The largest island in the Ryukyu Archipelago, Okinawa has been a center of trade and a source for conflict through its history. The island has been an independent kingdom, the feudal possession of a Japanese daimyo and a prefecture of Japan following the Meiji Restoration of 1866. Okinawa was the scene of bitter fighting during the closing days of World War II. A US military possession, Okinawa returned to Japanese rule in 1972. Naha is the island’s largest city and the capital of Okinawa Prefecture. Of note, Okinawa is the birthplace of karate. One of the world’s most popular martial arts, karate is a fusion of Chinese kung fu and traditional island martial arts.