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Ryukyuan Americans

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ryukyuan Americans
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Hawaii, California and elsewhere
American English, Japanese, Hawaiian Pidgin, Ryukyuan languages
Protestant Christianity, Ryukyuan religion, Shintoism, Buddhism
Related ethnic groups
Ryukyuan people, Japanese people, Japanese Americans

Ryukyuan Americans are Americans who are fully or partially of Ryukyuan descent. The vast majority of them trace their family history to the Okinawa Islands.



The first Ryukyuans to migrate to the United States were 26 Okinawan contract laborers led by Kyuzo Toyama. They arrived at the Territory of Hawaii on January 8, 1900, in order to work on the sugar plantations there.[2][3]

In the following years, more Ryukyuans (mainly Okinawans) started to settle in Hawaii. Some of them would end up migrating to the continental U.S., with higher concentrations of them living on the West Coast.



A lot of Ryukyuan Americans view themselves to be distinct from the Japanese.[3] This is especially true in Hawaii, where there are numerous Okinawan organizations, the largest one being the Hawaii United Okinawa Association.[4]


The vast majority of Ryukyuan Americans speak English and Japanese as a first language. There are also some who can speak one of the many Ryukyuan languages, with the most common one being Okinawan. In Hawaii, many Okinawan locals speak an English-based creole language known as Hawaiian Pidgin.


  1. ^ Mitchell, Jon (October 22, 2016). "Welcome home, Okinawa" – via Japan Times Online.
  2. ^ "Center for Okinawan Studies". Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  3. ^ a b "Okinawans in Hawaii - SamuraiWiki". Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  4. ^ "Hawaii United Okinawa Association". Retrieved 2019-11-04.
This page was last edited on 2 October 2021, at 12:26
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