The Amami Islands is an archipelago in the Satsunan Islands, which is part of the Ryukyu Islands, and is southwest of Kyushu. Administratively, the group belongs to Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan and the Japan Coast Guard agreed on February 15, 2010, to use the name of Amami-guntō for the Amami Islands.

Prior to that, Amami-shotō was also used. The name of Amami is probably cognate with Amamikyu, the goddess of creation in the Ryukyuan creation myth.

As a part of the Ryukyuan cultural sphere, Amami culture is closer to that of the other Ryukyu Islands than to that of mainland Japan. However, the islands' history is different from Okinawa as well. Okinawa, including the Sakishima Islands, had strong cultural influences from China, whereas Amami was affected more by Japan. Because of this, the Amami people themselves regard their culture as distinct from that of Okinawa. The Amami people treat the area between Kikai, Amami Ōshima, and Tokuno as part of their own cultural sphere.

More Info: