Okinawa is a city that is located in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. It is located in the center region of the island of Okinawa, which is roughly 400 miles from the mainland of Japan. Its population is estimated to be 138,431, making it the second largest city on the island behind the capital city of Naha.
City Size and Population Density of Okinawa
The city covers a total area of just around 49.00 square kilometers (18.92 square miles). The population density of the city is around 6,799 people residing per square mile (2,625.12 residents per square kilometer) in the city of Okinawa.
In its earliest years, what is now the city of Okinawa was occupied by administrative district known as magiri. After this system ended, the villages of Goeku and Misato were established by the Okinawa Prefecture in 1908. In their early history, these villages relied largely on agriculture and were not urbanized until after the Second World War.
It was after the Battle of Okinawa that a refugee camp was established by the US. This led to a growth in population in the villages. During US occupation of the area, it became a “base city” for military personnel. It was in 1956 when Goeku changed its name to Koza and later that same year, it became a city. It wasn’t until 1974 when Okinawa was founded by merging Koza with the neighboring Misato.
The city of Okinawa and the island of the same name hold important roles for the US military, with approximately 26,000 military personnel living on the island. In the city, there are six military installations, including Kadena Air Base and Camp Foster.
Okinawa Population Growth
While its days of seeing rapid urbanization and population growth have ended, the city’s large population of indigenous people, as well as the US military personnel is expected to result in slow population growth in the years ahead.