Only large is. (ca. 454 sq. mi.; in is. group (also called Okinawa) in cen. chain of Ryukyu Is., bet. East China Sea and Pacific Ocean. Scene of heavy fighting in WW II; occupied by US forces 1945; came under US control by treaty 1951; N part of the is. group returned to Jap. 1954; Ryukyu Is. returned to Jap. administration 1972 under terms of a 1971 treaty, now form the Jap. prefecture of Okinawa. Buddhism and Confucianism have appealed successfully to upper classes. K. F. A. Gützlaff* visited the Ryukyus 1832; RC work began 1844; a Brit. miss. effort extended from 1845 to 1855; the Meth. Episc. Ch. began work ca. the end of the 19th c.; others included Bap., Presb., and Holiness groups. Chs. joined during WW II to form the Ch. of Christ on Okinawa. Post-WW II miss. endeavors include Luth. work initiated 1959 by LCMS.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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