Shamanism in a Contemporary Medical System: The Okinawan Case

  • William P. Lebra


The island of Okinawa lies midway astride the Ryukyu Archipelago, halfway between the main islands of Japan and Taiwan (Formosa). Prior to 1879 when the King was removed and permanently exiled to Japan, the region had experienced a socio-political development quite different from that of Japan, with a distinct language and social institutions. The area is not well endowed in natural resources and is heavily populated. Since annexation the Japanese government has striven to modernize and assimilate Okinawa. These efforts have been handicapped, until quite recently by physical isolation from mainland Japan, by the Battle for Okinawa in World War II which devastated the island further impoverishing everyone, and by a lengthy period of U.S. Military Government extending from 1945 to 1972.


National Health Insurance Male Household Head Ryukyu Archipelago Distinct Language Ultimate Causality 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • William P. Lebra
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HawaiiUSA

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