Okinawa


STATUS: Former U.S. Administrative entity, from 1945 through 1972.

FORMERLY: Part of Japan.

PRONOUNCED: oh kih NAH wah

CAPITAL: Naha

WORLD LOCATION: Off the coast of Japan.

FIRST LICENSE PLATES IN USE: 1945

MOTOR VEHICLES CURRENTLY REGISTERED:  Approx. 15,000 near the end of the series in 1972.

FORMER SLOGANS: "Keystone of the Pacific" ("Keystone of Pacific", only in 1956 and 1957)

GRAPHICS USED:  From 1954 on, some form of a "Torii Gate" was illustrated on most Okinawa issues.

PLATES WERE: Officially issued.

1945 through 1950 - white with black numbers, simple serial number over OKINAWA.

1951 - dark green with yellow numbers. Civilian plates remained white with black numbers. Military vehicles had OKINAWA, and the date vertically on the right end of the plate. Simple serial number.

1952 - black with orange numbers. Civilian plates remained white with black numbers. Military vehicles had RYCOM and the date across the bottom of the plate (for Ryukyu Command). Simple serial number.

1953 - orange with black numbers. Civilian plates remained white with black numbers. Military vehicles had OKINAWA, and the date vertically on the right end of the plate. Simple serial number.

1954 - black with yellow numbers. Civilian plates remained white with black numbers. Military vehicles had OKINAWA, and the date vertically on the right end of the plate. Simple serial number prefixed by a Torii Gate.

1955 - yellow with black numbers. Civilian plates remained white with black numbers. Military vehicles had OKINAWA, and the date vertically on the right end of the plate. Serial number prefixed by a Torii Gate topped with a code letter - C for Civilians employed by the military, E for Enlisted men, and O for Officers.

1956 - red with white numbers. Civilian plates remained white with black numbers. "Keystone of Pacific" slogan. Year vertically at right, category letter and Torii Gate to the left.

1957 - orange with black numbers. Civilian plates remained white with black numbers. "Keystone of Pacific" slogan. Year vertically at right, category letter and Torii Gate to the left.

1958 - black with yellow numbers. Civilian plates remained white with black numbers. "Keystone of the Pacific" slogan. Date horizontally on right end of plate. Category letter and Torii Gate on the left end of the plate.

1959 - 1958 issue with metal black/yellow '59 date tab. Civilian plates remained white with black numbers.

1960 - yellow with black numbers. Civilian plates remained white with black numbers. Smaller Torii Gate across the top.

1961 - black with yellow numbers. Civilian plates remained white with black numbers. Numerical series extended with a serial letter.

1962 - yellow with black numbers. Civilian plates remained white with black numbers. Special undated plates came into use in the following numerical series: Number 1-10 - General Officers, number 11 through 200 - Field Officers, B201 on up for all other persons.

1963 - 1962 plate with light blue '63 date sticker. Civilian plates remained white with black numbers.

1964 - yellow with black numbers. Civilian issue began with white plate with red numbers and RYUKYU ISLANDS across the bottom. This civilian issue was either numeric, with a date tab in the middle, or had the prefix 4B or 5B for small private cars, or C for trucks. The 2B prefix is also known, and thought to be a small car, and a 5A prefix is thought to have been reserved for trucks. This civilian series ran through to 1972.

1965 - 1964 plate with white/red '65 date sticker.

1966 - black on yellow undated plate. Two letter, three numbers.

1967 - black on yellow undated plate. Two letter, three numbers.

1968 - black on yellow undated plate. Two letter, three numbers.

1969 - black on yellow undated plate. Two letter, three numbers.

1970 - black on yellow undated plate. Two letter, three numbers.

1971 - black on yellow undated plate. Two letter, three numbers.

1972 - black on yellow undated plate. Two letter, three numbers.

1973 - Okinawa goes back under the control of Japan. Standard Japanese plates are again issued.

SINGLE PLATES OR PAIRS: Pairs

CARS DRIVE ON: Right

Header plate from the Jerry Boone collection.


1955 Okinawa motorcycle plate, black on yellow embossed steel. Possibly the only one known from this year. From the Jerry Boone collection (Ohio).
1956 Okinawa passenger plate, white on red embossed steel, Civilian issue. From the Jerry Boone collection (Ohio).


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