History of Yonabaru Town
The name ” Yonabaru” is first found in the oldest Okinawa Koyohshu (collection of old songs), “Omorosaushi”, as “Yonaharu” and “Yonahabama”.
In the Ryukyu Shinto or Ryukyu Religion there were various roles and rankings for the Shinnyo or Noro, which were priestesses in the religion. The highest rank was called Kikoe-Oogimi and her role was to protect the king spiritually from calamities and misfortune. Yonabaru Town has many historical spots related to the Kikoe-Oogimi.
It’s been said that the name “Yonabaru” comes from the name of the sea shore Yonabaru Town was built around, from long ago and that the seashore is a land of fairies around a quiet inlet. The first place people lived in Yonabaru is Ue-Yonabaru. People started building communities there because Ue-Yonabaru was close to the sea, convenient for fishing and had plenty of water for people.
In year 12 of Meiji (1879), Haihan-Chiken (the abolition of fedual domains and establishment of prefectures) was carried out by the Japanese goverment.
As a result, Yonabaru became a part of the Oozato Administrative District.
In year 41 of Meiji (1908), it became a part of Oozato Village.
In year 3 of Taishou (1914), the light railways between Naha and Yonabaru were first opened. The railway became a main artery between southern Okinawa and central Okinawa for the industrial economy. This significantly helped Yonabaru become more active economically.
The idea of separating Yonabaru from Oozato to become Yonabaru Town was first brought up around year 3 of Shouwa (1928) and was supposed to happen in year 19 of Shouwa (1944). However, this plan was interrupted by the war. After the war, Yonabaru Town separated from Oozato on March 31st in year 24 of Shouwa (1949). At last, Yonabaru Town was officialy established on April 1st that same year. It took 20 years for Yonabaru Town to be born. After the war, Okinawa was governed by the United States until May 15th, 1972. During these 27 years, the people of Yonabaru poured all their energy into recovering from the war and re-establishing Yonabaru Town.
The light railways opened between Naha and Yonabaru in Okinawa in December in year 3 of Taishou (1914). The trains, which were called the “Okinawa Prefefectural light railways”, were smaller than usual trains. There were 3 lines, the Yonabaru line (between Naha station and Yonabaru station), Kadena line (between Naha station and Kadena station), and Itoman line (between Naha and Itoman).