prefecture, invaded the Ryukyu Kingdom. The Ryukyu Kingdom was obliged to agree to form a suzerain-vassal relationship with the Satsuma and the Tokugawa shogunate, while maintaining its previous role within the Chinese tributary system; Ryukyuan sovereignty was maintained since complete annexation would have created a conflict with China. The Satsuma clan earned considerable profits from trade with China during a period in which foreign trade was heavily restricted by the shogunate.

A Ryukyuan embassy in Edo.

Although Satsuma maintained strong influence over the islands, the Ryukyu Kingdom
Ryukyu Kingdom
maintained a considerable degree of domestic political freedom for over two hundred years. Four years after the 1868 Meiji Restoration, the Japanese government, through military incursions, officially annexed the kingdom and renamed it Ryukyu han. At the time, the Qing Empire asserted a nominal suzerainty over the islands of the Ryukyu Kingdom, since the Ryūkyū Kingdom was also a member state of the Chinese tributary system. Ryukyu han became Okinawa Prefecture
Okinawa Prefecture
of Japan
in 1879, even though all other hans had become prefectures of Japan
in 1872. In 1912, Okinawans first obtained the right to vote for representatives to the National Diet
National Diet
(国会) which had been established in 1890.[16] 1945–1965[edit] Near the end of World War II, in 1945, the US Army
US Army
and Marine Corps invaded Okinawa with 185,000 troops. A third of the civilian population died;[17] a quarter of the civilian population died during the 1945 Battle of Okinawa
Battle of Okinawa
alone.[18] The dead, of all nationalities, are commemorated at the Cornerstone of Peace. After the end of World War II, the Ryukyu independence movement developed, while Okinawa was under United States Military Government of the Ryukyu Islands administration for 27 years. During this "trusteeship rule", the United States established numerous military bases on the Ryukyu islands. During the Korean War, B-29 Superfortresses flew bombing missions over Korea
from Kadena Air Base
Kadena Air Base
on Okinawa. The military buildup on the island during the Cold War
Cold War
increased a division between local inhabitants and the American military. Under the 1952 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, the United States Forces Japan
(USFJ) have maintained a large military presence. Since 1960, the U.S. and Japan
have maintained an agreement that allows the U.S. to secretly bring nuclear weapons into Japanese ports.[19][20][21] The Japanese tended to oppose the introduction of nuclear arms into Japanese territory[22] by the government's assertion of Japan's non-nuclear policy
Japan's non-nuclear policy
and a statement of the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. Most of the weapons were alleged to be stored in ammunition bunkers at Kadena Air Base.[citation needed] Between 1954 and 1972, 19 different types of nuclear weapons were deployed in Okinawa, but with fewer than around 1,000 warheads at any one time.[23] 1965–1972 (Vietnam War)[edit] Between 1965 and 1972, Okinawa was a key staging point for the United States in its military operations directed towards North Vietnam. Along with Guam, it presented a geographically strategic launch pad for covert bombing missions over Cambodia
and Laos.[24] Anti-Vietnam War sentiment became linked politically to the movement for reversion of Okinawa to Japan. In 1965, the US military bases, earlier viewed as paternal post war protection, were increasingly seen as aggressive. The Vietnam War
Vietnam War
highlighted the differences between the United States and Okinawa, but showed a commonality between the islands and mainland Japan.[25] As controversy grew regarding the alleged placement of nuclear weapons on Okinawa, fears intensified over the escalation of the Vietnam War. Okinawa was then perceived, by some inside Japan, as a potential target for China, should the communist government feel threatened by the United States.[26] American military secrecy blocked any local reporting on what was actually occurring at bases such as Kadena Air Base. As information leaked out, and images of air strikes were published, the local population began to fear the potential for retaliation.[25] Political leaders such as Oda Makoto, a major figure in the Beheiren movement (Foundation of Citizens for Peace in Vietnam), believed, that the return of Okinawa to Japan
would lead to the removal of U.S. forces ending Japan's involvement in Vietnam.[27] In a speech delivered in 1967 Oda was critical of Prime Minister Sato’s unilateral support of America’s War in Vietnam claiming "Realistically we are all guilty of complicity in the Vietnam War".[27] The Beheiren became a more visible anti-war movement on Okinawa as the American involvement in Vietnam intensified. The movement employed tactics ranging from demonstrations, to handing leaflets to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines directly, warning of the implications for a third World War.[28] The US military bases on Okinawa became a focal point for anti-Vietnam War sentiment. By 1969, over 50,000 American military personnel were stationed on Okinawa,[29] accustomed to privileges and laws not shared by the indigenous population. The United States Department of Defense began referring to Okinawa as "The Keystone of the Pacific". This slogan was imprinted on local U.S. military license plates.[30] In 1969, chemical weapons leaked from the US storage depot at Chibana in central Okinawa, under Operation Red Hat. Evacuations of residents took place over a wide area for two months. Even two years later, government investigators found that Okinawans and the environment near the leak were still suffering because of the depot.[31] In 1972, the U.S. government handed over the islands to Japanese administration.[32] 1973–2006[edit] In a 1981 interview with the Mainichi Shimbun, Edwin O. Reischauer, former U.S. ambassador to Japan, said that U.S. naval ships armed with nuclear weapons stopped at Japanese ports on a routine duty, and this was approved by the Japanese government.[citation needed] The 1995 rape of a 12-year-old girl by U.S. servicemen triggered large protests in Okinawa. Reports by the local media of accidents and crimes committed by U.S. servicemen have reduced the local population's support for the U.S. military bases. A strong emotional response has emerged from certain incidents. As a result, the media has drawn renewed interest in the Ryukyu independence movement. Documents declassified in 1997 proved that both tactical and strategic weapons have been maintained in Okinawa.[33][34] In 1999 and 2002, the Japan
Times and the Okinawa Times reported speculation that not all weapons were removed from Okinawa.[35][36] On October 25, 2005, after a decade of negotiations, the governments of the US and Japan officially agreed to move Marine Corps
Marine Corps
Air Station Futenma from its location in the densely populated city of Ginowan to the more northerly and remote Camp Schwab
Camp Schwab
in Nago
by building a heliport with a shorter runway, partly on Camp Schwab
Camp Schwab
land and partly running into the sea.[17] The move is partly an attempt to relieve tensions between the people of Okinawa and the Marine Corps. Okinawa prefecture constitutes 0.6 percent of Japan's land surface,[17] yet as of 2006[update], 75 percent of all USFJ bases were located on Okinawa, and U.S. military bases occupied 18 percent of the main island.[37]

U.S. military facilities in Okinawa

2007–present[edit] According to a 2007 Okinawa Times poll, 85 percent of Okinawans opposed the presence of the U.S. military,[38] because of noise pollution from military drills, the risk of aircraft accidents,[39] environmental degradation,[40] and crowding from the number of personnel there,[41] although 73.4 percent of Japanese citizens appreciated the mutual security treaty with the U.S. and the presence of the USFJ.[42] In another poll conducted by the Asahi Shimbun
Asahi Shimbun
in May 2010, 43 percent of the Okinawan population wanted the complete closure of the U.S. bases, 42 percent wanted reduction and 11 percent wanted the maintenance of the status quo.[43] Okinawan feelings about the U.S. military are complex, and some of the resentment towards the U.S. bases is directed towards the government in Tokyo, perceived as being insensitive to Okinawan needs and using Okinawa to house bases not desired elsewhere in Japan. In early 2008, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
apologized after a series of crimes involving American troops in Japan, including the rape of a young girl of 14 by a Marine on Okinawa. The U.S. military also imposed a temporary 24-hour curfew on military personnel and their families to ease the anger of local residents.[44] Some cited statistics that the crime rate of military personnel is consistently less than that of the general Okinawan population.[45] However, some criticized the statistics as unreliable, since violence against women is under-reported.[46] Between 1972 and 2009, U.S. servicemen committed 5,634 criminal offenses, including 25 murders, 385 burglaries, 25 arsons, 127 rapes, 306 assaults and 2,827 thefts.[18] In 2009, a new Japanese government came to power and froze the US forces relocation plan, but in April 2010 indicated their interest in resolving the issue by proposing a modified plan.[47] A study done in 2010 found that the prolonged exposure to aircraft noise around the Kadena Air Base
Kadena Air Base
and other military bases cause health issues such as a disrupted sleep pattern, high blood pressure, weakening of the immune system in children, and a loss of hearing.[48] In 2011, it was reported that the U.S. military—contrary to repeated denials by the Pentagon—had kept tens of thousands of barrels of Agent Orange
Agent Orange
on the island. The Japanese and American governments have angered some U.S. veterans, who believe they were poisoned by Agent Orange while serving on the island, by characterizing their statements regarding Agent Orange
Agent Orange
as "dubious", and ignoring their requests for compensation. Reports that more than a third of the barrels developed leaks have led Okinawans to ask for environmental investigations, but as of 2012[update] both Tokyo
and Washington refused such action.[49] Jon Mitchell has reported concern that the U.S. used American Marines as chemical-agent guinea pigs.[50] Marine Corps
Marine Corps
Air Station Futenma relocation, 2006–present[edit] Main article: Relocation of Marine Corps
Marine Corps
Air Station Futenma As of December 2014[update], one ongoing issue is the relocation of Marine Corps
Marine Corps
Air Station Futenma. First promised to be moved off the island and then later within the island, as of November 2014[update] the future of any relocation is uncertain with the election of base-opponent Onaga as Okinawa governor.[51] Onaga won against the incumbent Nakaima who had earlier approved landfill work to move the base to Camp Schwab
Camp Schwab
in Henoko. However, Onaga has promised to veto the landfill work needed for the new base to be built and insisted Futenma should be moved outside of Okinawa.[52] As of 2006[update], some 8,000 U.S. Marines were removed from the island and relocated to Guam.[53] In November 2008, U.S. Pacific Command Commander Admiral Timothy Keating
Timothy Keating
stated the move to Guam would probably not be completed before 2015.[54] In 2009, Japan's former foreign minister Katsuya Okada
Katsuya Okada
stated that he wanted to review the deployment of U.S. troops in Japan
to ease the burden on the people of Okinawa (Associated Press, October 7, 2009)[citation needed] 5,000 of 9,000 Marines will be deployed at Guam and the rest will be deployed at Hawaii and Australia. Japan
will pay $3.1 billion cash for the moving and for developing joint training ranges on Guam
and on Tinian and Pagan in the U.S.-controlled Northern Mariana Islands.[55][56][57] As of 2014[update], the US still maintains Air Force, Marine, Navy, and Army military installations on the islands. These bases include Kadena Air Base, Camp Foster, Marine Corps
Marine Corps
Air Station Futenma, Camp Hansen, Camp Schwab, Torii Station, Camp Kinser, and Camp Gonsalves. The area of 14 U.S. bases are 233 square kilometres (90 sq mi), occupying 18 percent of the main island. Okinawa hosts about two-thirds of the 50,000 American forces in Japan
although the islands account for less than one percent of total lands in Japan.[37] Suburbs have grown towards and now surround two historic major bases, Futenma and Kadena. One third (9,852 acres (39.87 km2))[citation needed] of the land used by the U.S. military is the Marine Corps Northern Training Area (known also as Camp Gonsalves
Camp Gonsalves
or JWTC) in the north of the island.[58] On December 21, 2016, 10,000 acres of Okinawa Northern Training Area was returned to Japan.[59] Helipads construction in Takae
( Yanbaru
forest)[edit] Since the early 2000s, Okinawans have opposed the presence of American troops helipads in the Takae
zone of the Yanbaru
forest near Higashi and Kunigami.[60] This opposition has increased particularly in July 2016 against the construction of six new helipads.[61][62] Geography[edit] Main article: Ryukyu Islands Major islands[edit]

The islands of Okinawa Prefecture

The islands comprising the prefecture are the southern two thirds of the archipelago of the Ryūkyū Islands (琉球諸島, Ryūkyū-shotō). Okinawa's inhabited islands are typically divided into three geographical archipelagos. From northeast to southwest:

Okinawa Islands
Okinawa Islands
(沖縄諸島, Okinawa Shotō)

Ie-jima Kume-jima Okinawa Island Kerama Islands

Miyako Islands


Yaeyama Islands

Iriomote-jima Ishigaki Island Yonaguni


Map of Okinawa Prefecture



Eleven cities are located within the Okinawa Prefecture. Okinawan names are in parentheses:

(Naafa) (capital) Ginowan (Jinoon) Ishigaki (Ishigachi) Itoman (Ichuman) Miyakojima (Naaku, Myaaku)

(Nagu) Nanjō
(Nanjoo) Okinawa (Uchinaa) (formerly Koza)

Tomigusuku (Tumigushiku) Urasoe (Urashii) Uruma

Towns and villages[edit] These are the towns and villages in each district:

Kunigami District (Kunjan)

Ginoza (Jinuja) Higashi (Agarijima) Ie (Iijima) Kin (Chin) Kunigami (Kunjan) Motobu (Mutubu) Nakijin (Nachijin) Onna (Unna) Ōgimi (Ujimi)

Miyako District (Naaku, Myaaku)


Nakagami District (Nakajan)

Chatan Kadena (Kadina) Kitanakagusuku Nakagusuku (Nakagushiku) Nishihara (Nishibaru) Yomitan (Yuntan)

Shimajiri District

Aguni Haebaru (Feebaru) Iheya (Ihyaa) Izena (Ijina) Kitadaitō (Ufuagarijima) Kumejima (Kumijima) Minamidaitō

Tokashiki (Tukashichi) Tonaki (Tunachi) Yaese Yonabaru (Yunabaru) Zamami (Jamami)

Yaeyama District (Eema, Yaima)

Taketomi (Dakidun, Teedun) Yonaguni
(Yunaguni, Dunan)

Town mergers[edit] Main article: List of mergers in Okinawa Prefecture Natural parks[edit] As of March 31, 2008, 19 percent of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park; Okinawa Kaigan and Okinawa Senseki Quasi-National Parks; and Irabu, Kumejima, and Tonaki Prefectural Natural Parks.[63] Fauna[edit] The dugong is an endangered marine mammal related to the manatee.[64] Iriomote
is home to one of the world's rarest and most endangered cat species, the Iriomote
cat. The region is also home to at least one endemic pit viper, Trimeresurus elegans. Coral
reefs found in this region of Japan
provide an environment for a diverse marine fauna. The sea turtles return yearly to the southern islands of Okinawa to lay their eggs. The summer months carry warnings to swimmers regarding venomous jellyfish and other dangerous sea creatures. Flora[edit] Okinawa is a major producer of sugar cane, pineapple, papaya, and other tropical fruit, and the Southeast Botanical Gardens
Southeast Botanical Gardens
represent tropical plant species. Geology[edit]

Arch at an Okinawan Castle ruin.

Shuri Castle, Naha

The island is largely composed of coral, and rainwater filtering through that coral has given the island many caves, which played an important role in the Battle of Okinawa. Gyokusendo[65] is an extensive limestone cave in the southern part of Okinawa's main island. Climate[edit] The island experiences temperatures above 20 °C (68 °F) for most of the year. The climate of the islands ranges from humid subtropical climate ( Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification
Cfa) in the north, such as Okinawa Island, to tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification Af) in the south such as Iriomote
Island. The islands of Okinawa are surrounded by some of the most abundant coral reefs found in the world.[66][67] The world's largest colony of rare blue coral is found off of Ishigaki Island.[68] Snowfall is unheard of at sea level. However, on January 24, 2016, sleet was reported in Nago on Okinawa Island
Okinawa Island
for the first time on record.[69] Demography[edit]

It has been suggested that High Life Expectancy in Okinawa
High Life Expectancy in Okinawa
be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since November 2016.

Okinawa prefecture age pyramid as of October 1, 2003[70] (per thousands of people)

Age People

0–4 84

5–9 85

10–14 87

15–19 94

20–24 91

25–29 97

30–34 99

35–39 87

40–44 91

45–49 96

50–54 100

55–59 64

60–64 65

65–69 66

70–74 53

75–79 37

80 + 55

Okinawa Prefecture
Okinawa Prefecture
age pyramid, divided by sex, as of October 1, 2003 (per thousands of people)

Males Age Females

43 0–4 41

44 5–9 41

45 10–14 42

48 15–19 46

46 20–24 45

49 25–29 48

49 30–34 50

43 35–39 44

46 40–44 45

49 45–49 47

52 50–54 48

32 55–59 32

32 60–64 33

32 65–69 34

24 70–74 29

14 75–79 23

17 80 + 38

Language and culture[edit]

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See also: Okinawan cuisine

Shisa, a cross between a lion and a dog, on a traditional tile roof


Having been a separate nation until 1879, Okinawan language
Okinawan language
and culture differ in many ways from those of mainland Japan. Language[edit] Main article: Ryukyuan languages There remain six Ryukyuan languages
Ryukyuan languages
which are incomprehensible to Japanese speakers, although they are considered to make up the family of Japonic languages
Japonic languages
along with Japanese. These languages are in decline as Standard Japanese is being used by the younger generation. They are generally perceived as "dialects" by mainland Japanese and some Okinawans themselves. Standard Japanese is almost always used in formal situations. In informal situations, de facto everyday language among Okinawans under age 60 is Okinawa-accented mainland Japanese ("Okinawan Japanese"), which is often misunderstood as the Okinawan language proper. The actual traditional Okinawan language
Okinawan language
is still used in traditional cultural activities, such as folk music and folk dance. There is a radio news program in the language as well.[71] Religion[edit] Main article: Ryukyuan religion Okinawans have traditionally followed Ryukyuan religious beliefs, generally characterized by ancestor worship and the respecting of relationships between the living, the dead, and the gods and spirits of the natural world.[72] Cultural influences[edit] Okinawan culture bears traces of its various trading partners. One can find Chinese, Thai and Austronesian influences in the island's customs. Perhaps Okinawa's most famous cultural export is karate, probably a product of the close ties with and influence of China on Okinawan culture. Karate
is thought to be a synthesis of Chinese kung fu with traditional Okinawan martial arts. Okinawans' reputation as wily resisters of being influenced by conquerors is depicted in the 1956 Hollywood film, The Teahouse of the August Moon, which takes place immediately after World War II. Another traditional Okinawan product that owes its existence to Okinawa's trading history is awamori—an Okinawan distilled spirit made from indica rice imported from Thailand. Other cultural characteristics[edit] Other prominent examples of Okinawan culture include the sanshin—a three-stringed Okinawan instrument, closely related to the Chinese sanxian, and ancestor of the Japanese shamisen, somewhat similar to a banjo. Its body is often bound with snakeskin (from pythons, imported from elsewhere in Asia, rather than from Okinawa's venomous Trimeresurus flavoviridis, which are too small for this purpose). Okinawan culture also features the eisa dance, a traditional drumming dance. A traditional craft, the fabric named bingata, is made in workshops on the main island and elsewhere.[citation needed] The Okinawan diet consist of low-fat, low-salt foods, such as whole fruits and vegetables, legumes, tofu, and seaweed. Okinawans are known for their longevity. This particular island is a so-called Blue Zone, an area where the people live longer than most others elsewhere in the world. Five times as many Okinawans live to be 100 as in the rest of Japan, and Japanese are already the longest-lived ethnic group globally.[73] As of 2002[update] there were 34.7 centenarians for every 100,000 inhabitants, which is the highest ratio worldwide.[74]:131–132 Possible explanations are diet, low-stress lifestyle, caring community, activity, and spirituality of the inhabitants of the island.[74][page needed] A cultural feature of the Okinawans is the forming of moais. A moai is a community social gathering and groups that come together to provide financial and emotional support through emotional bonding, advice giving, and social funding. This provides a sense of security for the community members and as mentioned in the Blue Zone
Blue Zone
studies, may be a contributing factor to the longevity of its people.[75] In recent years,[when?] Okinawan literature has been appreciated outside of the Ryukyu archipelago. Two Okinawan writers have received the Akutagawa Prize: Matayoshi Eiki in 1995 for The Pig's Retribution (豚の報い, Buta no mukui) and Medoruma Shun in 1997 for A Drop of Water (Suiteki). The prize was also won by Okinawans in 1967 by Tatsuhiro Oshiro for Cocktail Party (Kakuteru Pāti) and in 1971 by Mineo Higashi for Okinawan Boy (Okinawa no Shōnen).[76][77] Karate[edit] Main article: Karate Karate
originated in Okinawa. Over time, it developed into several styles and sub-styles. On Okinawa, the three main styles are considered to be Shōrin-ryū, Gōjū-ryū
and Uechi-ryū. Internationally, the various styles and sub-styles include Matsubayashi-ryū, Wadō-ryū, Isshin-ryū, Shōrinkan, Shotokan, Shitō-ryū, Shōrinjiryū Kenkōkan, Shorinjiryu Koshinkai, and Shōrinji-ryū. Architecture[edit]

A traditional Okinawan house

Despite widespread destruction during World War II, there are many remains of a unique type of castle or fortress known as gusuku; the most significant are now inscribed on the UNESCO
World Heritage List ( Gusuku
Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu).[78] In addition, twenty-one Ryukyuan architectural complexes and thirty-six historic sites have been designated for protection by the national government.[79] Whereas most homes in Japan
are made from wood and allow free-flow of air to combat humidity, typical modern homes in Okinawa are made from concrete with barred windows to protect from flying plant debris and to withstand regular typhoons. Roofs are designed with strong winds in mind, in which each tile is cemented on and not merely layered as seen with many homes in Japan.[citation needed] Many roofs also display a lion-dog statue, called a shisa, which is said to protect the home from danger. Roofs are typically red in color and are inspired by Chinese design.[citation needed] Education[edit] The public schools in Okinawa are overseen by the Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education. The agency directly operates several public high schools[80] including Okinawa Shogaku High School. The U.S. Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) operates 13 schools total in Okinawa. Seven of these schools are located on Kadena Air Base. Okinawa has many types of private schools. Some of them are cram schools, also known as juku. Others, such as Nova, solely teach language. People also attend small language schools.[citation needed] There are 10 colleges/universities in Okinawa, including the University of the Ryukyus, the only national university in the prefecture, and the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, a new international research institute. Okinawa's American military bases also host the Asian Division of the University of Maryland University College. Sports[edit]

Association football

F.C. Ryūkyū
F.C. Ryūkyū


Ryukyu Golden Kings
Ryukyu Golden Kings


Ryukyu Corazon[81] (Naha)


In addition, various baseball teams from Japan
hold training during the winter in Okinawa prefecture as it is the warmest prefecture of Japan
with no snow and higher temperatures than other prefectures.

Softbank Hawks Yokohama BayStars Chunichi Dragons Yakult Swallows

There are numerous golf courses in the prefecture, and there was formerly a professional tournament called the Okinawa Open. Transportation[edit] Air transportation[edit]

Aguni Airport Hateruma Airport Iejima Airport New Ishigaki Airport Kerama Airport Kita Daito Airport Kumejima Airport Minami-Daito Airport Miyako Airport Naha
Airport Shimojijima Airport Tarama Airport Yonaguni


Okinawa Expressway Naha
Airport Expressway Route 58 Route 329 Route 330 Route 331 Route 332 Route 390 Route 449 Route 505 Route 506 Route 507

Rail[edit] See also: Rail transportation in Okinawa

Okinawa Monorail

Ports[edit] The major ports of Okinawa include:

Port[82] Port of Unten[83] Port of Kinwan[84] Nakagusukuwan Port[85] Hirara Port[86] Port of Ishigaki[87]

Economy[edit] The 34 US military installations on Okinawa are financially supported by the U.S. and Japan.[88] The bases provide jobs for Okinawans, both directly and indirectly; In 2011, the U.S. military employed over 9,800 Japanese workers in Okinawa.[88] As of 2012[update] the bases accounted for 4 or 5 percent of the economy.[89] However, Koji Taira argued in 1997 that because the U.S. bases occupy around 20 percent of Okinawa's land, they impose a deadweight loss of 15 percent on the Okinawan economy.[90] The Tokyo
government also pays the prefectural government around ¥10 billion per year[88] in compensation for the American presence, including, for instance, rent paid by the Japanese government to the Okinawans on whose land American bases are situated.[91] A 2005 report by the U.S. Forces Japan
Okinawa Area Field Office estimated that in 2003 the combined U.S. and Japanese base-related spending contributed $1.9 billion to the local economy.[92] On January 13, 2015, In response to the citizens electing governor Takeshi Onaga, the national government announced that Okinawa's funding will be cut, due to the governor's stance on removing the US military bases from Okinawa, which the national government doesn't want happening.[93][94] The Okinawa Convention and Visitors Bureau is exploring the possibility of using facilities on the military bases for large-scale Meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions events.[95] Military[edit] Main articles: U.S.– Japan
Status of Forces Agreement and United States Forces Japan United States military installations[edit]

United States Marine Corps

Marine Corps
Marine Corps
Base Camp Smedley D. Butler Camp Foster Marine Corps
Marine Corps
Air Station Futenma Camp Kinser Camp Courtney Camp McTureous Camp Hansen Camp Schwab Camp Gonsalves
Camp Gonsalves
(Jungle Warfare Training Center)

United States Air Force

Kadena Air Base

United States Navy

Camp Lester (Camp Kuwae)[96] Camp Shields Naval Facility White Beach

United States Army

Torii Station Fort Buckner Naha
Military Port

Notable people[edit]

Chōjun Miyagi
Chōjun Miyagi
founder of Gōjū-ryū, "hard/soft" style of famous Okinawan Karate. Uechi Kanbun
Uechi Kanbun
was the founder of Uechi-ryū, one of the primary karate styles of Okinawa. Mitsuru Ushijima
Mitsuru Ushijima
was the Japanese general at the Battle of Okinawa, during the final stages of World War II. Isamu Chō was an officer in the Imperial Japanese Army known for his support of ultranationalist politics and involvement in a number of attempted military and right-wing coup d'états in pre-World War II Japan. Ōta Minoru
Ōta Minoru
was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II, and the final commander of the Japanese naval forces defending the Oroku Peninsula during the Battle of Okinawa. Sato Eisaku
Sato Eisaku
was a Japanese politician and the 61st, 62nd and 63rd Prime Minister of Japan. While he was premier in 1972, Okinawa was returned to Japan. Yabu Kentsū
Yabu Kentsū
was a prominent teacher of Shōrin-ryū
karate in Okinawa from the 1910s until the 1930s, and was among the first people to demonstrate karate in Hawaii. Takuji Iwasaki was a meteorologist, biologist, ethnologist historian. Matayoshi Eiki Okinawan novel writer, winner of Akutagawa prize Gackt
Japanese pop rock singer-songwriter, actor, author Namie Amuro
Namie Amuro
Japanese R&B, hip hop and pop singer Beni Japanese pop and R&B singer Ben Shepherd
Ben Shepherd
Bassist of the band Soundgarden Noriyuki Sugasawa
Noriyuki Sugasawa
basketball player Orange Range
Orange Range
Japanese rock band Stereopony Japanese all-female pop rock band Tamlyn Tomita
Tamlyn Tomita
actress and singer Rino Nakasone Razalan
Rino Nakasone Razalan
professional dancer and choreographer. Yukie Nakama singer, musician and actress Daichi Miura Japanese pop singer, dancer and choreographer. Yui Aragaki actress, singer, and model Hearts Grow Japanese band Aisa Senda, Japanese singer, actress and TV presenter in Taiwan Robert Griffin III, American football
American football
quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner Dave Roberts, Major League Baseball player and manager

See also[edit]

Okinawa Prefectural Assembly Okinawan Americans People from Okinawa Prefecture Ryukyuan people

Footnotes[edit] Notes[edit]

^ Nevertheless the name Ryukyu appears in the Book of Sui, it is not defined clearly if it refers to the Okinawa island, the islands east of the Sea of China except Japan, or Taiwan.[11] ^ Kanjun Higashionna introduces that Jianzhen's biography notes Ryūkyū, however he argues that the location could have been Taiwan actually, reasoned that it was not accessible in five days' voyage from mainland China to Okinawa island in the 8th century.[12]


^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Okinawa-ken" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 746-747, p. 746, at Google Books ^ Nussbaum, "Naha" in p. 686, p. 686, at Google Books ^ Inoue, Masamichi S. (2017), Okinawa and the U.S. Military: Identity Making in the Age of Globalization, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0-231-51114-8  ^ 'Under a decades-old security alliance, Okinawa hosts about 26,000 U.S. service personnel, more than half the total Washington keeps in all of Japan, in addition to base workers and family members.' "U.S. civilian arrested in fresh Okinawa DUI case; man injured". The Japan Times. July 2016.  ^ a b Oda, Shizuo (March 2003). "Yamashitachō dai-1 dōketsu shutsudo no kyūsekki ni tsuite (山下町第1洞穴出土の旧石器について)" [Paleolithic Artifacts Excavated from Cave No.1, Yamashitachō Site]. Nantō Kōko [南島考古] (in Japanese). Okinawa Archaeology Society (22): 1–19. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12.  ^ a b c Taneishi, Yū (2008). "Tsukuba-daigaku shūzō no Taiwan Taipei-shi Enzan kaizuka shūshū masei sekifu-rui ni tsuite [筑波大学収蔵の台湾台北市円山貝塚収集磨製石斧類について]" [<essay> Polished stone axes from the Enzan shell mound in Taipei, Taiwan; from among the collection at Tsukuba University]. Senshigaku/Kōkogaku kenkyū [先史学・考古学研究] (in Japanese). Tsukuba University (19): 86. ISBN 9784886216717. OCLC 747328754. Retrieved 2018-02-12. [permanent dead link] ^ Kokubu, Naoichi (1943). "Yūken sekifu, yūdan sekifu oyobi kokutō bunka" [Shouldered and stepped stone axes with black pottery civilization]. Taiwan
Bunka ronsō (in Japanese). Shimizu shoten (1).  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ Kanaseki, Takeo; Kokubu, Naoichi (1979). Taiwan
Kōkoshi [Archaeology of Taiwan]. Hosei University Press. pp. 121–179. OCLC 10917186.  ^ "Yaeyama-gata sekifu no kisoteki kenkyū (3)" [Basic studies on Yaeyama type stone axe]. Nantō Kōko [南島考古] (in Japanese). Okinawa Archaeology Society (15): 1–30. 1995.  ^ Naoichi Kokubu at the 1943 excavation of Enzan shell mound in Taipei city noted the clay pottery on Yaeyama island resembled the red coloring of those found in Taiwan,[6][7][8] while Hiroe Takamiya disapproved it by discussing the unique Yaeyama style stone axe independent from Chinese influence.[6][9] ^ The Dongyi. The Book of Sui. 81. 607.  ^ Higashionna, Kanjun (東恩納 寬惇) (1957). Ryūkyū no rekishi [The History of Ryūkyū]. Nihon rekishi shinsho (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shibundō. p. 13. Retrieved 2018-02-14.  ^ Takemoto, Masahide (1972). Shinzato, Keiji, ed. "Kōkogaku no shomondai to sono genjō" [Challenges in Archaeology and the Present Condition]. Rekishi-hen. Okinawa bunka ronsō (in Japanese). Heibonsha. 1. OCLC 20843495.  ^ Takemoto, Masahide (1972). "Okinawa ni okeru genshi shakai no shūmatsu-ki (沖縄における原始社会の終末期)". Nantō shiron : Tomimura Shin'en kyōju kanreki kinen ronbunshu (富村真演教授還暦記念論文集) [The Terminal Stage of the Primitive Society in Okinawa]. Ryūkyū Daigaku Shigakkai. OCLC 703826209.  ^ Asato (1990). Kōkogaku kara mita Ryūkyū-shi [History of Ryūkyū Seen from Archeological Principles] (in Japanese). 1. pp. 69–70.  ^ Steve Rabson, "Meiji Assimilation Policy in Okinawa: Promotion, Resistance, and "Reconstruction" in New Directions in the Study of Meiji Japan
(Helen Hardacre, ed.). Brill, 1997. p. 642. ^ a b c "No home where the dugong roam". The Economist. October 27, 2005.  ^ a b David Hearst (March 11, 2011). "Second battle of Okinawa looms as China's naval ambition grows". The Guardian. UK.  ^ Wampler, Robert A. (1997-05-14). The National Security Archive, The Gelman Library, ed. "Revelations in Newly Released Documents about U.S. Nuclear Weapons and Okinawa Fuel; NHK Documentary". George Washington University. Retrieved 2018-02-11.  ^ "Memorandum, Ambassador Brown to Secretary Rogers, 4/29/69, Subject: NSC Meeting April 30 - Policy Toward Japan: Briefing Memorandum (Secret), with attached". 1969-04-30: 1. Retrieved 2018-02-11.  ^ "NSSM 5 - Japan, Table of Contents and Part III: Okinawa Reversion (Secret)". 1969: 22. Retrieved 2018-02-11.  ^ "Memorandum of Conversation, Nixon/Sato, 11/19/69 (Top Secret/Sensitive)". 1969-11-19: 2. Retrieved 2018-02-11.  ^ Norris, Robert S.; Arkin, William M.; Burr, William (November 1999). "Where They Were" (PDF). Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 55 (6): 26–35. doi:10.2968/055006011. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-06-23.  ^ John Morrocco. Rain of Fire. (United States: Boston Publishing Company), pg 14 ^ a b ROBERT TRUMBULL (1 August 1965). "OKINAWA B-52'S ANGER JAPANESE: Bombing of Vietnam From Island Stirs Public Outcry". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 September 2009.  ^ Mori, Kyozo, Two Ends of a Telescope Japanese and American Views of Okinawa, Japan
Quarterly, 15:1 (1968:Jan./Mar.) p.17 ^ a b Havens, T. R. H. (1987) Fire Across the Sea: The Vietnam War
Vietnam War
and Japan, 1965–1975. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Pg 120 ^ Havens, T. R. H. (1987) Fire Across the Sea: The Vietnam War
Vietnam War
and Japan, 1965–1975. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Pg 123 ^ Christopher T. Sanders (2000) America’s Overseas Garrisons the Leasehold Empire Oxford University Press PG 164 ^ Havens, T. R. H. (1987) Fire Across the Sea: The Vietnam War
Vietnam War
and Japan, 1965–1975. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press Pg 88 ^ Steve Rabson. "Okinawa's Henoko was a 'Storage Location' for Nuclear Weapons: Published Accounts". The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan
Focus. 11 (1( 6)). Retrieved 14 January 2012.  ^ Reversion to Japan
of the Ryukyu and Daito Islands, official text. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2014-08-05.  ^ Steve Rabson (January 14, 2013). "Okinawa's Henoko was a "storage location" for nuclear weapons:". The Asia-Pacific Journal. Retrieved April 25, 2013.  ^ Japanese government reveals secret nuclear agreement with the US, Chan, John., World Socialist Web Site
World Socialist Web Site
Retrieved March 24, 2010 ^ "News". The Japan
Times. May 15, 2002. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011.  ^ 疑惑が晴れるのはいつか(in Japanese), Okinawa Times, May 16, 1999 ^ a b 沖縄に所在する在日米軍施設・区域(in Japanese), Japan
Ministry of Defense ^ "沖縄タイムス社説 2007.5.13". Retrieved June 1, 2016. [dead link]. Retrieved on 2013-08-16. ^ one in 1959 killed 17 people ^ Impact on the Lives of the Okinawan People (Incidents, Accidents and Environmental Issues) Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., Okinawa Prefectural Government ^ 沖縄・米兵による女性への性犯罪(Rapes and murders by the U.S. military personnel 1945–2000) Archived January 7, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.(in Japanese), 基地・軍隊を許さない行動する女たちの会 ^ 自衛隊・防衛問題に関する世論調査 Archived October 22, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., The Cabinet Office of Japan ^ [1] Archived May 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. ^ Justin McCurry (February 28, 2008). "Rice says sorry for US troop behaviour on Okinawa as crimes shake alliance with Japan". The Guardian. UK.  ^ MICHAEL HASSETT (February 26, 2008). "U.S. military crime: SOFA so good?The stats offer some surprises in wake of the latest Okinawa rape claim". The Japan
Times. Archived from the original on March 5, 2008.  ^ "Okinawa: Effects of long-term US Military presence" (PDF).  ^ Pomfret, John (April 24, 2010). " Japan
moves to settle dispute with U.S. over Okinawa base relocation". The Washington Post.  ^ Cox, Rupert (2010-12-01). "The Sound of Freedom: US Military Aircraft Noise in Okinawa, Japan". Anthropology News. 51 (9): 13–14. doi:10.1111/j.1556-3502.2010.51913.x. ISSN 1556-3502.  ^ Jon Mitchell, " Agent Orange
Agent Orange
on Okinawa – The Smoking Gun: U.S. army report, photographs show 25,000 barrels on island in early '70s", The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan
Focus, Vol 11, Issue 1, No. 6, January 14, 2012. ^ Jon Mitchell, "Were U.S marines used as guinea pigs on Okinawa?" The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan
Focus, Vol 10, Issue 51, No. 2, December 17, 2012. ^ "Okinawa US base move in doubt after governor elections". BBC. 16 November 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014.  ^ "U.S. base relocation opponent elected Okinawan governor". Japan Today. November 17, 2014. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 17, 2014.  ^ Steven Donald Smith (April 26, 2006). "Eight Thousand U.S. Marines to Move From Okinawa to Guam". American Forces Press Service. DOD. Retrieved 1 August 2014.  ^ "Marines' Exit May Take Till '15: U.S.". Kyodo News. Japan
Times. 9 November 2008.  ^ "U.S., Japan
unveil revised plan for Okinawa". April 27, 2012.  ^ "US Okinawa Reductions". globalsecurity.orgdate=June 23, 2013.  ^ http://www.japan-press.co.jp/2009/2644/USF4.html ^ http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2012/08/19/travel/rumbles-in-the-jungle/#.V53t7COLTZs ^ US Department of Dense December 21,2016 ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 20, 2016. Retrieved July 31, 2016.  ^ http://english.ryukyushimpo.jp/2016/07/17/25465/ ^ http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/07/22/national/politics-diplomacy/central-government-sues-okinawa-futenma-relocation/ ^ "General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved February 3, 2012.  ^ "Lawsuit Seeks to Halt Construction of U.S. Military Airstrip in Japan
That Would Destroy Habitat of Endangered Okinawa Dugongs". Center for Biological Diversity. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2014.  ^ "Gyokusendo Cave". Japan-guide.com. 2013-05-29. Retrieved 2014-08-05.  ^ "Establishing World-Class Coral
Reef Ecosystem Monitoring in Okinawa". Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology
Graduate University. Retrieved 2016-02-20.  ^ " Coral
Reefs". Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau. Retrieved 2016-02-20.  ^ "Heliopora coerulea". International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2016-02-20.  ^ "沖縄本島で観測史上初のみぞれ 名護". The Asahi Shimbun Company. 2016-01-25. Retrieved 2016-02-20.  ^ Jinsui, Japan: Statistics Bureau (総務省 統計局), 2003  ^ おきなわBBtv★沖縄の方言ニュース★沖縄の「今」を沖縄の「言葉」で!ラジオ沖縄で好評放送中の「方言ニュース」をブロードバンドでお届けします。 Archived January 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.. Okinawabbtv.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-16. ^ Okinawa Prefectural reserve cultural assets center (2006). "陶磁器から古の神事(祭祀・儀式)を考える". Comprehensive Database of Archaeological Site Reports in Japan. Retrieved 2016-09-02.  ^ National Geographic magazine, June 1993 ^ a b Santrock, John W. A (2002). Topical Approach to Life-Span Development (4 ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.  ^ "Okinawa's Longevity
Lessons". Blue Zones. Admin. Retrieved 29 September 2015.  ^ "Okinawa Writers Excel in Literature". The Okinawa Times. Okinawa Times. July 21, 2000. Archived from the original on August 23, 2000. Retrieved September 3, 2009.  ^ 芥川賞受賞者一覧 (in Japanese). Bungeishunju Ltd. 2009. Retrieved September 3, 2009.  ^ " Gusuku
Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu". UNESCO. Retrieved May 29, 2012.  ^ "Database of National Cultural Properties: 国宝・重要文化財 (建造物): 沖縄県" (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved May 20, 2012.  ^ [2] Archived January 21, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. ^ "Ryukyu Corazon". Ryukyu Corazon. Retrieved 2014-08-05.  ^ Naha
port. Nahaport.jp. Retrieved on 2013-08-16. ^ (in Japanese) 運天港. Pref.okinawa.jp. Retrieved on 2013-08-16. ^ (in Japanese) 金武湾港. Pref.okinawa.jp. Retrieved on 2013-08-16. ^ 沖縄総合事務局 那覇港湾・空港整備事務所 中城湾港出張所. Dc.ogb.go.jp. Retrieved on 2013-08-16. ^ 平良港湾事務所. Dc.ogb.go.jp. Retrieved on 2013-08-16. ^ [3] Archived January 15, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. ^ a b c Stephen Nessen (4 January 2011). "Okinawa U.S. Marine Base Angers Residents And Governor". Retrieved 19 August 2014.  ^ Hongo, Jun. (2012-05-16) Economic reliance on bases won't last, trends suggest. The Japan
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External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Okinawa Prefecture.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Okinawa.

has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Okinawa.

Official Okinawa Prefecture
Okinawa Prefecture
website (in Japanese) Official Okinawa Prefecture
Okinawa Prefecture
website Ryukyu Cultural Archives Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum

v t e

Okinawa Prefecture


Core city



Ginowan Ishigaki Itoman Miyakojima Nago Nanjō Okinawa Tomigusuku Urasoe Uruma

Miyako District


Yaeyama District

Taketomi Yonaguni

Kunigami District

Kin Motobu Ginoza Higashi Ie Kunigami Nakijin Onna Ōgimi

Nakagami District

Chatan Kadena Nishihara Kitanakagusuku Nakagusuku Yomitan

Shimajiri District

Haebaru Kumejima Yaese Yonabaru Aguni Iheya Izena Kitadaitō Minamidaitō Tokashiki Tonaki Zamami

List of mergers in Okinawa Prefecture

Hydrographic Cape Hedo Cape Irizaki Henoko Bay Kokuba River Lake Man Miyako Strait Nakagusuku Bay

v t e

Regions and administrative divisions of Japan


Hokkaido Tōhoku Kantō

Nanpō Islands


Hokuriku Kōshin'etsu Shin'etsu Tōkai

Kansai Chūgoku

San'in San'yō

Shikoku Kyushu

Northern Southern Okinawa

47 Prefectures




Aomori Iwate Miyagi Akita Yamagata Fukushima


Ibaraki Tochigi Gunma Saitama Chiba Tokyo Kanagawa


Niigata Toyama Ishikawa Fukui Yamanashi Nagano Gifu Shizuoka Aichi


Mie Shiga Kyoto Osaka Hyōgo Nara Wakayama


Tottori Shimane Okayama Hiroshima Yamaguchi


Tokushima Kagawa Ehime Kōchi


Fukuoka Saga Nagasaki Kumamoto Ōita Miyazaki Kagoshima Okinawa

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 252314957 LCCN: n80022915 N