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Okinawa Prefecture
Okinawa Prefecture
::2010/04/15::
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SATOUMI - Shiraho Community, Ishigaki Island, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan
SATOUMI - Shiraho Community, Ishigaki Island, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan
::2012/08/15::
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日本地理(沖縄県)Okinawa Prefecture
日本地理(沖縄県)Okinawa Prefecture
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How to Pronounce Okinawa (prefecture)
How to Pronounce Okinawa (prefecture)
::2014/09/24::
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Okinawa Japan Prefecture Tourism 沖縄流行
Okinawa Japan Prefecture Tourism 沖縄流行
::2014/10/08::
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Typhoon Neoguri Sweeps Across Japan Okinawa Prefecture
Typhoon Neoguri Sweeps Across Japan Okinawa Prefecture
::2014/07/08::
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沖縄県 古宇利ビーチ [HD]  - Kouri beach, Kouri Island, Okinawa Prefecture,Japan
沖縄県 古宇利ビーチ [HD] - Kouri beach, Kouri Island, Okinawa Prefecture,Japan
::2014/06/13::
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Miss Haiti "Miss International 2012" Vlog (Day 4 Visits The Okinawa Prefectural Museum)
Miss Haiti "Miss International 2012" Vlog (Day 4 Visits The Okinawa Prefectural Museum)
::2012/10/11::
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Taketomi Village, 竹富島, Okinawa Prefecture
Taketomi Village, 竹富島, Okinawa Prefecture
::2007/01/25::
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750 CC Honda VFR (Okinawa Prefecture Police)
750 CC Honda VFR (Okinawa Prefecture Police)
::2013/05/05::
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Landing at Ishigaki Airport (Okinawa Prefecture) HD
Landing at Ishigaki Airport (Okinawa Prefecture) HD
::2009/07/16::
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Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum.
Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum.
::2012/11/06::
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13
Jungle Night Tour Spider Panic Attack, Iriomote Island, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan 沖縄
Jungle Night Tour Spider Panic Attack, Iriomote Island, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan 沖縄
::2010/10/02::
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竹富島のコンドイ浜 beach in Taketomi Island,Okinawa Prefecture
竹富島のコンドイ浜 beach in Taketomi Island,Okinawa Prefecture
::2014/01/04::
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Япония. Japan and Okinawa prefecture.
Япония. Japan and Okinawa prefecture.
::2012/07/20::
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Fenukama. Cultural heritage of Okinawa Prefecture in Japan.
Fenukama. Cultural heritage of Okinawa Prefecture in Japan.
::2012/08/09::
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Powerful Typhoon Hits Ishigaki Island, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan
Powerful Typhoon Hits Ishigaki Island, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan
::2010/10/02::
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Food in Okinawa Prefecture (Luncheon  Meat)
Food in Okinawa Prefecture (Luncheon Meat)
::2014/08/22::
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Typhoon Neoguri Sweeps Across Japan Okinawa Prefecture
Typhoon Neoguri Sweeps Across Japan Okinawa Prefecture
::2014/10/06::
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Okinawa Prefecture Ou jima in Japan
Okinawa Prefecture Ou jima in Japan
::2009/01/11::
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"Kitanakagusuku jo" Hanamizukidojo
"Kitanakagusuku jo" Hanamizukidojo's photos around Kitanakagusuku-son, Japan (okinawa prefecture)
::2011/03/28::
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Okinawa
Okinawa
::2014/02/24::
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ヨガインストラクター養成 沖縄県 Yoga Instructor Training Okinawa Prefecture
ヨガインストラクター養成 沖縄県 Yoga Instructor Training Okinawa Prefecture
::2014/08/26::
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My at Okinawa Prefecture Museum Entrance
My at Okinawa Prefecture Museum Entrance
::2011/12/19::
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Vice Governor Nakazato of Okinawa Prefecture
Vice Governor Nakazato of Okinawa Prefecture
::2009/08/29::
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2013 Be.Okinawa(English ver.)
2013 Be.Okinawa(English ver.)
::2013/12/09::
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辺戸岬 沖縄県  hedo cape from okinawa prefecture
辺戸岬 沖縄県  hedo cape from okinawa prefecture
::2012/01/28::
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"Monday April 13" Hanamizukidojo
"Monday April 13" Hanamizukidojo's photos around Kadena and Ginowan, Japan (okinawa prefecture)
::2011/04/14::
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Battle of Okinawa: "Report From the Ryukyus" 1945 US OWI; World War II
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i, My..found the Okinawa Prefecture Museum
i, My..found the Okinawa Prefecture Museum
::2011/12/19::
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Explore Ishigaki Island in Okinawa, Japan
Explore Ishigaki Island in Okinawa, Japan
::2013/04/16::
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Ishigaki, Okinawa
Ishigaki, Okinawa
::2012/02/29::
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Star Walk (or a walking star)  Miyako-jima(Island), Okinawa-ken(Prefecture), Japan
Star Walk (or a walking star) Miyako-jima(Island), Okinawa-ken(Prefecture), Japan
::2014/08/03::
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NHK Okinawa
NHK Okinawa's report on Okinawa karate - Nov. 2013
::2013/11/17::
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Journeys in Japan: Okinawa - The Land of Karate 空手道
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Pharrell Williams - Happy - We Are from Okinawa
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::2014/09/04::
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The music from Okinawa = 沖縄市 [3/3]
The music from Okinawa = 沖縄市 [3/3]
::2009/07/29::
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Summer Festival 2014 Okinawa Japan
Summer Festival 2014 Okinawa Japan
::2014/07/19::
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Ryujin Mabuyer Okinawan Super Hero!
Ryujin Mabuyer Okinawan Super Hero!
::2011/09/26::
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US Army Pacific USARPAC Okinawa Overview circa 1968 US Army
US Army Pacific USARPAC Okinawa Overview circa 1968 US Army
::2014/06/04::
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strange UFOs over Okinawa Japan 2008. MUFON Case 34615
strange UFOs over Okinawa Japan 2008. MUFON Case 34615
::2012/02/01::
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42
[WATCH] Powerful Typhoon Neoguri Slams Into Japan Okinawa with 150 km/h Winds
[WATCH] Powerful Typhoon Neoguri Slams Into Japan Okinawa with 150 km/h Winds
::2014/07/08::
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Powerful Typhoon Neoguri Strikes Okinawa, Japan: 118-mph
Powerful Typhoon Neoguri Strikes Okinawa, Japan: 118-mph
::2014/07/08::
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44
Sea Turtles chew delicacies - world 2nd largest aquarium  in Okinawa 美ら海水族館
Sea Turtles chew delicacies - world 2nd largest aquarium in Okinawa 美ら海水族館
::2012/12/25::
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45
Be.Okinawa (Thai ver.)
Be.Okinawa (Thai ver.)
::2014/10/22::
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Monorail Trip to Okinawa Budokan
Monorail Trip to Okinawa Budokan
::2011/02/17::
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Kuroshio Sea -        side view - world 2nd largest aquarium  in Okinawa 美ら海水族館
Kuroshio Sea - side view - world 2nd largest aquarium in Okinawa 美ら海水族館
::2012/12/25::
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48
SUPER STRIKE Vol.61
SUPER STRIKE Vol.61
::2013/01/08::
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Kuroshio Sea - closer side view - world 2nd largest aquarium  in Okinawa 美ら海水族館
Kuroshio Sea - closer side view - world 2nd largest aquarium in Okinawa 美ら海水族館
::2012/12/25::
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The trip to Okinawa #05 Night beach & Hermit crab 夜のビーチとヤドカリ
The trip to Okinawa #05 Night beach & Hermit crab 夜のビーチとヤドカリ
::2013/06/23::
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"Okinawa" redirects here. For other uses, see Okinawa (disambiguation).
Okinawa Prefecture
沖縄県
Prefecture
Japanese transcription(s)
 • Japanese 沖縄県
 • Rōmaji Okinawa-ken
Okinawan transcription(s)
 • Okinawan 沖縄県(ウチナーチン)
 • Rōmaji Uchinaa-chin
Official logo of Okinawa Prefecture
Symbol of Okinawa Prefecture
Location of Okinawa Prefecture
Country Japan
Region Kyūshū
Island Okinawa
Capital Naha
Government
 • Governor Hirokazu Nakaima
Area
 • Total 2,271.30 km2 (876.95 sq mi)
Area rank 44th
Population (October 1, 2013)
 • Total 1,416,587
 • Rank 27th
 • Density 622/km2 (1,610/sq mi)
ISO 3166 code JP-47
Districts 5
Municipalities 41
Flower Deego (Erythrina variegata)
Tree Pinus luchuensis (ryūkyūmatsu)
Bird Okinawa woodpecker (Sapheopipo noguchii)
Fish Banana Fish (Caesio diagramma,"Takasago", "Gurukun")
Website www.pref.okinawa.jp/
english/
Location of Ryukyu Islands

Okinawa Prefecture (Japanese: 沖縄県 Hepburn: Okinawa-ken?, Okinawan: ウチナーチン Uchinaa-chin) is the southernmost prefecture of Japan.[1] It comprises hundreds of the Ryukyu Islands in a chain over 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) long. The Ryukyus extend southwest from Kyūshū (the southwesternmost of Japan's main four islands) to Taiwan. The Okinawa Prefecture encompasses the southern two thirds of that chain. Naha, Okinawa's capital is located in the southern part of Okinawa Island.[2]

History[edit]

The oldest evidence of human existence on the Ryukyu islands is from Stone Age and was discovered in Naha and Yaese.[3] Some human bone fragments from the Paleolithic era were unearthed, but there is no clear evidence of Paleolithic remains.[citation needed] Japanese Jōmon influences are dominant on the Okinawa Islands, although clay vessels on the Sakishima Islands have a commonality with those in Taiwan.[citation needed]

The first mention of the word Ryukyu was written in the Book of Sui. Okinawa was the Japanese word identifying the islands, first seen in the biography of Jianzhen, written in 779.[citation needed] Agricultural societies begun in the 8th century slowly developed until the 12th century.[citation needed] Since the islands are located at the eastern perimeter of the East China Sea relatively close to Japan, China and South-East Asia, the Ryūkyū Kingdom became a prosperous trading nation. Also during this period, many Gusukus, similar to castles, were constructed. The Ryūkyū Kingdom had a tributary relationship with the Chinese Empire beginning in the 15th century.

In 1609, the Shimazu clan, which controlled the region that is now Kagoshima Prefecture, invaded the Ryūkyū Kingdom. The Ryūkyū Kingdom was obliged to agree to form a tributary relationship with the Satsuma and the Tokugawa shogunate, while maintaining its previous tributary relationship with China; 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 Ryūkyū 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 sovereignty over the islands of the Ryūkyū Kingdom, since the Ryūkyū Kingdom was also a tributary nation of China. 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 which had been established in 1890.[4]

1945-1965[edit]

In 1945 the US Army and Marine Corps invaded Okinawa with 185,000 troops. A third of the civilian population died;[5] a quarter of the civilian population died during the 1945 Battle of Okinawa alone.[6] The dead, of all nationalities, are commemorated at the Cornerstone of Peace. After the end of World War II in 1945 the Ryukyu independence movement developed, while Okinawa was under United States Military Government of the Ryukyu Islands administration for 27 years. During this "trusteeship rule", the United States established numerous military bases on the Ryukyu islands.

During the Korean War, B-29 Superfortresses flew bombing missions over Korea from Kadena Air Base 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 presence.

Since 1960, the U.S. and Japan have maintained an agreement that allows the U.S. to secretly bring nuclear weapons into Japanese ports,[7] The Japanese tended to oppose the introduction of nuclear arms into Japanese territory by the government's assertion of Japan's non-nuclear policy and a statement of the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. Most of the weapons were alleged to be stored in ammunition bunkers at Kadena Air Base.[citation needed] Between 1954 and 1972, 19 different types of nuclear weapons were deployed in Okinawa, but with fewer than around 1,000 warheads at any one time.[8]

Vietnam War 1965-1972[edit]

Between 1965 and 1972, Okinawa was a key staging point for the United States in its military operations directed towards North Vietnam. Along with Guam, it presented a geographically strategic launch pad for covert bombing missions over Cambodia and Laos.[9] Anti-Vietnam War sentiment became linked politically to the movement for reversion of Okinawa to Japan. In 1965, the US military bases, earlier viewed as paternal post war protection, were increasingly seen as aggressive. The Vietnam War highlighted the differences between the United States and Okinawa, but showed a commonality between the islands and mainland Japan.[10]

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.[11] American military secrecy blocked any local reporting on what was actually occurring at bases such as Kadena Air Base. As information leaked out, and images of air strikes were published, the local population began to fear the potential for retaliation.[10]

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.[12] In a speech delivered in 1967 Oda was critical of Prime Minister Sato’s unilateral support of America’s War in Vietnam claiming "Realistically we are all guilty of complicity in the Vietnam War".[12] The Beheiren became a more visible anti-war movement on Okinawa as the American involvement in Vietnam intensified. The movement employed tactics ranging from demonstrations, to handing leaflets to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines directly, warning of the implications for a third World War.[13]

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,[14] 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.[15]

In 1969, chemical weapons leaked from the US storage depot at Chibana in central Okinawa, under the so-called 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.[16]

In 1972, the U.S. government returned the islands to Japanese administration.[17]

1973-2006[edit]

In an 1981 interview with the Mainichi Shimbun, Edwin O. Reischauer, former U.S. ambassador to Japan, said that U.S. naval ships armed with nuclear weapons stopped at Japanese ports on a routine duty, and this was approved by the Japanese government.[citation needed]

The 1995 Okinawa rape incident 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.[18][19]

In 1999 and 2002, the Japan Times and the Okinawa Times reported speculation that not all the supposed[which?] weapons were removed from Okinawa.[20][21]

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.[5] The move is partly an attempt to relieve tensions between the people of Okinawa and the Marine Corps.

Okinawa prefecture constitutes 0.6% of Japan's land surface,[5] yet as of 2006, 75% of all USFJ bases were located on Okinawa, and U.S. military bases occupied 18% of the main island.[22]

U.S. military facilities in Okinawa

2007-present[edit]

According to a 2007 Okinawa Times poll, 85% of Okinawans opposed the presence of the U.S. military,[23] because of noise pollution from military drills, the risk of aircraft accidents,[24] environmental degradation,[25] and crowding from the number of personnel there,[26] although 73.4% of Japanese citizens appreciated the mutual security treaty with the U.S. and the presence of the USFJ.[27] In another poll conducted by the Asahi Shimbun in May 2010, 43% of the Okinawan population wanted the complete closure of the U.S. bases, 42% wanted reduction and 11% wanted the maintenance of the status quo.[28]

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.[29] Some cited statistics that the crime rate of military personnel is consistently less than that of the general Okinawan population.[30] However, some criticized the statistics as unreliable, since violence against women is under-reported.[31]

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.[6]

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.[32] 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. Okinawa is the poorest prefecture within Japan, and the issue of U.S. bases has become tangled with the sense of colonialist/imperialist treatment of Okinawa by Tokyo.[citation needed]

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 regarding 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 both Tokyo and Washington refused such action.[33] Jon Mitchell has reported concern that the U.S. used American Marines as chemical-agent guinea pigs.[34]

A 2012 book, Resistant Islands: Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States, argues that the U.S. presence on Okinawa, which has provoked strong opposition and resistance among the island's inhabitants, is not geared towards defending Japan, but rather to serve as part of an American forward deployment strategy aimed at Southeast Asia and China, the stability of which is not important to Japanese commercial or defense interests.[verification needed][35]

27,000 personnel, including 15,000 Marines, contingents from the Navy, Army and Air Force, and their 22,000 family members are stationed in Okinawa.[when?][36]

Marine Corps Air Station Futenma relocation, 2006-present[edit]

Environmental groups and residents have protested over the construction of part of a runway at Camp Schwab, and from businessmen and politicians around Futenma and Henoko.[5] The legality of the proposed heliport relocation has been questioned as a violation of International Law, including the World Heritage Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.[37][38]

As of 2006, some 8,000 U.S. Marines were removed from the island and relocated to Guam.[39] In November 2008, U.S. Pacific Command Commander Admiral Timothy Keating stated the move to Guam would probably not be completed before 2015.[40]

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)[citation needed] 5,000 of 9,000 Marines will be deployed at Guam and the rest will be deployed at Hawaii and Australia. Japan will pay $3.1 billion cash for the moving and for developing joint training ranges on Guam and on Tinian and Pagan in the U.S.-controlled Northern Mariana Islands.[41][42]

As of 2014 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% of the main island. Okinawa hosts about two-thirds of the 50,000 American forces in Japan. The islands account for less than one percent of total lands in Japan.[22]

Suburbs have grown towards and now surround two historic major bases, Futenma and Kadena. One third (9,852 acres (39.87 km2)) of the land used by the U.S. military is the Marine Corps Northern Training Area in the north of the island.[citation needed]

Geography[edit]

Main article: Ryukyu Islands

Major islands[edit]

The islands of Okinawa Prefecture

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

Cities[edit]

Map of Okinawa Prefecture
Naha
Ishigaki

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

Towns and villages[edit]

These are the towns and villages in each district:

Town mergers[edit]

Natural Parks[edit]

As of March 31, 2008, 19% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park; Okinawa Kaigan and Okinawa Senseki Quasi-National Parks; and Irabu, Kumejima, and Tonaki Prefectural Natural Parks.[43]

Fauna[edit]

The dugong is an endangered marine mammal related to the manatee.[44] Iriomote is home to one of the world's rarest and most endangered cat species, the Iriomote cat. The region is also home to at least one endemic pit viper, Trimeresurus elegans. Coral reefs found in this region of Japan provide an environment for a diverse marine fauna. The sea turtles return yearly to the southern islands of Okinawa to lay their eggs. The summer months carry warnings to swimmers regarding venomous jellyfish and other dangerous sea creatures.

Flora[edit]

Okinawa is a major producer of sugar cane, pineapple, papaya, and other tropical fruit, and the Southeast Botanical Gardens represent tropical plant species.

Geology[edit]

Arch at an Okinawan Castle ruin.

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[45] is an extensive limestone cave in the southern part of Okinawa's main island.

Climate[edit]

The island experiences temperatures above 20 °C (68 °F) for most of the year. Okinawa and the many islands that make up the prefecture contains some of the most abundant coral reefs found in the world.[citation needed] Rare blue corals are found off of Ishigaki and Miyako islands as are numerous species throughout the chain.[citation needed]

Demography[edit]

Okinawa prefecture age pyramid as of October 1, 2003[46]
(per thousands of people)

Age People
0–4 G50.pngG30.pngG05.pngG03.pngG01.png 84
5–9 G50.pngG30.pngG10.png 85
10–14 G50.pngG30.pngG10.pngG01.pngG01.png 87
15–19 G50.pngG30.pngG10.pngG05.pngG03.pngG01.png 94
20–24 G50.pngG30.pngG10.pngG05.pngG01.png 91
25–29 G100.pngG01.pngG01.png 97
30–34 G100.pngG03.pngG01.png 99
35–39 G50.pngG30.pngG10.pngG01.pngG01.png 87
40–44 G50.pngG30.pngG10.pngG05.pngG01.png 91
45–49 G100.pngG01.png 96
50–54 G100.pngG05.pngG01.png 100
55–59 G50.pngG10.pngG05.pngG01.pngG01.png 64
60–64 G50.pngG10.pngG05.pngG03.png 65
65–69 G50.pngG10.pngG05.pngG03.pngG01.png 66
70–74 G50.pngG05.pngG01.png 53
75–79 G30.pngG05.pngG03.pngG01.png 37
80 + G50.pngG05.pngG03.png 55

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

Males Age Females
43 G30.pngG10.pngG05.png 0–4 R30.pngR10.pngR03.png 41
44 G30.pngG10.pngG05.pngG01.png 5–9 R30.pngR10.pngR03.png 41
45 G30.pngG10.pngG05.pngG01.pngG01.png 10–14 R30.pngR10.pngR03.pngR01.png 42
48 G50.png 15–19 R30.pngR10.pngR05.pngR03.png 46
46 G30.pngG10.pngG05.pngG03.png 20–24 R30.pngR10.pngR05.pngR01.pngR01.png 45
49 G50.pngG01.png 25–29 R50.png 48
49 G50.pngG01.png 30–34 R50.pngR03.png 50
43 G30.pngG10.pngG05.png 35–39 R30.pngR10.pngR05.pngR01.png 44
46 G30.pngG10.pngG05.pngG03.png 40–44 R30.pngR10.pngR05.pngR01.pngR01.png 45
49 G50.pngG01.png 45–49 R30.pngR10.pngR05.pngR03.pngR01.png 47
52 G50.pngG05.png 50–54 R50.png 48
32 G30.pngG03.png 55–59 R30.pngR03.png 32
32 G30.pngG03.png 60–64 R30.pngR03.pngR01.png 33
32 G30.pngG03.png 65–69 R30.pngR05.pngR01.png 34
24 G10.pngG10.pngG05.png 70–74 R30.png 29
14 G10.pngG03.pngG01.png 75–79 R10.pngR10.pngR03.pngR01.png 23
17 G10.pngG05.pngG03.png 80 + R30.pngR10.png 38

Language and culture[edit]

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

Having historically been a separate nation until 1879, Okinawan language and culture differ in many ways from that of mainland Japan.

Language[edit]

Main article: Ryukyuan languages

There remain six Ryukyuan languages which are incomprehensible to Japanese speakers, although they are considered to make up the family of 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 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.[47]

Religion[edit]

Main article: Ryukyuan religion

Okinawans have traditionally followed Ryukyuan religious beliefs, generally characterized by ancestor worship and the respecting of relationships between the living, the dead, and the gods and spirits of the natural world.

Cultural influences[edit]

Okinawan culture bears traces of its various trading partners. One can find Chinese, Thai and Austronesian influences in the island's customs. Perhaps Okinawa's most famous cultural export is karate, probably a product of the close ties with and influence of China on Okinawan culture. Karate is thought to be a synthesis of Chinese kung fu with traditional Okinawan martial arts. A ban on weapons in Okinawa for two long periods after the invasion and forced annexation by Japan during the Meiji Restoration period also very likely contributed to its development. Okinawans' reputation as wily resisters of being influenced by conquerors is depicted in the 1956 Hollywood film, The Teahouse of the August Moon, which takes place immediately after World War II.

Another traditional Okinawan product that owes its existence to Okinawa's trading history is awamori—an Okinawan distilled spirit made from indica rice imported from Thailand.

Other cultural characteristics[edit]

Other prominent examples of Okinawan culture include the sanshin—a three-stringed Okinawan instrument, closely related to the Chinese sanxian, and ancestor of the Japanese shamisen, somewhat similar to a banjo. Its body is often bound with snakeskin (from pythons, imported from elsewhere in Asia, rather than from Okinawa's venomous Trimeresurus flavoviridis, which are too small for this purpose). Okinawan culture also features the eisa dance, a traditional drumming dance. A traditional craft, the fabric named bingata, is made in workshops on the main island and elsewhere.[citation needed]

The Okinawan diet consist of low-fat, low-salt foods, such as fish, tofu, and seaweed. Okinawans are known for their longevity. Individuals live longer on this Japanese island than anywhere else 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.[48] As of 2002 there were 34.7 centenarians for every 100,000 inhabitants, which is the highest ratio worldwide.[49]:131–132 Possible explanations are diet, low-stress lifestyle, caring community, activity, and spirituality of the inhabitants of the island.[49][page needed]

In recent years[when?], Okinawan literature has been appreciated outside of the Ryūkyū 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).[50][51]

Karate[edit]

Main article: Karate

Karate originated in Okinawa. Over time, it developed into several styles and sub-styles. On Okinawa, the three main styles are considered to be Shorin-Ryu, Gōjū-ryū and Uechi-Ryu. Internationally, the various styles and sub-styles include Wado Ryu, Isshin-Ryu, Shotokan, Shito-Ryu, Shorinjiryu Kenkokan, Shorinjiryu Koshinkai, Shorinji Ryu, and Shuri-ryū.

Architecture[edit]

A traditional Okinawan house

Despite widespread destruction during the war, 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).[52] In addition, twenty-one Ryukyuan architectural complexes and thirty-six historic sites have been designated for protection by the national government.[53]

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, where each tile is cemented on and not merely layered as seen with many homes elsewhere in Japan.[citation needed]

Many roofs also display a statue resembling a lion or dragon, called a shisa, which is said to protect the home from danger. Roofs are typically red in color and are inspired by Chinese design.[citation needed]

Education[edit]

The public schools in Okinawa are overseen by the Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education. The agency directly operates several public high schools.[54] The U.S. Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) operates 13 schools total in Okinawa. Seven of these schools are located on Kadena Air Base.

Okinawa has many types of private schools. Some of them are cram schools, also known as juku. Others, such as Nova, solely teach language. People also attend small language schools.[citation needed]

There are 10 colleges/universities in Okinawa, including the University of the Ryukyus, the only national university in the prefecture, and the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, a new international research institute. Okinawa's American military bases also host the Asian Division of the University of Maryland University College.

Sports[edit]

Association football
Basketball
Handball

In addition, various baseball teams hold training during the winter in the 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.

Transportation[edit]

Air transportation[edit]

Highways[edit]

Rail[edit]

Ports[edit]

The major ports of Okinawa include:

Economy[edit]

The 34 US military installations on Okinawa are financially supported by the U.S. and Japan.[62] The bases provide jobs for Okinawans, both directly and indirectly; In 2011, the U.S. military employed over 9800 Japanese workers in Okinawa. It contributed $1.9 billion to the local economy.[62] As of 2012 the bases accounted for 4 or 5% of the economy.[63] However, Koji Taira argued in 1997 that because the U.S. bases occupy around 20% of Okinawa's land, they impose a deadweight loss of 15% on the Okinawan economy.[64] The Tokyo government also pays the prefectural government around $10 billion per year[62] in compensation for the American presence, and, since much of the land on which American bases are situated is private, significant rent is also being paid that is not captured in these figures.[65]

United States military installations[edit]

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.[67]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Okinawa-ken" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 746-747, p. 746, at Google Books
  2. ^ Nussbaum, "Naha" in p. 686, p. 686, at Google Books
  3. ^ 山下町第1洞穴出土の旧石器について(Japanese), 南島考古22
  4. ^ Steve Rabson, "Meiji Assimilation Policy in Okinawa: Promotion, Resistance, and "Reconstruction" in New Directions in the Study of Meiji Japan (Helen Hardacre, ed.). Brill, 1997. p. 642.
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  6. ^ a b David Hearst (March 11, 2011). "Second battle of Okinawa looms as China's naval ambition grows". The Guardian. UK. 
  7. ^ New Documents On Okinawa Reversion
  8. ^ Norris, Robert S.; Arkin, William M.; Burr, William (November 1999). "Where They Were". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 55 (6): 26–35. doi:10.2968/055006011. 
  9. ^ John Morrocco. Rain of Fire. (United States: Boston Publishing Company), pg 14
  10. ^ a b ROBERT TRUMBULL (1 August 1965). "OKINAWA B-52'S ANGER JAPANESE: Bombing of Vietnam From Island Stirs Public Outcry.". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 September 2009. 
  11. ^ Mori, Kyozo, Two Ends of a Telescope Japanese and American Views of Okinawa, Japan Quarterly, 15:1 (1968:Jan./Mar.) p.17
  12. ^ a b Havens, T. R. H. (1987) Fire Across the Sea: The Vietnam War and Japan, 1965–1975. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Pg 120
  13. ^ Havens, T. R. H. (1987) Fire Across the Sea: The Vietnam War and Japan, 1965–1975. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Pg 123
  14. ^ Christopher T. Sanders (2000) America’s Overseas Garrisons the Leasehold Empire Oxford University Press PG 164
  15. ^ Havens, T. R. H. (1987) Fire Across the Sea: The Vietnam War and Japan, 1965–1975. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press Pg 88
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  24. ^ one in 1959 killed 17 people
  25. ^ Impact on the Lives of the Okinawan People (Incidents, Accidents and Environmental Issues), Okinawa Prefectural Government
  26. ^ 沖縄・米兵による女性への性犯罪(Rapes and murders by the U.S. military personnel 1945–2000)[dead link](Japanese), 基地・軍隊を許さない行動する女たちの会
  27. ^ 自衛隊・防衛問題に関する世論調査, The Cabinet Office of Japan
  28. ^ [1][dead link]
  29. ^ Justin McCurry (February 28, 2008). "Rice says sorry for US troop behaviour on Okinawa as crimes shake alliance with Japan". The Guardian. UK. 
  30. ^ MICHAEL HASSETT (February 26, 2008). "U.S. military crime: SOFA so good?The stats offer some surprises in wake of the latest Okinawa rape claim". The Japan Times. [dead link]
  31. ^ "Okinawa: Effects of long-term US Military presence". 
  32. ^ Pomfret, John (April 24, 2010). "Japan moves to settle dispute with U.S. over Okinawa base relocation". The Washington Post. 
  33. ^ Jon Mitchell, "Agent Orange on Okinawa – The Smoking Gun: U.S. army report, photographs show 25,000 barrels on island in early '70s", The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, Vol 11, Issue 1, No. 6, January 14, 2012.
  34. ^ Jon Mitchell, "Were U.S marines used as guinea pigs on Okinawa?" The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, Vol 10, Issue 51, No. 2, December 17, 2012.
  35. ^ McCormack, Gavan; Norimatsu, Satoko Oka (2012). Resistant Islands: Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 1442215623. 
  36. ^ 沖縄県の基地の現状(Japanese), Okinawa Prefectural Government
  37. ^ "Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage". Portal.unesco.org. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  38. ^ "Boundary Intersections of UNESCO Heritage Conventions: Using Custom and Cultural Landscapes to Save Okinawa’s Dugong Habitat from U.S. Heliport Construction"
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  40. ^ "Marines' Exit May Take Till '15: U.S.". Kyodo News (Japan Times). 9 November 2008. 
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  43. ^ "General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture". Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved February 3, 2012. 
  44. ^ "Lawsuit Seeks to Halt Construction of U.S. Military Airstrip in Japan That Would Destroy Habitat of Endangered Okinawa Dugongs". Center for Biological Diversity. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  45. ^ "Gyokusendo Cave". Japan-guide.com. 2013-05-29. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
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  47. ^ おきなわBBtv★沖縄の方言ニュース★沖縄の「今」を沖縄の「言葉」で!ラジオ沖縄で好評放送中の「方言ニュース」をブロードバンドでお届けします。. Okinawabbtv.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  48. ^ National Geographic magazine, June 1993
  49. ^ a b Santrock, John W. A (2002). Topical Approach to Life-Span Development (4 ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. 
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  54. ^ [2][dead link]
  55. ^ "Ryukyu Corazon". Ryukyu Corazon. Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
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  58. ^ (Japanese) 金武湾港. Pref.okinawa.jp. Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  59. ^ 沖縄総合事務局 那覇港湾・空港整備事務所 中城湾港出張所. Dc.ogb.go.jp. Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
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  62. ^ a b c Stephen Nessen (4 January 2011). "Okinawa U.S. Marine Base Angers Residents And Governor". Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  63. ^ Hongo, Jun. (2012-05-16) Economic reliance on bases won't last, trends suggest. The Japan Times. Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
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  67. ^ "Okinawa looks to offer more unique venues". TTGmice. September 6, 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 

External links[edit]

News[edit]

Photographs[edit]

Culture[edit]

History[edit]

Miscellany[edit]

Peace[edit]

Coordinates: 26°30′N 128°0′E / 26.500°N 128.000°E / 26.500; 128.000

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