Republic of Ryukyu
Anthem: Ishinagunu Uta "石投子之歌"
The islands of the Ryukyus
and largest city
|Official languages||Japanese, Okinawan, English|
|Government||Federal parliamentary republic|
|Independence from the Kingdom of Sierra|
• Annexation by Japan
• Commonwealth of Ryukyu
• Independence from Sierra
|4,642.11 km2 (1,792.33 sq mi)|
• 2019 census
|GDP (PPP)||2019 estimate|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2019 estimate|
• Per capita
|Currency||Ryukyuan yen (¥) / En 円|
|Time zone||UTC+09:00 (JST)|
|ISO 3166 code||RY|
Ryukyu (Japanese: 琉球共和国, Kyūjitai: 琉球共和國, Hepburn: Ryūkyū Kyōwakoku), officially the Republic of Ryukyu, is an archipelagic sovereign state located off the coast of East Asia in the Pacific Ocean. It consists of about 100 islands and is divided into five states and two districts. The capital city and the largest city is Naha. It is bounded by the East China Sea to the west, the Tondolese Sea to the south and the east, and the Strait of Kagoshima. It shares maritime borders with Tondo and Hainan and Taiwan to the south, the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam to the east, Japan to the north, and China to the west.
Humans first inhabited Ryukyu at least 32,000 years ago, although the exact timing has not been ascertained. The earliest mention of Ryukyu dates back to records kept by the Chinese Qin dynasty. The Okinawa midden culture was an early civilization that existed in Ryukyu during the Jomōn period. Contact from Japan and China shaped the culture and history of Ryukyu. During the 12th century, Ryukyu experienced a period of gusuku construction, followed by the Three Kingdom period where Ryukyu was divided under three different kings. Ryukyu was united under one kingdom in 1429 under King Shō Hashi. In 1609, the Japanese Shimazu clan of Satsuma Domain invaded and vassalized Ryukyu. In 1872, it became incorporated into Japan as a domain, before it was formally annexed into Japan as a prefecture in 1879.
During World War II, Ryukyu became an area of interest by the Allied forces of the Pacific Theater. Following the surrender of Japan, Ryukyu was placed under the military occupation of Anglo-American forces, before it was administered by a Sierran-led civilian government in 1950. It was formally annexed into Sierra as a territory and became known as the Commonwealth of Ryukyu. It gained its independence as a constitutional republic in 1972 following international pressure by the League of Nations and local resistance by native Ryukyuans. It is the only Sierran territory that gained independence as a sovereign state that did not remain part of the Columbian Realms or remain as a monarchy. Nonetheless, it remains in a free association relationship with the Kingdom of Sierra, which provides for Ryukyu's defense and social services. Ryukyu nationals retain the freedom of movement and right of abode in Sierra, as well as other member states of the CAS Lincoln Area. Ryukyu's status as an independent state and a freely associated state of Sierra has been long disputed by the Japanese government, which supports reunification with the Japanese mainland.
The name "Ryūkyū" derives from early Chinese naming of the islands during the 7th century. The earliest known written recording of Ryukyu is found in the Chinese document Book of Sui in 607, which was rendered as 琉虬 and 流求 (pinyin: Liúqiú; Jyutping: Lau4kau4). The Ryukyu Kingdom was a political entity that existed on the islands between the 15th and 19th centuries that bore the name. During Japanese rule, the islands were known as the "Ryukyuan Islands" (琉球諸島 Ryūkyū-shotō). In Japanese, the Ryukyuan Islands referred strictly to the Okinawa, Miyako, and Yaeyama Islands, while in English, it included the Amami and Daitō Islands. The latter two were known in Japanese as the Satsunan Islands, which literally meant "South of Satsuma". The Senkaku Islands were never included geographically as part of the Ryukyuan Islands, in part due to its disputed nature with China.