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 Ryukyu (Okinawa)

ruuchuu · duuchuu [ɾuːt͡ɕuː~duːt͡ɕuː]



  1. Ryukyu. Pertaining to the Ryukyu Islands or the former Ryukyu Kingdom.


Though the term was originally of Chinese origin and used to refer to both Taiwan and the islands encompassing the early Ryukyu Kingdom, today it almost uniquely refers to the latter. Early English spellings (such as Lewchew, Lew Chew, Loochoo, Loo Choo, Lutschu, and Luchu) were primarily influenced by the Mandarin reading of the characters 【琉球】 (cf. Wade-Giles Liu2ch'iu2; Yale: Lyou2chyou2; Pinyin: Liúqiú), but also by the native Okinawan pronunciation which was very similar. This is evidenced by the fact that some works write down the name as Doochoo or Dew Chew, which appears to be uniquely Okinawan rather than Chinese. Other spellings (such as Lexio, Lieco, Kekyo, Lequeyo, Lequeo, Lequo) are undeniably of Chinese origin, while some, like Lew Kew and Riukiu indicate Japanese influence. The spelling was later changed and formalized to Ryukyu following standard Japanese pronunciation, and is sometimes written Ryūkyū per Hepburn romanization rules.


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