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In his 1926 story, “The Man Who Loved Islands,” D.H. Lawrence wrote, “Isolate yourself on a little island in the sea of space, and the moment begins to heave and expand in great circles, the solid earth is gone, and your slippery, naked dark soul finds itself out in the timeless world.”

Ishigaki Island is not such a little island, nor anymore quite so remote, though it lays a full 2,000 km southwest of Tokyo. Its distances are of a different kind. Location allowed it to assimilate Chinese and Japanese influences simultaneously, and for a degree of exotic influences to creep in. Malay style turbans, for example, were sported in Ishigaki after they became popular toward the latter part of the 19th century.

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