"The first full–length monograph on the history of the Ryukyu Islands in any Western language…a standard work."—Pacific Affairs
Okinawa: The History of an Island People is the definitive book available in English on the history of Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands, and an influential scholarly work in the field of Japanese studies. The histories of Japan, Okinawa and the entire Pacific region are crucially intertwined; therefore the review of this fascinating chain of islands is crucial to understanding all of East Asia.
Few people can point to Okinawa on a map, yet this tiny island sitting between China and Japan is a hub for international affairs. The island was, and continues to be, one of the most crucial Asian nerve centers in all U.S. strategic defense. Ninety percent of all U.S. military forces in Japan are located on Okinawa, and more than 500,000 military personnel and their families have lived there.
InOkinawa: The History of an Island People, noted Eastern affairs specialist George Kerr recounts the fascinating history of the island and its environs, from 1314 A.D. to the late twentieth century. First published in 1958, this edition features an introduction and appendix by Okinawa history scholar Mitsugu Sakihara, making this the most comprehensive resource on the intriguing island of Okinawa.
George Kerr served as a United States diplomat to Taiwan during World War II before embarking on a notable career as an author and academic. He wrote numerous books and articles about Taiwan and Japan includingFormosa Betrayed andThe Taiwan Confrontation Crisis.
Mitsugu Sakihara was an Okinawa history scholar who served as president of the Hawaii International College and professor at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.
"[Okinawa: The History of an Island People] is history, firm, frank, organized and detailed, from the mythical past to the military present…It is a lifetime work of scholarship, full of life" —Mainichi Daily News
"The first comprehensive history of the Ryukyuan people to appear in any Western language…recommended to students of East Asian culture, who will find it a valuable addition to their libraries." —The American Anthropologist
"[Okinawa: The History of an Island People is] a book that answers the questions of the curious layman, satisfies the standards of critical scholarship, and is readable and fascinating besides." —American Historical Review
"Comprehensive and well-researched, this definitive book of the history of the Ryukyus is able to capture the essence of the Okinawan people. Their trusting and peaceful nature; strength and tenacity through typhoons, poverty, disease, and invasion; and grace and adaptability are all in evidence as they juggle dual allegiances to China and Japan; interact with interlopers and bellicose outsiders including Christian missionaries and Commodore Perry; and adjust to the post-WWII American presence, reversion, and transition to a tourist economy." —Goodreads
"This book is a lot more than write-ups of battles and tug-of-wars—stick with it and you'll find fascinating tidbits about the islands, such as the role the potato has played in its development and how Okinawan culture developed in the prehistoric area."—JQ Magazine