Ryūkyū Islands

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Map showing the location of Ryukyu Islands southwest of the island of Kyushu

Ryūkyū Islands (琉球諸島 Ryūkyū-shotō?), also known as the Nansei Islands (南西諸島 Nansei-shotō?, lit. "Southwest Islands"), are a chain of Japanese islands in a line between Kyushu and Taiwan.[1]

History[change | edit source]

In the islands, the Ryūkyū Kingdom (琉球王国 Ryūkyū-ōkoku?) dates from the middle 14th century.[2] It entered into a tributary relationship with of Imperial China.[3]

In the early 17th century, the kingdom entered into a tributary relationship with Japan,[4] preserving as usual the independence of the kingdom and its rulers.[5]

In 1765, the islands were described by Hayashi Shihei in Sangoku Tsūran Zusetsu.[6]

Timeline[change | edit source]

  • 1415: Ambassador from Ryukyu Kingdom is received in Kyoto[7]
  • 1609: Ryukyu Kingdom begins into a vassal or tributary relationship with Japan.[4]
  • 1872: creation of the Ryūkyū Domain, 1872-1879[8]

Geography[change | edit source]

The islands are at the eastern edge of the East China Sea and the western edge of the Pacific Ocean.

The largest of the islands is Okinawa Island.[9]

Culture[change | edit source]

Karate was invented by the local people (mainly from Okinawa). The Japanese phrase "Karate-do" means "way of the empty hand").

Related pages[change | edit source]

References[change | edit source]

  1. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Ryūkyū Islands" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 801.
  2. Klaproth, Julius. (1832). San kokf tsou ran to sets, ou Aperçu général des trois royaumes, p. 175 n1.
  3. Kerr, George. (2000). Okinawa: The History of an Island People, p. 63.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Klaproth, pp. 177.
  5. Smits, Gregory. (1999). Visions of Ryūkyū: Identity and Ideology in Early-Modern Thought and Politics, p. 28.
  6. Klaproth, pp. 169-180.
  7. Klaproth, pp. 176.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Matsumura, Wendy. (2007). Becoming Okinawan: Japanese Capitalism and Changing Representations of Okinawa, p. 38; excerpt, "March 27, 1879 marks the birth of Okinawa Prefecture and the death of the short-lived Ryukyu domain, which itself came into being on September 14, 1872, replacing the Ryukyu kingdom."
  9. Nussbaum, "Okinawa-ken" at pp. 746-747.