Other cultural characteristics
The people of Okinawa maintain a strong tradition of pottery, textiles, and glass making. Potter Jiro Kinjo was designated a Living National Treasure for traditional Okinawan pottery in 1985, making him the first Okinawan person to receive this designation in Japan. He died in December 2004, aged 92 and his original works of pottery are prized by collectors.
Other prominent examples of Okinawan culture include the sanshin—a three-stringed Okinawan instrument, closely related to the Chinese sanxian, and ancestor of the Japanese shamisen, somewhat similar to a banjo. Its body is often bound with snakeskin (from pythons, imported from elsewhere in Asia, rather than from Okinawa's venomous Trimeresurus flavoviridis, which are too small for this purpose). Okinawan culture also features the eisa dance, a traditional drumming dance. A traditional craft, the fabric named bingata, is made in workshops on the main island and elsewhere.
The Okinawan diet consist of low-fat, low-salt foods, such as fish, tofu, and seaweed. Okinawans are known for their longevity. Individuals live longer on this Japanese island than anywhere in the world. Five times as many Okinawans live to be 100 as in the rest of Japan, and the Japanese are the longest-lived nationality in the world. There are 34.7 centenarians for every 100,000 inhabitants, being the highest ratio in the world. The possible explanations to this fact is the diet, low-stress lifestyle, caring community, activity, and spirituality of the inhabitants of the island.
In recent years, Okinawan literature has been appreciated outside of the Ryūkyū archipelago. Two Okinawan writers have received the Akutagawa Prize: Matayoshi Eiki in 1995 for The Pig's Retribution (豚の報い, Buta no mukui?) and Medoruma Shun in 1997 for A Drop of Water (Suiteki). The prize was also won by Okinawans in 1967 by Tatsuhiro Oshiro for Cocktail Party (Kakuteru Pāti) and in 1971 by Mineo Higashi for Okinawan Boy (Okinawa no Shōnen).
Timberland Chukka Boots