Definitions for ryukyu islandsriˈu kyu

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Random House Webster's College Dictionary

Ryu′kyu Is′landsriˈu kyu(n.pl.)

  1. a chain of Japanese islands in the W Pacific between Japan and Taiwan. 1,235,000; 1205 sq. mi. (3120 sq. km).

    Category: Geography (places)

Ryu′kyu•an(n.; adj.)

Princeton's WordNet

  1. Ryukyu Islands(noun)

    a chain of 55 islands in the western Pacific to the to the southwest of Japan (returned by United States to Japan in 1972)

Freebase

  1. Ryukyu Islands

    The Ryukyu Islands, known in Japanese as the Nansei Islands and also known as the Ryukyu Arc, are a chain of volcanic Japanese islands that stretch southwest from Kyushu to Taiwan: the Ōsumi, Tokara, Amami, Okinawa, and Sakishima Islands, with Yonaguni the southernmost. The largest of the islands is Okinawa. 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. Except the outlying Daitō Islands, the island chain has two major geologic boundaries, the Tokara Strait between the Tokara and Amami Islands, and the Kerama Gap between the Okinawa and Miyako Islands. The islands beyond the Tokara Strait are characterized by their coral reefs. The Ōsumi and Tokara Islands, the northernmost of the islands, fall under the cultural sphere of the Kyushu region of Japan; the people are ethnically Japanese and speak a variation of the Kagoshima dialect of Japanese. The Amami, Okinawa, Miyako, and Yaeyama Islands have a native population collectively called the Ryukyuans, named after the former Ryūkyū Kingdom that ruled them. The varied Ryukyuan languages are traditionally spoken on these islands, and each island has its own distinct language. In modern times, the Japanese language is the primary language of the islands, with the Okinawan Japanese dialect prevalent spoken. The outlying Daitō Islands were uninhabited until the Meiji period, when their development was started mainly by people from the Izu Islands south of Tokyo, with the people there speaking a Hachijo dialect.

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