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  • Japanese: 間切 (magiri)

Magiri were administrative districts in the Kingdom of Ryûkyû and on Okinawa prior to the island's unification under the kingdom.

Akin to domains, the magiri were originally ruled directly by local/regional lords known as anji. Over time, as the island began to become unified under a single ruler in the 12th century, and then under three kingdoms in the Sanzan period, the anji shifted from being fully independent local chieftains, the magiri functioning essentially as city-states, into local lords under a central king.

As the government of the Kingdom of Ryûkyû developed, beginning in the 15th century, and gradually established further centralized bureaucratic organization, the anji were moved to Shuri, and the titles of lordship over the individual magiri became more a matter of status than of actual local governance; lower-ranking officials assigned and appointed by the central royal government governed the magiri on behalf of the nobles bearing the title of "lord" of each respective territory.

An extensive land survey was performed of all the magiri in 1737 to 1750; known as the Qianlong jiandi in Chinese (J: Kenryû kenchi), this survey resulted in the creation of some 25 highly accurate, detailed, and brightly colored maps of the districts known as magiri-zu.[1]

Most if not all of the placenames associated with the magiri survived into the post-war period (mid-to-late 20th century), when villages began to be combined into new towns and cities with new names in a process called gappei. While most magiri historically contained villages (mura) within them, in the modern period many were renamed to "villages" (or cities or towns), and the former villages within them renamed as aza or simply neighborhoods.[2]

List of Magiri

(Listed roughly from north to south)

Amami Ôshima

  • Kasari
  • Naze
  • Komi
  • Sumiyô
  • Yakinai
  • Nishi
  • Higashi


  • Shitooke
  • Isa
  • Higashi
  • Nishime
  • Wan
  • Araki


  • Nishime
  • Higashi
  • Omonawa


  • Kibiru
  • Ôjiro
  • Tokudoki

Okinawa Island

  • Kunigami (Kunjan)
  • Haneji
  • Nakijin
  • Nago
  • Kin
  • Gushikawa
  • Katsuren
  • Goeku
  • Yomitanzan (Yuntanzan)
  • Chatan
  • Nakagusuku
  • Urasoe
  • Nishihara
  • Shimasoe Ôzato
  • Sashiki
  • Chinen
  • Tamagusuku
  • Gushikami
  • Mabuni
  • Kyan
  • Shimajiri Makabi
  • Shimajiri Ôzato
  • Shimajiri Kanegusuku
  • Kochinda
  • Haebaru
  • Tomigusuku
  • Mawashi


  • Nakagusuku
  • Gushikawa

Miyako Islands

  • Ômiyako magiri

Yaeyama Islands

  • Yaeyama magiri


  • "Magiri." Okinawa Konpakuto Jiten (沖縄コンパクト事典, "Okinawa Compact Encyclopedia"). Ryukyu Shimpo. 1 March 2003. Accessed 25 September 2009.
  • Uezato Takashi, Dare mo mita koto no nai Ryukyu, Naha: Borderink (2008), 24-27.
  1. Gallery labels, Ryukyu/Okinawa no chizu ten, Okinawa Prefectural Museum, Feb 2017.
  2. Megumi Chibana, "An Artful Way of Making Indigenous Space," Verge: Studies in Global Asias 4:2 (2018), 157n8.