Introduction / History
The Ryukyuan are the indigenous peoples of the Ryukyu Islands. They had their own kingdom from the 1400s through the late 1800s. China and Japan fought over it until the latter took the upper hand and annexed these islands. The Ryukyuan Islands became a battle ground between US and Japanese forces near the end of WWII. When Japan was defeated, US forces occupied the islands, then returned them to Japan in 1952. Though most are in their home island today, there are a small number of Ryukyuan people in the United States and Bolivia today.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Traditionally, the Ryukyuan people have had tightly-knit family lives and they enjoyed close personal friendships. They see themselves as bound together by their home island and, especially among older people, will always consider themselves from Ryukyuan first and Japan second. They are among the longest-lived people in the world. The Ryukuyan are known as a peaceful people and have always considered the arts and music as more honorable than combat skills.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Native Uchina religion places strong emphasis upon the role of the women in the community. Women hold positions as shamans and guardians of the home. Most of the younger generation are not serious adherents of this religion anymore, but many older people try to teach about the old ways, including dances and the language.
What Are Their Needs?
The Ryukyuan people need to put their sense of dignity and self-worth in Jesus Christ rather than their ethnic background.
Pray that a strong movement to Jesus will bring Ryukyuan families and communities into a rich experience of God's blessings. A small number of the Ryukyuan people identify as Christians. Pray they will be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Pray for the people on the Ruykyuan islands to become aware of their need for forgiveness of sin, and that forgiveness has been provided through faith in the work of Christ on the cross. Pray these peaceful people will welcome the good news of Jesus as it comes to them in various forms.
Scripture Prayers for the Okinawan, Ryukyuan in Japan.