Okinawa City Hall
Location of Okinawa in Okinawa Prefecture
|• Mayor||Sachio Kuwae|
|• Total||49.00 km2 (18.92 sq mi)|
|• Density||2,625.12/km2 (6,799.0/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+9 (Japan Standard Time)|
|- Tree||Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis)|
|Address||26-1 Nakasonechō, Okinawa-shi 904-8501|
Okinawa City (沖縄市, Okinawa-shi, Japanese: [okinaɰa]) is the second-largest city in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, following Naha, the capital city. It is located in the central part of the island of Okinawa, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) north of Naha. As of December 2012, the city has an estimated population of 138,431 and a population density of 2,625.12 persons per km². The total area is 49.00 km².
Under the Ryukyu Kingdom the present-day area of Okinawa City was occupied by two magiri, a type of administrative district. The Goeku magiri occupied the south of the city, and the north of the city was part of the Misato magiri.
After the Battle of Okinawa the United States established the first refugee camp in Okinawa in the area south of present-day Kadena Air Base. The population of the former villages swelled rapidly. An area of Goeku, called Goya (ごや), was mispronounced by Americans as Koza (コザ). During the occupation of Okinawa, the U.S. military government established the city of Koza (コザ市, Koza-shi) in Goeku. Koza was the first city to use the katakana syllabary for its name. Misato merged into a neighboring community, and in 1946, again became separate, as did Goeku. Both municipalities, which were formerly largely agricultural, became heavily urbanized as a result of the construction of refugee camps and the establishment of large-scale military bases. The area became a "base city" catering to United States military personnel. On June 13, 1956, Goeku changed its name to the village of Koza; on July 1 of the same year it became a city.
The city of Okinawa was the site of the Koza riot on the night of December 20, 1970. Roughly 5,000 Okinawans came into violent contact with roughly 700 American MPs. Approximately 60 Americans were injured and 75 cars were burned. Additionally, several buildings on Kadena Air Base were destroyed or heavily damaged. The Koza riot was considered a symbol of Okinawan anger after 25 years of US military occupation. The riot was unexpected, and strained the ongoing negotiations on the end of the United States administration of Okinawa.
The city of Okinawa was founded on April 1, 1974 with the merger of Koza and Misato.
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The commercial center of the city lies along Route 330. It extends from Goya Crossing to Koza Crossing. The district extending from Goya to the gate of Kadena Air Base, and Chūō Park Avenue, has many visitors from the U.S. military, and many shops have signs in both Japanese and English. However, the development of large shopping centers in nearby communities has resulted in some decline in these areas.
Neighboring municipalities consist of:
In June 2013 more than 20 barrels were found on an Okinawa city civilian soccer field built on former U.S. military land. Barrels revealed traces of herbicides and nearby water had levels of dioxin 840 times above safe limits.
Parks and recreation
A park in the southeastern portion of the city was the site of a National Sports Festival of Japan. Other city facilities include a baseball stadium where the Hiroshima Toyo Carp hold their spring training.
The city operates 15 elementary schools and eight middle schools. There is also a private elementary school. The five high schools are operated by Okinawa Prefecture.
United States military installations
The United States has six installations located at least partially in the city of Okinawa. These are Kadena Air Base, Kadena Ammunition Storage Area, which lie on the boundaries with the town of Kadena and the village of Onna, Camp Shields, Camp Foster, Awase Communication Station, and an Army Petroleum product depot.
The Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces operate an anti-aircraft training facility.
Notable people with links to the city of Okinawa include:
- Gackt, singer-songwriter, actor
- Kenji Haga, singer
- Issa from hip-hop group Da Pump
- SPEED, J-POP band
- Orange Range, band
- Shōkichi Kina, rock musician with Champloose
- Yu Yamada, model-actress
- High and Mighty Color, J-rock band
- Robert Griffin III, NFL Quarterback for the Washington Redskins-born in United States Army Base Okinawa, Okinawa
- Narito Namizato, basketball player
In popular media
- The Yokai King, an American television series was shot in 2013 in various locations of Okinawa City.
- The Karate Kid Part II (1986) was also set in Okinawa, in a fishing village bordering Kadena Air Force Base. Filming was actually done in Oahu, Hawaii, and Los Angeles, due to the modern build-up on Okinawa. The Okinawan village portrayed in the film was constructed on a private estate on the windward side of Oahu, where seven authentic replicas of Okinawan houses were constructed, along with more than three acres of planted crops. Fifty Okinawa-born Hawaii residents were also recruited as film extras.
Points of interest
- "Okinawa". Encyclopedia of Japan. Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2013. OCLC 56431036. Archived from the original on August 25, 2007. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
- 沖縄市の人口（総合計） [Population of Okinawa City (Total Statistics)] (in Japanese). City of Okinawa, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan: City of Okinawa. 2012. Archived from the original on 2014-02-26. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
- "コザ" [Koza]. Kokushi Daijiten (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2013. OCLC 683276033. Archived from the original on August 25, 2007. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
- "沖縄（市）". Nihon Daihyakka Zensho (Nipponika) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2013. OCLC 153301537. Archived from the original on August 25, 2007. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
- "コザ事件" [Koza riot]. Nihon Daihyakka Zensho (Nipponika) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2013. OCLC 153301537. Archived from the original on August 25, 2007. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
- "コザ事件" [Koza riot]. Kokushi Daijiten (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2013. OCLC 683276033. Archived from the original on August 25, 2007. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
- Jon Mitchell (4 December 2013). "Pollution rife on Okinawa's U.S.-returned base land". The Japan Times. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
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