・Okinawa was originally an independent nation called “Ryuku” and was not part of Japan.
・There was a “Kingdom of Ryuku”, which lasted for 450 years, until 1879. It was a maritime nation and had trading and diplomatic relationships with China, Japan, Korea and other South-Eastern Asian countries. The Kingdom of Ryuku was a small nation with a total population of 170,000.
“Shuri Castle “, which a number of tourists visit today, was a symbol of the Kingdom’s success.
・People in Okinawa use the term “Naicha” to refer to people from other areas of Japan. In the Okinawan language, this term means “inlander”.
・People in Okinawa do not often go swimming at the beach. They would rather barbecue on the beach.
・During the summer, the sun sets at around 20:00 in Okinawa because it is located so far west of the mainland.
・Mimiga is an Okinawan gourmet delicacy consisting of pig ear. It is a common and popular dish.
・Okinawa was the only place in Japan where the US and Japan fought a ground battle during World War II. More than 150,000 civilians were killed in the battle, which accounted for 1/4 of the entire population of Okinawa. (The number of the victims of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima was 80,000.) This was the largest US military operation during World War II, with 1,500 warships and half a million troops. A total of 20,000 US soldiers died during the operation.
・After World War II, the US occupied Okinawa until 1975, at which point it was returned to Japan. Before then, Okinawans drove on the right side of the road and used the UD dollars as currency. They also needed passports to visit mainland Japan.
・There are no railway trains in Okinawa.
・Karate, a martial art, originated in Okinawa. About 1.5 percent of Okinawa’s population are members of the Japan Karate-Do Federation. This rate is the highest among all prefectures in Japan. Many schoolchildren attend dojos (martial arts gyms) after school.
・There are 363 islands in Okinawa Prefecture.
・Several types of fruits, vegetables and plants cannot be taken from Okinawa to mainland Japan because of quarantine regulations.