The Full Wiki

Iwo Jima: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Location map of Iwo Jima (Iōtō)

Iwo Jima, officially , is an island of the Japanesemarker Volcano Islands chain, which makes up the southern end of the Ogasawara Islandsmarker. The island is located 1,200 kilometers (650 nautical miles) south of mainland Tokyomarker and administered as part of Ogasawaramarker, one of eight villages of Tokyo. It is famous as the site of the February–March 1945 Battle of Iwo Jimamarker between the United Statesmarker and Japan during World War II, when the iconic photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima was taken. The U.S. occupied Iwo Jima until 1968, when it was returned to Japan.


In 1779, the island was charted as Sulphur Island during Captain Cook's third surveying voyage.

Iwo Jima was traditionally called Iwōtō (Iōtō) by the Japanese. Prior to Japan's 1946 orthography reform, a historical spelling resulted in (approximately) Iwōtō (modern Iōtō). An alternative, Iwōjima (modern Iōjima)—where jima is an alternative pronunciation of —also appeared in nautical atlases.Japanese naval officers who arrived to fortify the island before the U.S. invasion mistakenly called it Iwo Jima. In this way, the "Iwo Jima" pronunciation became mainstream and was the one used by U.S. forces who arrived during World War II. Former island residents protested against this rendering, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportmarker's Geographical Survey Institute debated the issue and formally announced on June 18, 2007, that the official Japanese pronunciation of the island's name would be reverted to the pre-war Iōtō. Moves to revert the pronunciation were sparked by the high profile films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. The change does not affect how the name is written in , only how it is pronounced.

Geographic features

Landsat photo of Iwo Jima (Iōtō), ca. 1999

The island has an approximate area of 21 km² (8 mi²) at . The most prominent feature is on the southern tip, a vent that is thought to be dormant and is high. Iwo Jima is unusually flat and featureless for a volcanic island. Suribachi is the only obvious volcanic feature, as it is only the resurgent dome (raised center) of a larger submerged volcanic caldera.

Captain Cook's surveying crew landed on a beach which is now above sea level due to volcanic uplifting. Such uplifting occurs on the island at a varying rate of between 100 and 800 millimeters per year, with an average rate of per year.

Eighty km north of the island is and 60 km south making up the Volcano Islands group of the Ogasawara Islandsmarker. Just south of Minamiiōjima are the Mariana Islandsmarker.


Before 1945

Before World War II, Iwo Jima was administered (as it is today) by the prefectural government of Tokyo. A census in June 1943 reported an island civilian population of 1018 (533 males, 485 females) in 192 households in six settlements. The island had a primary school, a Shinto shrine, and a single police officer; it was serviced by a mail ship from Haha-jimamarker once a month, as well as a Nippon Yusen ship once every couple of months. The island's economy relied upon sulfur mining, sugarcane farming, and fishing; an isolated island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with poor economic prospect, Iwo Jima had to import all rice and consumer goods from the Home Islandsmarker.

Even before the beginning of World War II, there was a garrison of the Imperial Japanese Navy at the southern part of Iwo Jima. It was off-limits to the island's civilian population, who had little contact with the naval personnel in any case, except for trade purposes.

Throughout 1944 there was a massive military buildup on Iwo Jima, in anticipation of an U.S. invasion; in July its civilian population was forcibly evacuated, and no civilians have settled permanently on the island ever since.

The Battle of Iwo Jima

The invasion of Iwo Jima began on February 19, 1945, and continued to March 26, 1945. The battle was a major initiative of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. The Marine invasion, known as Operation Detachmentmarker, was charged with the mission of capturing the airfield on the island which up until that time had harried U.S. bombing missions to Tokyo. Once the bases were secured, they could then be of use in the impending invasion of the Japanese mainland.

The battle was marked by some of the fiercest fighting of the War. The Imperial Japanese Army positions on the island were heavily fortified, with vast bunkers, hidden artillery, and 18 kilometers (11 mi) of tunnels. The battle was the first U.S. attack on the Japanese Home Islands and the Imperial soldiers defended their positions tenaciously. Of the 21,000 Japanese soldiers present at the beginning of the battle, over 20,000 were killed and only 1,083 taken prisoner.

One of the first objectives after landing on the beachhead was the taking of Mount Suribachi. At the second raising of a flag on the peak, Joe Rosenthal photographed five Marines: Ira Hayes, Mike Strank, Rene Gagnon, Harlon Block, Franklin Sousley, and U.S. Navy corpsman John Bradley raising the U.S. flag on the fourth day of the battle (February 23). The photograph was extremely popular, being reprinted in thousands of publications. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Photography that same year, and ultimately came to be regarded as one of the most significant and recognizable images of the war, and possibly the most reproduced photograph of all time.

Within the next month of fighting, three of the six soldiers raising the flag were killed: Strank, Block and Sousley.

After the fall of Mt. Suribachi in the south, the Japanese still held a strong position throughout the island. General Tadamichi Kuribayashi still had the equivalent of eight infantry battalions, a tank regiment, two artillery and three heavy mortar battalions, plus the 5,000 gunners and naval infantry. With the landing area secure, more troops and heavy equipment came ashore and the invasion proceeded north to capture the airfields and the remainder of the island. Most Japanese soldiers fought to the death. On the night of March 25, a 300-man Japanese force launched a final counterattack. The Marines suffered heavy casualties; 53 were killed and another 120 Americans were wounded. The island was officially declared "secured" the following day. The number of American casualties was greater than the total Allied casualties at Battle of Normandy on D-Day.

Even after Iwo Jima was about to be declared secured, about three thousand Japanese soldiers were left alive in the island's warren of caves and tunnels. Those who could not bring themselves to commit suicide hid in the caves during the day and came out at night to prowl for provisions. Some did eventually surrender and were surprised that the Americans often received them with compassion - offering them water, cigarettes, or coffee. The last of these stragglers, two of Lieutenant Toshihiko Ohno's (whose body was never found) men, Yamakage Kufuku and Matsudo Linsoki, lasted six years, surrendering in 1951 (another source gives the date of surrender as January 6, 1949).

The U.S. military occupied Iwo Jima until 1968, when it was returned to Japan.

Reunion of honor

On February 19, 1985, the 40th anniversary of the day that U.S. forces began the assault on the island, veterans from both forces gathered for the Reunion of Honor just a few meters away from the spot where U.S. Marines had landed on the island.During the memorial service a granite plaque was unveiled with the message:

On the 40th anniversary of the battle of Iwo Jima, American and Japanese veterans met again on these same sands, this time in peace and friendship.
We commemorate our comrades, living and dead, who fought here with bravery and honor, and we pray together that our sacrifices on Iwo Jima will always be remembered and never be repeated.

It is inscribed on both sides of the plaque, with the English translation facing the beaches where U.S. forces landed and the Japanese translation facing inland, where Japanese troops defended their position.

After that, the Japan-U.S. combination memorial service of the 50th anniversary was held in front of this monument in March 1995. The 55th anniversary was held in 2000, followed by a 60th reunion in March 2005 (see U.S. National Park Service photo below).

Image:First Iwo Jima Flag Raising.jpg|Raising of the first U.S. flag at Iwo JimaImage:IwoJimaWikipedia.jpg|Raising of the second U.S. flag at Iwo JimaImage:P3110030.JPG|60th Reunion 2005Image:Reunion_of_Honor_memorial_on_Iwo_Jima.jpg|Reunion of Honor Memorial

Naval air base

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) operates a naval air base on the island at North Fieldmarker . The airstrip is 2,650 meters (8,700 ft) long and 60 meters (200 ft) wide. Its orientation is 07/25. The JMSDF is in charge of support, air-traffic control, fueling, and rescue. The Japan Air Self-Defense Force also uses the base. The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force is in charge of explosive-ordnance disposal. 400 Japanese troops are stationed on the island. Two abandoned airfields from World War II are located nearby, Central Fieldmarker to the south of the current air base, and an unfinished Japanese airfield to the north of the base, which was improved following the US invasion of the island.

The U.S. Navy's Carrier Air Wing Five, based at the United States Naval Air Facility Atsugimarker when not embarked/deployed aboard USS George Washington, also uses the base for field carrier landing practice (FCLP). The U.S. Navy still has a disfunctioned communication facility (Iwo-Jima Communication Site) on the island, while the U.S. Coast Guard's Iwo Jima LORAN-C transmittermarker facility was transferred to Japan in 1993 and demolished in 1994.

Civilian access to the island is restricted to those attending memorial services for U.S. and Japanese fallen soldiers, construction workers for the naval air base, and meteorological agency officials. The Japanese troops stationed on the island register their residential addresses in Ayase, Kanagawamarker or Sayama, Saitama for voting, tax, and social security purposes. Officially, there is no population on the island.

U.S. nuclear arms base

Iwo Jima appears to be one of a number of Japanese islands which has been used by the United States to host nuclear arms, according to Robert S. Norris, William M. Arkin, and William Burr writing for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in early 2000.This is despite a Japanese policy of not allowing nuclear weapons on Japanese soil. Whether the site is currently used for this purpose is unknown, as great secrecy surrounds the United States’ siting of nuclear arms bases; but on December 12, 1999, U.S. Undersecretary for Defense Policy Walter Slocombe told The New York Times, “Our position is that there have been no violations of our obligations under the security treaty and related arrangements.”

Norris, Arkin and Burr concluded however:

There were nuclear weapons on Chichi Jimamarker and Iwo Jima (Iwo To), an enormous and varied nuclear arsenal on Okinawamarker, nuclear bombs (without their fission cores) stored on the mainland at Misawamarker and Itazukimarker airbases (and possibly at Atsugimarker, Iwakunimarker, Johnsonmarker, and Komaki airbases as well), and nuclear-armed U.S.
Navy ships stationed in Sasebo and Yokosuka.
[…] It is true that Chichi Jima, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa were under U.S. occupation, that the bombs stored on the mainland lacked their plutonium and/ or uranium cores, and that the nuclear-armed ships were a legal inch away from Japanese soil.
All in all, this elaborate stratagem maintained the technicality that the United States had no nuclear weapons “in Japan.”

Photo gallery

Image:MtSuribachi2.jpg|Mount Suribachi on Iwo JimaImage:Suribachi seen from the north end of the invasion_beach.jpg|Suribachi seen from the northern end of the invasion beachImage:Volcano crater on the backside of Mount Suribachi.jpg|Volcano crater on Mount SuribachiImage:View of Iwo Landing Beach from top of Suribachi.jpg|Invasion beach seen from the top of Mount Suribachi

See also


External links

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address