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Linguistic Affiliation. The official and predominant language is Japanese (Nihongo). After the Japan Meiji Restoration in 1868, the government attempted to create a strong centralized state. Linguistic unification was a step toward shaping the national identity. Through the national educational system and the military, a dominant national dialect replaced local and regional dialects. The resulting dialect, hyōjungo ("the standard language"), was based on the linguistic patterns of Tōkyō's samurai ("warrior") classes and has become the norm in the educational system, the mass media, government, and business.

The Ryukyuan people are the indigenous people who occupied the Ryukyu islands, which are essentially the Okinawan islands plus some to the north. While many Ryukyuan still live on these islands, some have spread to other parts of the world. The Ryukyuan people have several sub-groups including: Amamians, Okinawans, Miyakoans, Yaeyamans, and Yonagunians each with their own dialect. How genetically different the Ryukyuan people were from the main Japanese (Yamato) population is difficult to say as there were trade links between Japan, China and Korea along with the corresponding migration. The Ryukyuan people have their own distinct religion, clothing and architecture. However the clothing and architecture was not as distinct from the main Japanese as the Ainu was. The Ryukyuan Kingdom came under the control of the Satsuma Domain of Kyushu when the Satsuma invaded in the early 17th century.

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The Ryukyuan people are the indigenous people who occupied the Ryukyu islands, which are essentially the Okinawan islands plus some to the north. While many Ryukyuan still live on these islands, some have spread to other parts of the world. The Ryukyuan people have several sub-groups including: Amamians, Okinawans, Miyakoans, Yaeyamans, and Yonagunians each with their own dialect. How genetically different the Ryukyuan people were from the main Japanese (Yamato) population is difficult to say as there were trade links between Japan, China and Korea along with the corresponding migration. The Ryukyuan people have their own distinct religion, clothing and architecture. However the clothing and architecture was not as distinct from the main Japanese as the Ainu was. The Ryukyuan Kingdom came under the control of the Satsuma Domain of Kyushu when the Satsuma invaded in the early 17th century.

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