Izena Island (伊是名島 Izena-jima) is located in the East China Sea, north-west of Okinawa Island, in the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. The island has a diameter of about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) and is surrounded by coral reefs, blue sea, and white beaches. It is administered as Izena Village. The five settlements of about equal size and population which are located on the island are Izena, Nakada, Shomi, Uchihana, and Jicchaku (also called Serikyaku).
Izena village was the birthplace of King Shō En (1415–1476), the first king of the Second Shō Dynasty of the Ryūkyū Kingdom. Shō Shishō (1402–1439), of the short lived Shō Dynasty, was also from the Izena Island. The worshiping rites of Agari Umai (“worship from afar”) and the ritual of welcoming of sea deities are observed in this island. Izena Island is also the birthplace of the contemporary artist Naka Bokunen and musician Irei Shunichi (伊禮俊一).
The island is also associated with the pottery and archaeological ruins found here of the Okinawa's pre-historic Jōmon period (c. 14,000 BC – c. 300 BC). The island has historic sites such as Izena Tamaudun Mausoleum, Izena Castle, a historical fortress built around in the 14th century, and a park which has bronze statue of King Shō En when he was known as Kanemeru.
|Native name: |
Aerial view of Izena Island
Izena Island in the Ryukyu Islands
|Area||15.44 km2 (5.96 sq mi)|
|Population||1,764 (January 31, 2008)|
|Pop. density||114 /km2 (295 /sq mi)|
Izena Island lies in the East China Sea, to the northwest of Okinawa Island, and southeast of Iheya Island. Noho Island lies off of Iheya Island's southern tip. Gushikawa Island and Cape Agarizaki lies between Iheya Island and Izena Island. Izena and Iheya are separated only by a narrow strait; the landscape of the two islands is alike with sugarcane fields and cattle farms.
The total area is 15.44 square kilometres (5.96 sq mi), and the peripheral sea coast line is 16 kilometres (9.9 mi). The island's topography features a series of mountains spanning from the northwest to the southeast of the island, with generally flat, arable land covering the remainder. The island has several white sandy beaches. Coral reefs form a lagoon or lake and are natural breakwaters. Izena's rocky southern coastline has rock formations such as 'Umi Gitara' and 'Agi Gitara', dramatically rising from the land and sea.
The island's settlement history goes back at least 3000 years. Archeological excavations have revealed many artifacts in the form of axes and knives made of stone and also pottery and human bones. The earliest recorded history is of five lineages lasting over 692 years in the period 1187 to 1879. The Second Shō Dynasty ruled between 1470 and 1879, with the first king, Shō En, born on this island. Artifacts related to the period of this dynasty are seen in the village of Izena. King Shō En not only applied for “recognition and investiture to enhance the prestige and authority of his family among his countrymen” but had also built an elegant tomb on a small hill and consecrated the remains of his parents; his sister was appointed the chief Noro in Iheya. Sho En showed great reverence to his father and to the predecessors belonging to the royalty of the First Shō Dynasty, whom he had replaced with the Shō Second Dynasty. After the Battle of Okinawa and subsequent to liberation day after World War II, two Americans were beheaded on Izena Island. USS Bush and USS Drexler were sunk by kamikaze aircraft to the northwest of the island on 6 April 1945 and 28 May 1945 respectively.
The island’s main economic activity is centered around agricultural farming, fisheries and commerce. In 2003, Izena village was declared a "Tourism Village". Naka Bokunen a well known woodblock artist of the village, also knowledgeable about its history and culture, has been assigned as a Tourism Ambassador and given the task of promoting tourism on the island. To promote environmental concerns and tourism, a tax called the “Izena Village Environmental Cooperation Tax”, a levy of 100 yen for every entry to the island, was introduced in 2005. Mozuke, a type of sea weed, is a major export; its production ranks third in Okinawa prefecture. It is harvested after a growth period of six months. The economy of the people is also sustained by tokobushi, a type of abalone; the process is being improved to offer a better yield. The total annual income of the villagers is reported to be 3.47 billion yen, giving a per capita income of 1.78 million yen per person, which is about the same as for the Okinawa Island.
Three most prominent monuments on the island are: Izena Tamaudun Mausoleum, the historical fortress of Izena Castle, and a park which has a bronze statue of King Shō En. Izena Tamaudun Mausoleum was built in 1501, during the reign of King Shō Shin, near the Izena Castle. In 1958, Okinawa Prefecture designated this as a Historical Site. The royal mausoleum is of Shō Shishō, his wife, and daughter (the father, mother, and sister of King Shō Hashi). Izena Castle is a Ryūkyūan gusuku built around the 14th century by Samekawa, son of the Yogura Chief of Iheya Island. It is built over a limestone outcrop about 100 metres (330 ft) above sea level on the south eastern side of the island. The fortress has three sides which are near vertical cliffs; the south, west and east faces of the fortress are rock cliffs, while the northern side provides entry to the castle through a series of steps cut into the hill. There are several chambers in the castle which are separated by walls, built with piled-up pieces of coral limestone, 3 metres (9.8 ft) in height. The chambers have many sacred relics such as utaki (holy enclosures of the Ryūkyūan religion) and also celadons, Sueki wares, and other important objects, which are also seen in other gusuku sites. There is a bronze statue of Kanemeru, Shō En's name before his reign, in the park which commemorates his birth in Izena. The tomb holds the remains of Kanemaru.
There is an ancient temple to God Asagi in Seriyaku settlement of Izena village. Festivals of harvest of rice, wheat, unzami and Shinigu and other products are held here. The temple is on the southern part of the island, which is built on four steel columns with a thatched roof of 5 metres (16 ft) square with eaves of 60 centimetres (24 in) height. The floor is made of mud and the temple belongs to the Tangible Race Cultural Heritage. A notable religious place in the island is the Akara utaki (meaning sacred place) which has two rocky boulders, named umi gitara (sea bluff) and agi gitara (land bluff). The word gitara is said to have originated from India. Ancestor worship is widely practiced which is a blend of Chinese and Korean beliefs locally adopted in which a mythical love story is linked to the two rocky bluffs of umi gitara and agi gitara said to represent the two lovers who died but made to live by god, as god wished it as if “gazing at each other from a close distance, they are forever in love.”
Popular sports in the island are soccer, volleyball, and soft tennis. The "IZENA 88" Triathlon is a regular event that is organized during October every year, in Izena village, with participants from Japan and other parts of the world.
Izena Island is accessible by the ferry New Izena, which makes two daily round trips between Nakada Port and Unten Port in Nakijin village, which is located north of Nago on Okinawa's main island. The ferry trip is approximately one hour in duration. There are no airports on the island; Naha Airport on the Okinawa Island offers the nearest air transport.
There are two schools on the island, the Izena Elementary School (151 students) and the Izena Junior High School (71 students), which are supported by the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program with an Assistant Teacher in English language. However, for High School the students of the Island go to Okinawa Island.
Bōken JAPAN! Kanjani8 MAP (冒険JAPAN! 関ジャニ∞MAP) was a Japanese TV show hosted by the members of the group Kanjani8 that aired every Sunday on TV Asahi from 09:30 AM to 10:00 AM. The show ran from April 4, 2010 to March 25, 2012 for a total of 96 episodes.Izena, Okinawa
Izena (伊是名村, Izena-son, Okinawan: Ijina, also known as Meejii (前地)) is a village occupying Izena Island in the north of Okinawa Prefecture, Japan (though administered as part of Shimajiri District). There are five localities of about equal size and population located on the island: Izena, Nakada, Shomi, Uchihana, and Jicchaku (also called Serikyaku).
Izena's primary claim to fame is that it was the birthplace of King Shō En, the first king of the Second Shō Dynasty. It is also the birthplace of the contemporary artist Naka Bokunen and musician Irei Shunichi (伊禮俊一).
As of October 2016, the island has an estimated population of 1,518 and a density of 98 persons per square kilometer. The total area is 15.42 km² (5.95 mi²).
The island is accessible by a ferry that makes two daily round trips between Nakada Port and Unten Port in Nakijin Village, which is located North of Nago on Okinawa's main island. The ferry trip takes approximately one hour. Izena also has an airfield, though daily service to the island by airplane was halted in 2007.
The island's topography features a row of mountains spanning from the northwest to the southeast of the island, with generally flat, arable land covering the remainder. The island has several sandy beaches and designated camping areas with bathroom facilities. The view of Izena's rocky southern coastline is well known as one of Japan's best, with the rock formations 'Umi Gitara' and 'Agi Gitara' dramatically rising from the land and sea.
Izena's main crops are sugar and the edible seaweed mozuku, but there are also several rice paddies, livestock farms, and a cattle breeding facility. From December through April, sugar is harvested and processed at a refinery on the island before being exported. There is an awamori distillery in Izena Village that produces several varieties of the beverage.
Commerce on the island is limited to a small grocery store, gas station, farmer's market, and building supply store that are operated by Japan's Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, several other independently owned convenience stores, restaurants, and bars in each of the island's 5 villages, and several hotels along the beach and in the island's center. There is a scuba diving shop in Nakada Village open in the summer that provides equipment and tours.
There are a kindergarten, junior high school and elementary school, all located near the center of the island and serving all five villages. After graduating from junior high school, students must move to mainland Okinawa if they wish to attend high school. In the sense that they no longer live together, the island's youth become independent from their parents at 15 years old. As of 2010, the average size of each grade is 20 students.
Izena Island hosts an annual triathlon, the Izena 88 (2 km swim + 66 km bike + 20 km run) in the Autumn, participation of which (in 2007) was numbered at around 830. There is also a kids' triathlon for island residents on the day preceding the main race.
Izena is one of only a handful of places in Okinawa that was not ravaged by American and Japanese military forces during World War II. Though bombing caused approximately 50 civilian deaths on Iheya Island, Izena's close neighbor to the North. When American Marines landed on Izena during the night of June 23, 1945, they encountered no hostile defenses or enemy combatants and left shortly thereafter.Izena Castle
Izena Castle (伊是名城, Izena-jo) is a Ryūkyūan gusuku on Izena Island. It was built around the 14th century by Samekawa, son of the Yogura Chief of Iheya Island. It is built over a limestone outcrop about 100 metres (330 ft) above sea level on the south eastern side of the island. The castle has three sides which are near vertical cliffs; the south, west and east faces of the castle are rock cliffs, while the northern side provides entry to the castle through a series of steps cut into the hill. There are several chambers in the castle which are separated by walls, built with piled-up pieces of Ryūkyūan limestone, 3 metres (9.8 ft) in height. The chambers have many sacred relics such as utaki (holy enclosures of the Ryūkyūan religion) and also celadons, Sueki wares, and other important objects, which are also seen in other gusuku sites. King Shō Shin built Izena Tamaudun near the castle.List of Historic Sites of Japan (Okinawa)
This list is of the Historic Sites of Japan located within the Prefecture of Okinawa. Much of the heritage of the Ryūkyū Kingdom and Islands was destroyed during the Battle of Okinawa. The mausoleum complex of Tamaudun, Shuri Castle, Katsuren Castle, Nakagusuku Castle, Nakijin Castle, Zakimi Castle, Sefa-utaki, and Sonohyan-utaki all form part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu.List of political and geographic subdivisions by total area (all)
This is one of a series of comprehensive lists of continents, countries, and first level administrative country subdivisions such as states, provinces, and territories, as well as certain political and geographic features of substantial area. Some divisions are listed twice, with one listing including territory that is excluded in the other for various reasons, including territorial disputes. Names of currently existing countries are bolded, while names of geographic features are italicized. There is intentional overlap between the lists in order to maximize ease of use.
== See also ==
200,000+ square kilometers • 100,000 to 1,000,000 square kilometers • 50,000 to 200,000 square kilometers • 20,000 to 50,000 square kilometers
5,000 to 20,000 square kilometers • 1,000 to 5,000 square kilometers • 0.1 to 1,000 square kilometersSmaller divisions
1,000,000+ square kilometers • 500,000 to 1,000,000 square kilometers • 200,000 to 500,000 square kilometers • 100,000 to 200,000 square kilometers
50,000 to 100,000 square kilometers • 30,000 to 50,000 square kilometers • 20,000 to 30,000 square kilometers • 10,000 to 20,000 square kilometers
7,000 to 10,000 square kilometers • 5,000 to 7,000 square kilometers • 3,000 to 5,000 square kilometers • 1,000 to 3,000 square kilometers
250 to 1,000 square kilometers • 0.1 to 250 square kilometersOther
List of countries and dependencies by area
List of largest empires
List of administrative divisions by country
Category:Ranked lists of country subdivisions
== References ==List of political and geographic subdivisions by total area from 0.1 to 1,000 square kilometers
This is one of a series of comprehensive lists of continents, countries, and first level administrative country subdivisions such as states, provinces, and territories, as well as certain political and geographic features of substantial area. Some divisions are listed twice, with one listing including territory that is excluded in the other for various reasons, including territorial disputes. Names of currently existing countries are bolded, while names of geographic features are italicized. There is intentional overlap between the lists in order to maximize ease of use.List of political and geographic subdivisions by total area from 0.1 to 250 square kilometers
This is one of a series of comprehensive lists of continents, countries, and first level administrative country subdivisions such as states, provinces, and territories, as well as certain political and geographic features of substantial area. Some divisions are listed twice, with one listing including territory that is excluded in the other for various reasons, including territorial disputes. Names of currently existing countries are bolded, while names of geographic features are italicized. There is intentional overlap between the lists in order to maximize ease of use.Okinawa Islands
The Okinawa Islands (沖縄諸島, Okinawa Shotō) (Okinawan: Uchinaa, informally Churaashima "beautiful island", Kunigami: Fuchinaa) are an island group in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, and are the principal island group of the prefecture. The Okinawa Islands are part of the larger Ryukyu Islands group, and are located between the Amami Islands of Kagoshima Prefecture to the northeast and the Sakishima Islands of Okinawa Prefecture to the southwest.The Okinawa Islands, apart from the main island, contain three smaller island groups: the Kerama, Yokatsu, and Iheya-Izena island groups.The Okinawa Islands are the political, cultural and population center of Okinawa Prefecture. The prefectural capital of Naha is within the island group. 90% of the population of the prefecture reside within the Okinawa Islands, primarily on the largest island of the group, Okinawa Island. Access to the various Okinawa Islands is primarily via small airports which connect to Naha Airport. Additionally, the islands are connected via ferry service to the Port of Naha in the prefectural capital.The Okinawa Islands are within the subtropical climate zone, which supports the production of sugarcane, pineapples and cut flowers. The military bases of the United States in Okinawa Prefecture are located on the Okinawa Islands.Historically the rule of the Ryukyu Kingdom, centered on Okinawa Island, consolidated the Okinawa Islands before spreading south to the Miyako and Yaeyama Islands and north to Amami Ōshima.Second Shō Dynasty
The Second Shō Dynasty (第二尚氏王朝) was a royal house which ruled the Ryukyu Kingdom after the First Shō Dynasty, reigning from 1470 until the abdication of King Shō Tai in 1879.
The ancestors of the Second Shō Dynasty came from Izena Island, a small island which lies off the northwestern coast of Okinawa Island. Shō En traveled to Shuri in 1441, and became a retainer of Prince Shō Taikyū. He was appointed as the treasurer after Shō Taikyū became the king. Shō En ascended to the throne after a coup d'état in 1469, and he claimed to be the crown prince of Shō Taikyū, which resulted in his reign being accepted by the Ming Dynasty in 1471.Shō En
Shō En (尚圓)(1415–1476, r. 1470–1476) was a king of the Ryukyu Kingdom, the founder of the Second Shō Dynasty. Prior to becoming king, he was known as Kanamaru Uchima (内間金丸).Shō Sen'i
Shō Sen'i (尚 宣威, Shō Sen'i, 1430–1477; r. 1477 (only six months)) was a king of the Ryukyu Kingdom, the second of the line of the Second Shō Dynasty. He ruled for only six months after his elder brother Shō En died, and was forced to abdicate to his nephew, Shō Shin.
Shō Sen'i was named Prince of Goeku (越来王子) after his abdication, and given Goeku magiri (today part of Okinawa City) as his domain, but died in the same year. It has been suggested that he was murdered by the empress dowager Ukiyaka (宇喜也嘉).Shō Shoku
Shō Shoku (尚 稷, ? – 1434) was father of King Shō En, the founder of the Second Shō Dynasty of Ryukyu Kingdom.
Shō Shoku was born into a family of peasant farmers on Izena Island, a small island which lies off the northwestern coast of Okinawa Island. He married Zuiun (瑞雲), and had a daughter and two sons: Abu-ganashi (阿武加那志), Shō En, and Shō Sen'i.
Shō Shoku and his wife died when their offsprings were young. He was posthumously honored as king in 1699, and his spirit tablet was placed in Sōgen-ji. His title was stripped in 1719, and his spirit tablet was moved to Tennō-ji.