Naha (näˈhä) [key], city (1990 pop. 304,836), on Okinawa island, in the Ryukyu Islands, Japan. A port on the southwest coast, it is also the chief manufacturing center of the island. In 1853, Commodore Perry chose Naha as his first base for the penetration of Japan. The city was virtually destroyed during World War II. In 1945 it became the headquarters of the U.S. military governor of the Ryukyus, and when the island was returned to Japan in 1972, it became the capital of Okinawa prefecture. The name is also spelled Nafa and Nawa.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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