Tsushima) is an island of the Japanese
Archipelago situated in the middle of Korea Strait at 34°25'N and 129°20'E. It is the largest
island of Nagasaki
The city of Tsushima
encompasses the entire
Island is located west of the Kanmon Strait at a latitude between Honshū and Kyūshū of the
Japan's mainland. The Korea Strait splits at the Tsushima Island Archipelago into two
channels; the wider channel, also closer to the mainland of Japan,
is the Tsushima Strait.
, the two canals built in 1671 and
1900 respectively, connect the deep indentation of Asō Bay
to the east side of the island. The
comprises thirteen smaller
islets in addition to the main island.
is the closest Japanese territory to the Korean peninsula, lying approximately
50 km from Busan; on a clear
day, the hills and mountains of the Korean peninsula are visible
from the higher elevations on the two northern mountains.
The nearest Japanese port Iki
situated entirely in the Tsushima
, is also 50 km away. Tsushima Island and Iki Island contain the Iki–Tsushima
Quasi-National Park, designated as a nature preserve and
protected from further development.
Much of Tsushima, 89%,
is covered by natural vegetation and mountains.
The Japanese government
administers Tsushima Island as a single entity, although artificial
waterways have separated it into two islands connected by the
outlined by the Aso Bay.
northern area is known as Kamino-shima (上島), and the southern island as Shimono-shima (下島).
Both sub-islands have a pair of
mountains: Shimo-no-shima has Mount Yatate (矢立山), 649 m
(2,130 ft) high, and Ariake-yama (有明山), 558 m
(1,831 ft) high. Kami-no-shima has Mi-take (御嶽), 487 m
(1,598 ft). The two main sections of the island are now joined
by a combination bridge and causeway. The island has a total area
of 696.26 km2
A harbor on Tsushima Island
Tsushima has a marine subtropical
strongly influenced by the monsoon
winds. The average temperature is 15.5°C,
and the average yearly precipitation is 2,132.6 mm. The
highest temperature ever recorded on the island is 36.0°C, in 1966,
and the lowest –8.6°C, in 1895. Mostly throughout the year,
Tsushima is 1 – 2°C cooler than the city of Nagasaki
. The island's rainfall is
generally larger than that of the main islands of Japan, which is
attributed to the difference in their size. Because Tsushima is
small and isolated, it is exposed on all sides to moist marine air,
which releases precipitation as it ascends the island's steep
slopes. Continental monsoon winds carry loess (yellow sand) from China in the
spring and cool the island in the winter.
The rainy season
begins and ends later than other
areas in Nagasaki Prefecture, and Tsushima rarely suffers direct
hits by typhoons
According to a 2000 census, 23.9% of the local population is
employed in primary industries, while 19.7% and 56.4% of the
population are employed in secondary and tertiary industries,
respectively. Of these economic activities, fishing amounts to
82.6% of the primary industry, with much of it dedicated to
on the eastern coast of the
The number of employees in the primary industries has been
decreasing, while employee growth in the secondary and tertiary
industries has increased. Tourism, targeting mainly South Koreans
, has recently made a great
contribution to the islands' economy.
Airport serves the island.
Tsushima was one of the eight original islands created by the
Shinto deities Izanagi
. Archeological evidence suggests that
Tsushima was already inhabited by settlers from the Japanese
archipelago and Korean
peninsula from the Jōmon
period to the Kofun period.
According to the Sanguo Zhi
text, a thousand
families in Tsushima founded the Tsuikai kingdom (対海国). It was one
of the about 30 that composed the Yamataikoku
union countries. These families
exerted control over Iki
Island, and established trading links with Yayoi Japan.
Since Tsushima had almost
no land to cultivate, islanders earned their living by fishing and
Beginning in the early 6th century, Tsushima was a province of
Japan, known as Tsushima
Under the Ritsuryo system
became a province of Japan
province was linked with Dazaifu,
the political and economical center of Kyūshū, as well as
the central government of Japan.
Due to its strategic
location, Tsushima played a major role in defending Japan against
invasions from the Asian continent and developing trade lines with
Korea. After Baekje, which was helped by Japan, was defeated by
Silla and Tang Dynasty
forces at the
Battle of Hakusukinoe
Japanese border guards were sent to Tsushima, and Kaneda Castle was
constructed on the island.
Tsushima Province was controlled by the Tsushima no Kuni no miyatsuko
(対馬国造) until the
, and then by the Abiru
clan until the middle of the 13th century. The
role and title of "Governor of Tsushima" was exclusively held by
the Shōni clan for generations. However, since the Shōni actually
resided in Kyūshū, it was the Sō clan
known subjects of the Shōni, who actually exerted control over
these islands. The Sō clan governed Tsushima until the late 15th
Tsushima was an important trade center during this period.
Toi invasion, private trade started
between Goryeo, Tsushima,
Iki, and Kyūshū,
but halted during the Mongol
invasions of Japan between 1274 and 1281.
historian of the Goryeo dynasty, mentions that in 1274, an army of
Mongol troops that included many Korean soldiers killed a great
number of people on the islands.
Tsushima became one of the major bases of the Wokou
, Japanese pirates, also called wakō
along with the Iki and Matsuura
repeated pirate raids, the Goryeos and their successors, the
Joseons, at times placated the pirates by establishing
trade agreements, as well as negotiating with the Muromachi shogunate and its deputy in
Kyūshū, and at times used force to neutralize the pirates.
In 1389, General Park Wi
(朴威) of Goryeo
attempted to clear the island of Wokou pirates, but uprisings in
Korea forced him to return home.
On June 19, 1419, the recently-abdicated king Taejong of Joseon
ordered his trusted
general Yi Jong-mu
to make an expedition
to Tsushima and clear the island of the Wokou pirates, using a
fleet of 227 vessels and 17,000 soldiers. However the Joseon Army
soon retreat to their homeland and returned Tsushima to the
Japanese traders initiated an uprising against Joseon's stricter
policies on Japanese traders from Tsushima and Iki coming to
Busan, Ulsan and Jinhae to
The So Clan supported the uprising, but it was soon
crushed. The uprising was later came to be known as the
"Three-Ports incident" (삼포왜란, 三浦の乱). Trade resumed under the
direction of King Jungjong
1512, but only under strictly limited terms, and only twenty-five
ships were allowed to visit Joseon annually.
In the late 16th century, Japanese leader Toyotomi Hideyoshi
united the various
feudal lords (daimyo) under his command. Planning to unite all
factions with a common cause, Hideyoshi's coalition invaded
Dynasty Korea in an attack leading to the Seven-Year
Tsushima was the main naval base for this invasion,
and in continuing support of the war, large numbers of Korean
laborers were transported to Tsushima until 1603.
After Japan's attempts at conquest failed, peace was re-established
between the two nations. Once again, the islands became a port for
merchants. Both the Joseon Dynasty and the Tokugawa shogunate
sent their trading
representatives to Tsushima, governing trade until 1755.
The Imperial Russian Navy
tried to establish a base on the island in 1861, but the effort
failed due to British intervention. (See Tsushima Incident
As a result of the abolition
of the han system
, the Tsushima Fuchu domain became part of
Izuhara Prefecture in 1871. In the same year, Izuhara Prefecture was
merged with Imari Prefecture, which was renamed Saga
Tsushima was transferred to Nagasaki Prefecture in
1872, and its districts of Kamiagata (上県) and Shimoagata (下県) were
merged to form the modern city of Tsushima
. This change was part of
widespread reforms within Japan which started after 1854. Japan was
at this time becoming a modern nation state and regional power
, with widespread changes in
government, industry, and education.
First Sino-Japanese War
ended with the Treaty of
Shimonoseki, Japan felt humiliated when the Triple Intervention of the three great
powers of Germany, France, and Russia forced it to return the
Peninsula to China under threat of force.
Consequently, the Japanese leadership correctly anticipated that a
war with Russia or another Western imperial power was eventually
likely. Between 1895 and 1904, the Japanese navy blasted the
canal 25 m wide and
3 m deep, which was later expanded to 40 m wide and
4.5 m deep ( Nagasaki prefectural website
), through a
mountainous rocky isthmus of the island, between Aso Bay
to the west and Tsushima Strait to the east,
technically dividing the island into three islands ( topographical map
). Strategic concerns explain the
scope and funding of the canal project by Japan during an era when
it was still struggling to establish an industrial economy.
enabled the Japanese to move transports and warships quickly
between their main naval bases in the Inland Sea (directly to the east), via the Kanmon and Tsushima Strait, into the Korea Strait, or to destinations beyond in the Yellow Sea.
the Russo-Japanese War in 1905,
the Russian Baltic fleet under Admiral Rozhdestvensky, after making
an almost year-long trip to East Asia from the Baltic coast, was
crushed by the Japanese under Admiral Togo Heihachiro at the Battle of
The Japanese third squadron (cruisers)
began shadowing the Russian fleet off the tip of the south island,
and followed it through the Tsushima Strait where the main Japanese
fleet waited. The battle began at slightly east-northeast of the
northern island around midday, and ended to its north a day later
when the Japanese surrounded the Russian Fleet. The Battle of
Tsushima remains history's only sea battle fought by modern
Few battles in history have been so decisive.
the Korean War when the Korean People's Army approached the
coastal areas of South
Korea near Busan in August
1950, many prominent South Koreans took refuge in
In the 1973 one of the transmitters for the OMEGA
system was built on Tsushima. It was dismantled in 1998.
Tsushima is part of Nagasaki Prefecture of Japan.
On March 1, 2004, the six towns on
the island, including Izuhara, Mitsushima, Toyotama, Mine,
Kami-agata, and Kami-tsushima, were merged to create the city of
Notable people from Tsushima
- Ian Nish, A Short History of JAPAN, 1968, LoCCC#
68-16796, Fredrick A. Praeger, Inc., New York, 238 pp.
- : British Title and Publisher: The Story of Japan,
1968, Farber and Farber, Ltd.
- Edwin O Reischauer, Japan - The Story of a Nation,
1970, LoCCC# 77-10895 Afred A. Knopf, Inc., New York. 345 pp. plus
- :Previously published as Japan Past and Present, 4
- MaqQuest on Tsushima Island's coordinates.
- location of Tsushima.
- Asahi.com article on Tsushima
- Aerial view of the junction between the two islands of
- Water level view of the junction between the two
islands of Tsushima Island
- Meteorologic data in Izuhara (厳原), Tsushima by
Japan Meteorological Agency
- Meteorologic data in Izuhara (厳原), Tsushima by
Japan Meteorological Agency - most ~ 10th largest value on
- Meteorologic data in Nagasaki (長崎) by Japan
- BBC article on typhoons