Ryukyuans

From Academic Kids

Ryukyuans (of which Okinawans are a subgroup) are the indigenous people of the Ryukyus. Their languages make up the Ryukyuan language family, one of the two branches of the Japonic language family, the other one being Japanese and its dialects.

The kamekoubaka is a traditional Ryukyuan tomb
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The kamekoubaka is a traditional Ryukyuan tomb

The Ryukyuan islands were unified by the Ryukyuan Kingdom in the 12th century. She paid tribute to the Ming Dynasty, and then the Qing Dynasty. In the early 17th century, the kingdom was conquered by Satsuma-han of Kyushu. Satsuma kept the kingdom nominally alive because of benefit from trade with China, although the Amami Archipelago came under the full control of Satsuma. During the Meiji period, the kingdom was formally abolished and Okinawa prefecture was established. After World War II, the Ryukyus were occupied by the U.S. In 1972, the Ryukyus were returned to Japan. In modern times, the Ryukyuans are experiencing a rise in nationalism, despite over a century of Japanese efforts to fully integrate the islands into the society of the mainland.

See also Okinawa prefecture, Gusuku.

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