Okinawan villages

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Okinawan villages were typically arranged along a hillside, facing south. The headman's house, known as a muutuyaa (本家), was typically located higher up the hill than any other home in the village, either on the left or right corner or right in the center of the top line of houses. A sacred space (utaki) was typically located behind the muutuya. Among the other houses of the village, those of families most closely related to the headman were located just below the muutuyaa, and those of more distant relatives or branch families immediately below, or otherwise adjacent to, those. Homes of other families were then placed next to those, and so on, in turn.

Most places officially designated as "villages" (mura) today were previously "districts" (magiri) under the Ryûkyû Kingdom, and were redesignated "villages" in the Meiji period. Other smaller or more remote villages were previously called shima, and the word shima continues to be used today (at least among certain portions of the population) to refer to villages or towns, especially one's hometown.


  • Plaque, "Mutuya," Okinawa Furusato Mura, Nakijin.[1]