Iwo Jima
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LAST UPDATED 15/04/2008
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Iwo Jima (硫黄島 officially Iōtō) means Sulfur Island. It is an island of the Japanese Volcano Islands chain, which connects as the southern end of the Ogasawara Islands.

This island is located about 1200 kms south from mainland Tokyo and administered as a part of Ogasawara.

It is famous as the site of the February–March 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Japan during World War II, when the iconic photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima was taken.


First Iwo Jima Flag Raising. Small flag carried ashore by the 2d Battalion, 28th Marines is planted atop Mount Suribachi at 1020, 23 February 1945

Before World War II, Iwo Jima was administered (as it is today) by the prefectural government of Tokyo.

The island's economy relied mainly on sulfur mining, sugarcane farming, and fishing and because it was an island with poor economic prospect, Iwo Jima imported all rice and consumer goods from the Home Islands.

A census completed in June 1943 reported a population of 1018 people (533 males, 485 females) in 192 households. The island only consisted of a primary school, a shinto shrine, and a single police officer, which was serviced by a mail ship from Haha-jima once a month, as well as a Nippon Yusen ship once every couple of months.

The invasion of Iwo Jima began at 02:00 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 Detachment, was charged with the mission of capturing the airfields 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.

where to stay

Reissdorf: Flag raising on Iwo Jima, 17 December 2007

Ogasawara Village is the only village on the archipelago, so there are limited options in terms of accommodation, if any. If you are visiting a relative or friend here, then it is best to stay with them. Otherwise, you may ask around locals for any rooms renting out. Officially, there is no population on the island.

There is a naval air base here, so if you are, you would most likely have accommodation within the base. Civilian access to the island is restricted to those attending memorial services for American and Japanese fallen soldiers, construction workers for the naval air base, and meteorological agency officials.

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