Okinawa Prefecture (Japanese: 沖縄県, Hepburn: Okinawa-ken,
Okinawan: ウチナーチン Uchinaa-chin) is the southernmost
prefecture of Japan. It encompasses two thirds of the Ryukyu
Islands in a chain over 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) long. The
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.
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. Currently about 26,000 U.S. troops are based in the
1.2 1965–1972 (Vietnam War)
Marine Corps Air Station Futenma relocation, 2006–present
1.4.2 Helipads construction in
2.1 Major islands
2.3 Towns and villages
2.4 Town mergers
2.5 Natural parks
4 Language and culture
4.3 Cultural influences
4.4 Other cultural characteristics
7.1 Air transportation
9.1 United States military installations
10 Notable people
11 See also
13 External links
History of Ryukyu
Early Shell Mound
Middle Shell Mound
300 BC–750 AD
Late Shell Mound
First Shō Dynasty
Second Shō Dynasty
Invasion of Ryūkyū
Annexation of Ryūkyū
Pre-World War 2
Battle of Okinawa
Ryukyu independence movement
Location of Ryukyu Islands
See also: History of the
Ryukyu Islands and Historic Sites of Okinawa
The oldest evidence of human existence on the Ryukyu islands is from
Stone Age and was discovered in Naha and Yaeyama. 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. Japanese Jōmon influences are
dominant on the Okinawa Islands, although clay vessels on the
Sakishima Islands have a commonality with those in Taiwan.
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. 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 became a
prosperous trading nation. Also during this period, many Gusukus,
similar to castles, were constructed. The
Ryukyu Kingdom entered into
Imperial Chinese tributary system under the
Ming dynasty beginning
in the 15th century, which established economic relations between the
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 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 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 (国会) which had been
established in 1890.
Near the end of World War II, in 1945, the
US Army and Marine Corps
invaded Okinawa with 185,000 troops. A third of the civilian
population died; a quarter of the civilian population died during
Battle of Okinawa
Battle of Okinawa alone. 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
During the Korean War, B-29 Superfortresses flew bombing missions over
Kadena Air Base
Kadena Air Base on Okinawa. The military buildup on the
island during the
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
Since 1960, the U.S. and
Japan have maintained an agreement that
allows the U.S. to secretly bring nuclear weapons into Japanese
ports. The Japanese tended to oppose the introduction of
nuclear arms into Japanese territory by the government's assertion
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. 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
1965–1972 (Vietnam War)
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. 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.
Vietnam War highlighted the differences between the United States
and Okinawa, but showed a commonality between the islands and mainland
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. 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
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. 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
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.
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, 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.
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.
In 1972, the U.S. government handed over the islands to Japanese
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.
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. In 1999 and 2002, the
Japan Times and the Okinawa Times reported speculation that not all
weapons were removed from Okinawa. On October 25, 2005, after
a decade of negotiations, the governments of the US and Japan
officially agreed to move
Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from its
location in the densely populated city of Ginowan to the more
northerly and remote
Camp Schwab in
Nago by building a heliport with a
shorter runway, partly on
Camp Schwab land and partly running into the
sea. 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, 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
U.S. military facilities in Okinawa
According to a 2007 Okinawa Times poll, 85 percent of Okinawans
opposed the presence of the U.S. military, because of noise
pollution from military drills, the risk of aircraft accidents,
environmental degradation, and crowding from the number of
personnel there, although 73.4 percent of Japanese citizens
appreciated the mutual security treaty with the U.S. and the presence
of the USFJ. In another poll conducted by the
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. 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 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. Some
cited statistics that the crime rate of military personnel is
consistently less than that of the general Okinawan population.
However, some criticized the statistics as unreliable, since violence
against women is under-reported.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
Jon Mitchell has reported concern that the U.S. used American Marines
as chemical-agent guinea pigs.
Marine Corps Air Station Futenma relocation, 2006–present
Main article: Relocation of
Marine Corps Air Station Futenma
As of December 2014[update], one ongoing issue is the relocation
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.
Onaga won against the incumbent Nakaima who had earlier approved
landfill work to move the base to
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
As of 2006[update], some 8,000 U.S. Marines were removed from the
island and relocated to Guam. In November 2008, U.S. Pacific
Command Commander Admiral
Timothy Keating stated the move to Guam
would probably not be completed before 2015.
In 2009, Japan's former foreign minister
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) 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
Guam and on Tinian and Pagan in the U.S.-controlled Northern
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 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
the islands account for less than one percent of total lands in
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 or JWTC) in the
north of the island.
On December 21, 2016, 10,000 acres of Okinawa Northern Training Area
was returned to Japan.
Helipads construction in
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. This opposition has increased particularly in July
2016 against the construction of six new helipads.
Main article: Ryukyu Islands
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 (沖縄諸島, Okinawa Shotō)
Map of Okinawa Prefecture
Eleven cities are located within the Okinawa Prefecture. Okinawan
names are in parentheses:
Naha (Naafa) (capital)
Miyakojima (Naaku, Myaaku)
Okinawa (Uchinaa) (formerly Koza)
Towns and villages
These are the towns and villages in each district:
Kunigami District (Kunjan)
Miyako District (Naaku, Myaaku)
Nakagami District (Nakajan)
Yaeyama District (Eema, Yaima)
Taketomi (Dakidun, Teedun)
Yonaguni (Yunaguni, Dunan)
Main article: List of mergers in Okinawa Prefecture
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
The dugong is an endangered marine mammal related to the manatee.
Iriomote is home to one of the world's rarest and most endangered cat
Iriomote cat. The region is also home to at least one
endemic pit viper, Trimeresurus elegans.
Coral reefs found in this
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.
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.
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 is an
extensive limestone cave in the southern part of Okinawa's main
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. The world's largest colony of rare
blue coral is found off of Ishigaki Island. Snowfall is unheard of
at sea level. However, on January 24, 2016, sleet was reported in Nago
Okinawa Island for the first time on record.
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
(per thousands of people)
Okinawa Prefecture age pyramid, divided by sex, as of October 1, 2003
(per thousands of people)
Language and culture
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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 and
culture differ in many ways from those of mainland Japan.
Main article: Ryukyuan languages
There remain six
Ryukyuan languages which are incomprehensible to
Japanese speakers, although they are considered to make up the family
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 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.
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.
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
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
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.
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. As of 2002[update] there were 34.7 centenarians for
every 100,000 inhabitants, which is the highest ratio
worldwide.:131–132 Possible explanations are diet, low-stress
lifestyle, caring community, activity, and spirituality of the
inhabitants of the island.[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 studies, may be a
contributing factor to the longevity of its people.
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).
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
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). In
addition, twenty-one Ryukyuan architectural complexes and thirty-six
historic sites have been designated for protection by the national
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.
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.
The public schools in Okinawa are overseen by the Okinawa Prefectural
Board of Education. The agency directly operates several public high
schools 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.
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
F.C. Ryūkyū (Naha)
Ryukyu Golden Kings
Ryukyu Golden Kings (Naha)
Ryukyu Corazon (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.
There are numerous golf courses in the prefecture, and there was
formerly a professional tournament called the Okinawa Open.
New Ishigaki Airport
Kita Daito Airport
Naha Airport Expressway
See also: Rail transportation in Okinawa
The major ports of Okinawa include:
Port of Unten
Port of Kinwan
Port of Ishigaki
The 34 US military installations on Okinawa are financially supported
by the U.S. and Japan. The bases provide jobs for Okinawans, both
directly and indirectly; In 2011, the U.S. military employed over
9,800 Japanese workers in Okinawa. As of 2012[update] the bases
accounted for 4 or 5 percent of the economy. 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. The
Tokyo government also pays the prefectural
government around ¥10 billion per year 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. 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. 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.
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.
Main articles: U.S.–
Japan Status of Forces Agreement and United
States Forces Japan
United States military installations
United States Marine Corps
Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler
Marine Corps Air Station Futenma
Camp Gonsalves (Jungle Warfare Training Center)
United States Air Force
Kadena Air Base
United States Navy
Camp Lester (Camp Kuwae)
Naval Facility White Beach
United States Army
Naha Military Port
Chōjun Miyagi founder of Gōjū-ryū, "hard/soft" style of famous
Uechi Kanbun was the founder of Uechi-ryū, one of the primary karate
styles of Okinawa.
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
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 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 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 Japanese R&B, hip hop and pop singer
Beni Japanese pop and R&B singer
Ben Shepherd Bassist of the band Soundgarden
Noriyuki Sugasawa basketball player
Orange Range Japanese rock band
Stereopony Japanese all-female pop rock band
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 quarterback, Heisman Trophy
Dave Roberts, Major League Baseball player and manager
Okinawa Prefectural Assembly
People from Okinawa Prefecture
^ 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.
^ 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.
^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Okinawa-ken" in Japan
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Okinawa Prefecture.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Okinawa.
Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia
Okinawa Prefecture website (in Japanese)
Okinawa Prefecture website
Ryukyu Cultural Archives
Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum
List of mergers in Okinawa Prefecture
Regions and administrative divisions of Japan