International City Profile

Question: What factors contribute to the current life expectancy in Okinawa?
Timothy Chan

Background Information Links:

The website above gives insight to the different attractions of the Okinawa islands. These attractions include Ryukyu castles, theme parks, aquariums, beaches and World War II memorials. This helps with a better general understanding of the lifestyle of Okinawa people before I start investigating the life expectancy.

Links Regarding Life Expectancy:

The website above explains how the lifestyle choices and in particular the diet of the Okinawan people is why their life expectancy is so high. It is said that it is their vegetable based diet that is low in both calories and fats that keeps them so healthy. This website also explains how when Okinawans move abroad or adopt a fast food diet, their longevity is severely affected, proving that it isn't genes but their lifestyle that makes their average life expectancy so high. This website is reliable and consist of interviews with people with PHDs, it is also claimed that these results are found from a 25-year study of Okinawans. However one limitation of this source is that it was written almost 15 years ago, a lot could have changed between then and now.

This website gives out 3 main reasons as to why life expectancy is so high. On e of the reasons that really struck me was the climate. The temperature during the winter never falls below 15 degrees and earthquakes are extremely rare within the area. It was explained that there are frequent typhoons, but typhoons are only extremely dangerous very rarely.

The website above gives out possible reasons for the high life expectancy rate in Okinawa and one thing that I found unique was the mention that the local business men wear kariyushi, the equivalent to a Hawaiian shirt to work. The website also claims that they tend to be more laid back than other cities in Japan. The lack of stress that they impose upon themselves could be a major factor that influences their high life expectancy rate.

Organization Link:

This organization focuses on the centenarian study and it includes many related articles regarding life expectancy. Its goal is to fully understand what it is that prolongs a person's life. All donations put forward to the funding of this research.

Data Links:

The same organization provides data and statistics about the life expectancy rate and it also claims that Okinawa has the worlds longest health expectancy. It helps prove that Okinawa is in fact the healthiest place on Earth. This website is extremely reliable as the whole website is based on the centenarian study, where research has been taken since 1996.


Within this documentary, a group of scientists try to uncover the secrets of the longevity of the Okinawan people. This documentary is 50 minutes long is very reliable as it is created by the BBC.

In order to familiarize myself with Okinawa prior to my investigation, I had to research about the city. This includes historical and cultural understandings which will give me a good platform to build on with my investigation.

The above link gives deep insight to the Okinawa islands, giving detail about the climate and that snorkeling and scuba diving are one of the main attractions of the island. It also gives a brief description of the history of the island, about the Ryukyuan cultural remains and also about how one of the bloodiest battles took place on the island during World War II.

This link describes the Okinawan cuisine and this will be very important to my investigation as their cuisine might be what causes the high life expectancy. It is explained that the champuru, soba and taco rice are very authentic dishes that are found in Okinawa. One of the dishes that struck me was the Yagi sashimi (raw goat meat). This dish could be a major factor as to why Okinawa's life expectancy stands out most above all others. Maybe eating raw goat meat is in some way extremely healthy to the body.

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