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Okinawa prefecture

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This article is about the Japanese administrative area. For other uses of the term Okinawa, please see Okinawa (disambiguation).

Okinawa prefecture (沖縄県 Okinawa-ken) is a subtropical area of Japan consisting of many of the Ryukyu Islands (南西諸島 Nansai Shotoo 'Southwest Islands'). Its population was 1,368,000 in 2006.[1]

Okinawa prefecture shares its name with its largest island, Okinawa (沖縄本島 Okinawa-hontoo) and one of its cities, Okinawa (沖縄市 Okinawa-shi).

Okinawa and the other Ryukyu Islands are home to the Ryukyuan languages (琉球語 Ryuukyugo) and people (ウチナンチュ Uchinanchu, written in the Japanese script), who are a separate ethnic group within Japan. The eleven languages of this group are not mutually comprehensible with modern Japanese.[2]


  1. Japan Statistical Yearbook: 'Population by Prefecture 1920-2006'. Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. .xls document.
  2. Ethnologue: 'Ethnologue Report for Ryukyuan' and 'Ethnologue Report for Japan'.

See also