First up, does anyone NOT know where Okinawa is? Because if you don’t, let’s give you a little geography and history lesson. An island chain stretching well over 1,000km from Kyushu (see our road trip here) towards Taiwan, it was actually an independent kingdom until its annexation by Japan in the 1870s.
Prior to that, it acted as a middleman for centuries and was a prosperous independent trading nation profiting from the trade between China, Japan and southeast Asia + the European powers that were arriving in this part of the world to partake in the trade routes that overlap as they do today.
Unfortunately it was also the scene of the bitter end to the pacific war in 1945, where it is said that one third of the civilian population were killed. The islands were then occupied by the Americans after the conclusion of the war. It was only in 1972 that they were handed over to Japanese administration.
With this background, it is no wonder that Okinawan culture is relatively distinct from that on the continent or even from Japan. Do you see the large head dress that the Okinawan dancer was wearing? Of course you do, its pictured on the left!
How do you think they balance it while performing? Why they dance slowly of course! Because it seems hell of a challenging to dance too fast while juggling a cumbersome hat. And we though sombreros were tough!
Our adventure here was not just for the culture but also the sea. What? Yes. The sea.
Like to be upclose to a whale shark? Here in Okinawa you can have it in both the water and out of the water. What do we mean? Find out more here about what you can expect to see, hear and smell on Okinawa in our latest posted country story for Japan.