南西諸島
Nansei Islands (Nansei Shotô), n. [Literally means "southwest islands." The English name is Ryukyu Islands, however this writeup goes by the Japanese definition: Ryûkyû Shotô / Ryukyu Islands refers to a subset island group of the Nansei islands.]

Nansei Shotô is a subtropical island chain of Japan located roughly between the 31st and 24th parallels, south of Kyushu and east of Taiwan. Common amongst the subtropical Nansei Islands are a diverse coral population, visits from seasonal typhoons, and an extremely poisonous snake called Habu.

During the ice age and several other times in prehistory, Japan was connected to Asia by land bridges, one of them became the Nansei Islands and Taiwan. Okinawa used to be ruled by the Ryûkyû kingdom until Japan's invasion during the Meiji era. Near the end of WWII, Japan was beginning to lose its war as allied forces landed on Kerama and continued to invade Okinawa. After the destruction of Okinawa's capital city, Naha, by arial bombardment, the land invasion that followed resulted in 35% (more than 130,000) Okinawan civillian fatalities and many priceless historical buildings perished. After the end of war, Okinawa remained American territory from 1945 to 1972. Okinawa is a strategic military location for America where 75% of all US military bases in Japan reside.

Islands listing from northeast to southwest:
  • 薩南諸島 Satsunan Islands*
    • 大隅諸島 Ôsumi Islands
      • 口永良部島 Kuchinoerabu-jima
      • 種子島 Tanegashima
      • 屋久島 Yakushima
    • トカラ列島 Tokara Chain**
    • 奄美諸島 Amami Islands
      • 喜界島 Kikai-jima
      • 奄美大島 Amami-Ôshima
      • 徳之島 Tokunoshima
      • 沖永良部島 Okinoerabu-jima
      • 与論島 Yoron-tô
  • 琉球諸島 Ryûkyû Islands
    • 沖縄諸島 Okinawa Islands
    • 先島諸島 Sakishima Islands
      • 宮古諸島 Miyako Islands
        • 宮古島 Miyako-jima
        • 多良間島 Tarama-jima
      • 八重山諸島 Yaeyama Islands
        • 石垣島 Ishigaki-jima
        • 西表島 Iriomote-jima
        • 波照間島 Hateruma-jima
        • 与那国島 Yonaguni-jima
Also to the southeast:
  • 大東諸島 Daitô Islands
    • 大東島 Kita Daitô-jima
    • 大東島 Minami Daitô-jima
    • 沖大東島 Oki Daitô-jima
* Belongs to Kagoshima Prefecture. The rest of Nansei islands is Okinawa Prefecture.
** Rare Kanji name not available in Unicode.
Suffix 島 (-jima, -shima, or -tô) means "island" and 諸島 (shotô) means "island group."


Map:
___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___
                                                                                                                                                                                                  |^,^          ^,         ,,,                  |
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                           |  ,|^^^ Ôsumi peninsula
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ^,^^^

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   s   s    sss    sss ssss     s          s ss   s  s ss    sss        ss       sss    sss                                                                                                                                      | ,| Tanegashima
   sssss   s   s  s  s  s       s          ss  s ss sss  s  s   s         ss    s   s  s   s                                                                                                                 ,,                 ,^,|
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   s     s s   s     s  s        s      s  s   s  s  s   s  s   s      s     s  s      s   s                                                                                                                      ^,     |    ^^^^
   s    s  s  ss  s  s  s s       s    s   s   s  s  s   s  s  ss      ss   s   s   s  s  ss                                                                                                                       |,,,,|
 ssssssss  sss ss sss   ss         ssss   sss sssssssss sss sss ss     s sss     sss   sss ss                                                                                                                      Yakushima

                                                                                                                                                                                                     ,,
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                                                                                                                                                                                                   ^||

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                                                                                                                                                                                    ,
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                                                                                                                                                                                        ,|^|^| Ôshima
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                                                                                                                                                                              ||^    ,|^^         ^|,^ Kikai-jima
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                                                                                                                                                                     |  ^,
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                                                                                                                                                                     ^|,|^ Tokunoshima


                                                                                                                                                              ,,
                                                                                                                                                           |^^|| Okinoerabu-jima
                                                                                                                                                           ^^^^



                                                                                                                                                      ,,
                                                                                                                                          ,           ^^ Yoron-tô
                                                                                                                                         ||
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                                                                                                               Kerama   ||^     |   |
                                                                                                                                 ^^^^

                                               ,,
                 ,,,                           ^^|||
                 ^||
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Kita Daitô-jima  ,,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ||
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               ,||
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Minami Daitô-jima  ||


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                                                                 ,,
                                                              ,, |^,
                                                              ^^ | ^^||  Miyako-jima
                                                 ||              ^^^^^
 Yonaguni-jima                          ,            Tarama-jima                                            ,,,,,,                  ,   ,,,,                ,,,,                                                                           ,
  ,                                  |||                                                                      s   s                    s   s               s    s                                                      Oki Daitô-jima   ||
^||              Iriomote-jima    ,,,,^|^                                                                     s    s                   s                  s      s                                                                    |,^^
                       |^,,,    ^,   |   Ishigaki-jima                                                        s    s                   s                 s        s                                                                   ^
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                                         |  |^^| |,,  |  |^^| |   | |^^|  | ,,,^ |,, |^^| |  | |,,^ ,,,^      ssss       ss  s      s  s   s  s          s        s  s      sssss     ss  s   s
                       ,,                                                                                     s        ss s  s      s  s   s  s          s        s  s      s       ss s  s   s
                      ^,|   Hateruma-jima                                                                     s       s   s  s      s  s   s  s           s      s   s      s      s   s  s   s
 Taiwan                                                                                                       s       s  ss  s   s  s  s   s  s   s        s    s    s   s  s   s  s  ss  s   s
                                                                                                            ooooo     ooo oo  ooo  oooooooooo  ooo          oooo      ooo    ooo   ooo ooooo ooo

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