- It extends in an arc 600 mi (970 km) long from southern Japan to the northern tip of Taiwan. The 55 islands and islets have a total land area of 871 sq mi (2,255 sq km). In ancient times it was an independent kingdom, but Chinese and Japanese sovereignty were successively imposed on the archipelago from the 14th to the 19th century. In 1879 the Ryukyus became an integral part of Japan. After Japan's defeat in World War II, the U.S. took control of the islands; it returned them all by 1972. The U.S. maintains military bases on Okinawa. The islands are primarily rural, and agriculture is the dominant occupation.
* * *also called Nansei Islands , Japanese Ryūkyū-Shotō , or Nansei-Shotō , Ryukyuan Okinawaarchipelago, extending some 700 miles (1,100 km) southwestward from the southern Japanese island of Kyushu to northeastern Taiwan. The archipelago defines the boundary between the East China Sea (west) and the Philippine Sea (east). With a total land area of 1,193 square miles (3,090 square km), the Ryukyus consist of 55 islands and islets divided into three major groups: the Amami island chain in the north, the central Okinawa islands, and the Sakishima islands in the south. Administratively, the Ryukyus are part of Japan, the Amami group constituting a southern extension of Kyushu's Kagoshima prefecture (ken) and the Okinawa and Sakishima islands making up Okinawa prefecture.The two largest islands are Okinawa (465 square miles [1,204 square km]) and Amami Great Island (275 square miles [712 square km]). The larger islands are generally volcanic in origin and have mountainous terrain, while most of the smaller islands are coralline and relatively flat. The climate is subtropical with considerable rainfall, and the archipelago is subject to annual typhoons.The people of the islands are thought to be descendants of Japanese and Southeast Asians who migrated to the Ryukyus in prehistoric times. The Ryukyuan language, which is classified with Japanese, consists of three dialect groups corresponding to the main island clusters. There is no mutual intelligibility between these dialects and Japanese nor among the dialect groups. Japanese is commonly spoken by the majority of the Ryukyuans, but local dialects are also used.Culturally, the Ryukyuans have been subjected to both Japanese and Chinese influence. Nonetheless, they developed indigenous musical forms and, on Okinawa, a local textile craft. In ancient times the islands formed an independent kingdom. Chinese and Japanese sovereignty were successively forced on the archipelago from the 14th to the 19th century, and in 1879 the Ryukyus became an integral part of Japan.After the defeat of Japan (1945) in World War II, the United States took control of the islands. The military government was replaced in 1951 by a civil administration based in Naha (on Okinawa), the islands' largest city. The chief executive, who originally was appointed by the U.S. high commissioner, was elected by the legislature in 1966. His election was made popular two years later. By terms of the treaty ending World War II (1952), the United States recognized Japan's residual sovereignty over the Ryukyus, and the Amami island chain was returned in 1953. Following a second treaty signed in 1971, the remaining islands were returned in 1972. The United States continues to maintain a large number of military installations and thousands of troops on Okinawa Island.The Ryukyus are primarily rural. Agriculture is the dominant occupation, with sweet potatoes and rice the staple crops. Sugar and canned pineapples are among the leading exports. Tuna fishing is increasingly important. Traditional industries include lacquer and pottery manufacture; newer enterprises produce industrial compounds. Tourism has become a major component of the economy. Okinawa University, Kokusai University, and the University of the Ryukyus are all located on Okinawa.
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Ryukyu Islands — Ryukyu redirects here. For other uses, see Ryukyu (disambiguation). Ryukyu Islands Native name: 琉球諸島 (Ryūkyū shotō) Nansei Islands (南西諸島 Nansei shotō) … Wikipedia
Ryukyu Islands — geographical name islands W Pacific extending between Kyushu, Japan, & Taiwan; belonged to Japan 1895 1945; occupied by United States 1945; returned to Japan in 1953 (N islands) and 1972 (S islands) area about 850 square miles (2202 square… … New Collegiate Dictionary
Ryukyu Islands — Ryu′kyu Is′lands [[t]riˈu kyu[/t]] n. pl. geg a chain of Japanese islands in the W Pacific between Japan and Taiwan. 1,235,000; 1205 sq. mi. (3120 sq. km) Ryu′kyu•an, n. adj … From formal English to slang
Ryukyu Islands — /riˌukju ˈaɪləndz/ (say ree.oohkyooh uyluhndz) noun a chain of 55 islands in the western Pacific forming part of Japan, between the island of Kyushu and Taiwan; once under the control of China; incorporated into Japan in 1879; occupied by the US… … Australian English dictionary
Ryukyu Islands — noun a chain of 55 islands in the western Pacific to the to the southwest of Japan (returned by United States to Japan in 1972) • Instance Hypernyms: ↑archipelago • Part Holonyms: ↑Japan, ↑Nippon, ↑Nihon • Part Meronyms: ↑Okinawa … Useful english dictionary
Ryukyu Islands — Japan … Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors
Ryukyu Islands — isl. group betw. Kyushu and Taiwan; 870 sq. mi.; pop. 1,161,000; chief isl. Okinawa; adm. by Japan … Webster's Gazetteer
History of the Ryukyu Islands — This article is about the history of the Ryukyu Islands southwest of the main islands of Japan. Okinawa Prefecture Japanese transcription(s) – Japanese 沖縄県 – Rōmaji Okinawa ken Okinawan transcr … Wikipedia
United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands — This article is about the U.S. Occupation government in Okinawa; for the earlier, native royal government, see Ryūkyū Kingdom. Infobox Former Country conventional long name = United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands common name =… … Wikipedia
Volcano and Ryukyu Islands campaign — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Volcano and Ryukyu Islands campaign partof=World War II, the Pacific War caption=Two U.S. Marines advance on Wana Ridge during the Battle of Okinawa. date=January ndash; June, 1945 place=Volcano Islands and… … Wikipedia