Hai Sai! Welcome to my Blog.

Hello, my name is Tom Corrao and I am the blogger behind the Okinawaology Blog. I created this blog to share and discuss all things Okinawan. I’m also the Public Relations Officer and Minkan Taishi to the Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai. My experience with Okinawa is derived from the time I spent there during the 1980's and 90's (10 years) when serving in the United States Air Force. I've also been married to an Okinawan woman for 30 years now and have been immersed in many things Okinawan through both friends and family. I do not claim to be all knowing about everything Okinawan but I try hard and study the history and culture. I welcome everyone that is interested in Okinawa and hope that I can provide useful information to those uchinanchu that may be curious about their culture and heritage. I also welcome those who are not of Okinawan heritage but have experienced, or are experiencing, the islands culture while stationed there with the United States Military. Comments are welcomed and will be published as long as they are in good taste and on track with the purpose of this blog. My hope with this blog is to bring Uchinanchu people around the world a little closer to their cultural roots by expressing information that has started to fade in light of a more modern world. We should never forget our culture or the people who came before us and through the Blog my intentions are to meld the old with the new and implant knowledge that will help maintain the traditions and culture of an island people.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Little Bit About Ancient Okinawans

The oldest human remains discovered on Okinawa were those of a seven-year-old girl estimated to be approximately 32,000 years old. Her remains were found inside Yamashita Daiichi Cave in the Yamashita district of Naha in 1962. 

Yamashita Daiichi Cave is a semi-cave ruin and because it was used as a grave it escaped destruction in postwar quarrying. The bones of an 8-year-old girl, subsequently called the Yamashita-dojin were excavated from here. It is one of the most significant finds within the whole of the East Asian region and in 1969 it was designated as a Cultural Property by Okinawa Prefecture. 

Six years later, the remains of a male who lived more than 18,000 years ago were unearthed in the Minatogawa district of Gushikami. Not much is known about how these ancient Okinawans lived, but scientists are continuing lo discover more about Okinawa’s past through new excavation sites.

 Ancient Okinawans lived in small coastal communities and survived mostly on small fish and shellfish. Archeologists called this the “Shellmound Era” because of the mounds of discarded shells and fish bones that were found during numerous excavations.

Okinawans who inhabited the island during the Shellmound Era, several thousand years ago, lived in caves near the coastline. As civilization advanced, building technology improved to simple dwellings made from wood, thatch, and earth. These early Okinawans survived on fish, shellfish, and small animals that they occasionally hunted. Tools crafted from bone and stone were used. This way of life lasted until approximately 1,500 years ago.


  1. Wow ! I never knew about this cave in Naha. I'll be heading there soon. Sorry I didn't get a chance to meet when you were here for the Uchinanchu matsuri. Maybe, next time !

  2. Thank you for this post. We've spent 3 hours one day looking for the Yamashita Cave with no luck. Ryukyu Mike and I, thought we might have had it but the pictures didn't support our claim. Part of fun of Okinawa is exploration. We'll keep at it!!!

    Thanks again for the write up.


  3. Guys try contacting Yoshimasu Kamiya. He works at the Itoman City Office but was just reassigned there from the Naha prefectural office. He may know how to get to the cave and he can speak English very well. My picture of the cave is from an internet source so I'm only assuming it is correct. I took the other pictures at the Museum by Zakimi Castle. I was hoping to meet up with you in Okinawa but it ended up everyday was full during my stay. Feel free to pass along anything interesting that comes along.