Being one of the closest political allies in Asia, Japan is the one place Americans would frequently visit and call home. But among all the places throughout the Japanese archipelago, none could remain closer than the distant island of Okinawa. In fact, American presence is an inseparable part of the modern cultural equation that identifies the Okinawans.

According to a reference site called Facts & Details, there are over 1.5 million people living in Okinawa. Curiously, this island's local population is 5 times smaller than the outsiders visiting it. Apart from the Americans, the Japanese from the mainland archipelago are an indistinguishable ethnicity comprising its unique demographics.

Ryukyu (Not Japan)

One of the interesting facts about Okinawa is that this island, though geographically a part of Japan, is 'technically' not Japanese. The Japanese people, also known as Nippon-jin, are keen about identifying themselves as different from outsiders. In fact, the Okinawans spoke a different language and have several unique cultural practices.    

Centenarian Citizens

Curiously, Okinawa is a haven for the elderly people. In fact, this island has the highest concentration of people living 100 years (or even beyond). The Okinawan Centenarian Study devotes its efforts into researching the mystery behind the longevity of their senior citizens.  

The Guinness Salt

Although the mystery behind super old aged Okinawans can be attributed to many factors, it could not be denied that the locals have a very healthy diet. Why? Their local salt has landed the Guinness World Records for its nutritional value. The Okinawan salt has 21 different minerals and has the 'lowest salt content.'

Birthplace Of Karate

Japan may be the nation capital of the martial art karate, but calling it a Japanese art is a bit of a misnomer. Technically, this unarmed fighting method was developed by local Okinawans as a way to defend themselves against the abuses of the sword-wielding Japanese samurai. In time, the Japanese incorporated it into its vast array of martial arts.  

World War II's Bloodiest

The reason why the Operation Iceberg, also known as 'Battle of Okinawa,' is such a big deal for World War II historians is because it was the bloodiest skirmish in the Pacific. The brunt of the casualty is suffered by the Okinawans themselves, often caught in the vicious crossfire between the US forces and the Japanese Imperial Army.