Kerama Islands

The Kerama Islands (慶良間諸島 Kerama-shotō, Okinawan: キラマ Kirama) are a group of islands located 32 kilometres (20 mi) southwest of Okinawa Island in Japan. Historically, the Kerama Island group was a part of the Ryukyu Kingdom. For some 600 years, the islanders were employed as skillful navigators for the Kingdom’s trading vessels between Okinawa and China.[2]

Four of the islands are inhabited: Tokashiki Island, Zamami Island, Aka Island, and Geruma Island.[3] The islands are administered as Tokashiki Village and Zamami Village within Shimajiri District.[4] The Kerama-shotō coral reef is a Ramsar Site.[5]

Sea view of Kerama Islands with surrounding coral reefs
Landings in the Keramas
The 77th Infantry Division on Zamani Island during World War II

During World War II and preliminary to the Battle of Okinawa, soldiers of the 77th Infantry Division landed in the Kerama Islands on March 26, 1945. Further landings followed, and the Kerama group was secured over the next five days. Kerama was used as a staging area for the assault on Okinawa. During the battle the first civilian mass suicides that later marked the Battle of Okinawa took place.

The first US Navy ship to anchor in the harbor was USS Makin Island, a small "jeep" carrier.

It was the site of a true story about romance between two dogs who lived on neighboring islands that was made into the 1988 Japanese film I Want to See Marilyn (Marilyn ni Aitai).[6] It is now a popular beach and diving destination for visitors to Okinawa.

Kerama Islands
Native name:
Kerama-shotō (慶良間諸島)
Kerama Islands
Map of the Kerama Islands
LocationPacific Ocean
ArchipelagoOkinawa Islands
Total islands36
Major islandsTokashiki Island, Zamami Island
Area35.97 km2 (13.89 sq mi)
PrefectureOkinawa Prefecture
Population1,625 (October 2010)
Pop. density45.2 /km2 (117.1 /sq mi)
Official nameKeramashoto Coral Reef
Designated8 November 2005
Reference no.1546[1]
Location of the Kerama Islands in Okinawa Prefecture


The Kerama Islands are served by the Kerama Airport, located on Fukaji Island.[7] Regular ferries are also available from Naha to the three largest islands, Aka, Zamami, and Tokashiki. Ferries between the islands are also available, as are boat tours.


  1. ^ "Keramashoto Coral Reef". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Kerama islands". Kerama islands. Retrieved 2016-06-10.
  3. ^ Kerama Islands. Open Coast Travel.
  4. ^ Special Feature #1 : Seas of Okinawa -The Kerama Islands- Archived 2011-05-17 at the Wayback Machine, Okinawa Prefecture
  5. ^ "Ramsar Sites in Japan - Kerama-shoto Coral Reef" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  6. ^ Marilyn Ni Aitai on IMDb
  7. ^ Map showing islands of Zamami Village Archived 2011-05-26 at the Wayback Machine

External links

Coordinates: 26°12′00″N 127°19′59″E / 26.2°N 127.333°E

Aguni, Okinawa

Aguni (粟国村, Aguni-son) is a village located in Shimajiri District, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. The village occupies the entirety of Aguni Island.As of 2013, the village had an estimated population of 772 and a population density of 100 persons per km². The total area is 7.63 square kilometres (2.95 sq mi).

Aka Island

Aka Island (阿嘉島, Aka-jima) is an island in the Pacific Ocean and is part of the Kerama Islands group in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan.

The island is commonly known as Aka or Aka-shima and is located some 15 miles to the southwest of Okinawa Island. It has a subtropical climate and a population of approximately 330 people.

Andamia pacifica

Andamia pacifica is a species of combtooth blenny which is found in the Kerama Islands near Okinawa, Japan and is probably distributed along the Ryukyu Island chain. It is oviparous, laying adhesive eggs on the substrate, forming distinct pairs.

Fukaji Island

Fukaji Island (外地島, Fukaji-jima) is an uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean. It is part of the Kerama Islands group in Shimajiri District, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan.

The Kerama Airport is located on Fukaji. There is an observatory for whale watching near the entrance of the airport.

Geruma Island

Geruma Island (慶留間島, Geruma-jima, Okinawan: ギルマ Giruma) is an island in the Pacific Ocean. It is part of the Kerama Islands group in Shimajiri District, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan.

This small island is linked by a bridge to Fukaji and Aka islands.

Ichthyapus keramanus

Ichthyapus keramanus is a species of snake eel native to the western Pacific Ocean where it is only known to occur around the Kerama Islands near Okinawa, Japan. It is known to occur at depths of from 25 to 50 metres (82 to 164 ft). This species can reach a length of 27.6 centimetres (10.9 in) TL. This species is placed in the genus Ichthyapus.

Kerama Airport

Kerama Airport (慶良間空港, Kerama Kūkō) (IATA: KJP, ICAO: ROKR) is an airport serving the Kerama Islands in Shimajiri District, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. It is located on Fukaji Island (外地島, Fukajijima), which is part of the Village of Zamami. The airport is linked by a road bridge to the islands of Geruma and Aka.

The prefecture operates the airport, which is classified as a third class airport. Kerama gained commercial flights on an on and off basis in 1984. In 2006 Ryukyu Air Commuter suspended flights.

Kerama Shotō National Park

Kerama Shotō National Park (慶良間諸島国立公園, Kerama Shotō Kokuritsu Kōen) is a national park in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. Established in 2014, it is located in and around the Kerama Islands. The park comprises a land area of 3,520 ha (8,700 acres) in the municipalities of Tokashiki and Zamami together with 90,475 ha (223,570 acres) of the surrounding waters. The Kerama Islands previously formed part of Okinawa Kaigan Quasi-National Park. The day of establishment, March 5, coincides with Coral Day (サンゴの日).

Kerama deer

The Kerama deer (also Kerama Sika) is a endangered subspecies of the Sika deer native to the Kerama Islands.

List of islands in the East China Sea

Islands in the East China Sea include:

Matsu Islands (29.61 km²)

Peikan (Beigan)

Kaoteng (Gaodeng)

Nankan (Nangan)

Tungyin (Dongyin)

Hsiyin (Xiyin)

Liang Island

Chukuang (Jyuguang)

Tungchu (Dongjyu, Dongquan)

Hsichu (Xijyu, Xiquan)


Ryukyu Islands (4,597.68 km²—Daitō Islands excluded)

Satsunan Islands

Ōsumi Islands:

Tanegashima, Yaku, Kuchinoerabu, Mageshima

Takeshima, Iōjima, Kuroshima

Tokara Islands: Kuchinoshima, Nakanoshima, Gajajima, Suwanosejima, Akusekijima, Tairajima, Kodakarajima, Takarajima

Amami Islands: Amami Ōshima, Kikaijima, Kakeromajima, Yoroshima, Ukeshima, Tokunoshima, Okinoerabujima, Yoronjima


Okinawa Islands: Okinawa Island, Kume, Iheya, Izena, Aguni, Ie (Iejima), Iwo Tori Shima (Iōtorishima)

Kerama Islands: Tokashiki, Zamami, Aka, Geruma

Sakishima Islands

Miyako Islands: Miyakojima, Ikema, Ōgami, Irabu, Shimoji, Kurima, Minna, Tarama

Yaeyama Islands: Iriomote, Ishigaki, Taketomi, Kohama, Kuroshima, Aragusuku, Hatoma, Yubujima, Hateruma, Yonaguni

Senkaku Islands (7 km²)

Uotsurijima, Kuba Jima, Taisho Jima, Kita Kojima, Minami Kojima, Oki-no-Kita-Iwa, Oki-no-Minami-Iwa, Tobise

Zhoushan Archipelago (1,440.12 km²)

Zhoushan Island

Daishan Island

Liuheng Island

Jintang Island

Zhujiajian Island

Qushan Island

Mount Putuo

Jeju Island (1,849 km²)


Pengjia Islet (1.14 km²)Total land area: 7,924.55 square kilometres

Okinawa Islands

The Okinawa Islands (沖縄諸島, Okinawa Shotō) (Okinawan: Uchinaa, informally Churaashima "beautiful island", Kunigami: Fuchinaa) are an island group in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, and are the principal island group of the prefecture. The Okinawa Islands are part of the larger Ryukyu Islands group, and are located between the Amami Islands of Kagoshima Prefecture to the northeast and the Sakishima Islands of Okinawa Prefecture to the southwest.The Okinawa Islands, apart from the main island, contain three smaller island groups: the Kerama, Yokatsu, and Iheya-Izena island groups.The Okinawa Islands are the political, cultural and population center of Okinawa Prefecture. The prefectural capital of Naha is within the island group. 90% of the population of the prefecture reside within the Okinawa Islands, primarily on the largest island of the group, Okinawa Island. Access to the various Okinawa Islands is primarily via small airports which connect to Naha Airport. Additionally, the islands are connected via ferry service to the Port of Naha in the prefectural capital.The Okinawa Islands are within the subtropical climate zone, which supports the production of sugarcane, pineapples and cut flowers. The military bases of the United States in Okinawa Prefecture are located on the Okinawa Islands.Historically the rule of the Ryukyu Kingdom, centered on Okinawa Island, consolidated the Okinawa Islands before spreading south to the Miyako and Yaeyama Islands and north to Amami Ōshima.

Okinawa Kaigan Quasi-National Park

Okinawa Kaigan Quasi-National Park (沖縄海岸国定公園, Okinawa Kaigan Kokutei Kōen) is a Quasi-National Park on the coast of Okinawa and the Kerama Islands, Japan. It was established as a Prefectural Park in 1965 and re-designated with the return of Okinawa to Japanese administration in 1972.

Shimajiri District, Okinawa

Shimajiri District (島尻郡, Shimajiri-gun, Okinawan: Shimajiri) is a district located in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. Modern translation of Shimajiri means "Butt of the island" which may refer to its southerly position on the island of Okinawa. Compare this to Kunigami District, Okinawa.

However, there are hundreds of geographic references throughout Japan and even into the northern Kuriles using "shiri", to approximate the Ainu word shir, meaning island. Despite Okinawa being so far south, historically Jōmon culture was dominant as on the mainland, and words likely have survived, though their original meanings have long been lost or modified.

As of 2003, the district has an estimated population of 131,670 and the density of 464.36 persons per km². The total area is 283.55 km².

The district also includes Kume Island, the Kerama Islands, the Aguni Islands, and the Daitō Islands.

Solar eclipse of September 23, 1987

An annular solar eclipse occurred on September 23, 1987. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon's apparent diameter is smaller than the Sun's, blocking most of the Sun's light and causing the Sun to look like an annulus (ring). An annular eclipse appears as a partial eclipse over a region of the Earth thousands of kilometres wide. Annularity was visible in the Soviet Union (today's Kazakhstan), China (including Shanghai), southwestern Mongolia, Okinawa Islands of Japan except Kume Island and the southwestern tip of Kerama Islands, the Federal States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Rotuma Islands of Fiji, Wallis Islands and West Samoa (the name changed to Samoa later).

Tokashiki, Okinawa

Tokashiki (渡嘉敷村, Tokashiki-son) is a village located in the Kerama Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. It includes 10 islands, of which only Tokashiki and Maejima are inhabited, with Maejima only having very few residents. The village is part of Shimajiri District. Tokashiki is known for its corals, sea, beach and sun. From Tomari Port in Naha, it takes less than one hour to reach this island.

On 28 March 1945, during Second World War, 394 inhabitants, mostly from farmer families, were forced by Japanese soldiers to immolate themselves with grenades after the landing of US troops.

Tokashiki Island

Tokashiki Island (渡嘉敷島, Tokashiki-jima, Okinawan: トゥガイフィガイ Tugaifigai) is an island in the Pacific Ocean. It is part of the Kerama Islands group and administered as the village of Tokashiki in Shimajiri District, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan.

Tokashiki is a hilly island of about 15.29 square kilometers with sheer cliffs which descend down to the seas.

USS Bunch (DE-694)

USS Bunch (DE-694) was a Buckley-class destroyer escort of the United States Navy, named after Kenneth Cecil Bunch, killed in action on 6 June 1942 while flying as radioman-gunner in an SBD Dauntless dive bomber during the Battle of Midway.

Zamami, Okinawa

Zamami (座間味村, Zamami-son, Okinawan: Kushigiruma (後慶留間)) is a village located in Shimajiri District, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. The village consists of more than 20 islands approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) west of the prefectural capital of Naha.As of February 2013 the village had a population of 913 and a population density of 55.20 persons per km². The total area of the village of Zamami is 16.74 square kilometres (6.46 sq mi).On March 3, 2014 (Coral Day), the Kerama Islands, including Zamami Village, were designated a Japanese National Park. Other designations of Zamami include a two-star rating in the Michelin Green Guide Japan, as well as a “Wetland of International Importance” under the Ramsar Convention (2005).

Zamami Island

Zamami Island (座間味島, Zamami-jima) is an island in the Pacific Ocean. It is part of the Kerama Islands group and administered as the village of Zamami in Shimajiri District, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. Zamami Island is 24 kilometers in circumference. The island has 3 settlements, which are Zamami, Ama, and Asa.


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