Kerama Islands

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Kerama Islands
Native name:
Kerama-shotō (慶良間諸島)
Kerama Islands.png
Map of the Kerama Islands
Kerama Islands is located in Okinawa Prefecture
Kerama Islands
Kerama Islands
Location of the Kerama Islands
Kerama Islands is located in Ryukyu Islands
Kerama Islands
Kerama Islands
Kerama Islands (Ryukyu Islands)
Kerama Islands is located in Japan
Kerama Islands
Kerama Islands
Kerama Islands (Japan)
LocationPacific Ocean
Coordinates26°12′00″N 127°19′59″E / 26.2°N 127.333°E / 26.2; 127.333Coordinates: 26°12′00″N 127°19′59″E / 26.2°N 127.333°E / 26.2; 127.333
ArchipelagoOkinawa Islands
Total islands36
Major islandsTokashiki Island, Zamami Island
Area35.97 km2 (13.89 sq mi)
PrefectureOkinawa Prefecture
Population1,625 (October 2010)
Pop. density45.2/km2 (117.1/sq mi)
Ethnic groupsRyukyuan, Japanese
Official nameKeramashoto Coral Reef
Designated8 November 2005
Reference no.1546[1]

The Kerama Islands (慶良間諸島, Kerama-shotō, Okinawan: キラマ Kirama) are an island group 32 kilometres (20 mi) southwest of Okinawa Island in Japan. Historically, the islands were part of the Ryukyu Kingdom, and for some 600 years, islanders were employed as navigators on the kingdom’s trading vessels to China.[2]


Four islands are inhabited: Tokashiki Island, Zamami Island, Aka Island, and Geruma Island.[3] The islands are administered as Tokashiki Village and Zamami Village within Shimajiri District.[4] The Kerama-shotō coral reef is a Ramsar Site.[5]


During World War II and preliminary to the Battle of Okinawa, soldiers of the 77th Infantry Division landed in the Kerama Islands on March 26, 1945. Further landings followed, and the Kerama group was secured over the next five days. Kerama was used as a staging area for the assault on Okinawa. During the battle the first civilian mass suicides that later marked the Battle of Okinawa took place.[citation needed]

The first US Navy ship to anchor in the harbor was USS Makin Island, a small "jeep" carrier.[citation needed]

It was the site of a true story about romance between two dogs who lived on neighboring islands that was made into the 1988 Japanese film I Want to See Marilyn (Marilyn ni Aitai).[6] It is now a popular beach and diving destination for visitors to Okinawa.


The Kerama Islands are served by the Kerama Airport, located on Fukaji Island.[7] Regular ferries are also available from Naha to the three largest islands, Aka, Zamami, and Tokashiki. Ferries between the islands are also available, as are boat tours.


  1. ^ "Keramashoto Coral Reef". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Kerama islands". Kerama islands. Retrieved 2016-06-10.
  3. ^ Kerama Islands. Open Coast Travel.
  4. ^ Special Feature #1 : Seas of Okinawa -The Kerama Islands- Archived 2011-05-17 at the Wayback Machine, Okinawa Prefecture
  5. ^ "Ramsar Sites in Japan - Kerama-shoto Coral Reef" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  6. ^ Marilyn Ni Aitai at IMDb
  7. ^ Map showing islands of Zamami Village Archived 2011-05-26 at the Wayback Machine

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