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.[1] 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.[2]

The Okinawa Islands, apart from the main island, contain three smaller island groups: the Kerama, Yokatsu, and Iheya-Izena island groups.[1][3][4]

The Okinawa Islands are the political, cultural and population center of Okinawa Prefecture.[1] 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.[1] 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.[1]

The Okinawa Islands are within the subtropical climate zone, which supports the production of sugarcane, pineapples and cut flowers.[2] The military bases of the United States in Okinawa Prefecture are located on the Okinawa Islands.[3]

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 Islands
Native name:
Okinawa-shotō (沖縄諸島)
Map of the Okinawa Islands
Okinawa Islands is located in Japan
Okinawa Islands
Okinawa Islands
Okinawa Islands in Japan
LocationPacific Ocean
ArchipelagoRyukyu Islands
Adjacent bodies of waterEast China Sea
Total islands113
Major islandsOkinawa Island, Kume Island, Kerama Islands
Area1,418.59 km2 (547.72 sq mi)
PrefectureOkinawa Prefecture
Largest settlementNaha (pop. 312,393)
Population1,285,003 (October 1, 2010)
Pop. density908.8 /km2 (2,353.8 /sq mi)
Location of the Okinawa Islands in Okinawa Prefecture



  1. ^ a b c d e "沖縄諸島" [Okinawa Islands]. Nihon Daihyakka Zensho (Nipponika) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2013. OCLC 153301537. Archived from the original on August 25, 2007. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
  2. ^ a b "沖縄諸島" [Okinawa Islands]. Dijitaru Daijisen (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2013. OCLC 56431036. Archived from the original on August 25, 2007. Retrieved 2013-01-21.
  3. ^ a b "Okinawa Islands". Encyclopedia of Japan. Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2013. OCLC 56431036. Archived from the original on August 25, 2007. Retrieved 2013-01-21.
  4. ^ "伊平屋伊是名諸島" [Iheya-Izena Islands]. Nihon Daihyakka Zensho (Nipponika) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2013. OCLC 153301537. Archived from the original on August 25, 2007. Retrieved 2013-01-14.

Coordinates: 26°19′58″N 127°44′56″E / 26.33278°N 127.74889°E

1971 Okinawa Reversion Agreement

The Okinawa Reversion Agreement (Japanese: 沖縄返還協定, Hepburn: Okinawahenkan kyōtei) was an agreement between the Japan and the United States in which the United States relinquished in favor of Japan all rights and interests under Article III of the Treaty of San Francisco obtained as a result of the Pacific War, thus returning the Okinawa Prefecture to Japanese sovereignty. The document was signed simultaneously in Washington, D.C. and Tokyo on June 17, 1971, by William P. Rogers on behalf of President Richard Nixon and Kiichi Aichi on behalf of Prime Minister Eisaku Satō. The document was not ratified in Japan until November 24, 1971, by the National Diet.

Aguni Island

Aguni Island (粟国島, Aguni-jima) is an island in Japan, which is part of the Okinawa Islands and administered as Aguni Village in Shimajiri District, Okinawa Prefecture. It is located 60km Northwest from Naha on Okinawa Island in East China Sea. It has an area of 7.64 km². It has one bar, one cop, no restaurants, no convenience stores and no taxis or buses. Besides the hotel, there are about 10 minshuku (guest houses) catering to the scuba divers who comprise the majority of visitors. The island manages commercial fishery, and its fishermen are usually also farmers. There is a port and an airstrip through which visitors can visit the island on a ferry or airplane.

Aguni Islands

The Aguni Islands (粟国諸島, Aguni Shotō) are a group of islands in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. They are about 60 km west of Okinawa Island.

They include

Aguni Village (Shimajiri District)

Aguni Island (粟国島, Aguni-jima)

Tonaki, Village (Shimajiri District)

Tonaki Island (渡名喜島, Tonaki-jima)

Irisuna Island (入砂島, Irisuna-jima)


Gusuku (グスク, 城, Okinawan: gushiku) often refers to castles or fortresses in the Ryukyu Islands that feature stone walls. However, the origin and essence of gusuku remain controversial. In the archaeology of Okinawa Prefecture, the Gusuku period refers to an archaeological epoch of the Okinawa Islands that follows the shell-mound period and precedes the Sanzan period, when most gusuku are thought to have been built. Many gusuku and related cultural remains on Okinawa Island have been listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites under the title Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu.


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.

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

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). It is now a popular beach and diving destination for visitors to Okinawa.

Kume Island

Kume Island (久米島, Kumejima, Okinawan: クミジマ Kumijima) is an island, part of the Okinawa Islands and administratively part of the town of Kumejima, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. It has an area of 59.11 square kilometres (636,300,000 sq ft). The island had a population of 8,713 (2010).

Kume Island is a volcanic island. Its principal economic activities are the production of sugarcane and tourism.

List of islands of Japan

Japan has 6,852 islands. Approximately 430 are inhabited. Japan is the largest island country in East Asia and the fourth largest island country in the world. Here's a list of islands of Japan.

Minnajima (Motobu, Okinawa)

Minna-jima (水納島) is an island within the Okinawa Islands, administered by Motobu, Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan.

Miyako Islands

The Miyako Islands (宮古列島, Miyako-rettō, Miyako: Myaaku, Tarama dialect: Meeku, Okinawan: Naaku) (also Miyako Sima group) are a group of islands in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, belonging to the Ryukyu Islands. They are situated between the Okinawa Island and Yaeyama Islands.

In the early 1870's, the population of the islands was estimated to number about ten thousand. Miyako island has 55,914 people. A bridge connects Miyako Island to Ikema Island, which has 801 people. Tarama village has 1,214 people, between the two islands of Minna and Tarama.

Northern Ryukyuan languages

The Northern Ryukyuan languages are a group of languages spoken in the Amami Islands, Kagoshima Prefecture and the Okinawa Islands, Okinawa Prefecture of southwestern Japan. It is one of two primary branches of the Ryukyuan languages, which are then part of the Japonic languages. The subdivisions of Northern Ryukyuan are a matter of scholarly debate.

Okinawa (disambiguation)

Okinawa Prefecture is Japan's southernmost of all prefecture

Okinawa may also refer to:

Okinawa, Okinawa, the second largest city in the prefecture

Okinawa Island, the largest island in the prefecture

Okinawa Islands, an island group including Okinawa Island and its neighbours

Battle of Okinawa

Okinawa (film), a 1952 American film by Leigh Jason

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; 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. The island is approximately 70 miles (110 km) long and an average 7 miles (11 km) wide, 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. 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.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.

Okinawa flying fox

The Okinawa flying fox (Pteropus loochoensis) is a species of megabat in the genus Pteropus. It is endemic to possibly Japan. It was previously listed as extinct by the IUCN, but because the two known specimens are taxonomically uncertain and of unknown provenance, it was changed to 'Data Deficient'. Some place this animal into synonymy under Pteropus mariannus.

Two specimens are in the British Natural History Museum, and the whereabouts of the third is unknown. Two of the specimens are believed to have come from Southeast Asia, so the true distribution of the Okinawa flying fox is unknown.


Okinawan may refer to:

Of or relating to Okinawa Island or Okinawa Islands or Okinawa Prefecture, a part of the Ryukyu Islands

Okinawan language, an endangered language spoken by the people of Okinawa Island

The people of Okinawa, a subgroup of the Ryukyuan people

Okinawan cuisine

Ryukyu Islands

The Ryukyu Islands (琉球諸島, Ryūkyū-shotō), also known as the Nansei Islands (南西諸島, Nansei-shotō, lit. "Southwest Islands") or the Ryukyu Arc (琉球弧, Ryūkyū-ko), are a chain of Japanese islands that stretch southwest from Kyushu to Taiwan: the Ōsumi, Tokara, Amami, Okinawa, and Sakishima Islands (further divided into the Miyako and Yaeyama Islands), with Yonaguni the westernmost. The larger are mostly high islands and the smaller mostly coral. The largest is Okinawa Island.

The climate of the islands ranges from humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) in the north to tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification Af) in the south. Precipitation is very high and is affected by the rainy season and typhoons. Except the outlying Daitō Islands, the island chain has two major geologic boundaries, the Tokara Strait (between the Tokara and Amami Islands) and the Kerama Gap (between the Okinawa and Miyako Islands). The islands beyond the Tokara Strait are characterized by their coral reefs.

The Ōsumi and Tokara Islands, the northernmost of the islands, fall under the cultural sphere of the Kyushu region of Japan; the people are ethnically Japanese and speak a variation of the Kagoshima dialect of Japanese. The Amami, Okinawa, Miyako, and Yaeyama Islands have a native population collectively called the Ryukyuan people, named for the former Ryukyu Kingdom that ruled them. The varied Ryukyuan languages are traditionally spoken on these islands, and the major islands have their own distinct languages. In modern times, the Japanese language is the primary language of the islands, with the Okinawan Japanese dialect prevalently spoken. The outlying Daitō Islands were uninhabited until the Meiji period, when their development was started mainly by people from the Izu Islands south of Tokyo, with the people there speaking the Hachijō language.

Administratively, the islands are divided into Kagoshima Prefecture (specifically the islands administered by Kagoshima District, Kumage Subprefecture/District, and Ōshima Subprefecture/District) in the north and Okinawa Prefecture in the south, with the divide between the Amami and Okinawa Islands, with the Daitō Islands part of Okinawa Prefecture. The northern (Kagoshima) islands are collectively called the Satsunan Islands, while the southern part of the chain (Okinawa Prefecture) are called the Ryukyu Islands in Chinese.

Sakhalin leaf warbler

The Sakhalin leaf warbler (Phylloscopus borealoides) is a species of Old World warbler in the family Phylloscopidae.

It is found in Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands and Japan; it winters to the Amami and Okinawa islands.

Its natural habitat is temperate forests.


Sanba (三板) is a percussion musical instrument from the Okinawa Islands. The name itself means "three slabs" or "three boards/planks," and it consists of three shards ebony or other woods that are bound together by twine. It produces a variety of clicking sounds similar to that of castanets. It is played by placing the shards between the fingers of one hand, while using the other hand to flick the pieces of wood together. It can be played in slow or fast rhythms, depending on the musical genre. It is often heard in Okinawan folk music.

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).


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