Japanese Annexation of the Ryukyu Islands

The Meiji-Era Japanese government officially annexed the Ryūkyū Islands and established the Okinawa Prefecture, the Japanese territory that consists of most of the Ryūkyūan Archipelago, in 1879 [Bremen and Shimizu, 2013]. Japanese officials forced King Shō-Tai, the last king of the Ryūkyūan Kingdom, to abdicate his throne and surrender control of the Ryūkyū Islands to Japan. Following the annexation, the Japanese government began to implement coercive policies designed to marginalize and suppress the Ryūkyūan languages and culture in favor of a mono-lingual and mono-cultural Japanese society [Heinrich, 2005].