The subtropical island of Okinawa Prefecture has an environment, climate and culture very different to mainland Japan. An independent kingdom and trading hub until the 17th century, the influence of other Asian cultures is still seen in things like traditional textile designs. We hear folk songs recalling the sufferings and troubled history of Okinawa, from the samurai conquest incorporating it into Japan to the US invasion of WWII. We also discover the secret of the Okinawans' famous longevity – the island food.
Island women weave messages into their traditional textiles
This venerable Okinawan folk singer is still going strong at 80
Okinawan vegetables are the secret to the islanders' longevity
Trees protect Okinawa's villages from typhoons coming off the sea