Okinawa Island

Okinawa Island (沖縄本島 Okinawa-hontō, alternatively 沖縄島 Okinawa-jima; Okinawan: 沖縄/うちなー Uchinaa or 地下/じじ jiji;[3] Kunigami: ふちなー Fuchináa) is the largest of the Okinawa Islands and the Ryukyu (Nansei) Islands of Japan in the Kyushu region. It is the smallest and least populated of the five main islands of Japan.[4] The island is approximately 70 miles (110 km) long and an average 7 miles (11 km) wide,[5] and has an area of 1,206.98 square kilometers (466.02 sq mi). It is roughly 640 kilometres (400 mi) south of the main island of Kyushu and the rest of Japan. It is 500 km (300 mi) north of Taiwan. The total population of Okinawa Island is 1,384,762.[2] The Greater Naha area has roughly 800,000 residents while the city itself has about 320,000 people. Naha is home to the prefectural seat of Okinawa Prefecture on the southwestern part of Okinawa Island. It has a humid subtropical climate. Okinawa is part of the Kyushu region.

Okinawa's population is among the longest living peoples in the world. Residents have less cancer, heart disease and dementia than Americans, while Okinawan women live longer than anywhere else on Earth.[6]

Okinawa has been a critical strategic location for the United States Armed Forces since the end of World War II. The island hosts around 26,000 US military personnel, about half of the total complement of the United States Forces Japan, spread among 32 bases and 48 training sites. US bases in Okinawa played critical roles in the Korean War, Vietnam War, War in Afghanistan, and Iraq War. The presence of the US military in Okinawa has caused political controversy both on the island and elsewhere in Japan.[7]

Okinawa Island
Native name:
Okinawa Island-ISS042
Okinawa Island is located in Ryukyu Islands
Okinawa Island
Okinawa Island
LocationPacific Ocean
Coordinates26°28′46″N 127°55′40″E / 26.47944°N 127.92778°ECoordinates: 26°28′46″N 127°55′40″E / 26.47944°N 127.92778°E
ArchipelagoRyukyu Islands
Area1,206.98 square
as of 1 October 2018[1]
Highest elevation503 m (1,650 ft)
Highest pointMount Yonaha
Prefecture Okinawa Prefecture
Largest settlementNaha (pop. 315,954)
Population1,384,762 [2] (2009)
Pop. density1,083.6 /km2 (2,806.5 /sq mi)


Early Okinawan history is defined by midden or shell heap culture, and is divided into Early, Middle, and Late Shell Mound periods. The Early Shell Mound period was a hunter-gatherer society, with wave-like opening Jōmon pottery. In the latter part of this period, archaeological sites moved near the seashore, suggesting the engagement of people in fishing. In Okinawa, rice was not cultivated until the Middle Shell Mound period. Shell rings for arms made of shells obtained in the Sakishima Islands, namely Miyakojima and Yaeyama islands, were imported by Japan. In these islands, the presence of shell axes, 2500 years ago, suggests the influence of a southeastern-Pacific culture.[8][9]

First Ryukyan mission to Edo
The first Ryukyuan mission to Edo, the capital of Tokugawa Japan

After the Late Shell Mound period, agriculture started about the 12th century, with the center moving from the seashore to higher places. This period is called the Gusuku period. Gusuku is the term used for the distinctive Ryukyuan form of castles or fortresses. Many gusukus and related cultural remains in the Ryukyu Islands have been listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites under the title Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu. There are three perspectives regarding the nature of gusukus: 1) a holy place, 2) dwellings encircled by stones, 3) a castle of a leader of people. In this period, porcelain trade between Okinawa and other countries became busy, and Okinawa became an important relay point in eastern-Asian trade. Ryukyuan kings, such as Shunten and Eiso, were important rulers. An attempted Mongolian invasion in 1291 during the Eiso Dynasty ended in failure. Hiragana was imported from Japan by Ganjin in 1265. Noro, village priestesses of the Ryukyuan religion, appeared.

The Sanzan period began in 1314, when the kingdoms of Hokuzan and Nanzan declared independence from Chūzan. The three kingdoms competed with one another for recognition and trade with Ming China. King Satto, leading Chūzan, was very successful, establishing relations with Korea and Southeast Asia as well as China. The Hongwu Emperor sent 36 families from Fujian in 1392 at the request of the Ryukyuan King. Their job was to manage maritime dealings in the kingdom. Many Ryukyuan officials were descended from these Chinese immigrants, being born in China or having Chinese ancestors. They assisted the Ryukyuans in developing their technology and diplomatic relations. In 1407, however, a man named Hashi overthrew Satto's descendant, King Bunei, and installed his own father, Shishō, as king of Chūzan. After his father died, Hashi became king, and the Xuande Emperor of China gave him the surname "Shō" (Chinese: Shang).

King Sho Tai
The last King Shō Tai

In 1429, King Shō Hashi completed the unification of the three kingdoms and founded the Ryūkyū Kingdom with its capital at Shuri Castle. His descendants would conquer the Amami Islands. In 1469, King Shō Taikyū died, so the royal government chose a man named Kanemaru as the new king, who chose the name Shō En and established the Second Shō Dynasty. His son, Shō Shin would then conquer the Sakishima Islands and centralize the royal government, the military, and the noro priestesses.

In 1609, the Japanese domain of Satsuma launched an invasion of the Ryukyu Kingdom, ultimately capturing the king and his capital after a long struggle. Ryukyu was forced to cede the Amami Islands and become a vassal of Satsuma. The kingdom became both a tributary of China and a tributary of Japan. Because China would not make a formal trade agreement unless a country was a tributary state, the kingdom was a convenient loophole for Japanese trade with China. When Japan officially closed off trade with European nations except the Dutch, Nagasaki, Tsushima, and Kagoshima became the only Japanese trading ports offering connections with the outside world.

A number of Europeans visited Ryukyu starting in the late 18th century. The most important visits to Okinawa were from Captain Basil Chamberlain in 1816 and Commodore Matthew C. Perry in 1852. A Christian missionary, Bernard Jean Bettelheim, lived in the Gokoku-ji temple in Naha from 1846 to 1854.

In 1879, Japan annexed the entire Ryukyu archipelago.[10] The Meiji government then established Okinawa Prefecture. The monarchy in Shuri was abolished and the deposed king Shō Tai (1843–1901) was forced to relocate to Tokyo.

Okinawa, 27 June 1945 (6972498688)
American troops in Okinawa, June 27, 1945

Hostility against Japan increased in the islands immediately after the annexation in part because of the systematic attempt on the part of Japan to eliminate Ryukyuan culture, including the language, religion, and cultural practices.

The island of Okinawa was the site of most of the ground warfare in the Battle of Okinawa during World War II, when United States Army and Marine Corps troops fought a long and bloody battle to capture Okinawa, so it could next be used as the major air force and troop base for the planned invasion of Japan. During this 82-day-long battle, about 95,000 Imperial Japanese Army troops and 12,510 Americans were killed. The Cornerstone of Peace at the Okinawa Prefecture Memorial Peace Park lists 149,193 persons of Okinawan origin – approximately one quarter of the civilian population – who either were killed or committed suicide during the Battle of Okinawa and the Pacific War.[11]

Japan became a pacifist country with the 1947 constitution. So America was obligated to protect Japan against foreign threats. During the American military occupation of Japan (1945–52), which followed the Imperial Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945, in Tokyo Bay, the United States controlled Okinawa Island and the rest of the Ryukyu Islands. The Amami Islands were returned to Japanese control in 1953. The remaining Ryukyu Islands were returned to Japan on June 17, 1972. America kept numerous U.S. military bases on the islands. There are 32 United States military bases in Okinawa Island [12] in accordance with the U.S.-Japan alliance since 1951.


Kokusai Street in Naha

As of September, 2009, the Japanese government estimates the population at 1,384,762,[2] which includes American military personnel and their families. The Okinawan language, called Uchinaaguchi, is spoken mostly by the elderly.[13] But several local groups promote the use of the Okinawan language by younger people.[14]

Whereas the northern half of Okinawa Island is sparsely populated, the south-central and southern parts of the island are markedly urbanized—particularly the city of Naha and the urban corridor stretching north from there to Okinawa City. The population distribution is approximately 120,000 in Northern Okinawa, 590,000 in Central Okinawa and 540,000 in Southern Okinawa. It has a high population density of 1,083.6 people per km2.


Map of Okinawa Island, not showing road bridges that have since been built.

Okinawa is the fifth largest island of Japan. The island has an area of 1,206.99 square kilometers (466.02 sq mi). The circumference is 476 kilometers (296 mi).[15]. The straight-line distance is about 106.6 kilometers (66.2 mi) from north to south.[16] Okinawa is in the northeastern end of Okinawa Prefecture. Since 1972 over 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of land reclamation was conducted.

It is roughly 640 kilometres (400 mi) south of the main island of Kyushu. Okinawa is connected to nearby islands by a land bridge: Katsuren Peninsula is connected via the Mid-Sea Road to Henza Island, Miyagi Island, Ikei Island, and Hamahiga Island. Similarly, from the Motobu Peninsula on the northwestern side, all of Sesoko-jima plus Yagaji Island and Kōri-jima are connected by bridges. Okinawa Island has several beaches such as Manza Beach, Emerald Beach, Okuma Beach, Zanpa Beach, Moon Beach and Sunset Beach (Chatan-cho).

Mount Yonaha is the highest mountain with 503 m (1,650 ft) in Kunigami, Okinawa. It is the second highest mountain in Okinawa Prefecture after Mount Omoto 525.5 m (1,724 ft) in Ishigaki, Okinawa.[17]

In the north are mainly igneous rocks. and Mount Yae and Nagodake. The northern region has a slightly large river and very little flat land. Acidity of the soil is distributed and there's e.g. pineapple cultivation.[18] The northern region has the Yanbaru subtropical rainforest. The Motobu Peninsula has limestone layers and karst development.[19].

In the center and south is mainly a Ryukyu limestone layer and mudstone.[19] The topography is flat, there are few hills over 100 m (328 ft) with very few rivers. In the southern region is [karst]] topography with limestone that is easily eroded. The subtropical accelerated erosion so there are many drainages and uvala. There are many caves. The Gyokusendō cave has beautiful stalagmites and stalactites in the theme park Okinawa World, Nanjo. It is about five kilometers long. Only 890 meters are open to tourists.

The southern end of the island consists of uplifted coral reef, whereas the northern half has proportionally more igneous rock. The easily eroded limestone of the south has many caves, the most famous of which is Gyokusendō in Nanjō. An 850 m-long stretch is open to tourists.

The northernmost Cape Hedo is only 22 km (14 mi) away from Yoronjima. Cape Arasaki is the southernmost location of Okinawa island. It's sometimes confused with Cape Kiyanmisaki.

Flora and Fauna

The northern half of Okinawa has one of the largest tracts of subtropical rainforest in Asia called the Yanbaru. There are many endemic species of flora and fauna.[20][21] There are a small number of endemic Yanbaru kuina (also known as the Okinawa rail), a small flightless bird that is close to extinction. The critically endangered Okinawa woodpecker is also endemic on this island.

The Indian mongoose was introduced to the island to prevent the native habu pit viper from attacking the birds. It did not succeed in eliminating the habu, but instead preyed on birds, increasing the threat to the Okinawa rail.


The island has a humid subtropical climate bordering on a tropical rainforest climate. The island supports a dense northern forest and a rainy season occurring in the late spring.


Cliffs at Manzamo


Village of Onna


A pond in Okinawa

Busena Resort11n4272

Cape Busena, in Nago, Okinawa

Chatan Sunset Beach (west) 20150317-2

Sunset Beach (Chatan-cho)


Map of Okinawa Prefecture with location of Okinawa Island


There are many local pubs (izakaya) and cafes that serve Okinawan cuisine and dishes, such as gōyā chanpurū (bitter melon stir fry), fu chanpurū (wheat gluten chanpurū), and tonkatsu (tenderized, breaded, fried pork cutlet). Okinawan soba is the signature dish and consists of wheat noodles served hot in a soup, usually with pork (rib or pork belly). This contrasts with the mainland soba, which is buckwheat noodles. Rafute, which is braised pork belly, is another popular Okinawan dish. American presence on the island has also led to some creative dishes such as taco rice, which is now a common meal served in bentos, and common use of spam.


Farmland in Okinawa

Among the prefectures of Japan, Okinawa has the youngest and fastest-growing population, but has the lowest employment rate and average income. The island economy is primarily driven by tourism and the US military presence, with efforts in recent years to diversify into other sectors.[22]

The Motobu Peninsula has a large-scale quarry and cement factory due to the presence of limestone and karst.[23] There is also agriculture with tropical fruit such as Malpighia emarginata.


Tourist attractions include Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium (at one time the world's largest aquarium), Century Beach, Pineapple Park, the Orion Beer Factory and Hiji Falls. In recent years, Okinawa has become an increasingly popular destination for tourists from China and Southeast Asia.[24]

In the 2018 calendar year, Okinawa attracted 9,842,400 tourists, a positive growth of 4.7% from 9,396,200 in the previous 2017 calendar year.[25][26]

Military bases

The US military bases account for 4 to 5% of the island economy, but the economic impact may be double edged, as the presence of the bases may be hampering investment (and tourism potential). The bases have been of declining economic importance, especially after Okinawan sovereignty returned to Japan. [12][27] There are also a smaller contingent of Japanese military bases on the island.

Several former US military facilities in Okinawa have been re-developed as commercial areas, most notably the American Village in Chatan, Okinawa, which opened in 1998, and the Aeon Mall Okinawa Rycom in Kitanakagusuku, Okinawa, which opened in 2015.[24]

Transportation and logistics

Naha Airport is the main transportation hub for the Ryukyu Islands and has an increasingly large role in regional logistics. All Nippon Airways opened a cargo hub at the airport in 2009, providing overnight freight service between Japan and other Asian countries.[24]

US military in Okinawa

F-15C Eagles of the 18th Wing, Kadena Air Base
US military bases in Okinawa
US military bases in Okinawa

The United States maintains American military bases in Japan as part of the U.S.-Japan alliance since 1951. Most US military are in Okinawa Prefecture. In 2013 there were approximately 50,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in Japan with 40,000 dependents and 5,500 American civilians employed by the United States Department of Defense.[28]

There are 32 United States military bases in Okinawa Island.[12] Approximately 62% of all United States bases in Japan are in Okinawa.[29][30] It covers 25% of Okinawa island. The major bases are Futenma, Kadena, Hansen, Torii, Schwab, Foster, and Kinser.[31] There are 28 US military facilities on Okinawa. They are mainly concentrated in the central area. 8 out of 10 central municipalities have US facilities.

Moving the bases

The bases primarily exist to serve Japanese and American strategic interests, but are unpopular with most local residents,[32] despite recent efforts to move the bases out of core areas following incidents involving military personnel and resultant protests (including the 1995 Okinawa rape incident).

In 2012, an agreement was struck between the United States and Japan to reduce the number of US military personnel on the island, moving 9,000 personnel to other locations and moving bases out of heavily populated Greater Naha, but 10,000 Marines will remain on the island, along with other US military units.[31][33] Attempts to completely close bases on the southern third of the island, where 90% of the population lives (all but about 120,000 people) have been impeded by both the American desire that alternative locations be found where bases subject to closure could move to (e.g. Henoko Peninsula, mid-island), as well as by local Okinawan opposition to any suggested locations on the island (who demand no US troops at all anywhere on the island).[32] Tokyo says the US bases are important for national security. Locals complain that despite being home to less than 1% of Japan's population and area, Okinawa hosts the majority of the US military presence in Japan.[34] In late December 2013, the governor of Okinawa, Hirokazu Nakaima, gave permission for land reclamation to begin for a new US military base at Henoko reneging on previous promises, furthering the effort to consolidate the American troop presence on the island, though away from urban Naha.[35] This resulted in his loss of the governorship.


Okinawa has various historical buildings and monuments. Such as feudal castles, ruins, UNESCO and other historical significant sites.

Naha Shuri Castle20s5s3200

Shuri Castle in Naha

Nakamura House Kitanakagusuku01n3104

Nakamura house





131027 Shuri Castle Festival Naha Okinawa pref Japan02s8
Shuri Castle Festival in Naha

There are multiple festivals in Okinawa throughout the year.[38]

  • Shurijo Castle Park New Year’s Celebration - January
  • Cherry Blossom Festival - January, February
  • Naha Hari Festival - May
  • Orion Beerfest - August
  • Eisa Dancers Parade - August
  • Shuri Castle Festival - October
  • Naha Great Tug-of-War Festival - October
  • The Ryukyu Dynasty Festival Shuri - November



Naha Airport is the main airport that serves the island.


Series 1000 of Okinawa Monorail
Okinawa Monorail

There is the Okinawa Urban Monorail. The monorail runs from Okinawa Airport to Japan's south-easternmost monorail station, Akamine Station, before heading to its final destination of Shuri Station and back.[39]


There are multiple bus companies, such as Toyo Bus, Ryukyu Bus Kotsu, Naha Bus, and Okinawa Bus.


The Okinawa Expressway is a toll road that runs from Naha to Nago, and has a speed limit of 80 km/h (50 mph), the highest on the island.


There are many ferries to many of the nearby islands, such as Ie Shima. Tomarin Port in Naha, has ferries to nearby islands such as Aguni, Tokashiki and Zamami.

Regions and cities

Northern Okinawa

Yanbaru forest and Mount Yonaha

With Kunigami district, it has an area of 764 square kilometers (295 sq mi) ​and a population of about 120,000. There is much nature with subtropical rainforest.

Central Okinawa

With Nakagami district, it has an area of ​​280 square kilometers (110 sq mi) and a population of about 590,000. Most US military facilities are located here. Urasoe has strong connections with the southern municipalities, including the Southern Wide Area Municipal Area Administrative Association, Nishihara town, Nakagusuku village, and Kitanakagusuku Village. These belong to the Southern Wide Area Administrative Association. With Kunigami district or Yamabaru . It has an area of ​​764km 2 and a population of about 120,000. Rich nature remains.

Southern Okinawa

The main streets of Naha city 2
Matsuyama intersection in Naha

With Shimajiri district, it has an area of ​​198 square kilometers (76 sq mi) and a population of about 540,000. The capital is Naha.

In popular media

Teahouse of the August Moon (1956), starring Marlon Brando and Glenn Ford, was based on the hit Broadway play. The storyline of the play and the film were set in Okinawa, but actual filming took place in mainland Japan near Nara and in a studio in California.[40]

Okinawa was the setting for the 1974 Japanese science fiction kaiju film Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, which featured a shisa dog as one of the monsters in the film; due to an awkward translation from Japanese to English, this monster is known in the film as King Caesar. Several scenes were filmed in the then-recently discovered Gyokusendo caves.

Okinawa was also the setting for the 1986 film The Karate Kid, Part II, in which Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) returns home to Okinawa with his student Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio). Although Okinawa was the setting for the film, only short scenes of the film were actually filmed in Okinawa.

A number of games in the Yakuza franchise are set partially on Okinawa: main protagonist Kazuma Kiryu sets up and runs an orphanage on the island.

Okinawa was the setting of the World War II fighting in the 2016 movie Hacksaw Ridge, detailing the true story of US soldier Desmond Doss.

Okinawa was the setting for the horror anime series Blood+ and sports manga Harukana Receive.

Okinawa was also the setting for the 2018 Japanese superhero kaiju film Ultraman Geed the Movie.

See also

Photo gallery


Okinawa Island is the home of Tsuboya-yaki, pottery in the Ryūkyūan tradition.


Bullfighting (Tōgyū) arena. Okinawa is the home of a form of bullfighting sometimes compared to sumo


  1. ^ "Statistical reports on the land area by prefectures and municipalities in Japan as of 2018" (PDF) (in Japanese). Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. 1 October 2018. p. 103. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c (in Japanese) 沖縄県推計人口データ一覧(Excel形式). Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  3. ^ 語彙詳細―首里・那覇方言. Okinawa Center of Language Study. Retrieved on 2014-12-02.
  4. ^ "離島とは(島の基礎知識) (what is a remote island?)". MLIT (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism) (in Japanese). Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. 22 August 2015. Archived from the original (website) on 2007-07-13. Retrieved 9 August 2019. MILT classification 6,852 islands(main islands: 5 islands, remote islands: 6,847 islands)
  5. ^ "Okinawa Island | island, Japan". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  6. ^ Okinawa Exploration Backgrounds, Blue Zones, 20 March 2014; retrieved by the Wayback Machine on 3 March 2016.
  7. ^ Letman, Jon (24 August 2015). "70 years after the war, Okinawa protests new US military base". Al Jazeera America. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  8. ^ Arashiro Toshiaki High School History of Ryukyu, Okinawa, Toyo Kikaku, 2001, p12,ISBN 4-938984-17-2 p20
  9. ^ Ito, Masami, "Between a rock and a hard place", Japan Times, May 12, 2009, p. 3.
  10. ^ The Demise of the Ryukyu Kingdom: Western Accounts and Controversy. Ed by Eitetsu Yamagushi and Yoko Arakawa. Ginowan-City, Okinawa: Yonushorin, 2002.
  11. ^ "The Cornerstone of Peace – number of names inscribed". Okinawa Prefecture. Retrieved 4 February 2011
  12. ^ a b c Mitchell, Jon (13 May 2012). "What awaits Okinawa 40 years after reversion?". The Japan Times. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  13. ^ Central Okinawan language at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
  14. ^ Noguchi 2001, p. 76.
  15. ^ 『日本統計年鑑 平成26年』「1-2 主な島」(2013年)p.13, 17
  16. ^ 『日本歴史地名大系』「沖縄島」(2002年)p.73中段
  17. ^ "Yonaha-dake". Nihon Daihyakka Zensho (Nipponika) (日本大百科全書(ニッポニカ) “Large Encyclopedia of Japan (Nipponika)”) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  18. ^ 『沖繩大百科事典 上巻』「沖縄島」(1983年)p.525
  19. ^ a b 『日本歴史地名大系』「総論 自然環境」(2002年)p.24
  20. ^ "Ufugi Nature Museum" (PDF). Yambaru Wildlife Conservation Centre. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  21. ^ "United States Marine Corps Installations Natural Resource Program: Camp Smedley D. Butler, MCB" (PDF). United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  22. ^ Martin, Alexander (13 November 2014). "Okinawa's Reinvention Enters Next Phase". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  23. ^ 安和鉱山 琉球セメント
  24. ^ a b c Yoshida, Reiji (17 May 2015). "Economics of U.S. base redevelopment sway Okinawa mindset". The Japan Times. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  25. ^ "Okinawa fails to surpass Hawaii in terms of 2018 tourist numbers and increase rate". Ryukyu Shimpo - Okinawa, Japanese newspaper, local news. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  26. ^ "Okinawa tourist numbers top those of Hawaii for first time". The Japan Times Online. 2018-02-09. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  27. ^ Hongo, Jun (16 May 2012). "Economic reliance on bases won't last, trends suggest". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 16 May 2012.
  28. ^ Yoshida, Reiji, "Basics of the U.S. military presence", Japan Times, 25 March 2008, p. 3.
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  31. ^ a b Jaffe, Greg; Heil, Emily; Harlan, Chico (26 April 2012), "U.S. comes to agreement with Japan to move 9,000 marines off Okinawa", The Washington Post, retrieved 28 April 2012
  32. ^ a b "Okinawa deal between US and Japan to move marines". BBC News. 27 April 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
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  34. ^
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  39. ^ "Yui Rail Museum: An Indoor Learning Experience For All". Okinawa.Org. Retrieved 2019-08-20.
  40. ^ Erickson, Hal. Military Comedy Films: A Critical Survey and Filmography of Hollywood Releases Since 1918. McFarland, 2012, p. 174.

External links

Cape Hedo

Cape Hedo (辺戸岬, Hedo-misaki), also known as Hedo Point, is the northernmost point on Okinawa Island, located within Kunigami Village. A cape jutting out north from the island, it faces the South China Sea on the west, and the Pacific Ocean on the east. On a particularly clear day, the island of Yoron (Yoronjima) in Kagoshima Prefecture can be seen on the horizon. Yoron Island is located approximately 23 kilometres (14 mi) to the north.Cape Hedo is part of Okinawa Dai Sekirinzan Quasi-National Park, a prefectural park established in 1965 and re-established with the reversion of Okinawa to Japan in 1972.In the Shōhō Kuniezu, a kuniezu, or series of Japanese provincial land maps created during the Edo period (1603 – 1868), Cape Hedo appears as "Heto misaki", or "Cape Heto". The expedition of Commodore Perry (1794 – 1858) visited Cape Hedo and recorded it as "Cape Hope" in his Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan. The Nihon Suiroshi, a pilot guide first issued in 1892, records that the cape is also known as Cape Kunigami and is commonly used as a nautical landmark.The site has become a tourist destination,both for its geographic location, and for the monument erected there commemorating the end of US Occupation and return of Okinawa to Japanese sovereignty. The monument is popularly seen as a photo opportunity by tourists; as tourism to the site has grown, a number of restaurants, souvenir shops, and other tourist facilities have appeared near the site.According to legends of Okinawan history, Okinawan king Gihon (r. c. 1248–1260) fled the capital after abdicating the throne and disappeared into the forest. He is said to have last been seen at the cliffs of Hedo Point (Hedo-misaki), the northernmost point on Okinawa Island.

DaeSean Hamilton

DaeSean Kameron Hamilton (born March 10, 1995) is an American football wide receiver for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Penn State.


Ie Island (伊江島, Iejima, Okinawan: Ii shima), previously romanized in English as Ie Shima, is an island in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, lying a few kilometers off the Motobu Peninsula on Okinawa Island. The island measures 20 kilometres (12 mi) in circumference and covers 23 square kilometres (8.9 sq mi). As of December 2012 the island had a population of 4,610. Ie Village, which covers the entire Island, has a ferry connection with the town of Motobu on Okinawa Island.

Iejima is generally flat. The most notable geographic feature is a peak called Mount Gusuku (or "Tatchuu" in Kunigami) at a height of 172 meters. The mountain resembles a volcano but is actually an erosion artifact. Alternately called "Peanut Island," for its general shape and peanut crop, or "Flower Island," for its abundant flora and more sizeable crop, Iejima draws tourists by ferry, especially during late April when the Ie Lily Festival begins. The Youth Excursion Village accommodates campers for 400 yen a person and includes access to a good beach. The YYY Resort and Hotel located just east of the ferry port is available for those who do not wish to camp.

During World War II, American troops landed on Iejima in April 1945 as part of the Battle of Okinawa and there was heavy fighting from April 16 until the island was secured on April 21. U.S. journalist Ernie Pyle was killed during the battle. There is a monument dedicated to his memory on the southern part of the island. Every year on the weekend closest to his April 18 death there is a memorial service.

Itoman, Okinawa

Itoman (糸満市, Itoman-shi, Okinawan: イチマン Ichiman or イチュマン Ichuman) is a city located in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. The city occupies the southern tip of Okinawa Island.

As of April 2013, the city has an estimated population of 59,605 and a population density of 1,335.53 persons per km². The total area is 46.63 km².

Kaidā glyphs

Kaidā glyphs (Kaidā ji (カイダー字)) are a set of pictograms once used in the Yaeyama Islands of southwestern Japan. The word kaidā was taken from Yonaguni, and most studies on the pictographs focused on Yonaguni Island. However, there is evidence for their use in Yaeyama's other islands, most notably on Taketomi Island. They were used primarily for tax notices, thus were closely associated with the poll tax imposed on Yaeyama by Ryūkyū on Okinawa Island, which was in turn dominated by Satsuma Domain on Southern Kyushu.

Kunigami, Okinawa

Kunigami (国頭村, Kunigami-son, Kunigami: Kunzan, Okinawan: Kunjan) is a village in Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. It occupies the north tip of Okinawa Island, with the East China Sea to the west, Pacific Ocean to the east, and villages of Higashi and Ōgimi to the south.As of 2015, the village has a population of 4,908 and a population density of 25.20 persons per km2. The total area is 194.80 km2.

Kunigami District, Okinawa

Kunigami (国頭郡, Kunigami-gun, Kunigami: Kunzan, Okinawan: Kunjan) is a district located in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. Roughly translated, kunigami means "head of the country", referring to its northern location on the island of Okinawa. Compare this to Shimajiri District, Okinawa.

As of 2003, the district has an estimated population of 64,670 and the density of 112.19 persons per km². The total area is 576.43 km².

Kunigami district includes a section of Okinawa Island and several smaller islands.

Kunigami language

The Kunigami or Northern Okinawan language (Yanbaru Kutuuba (山原言葉/ヤンバルクトゥーバ)) is a Ryukyuan language of northern Okinawa Island in Kunigami District and city of Nago, otherwise known as the Yanbaru region, historically the territory of the kingdom of Hokuzan.

The Nakijin dialect is often considered representative of Kunigami, analogous to the Shuri-Naha dialect of Central Okinawan. The number of fluent native speakers of Kunigami is not known. As a result of Japanese language policy, the younger generation mostly speaks Japanese as their first language.

List of Historic Sites of Japan (Okinawa)

This list is of the Historic Sites of Japan located within the Prefecture of Okinawa. Much of the heritage of the Ryūkyū Kingdom and Islands was destroyed during the Battle of Okinawa. The mausoleum complex of Tamaudun, Shuri Castle, Katsuren Castle, Nakagusuku Castle, Nakijin Castle, Zakimi Castle, Sefa-utaki, and Sonohyan-utaki all form part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu.

Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro

Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro (島袋 光年, Shimabukuro Mitsutoshi, born May 19, 1975 in Naha, Okinawa) is a Japanese manga artist. He first gained success with his series Seikimatsu Leader den Takeshi! (1997–2002), but is better known for Toriko which was serialized between 2008 and 2016. He ranked 14th on Nikkei Entertainment's list of the most successful manga artists between 2010 and 2011.

Muennink's spiny rat

Muennink's spiny rat or Okinawa Spiny Rat (Tokudaia muenninki) is a species of rodent in the family Muridae.Endemic to Okinawa Island, Japan, its natural habitat is subtropical moist broadleaf forest. The karyotype has 2n = 44. Its sex chromosomes are abnormally large, while the other two species in Tokudaia have lost their Y chromosome. It is found only on the northern part (Yanbaru area) of the island, above 300 m.The head and body are up to 7 inches long with a 5-inch tail. They weigh up to 7 ounces. They have a short thick body and dense fur, consisting of fine hairs and coarse, grooved spines (hence the common name “spiny rat”). The fur is brownish above and grayish white below with a faint orange tinge. The spines on the animal’s back are black throughout while the spines underneath are usually white with a reddish-brown tip. The spines cover the body except for the regions around the mouth, ears, feet and tail. The tail is bi-colored for its entire length.The species is threatened by deforestation, predation by feral cats and introduced mongooses, and competition with introduced black rats. In March 2008, the first wild specimen in over 30 years was caught in the northern part of Okinawa island.


Ofusato (承察度) (1337–1398) was the first chief of Nanzan, a principality in the southernmost end of Okinawa Island. His chosen capital was Nanzan Castle, in Itoman. He began the Ōzato Dynasty of Nanzan.

He presented himself to the Chinese imperial court for recognition in 1388. After Ofusato died while in Korea, his brother Yafuso seized power and sought formal recognition from China.

Okinawa Expressway

The Okinawa Expressway (沖縄自動車道, Okinawa Jidōsha-dō) is an expressway on Okinawa Island in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. The expressway has a length of 57.3 kilometres (35.6 mi). The West Nippon Expressway Company is the owner and operator of this expressway. It is signed E58 under the "2016 Proposal for Realization of Expressway Numbering".

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.

Okinawan martial arts

Okinawan martial arts refers to the martial arts, such as karate, tegumi and Okinawan kobudō, which originated among the indigenous people of Okinawa Island. Due to its central location, Okinawa was influenced by various cultures with a long history of trade and cultural exchange, including Japan, China and Southeast Asia, that greatly influenced the development of martial arts on Okinawa.

Postage stamps and postal history of Ryukyu Islands

This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of the Ryukyu Islands.

The Ryukyu Islands are a chain of islands in the western Pacific Ocean, on the eastern limit of the East China Sea and to the southwest of the island of Kyushu in Japan. The largest of the islands is Okinawa Island.

The Ryukyu Kingdom was formally annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1872, although the kingdom had been part of the feudal Satsuma Domain in Kyushu since 1609. During World War II, the islands came under the occupation of the United States military in 1945, and a civilian government was set up under American control in 1952. The islands reverted to the control of Japan in 1972.

West Nippon Expressway Company

The West Nippon Expressway Company Limited (西日本高速道路株式会社, Nishi-nihon Kōsoku-dōro Kabushiki-gaisha), abbreviated as NEXCO West (NEXCO西日本, NEXCO Nishi-Nihon), is one of the main operators of expressways and toll roads in Japan. It is headquartered on the 19th floor of Dojima Avanza in Kita-ku, Osaka.

The company was established on October 1, 2005 as a result of the privatization of Japan Highway Public Corporation. The company manages roadways mainly in the Kansai and Chūgoku regions as well as on Kyūshū, Shikoku, and Okinawa Island. Roadways in other regions of Japan are managed by East Nippon Expressway Company and Central Nippon Expressway Company.

Yanbaru National Park

Yanbaru National Park (やんばる国立公園, Yanbaru Kokuritsu Kōen) is a national park in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. Established in 2016, it is located in and around the forested region of Yanbaru at the northern end of Okinawa Island. The park comprises a land area of 13,622 ha (33,660 acres) in the villages of Kunigami, Ōgimi, and Higashi together with 3,670 ha (9,100 acres) of the surrounding waters. The day of establishment, 15 September, coincides with the anniversary of the 1983 discovery of the endangered endemic Yanbaru Long-armed Scarab Beetle (Cheirotonus jambar) (ヤンバルテナガコガネ).

Yotoku Miyagi

Yotoku Miyagi (宮城 与徳, Miyagi Yotoku, 1903–1943) was an Okinawan Marxist artist, Communist Party USA member, and a member of Richard Sorge's spy ring.


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