The Kerama Islands (慶良間諸島, Kerama-shotō, Okinawan: キラマ Kirama) are an island group 32 kilometres (20 mi) southwest of Okinawa Island in Japan. Historically, the islands were part of the Ryukyu Kingdom, and for some 600 years, islanders were employed as navigators on the kingdom’s trading vessels to China.Four islands are inhabited: Tokashiki Island, Zamami Island, Aka Island, and Geruma Island. The islands are administered as Tokashiki Village and Zamami Village within Shimajiri District. The Kerama-shotō coral reef is a Ramsar Site.
During World War II and preliminary to the Battle of Okinawa, soldiers of the 77th Infantry Division landed in the Kerama Islands on March 26, 1945. Further landings followed, and the Kerama group was secured over the next five days. Kerama was used as a staging area for the assault on Okinawa. During the battle the first civilian mass suicides that later marked the Battle of Okinawa took place.The first US Navy ship to anchor in the harbor was USS Makin Island, a small "jeep" carrier.It was the site of a true story about romance between two dogs who lived on neighboring islands that was made into the 1988 Japanese film I Want to See Marilyn (Marilyn ni Aitai). It is now a popular beach and diving destination for visitors to Okinawa.