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Ryukyu Islands

Islands information
NameRyukyu Islands
Native name琉球諸島 (Ryūkyū-shotō)
Nansei Islands (南西諸島 Nansei-shotō)
LocationEast China Sea
Total islandsover 100
Major islandsOkinawa
Administration information
PrefectureSatsunan Islands, Kagoshima Prefecture and Ryūkyū Shotō, Okinawa Prefecture
Administration information

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|}, also known as the

|}, is a chain of islands in the western Pacific, on the eastern limit of the East China Sea and to the southwest of the island of Kyushu in Japan. From about 1829 until the mid 20th century, they were alternately called Luchu, Loochoo, or Lewchew, akin to the Mandarin pronunciation Liuqiu. They stretch southwest from the Japanese island of Kyushu to within 120 km (74.6 mi) of the island of Taiwan.

The islands are administratively divided into the Satsunan Islands to the north, belonging to Kagoshima Prefecture, and Ryūkyū Shotō to the south, belonging to Okinawa Prefecture. Yoron Island is the southernmost island of the Satsunan Islands, and Yonaguni is the southernmost of the Ryukyu Islands. The largest of the islands is


The islands have a subtropical climate with mild winters and hot summers. Precipitation is very high, and is affected by the rainy season and typhoons.

The archipelago is home to the Ryukyuan languages. The original languages are native to each island and distinct from one another.

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