Kikaijima (喜界島, also Kikai-ga-jima; Kikai: キャー Kyaa, Northern Ryukyuan: ききや Kikiya) is one of the Satsunan Islands, classed with the Amami archipelago between Kyūshū and Okinawa.[1]

The island, 56.93 square kilometres (21.98 sq mi) in area, has a population of approximately 7,657 persons. Administratively the island forms the town of Kikai, Kagoshima Prefecture. Much of the island is within the borders of the Amami Guntō Quasi-National Park.

Native name:
喜界島, Kikai-ga-jima

Nickname: Kyaa
Hyakunodai, Kikai
Hyakunodai, Kikaijima
Satsunan Islands
LocationEast China Sea
Coordinates28°19′35″N 129°58′27″E / 28.32639°N 129.97417°ECoordinates: 28°19′35″N 129°58′27″E / 28.32639°N 129.97417°E
ArchipelagoAmami Islands
Area56.93 km2 (21.98 sq mi)
Coastline48.6 km (30.2 mi)
Highest elevation214 m (702 ft)
PrefecturesKagoshima Prefecture
DistrictŌshima District
Population7,657 (2013)
Ethnic groupsJapanese


Kikaijima is isolated from the other Amami islands, and is located approximately 25 kilometres (13 nmi; 16 mi) east of Amami Ōshima and approximately 380 kilometres (210 nmi; 240 mi) south of the southern tip of Kyūshū. It is the easternmost island in the Amami chain. Compared with Amami Ōshima and Tokunoshima, Kikaijima is a relatively flat island, with its highest point at 214 metres (702 ft) above sea level. It is a raised coral island with limestone cliffs, and draws the attention of geologists as it is one of the fastest rising coral islands in the world.

The climate of Kikaijima is classified as has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with very warm summers and mild winters. The rainy season lasts from May through September. The island is subject to frequent typhoons.

Flora and fauna

Due it is relative isolation, Kikaijima is home to several rare species endemic to the island itself, or more generally to the Ryukyu archipelago. However, it is one of the few islands in the Amami chain to which the habu poisonous viper is not indigenous.


Although the Ryukyu Islands appeared in written history as Japan's southern frontier, the name of Kikaijima was not recorded in early years. The Nihongi ryaku (c. 11th–12th centuries) states that in 998 Dazaifu, the administrative center of Kyūshū ordered Kikajima (貴駕島) to arrest the Nanban (southern barbarians), who in the previous year had pillaged a wide area of western Kyūshū. The Nanban were identified as Amami islanders by the Shōyūki (982–1032 for the extant portion). Accordingly, it is assumed that Dazaifu had a stronghold in the Kikaijima concerned.[2]

The Shinsarugakuki, a fiction written by an aristocrat Fujiwara no Akihira in the mid-11th century, introduced a merchant named Hachirō-mauto, who traveled all the way to the land of the Fushū in the east and to Kika-no-shima (貴賀之島) in the west.[2]

Some articles of 1187 of the Azuma Kagami state that during the period of the Taira clan's rule, Ata Tadakage of Satsuma Province fled to Kikaijima (貴海島). The Azuma Kagami also states that in 1188 Minamoto no Yoritomo, who soon became shōgun, dispatched troops to pacify Kikaijima (貴賀井島). It was noted that the imperial court objected the military expedition claiming that it was beyond Japan's administration.[2]

The Tale of the Heike (13th century) depicted Kikaijima (鬼界島), where Shunkan, Taira no Yasuyori, and Fujiwara no Naritsune were exiled following the Shishigatani Incident of 1177.

Boats rarely passed, and people were scared. Residents were dark colored and their words were incomprehensible. Men did not wear eboshi, and women did not wear their hair down. There were no farmers or grain, not even clothing. In the center of the island was a tall mountain, and it was constantly in flames. Due to the large amounts of sulfur, the island was also known as Sulfur Island.[3]
— The Tale of the Heike

The island depicted, characterized by sulfur, is identified as Satsuma Iōjima of the Ōsumi Islands, which is part of Kikai Caldera.

There are some controversies over which Kikaijima described in these sources refers to. It may be the modern-day Kikaijima, Satsuma Iōjima or a collective name for the southern islands. From the late 10th century, Kikaijima was seen as the center of the southern islands by mainland Japan.[4] It is also noted by scholars that the character representing the first syllable of Kikai changed from "貴" (noble) to "鬼" (ghost) from the end of the 12th century to the early 13th century.

Archaeologically speaking, the Gusuku Site Complex, discovered in Kikaijima in 2006, rewrites the history of the Ryukyu Islands. The group of archaeological sites on the plateau is one of the largest sites of the Ryukyu Islands of the era. It lasted from 9th to 13th centuries and at its height from the second half of the 11th to the first half of the 12th century. It was characterized by a near-total absence of the native Kaneku Type pottery, which prevailed in coastal communities. What were found instead were goods imported from mainland Japan, China and Korea. Also found was the Kamuiyaki pottery, which was produced in Tokunoshima from the 11th to 14th centuries. The skewed distribution of Kamuiyaki peaked at Kikaijima and Tokunoshima suggests that the purpose of Kamuiyaki production was to serve it to Kikaijima. The Gusuku Site Complex supports the literature-based theory that Kikaijima was a trade center of the southern islands.[2]

In 1306, Chikama Tokiie, a deputy jitō of Kawanabe District, Satsuma Province on behalf of the Hōjō clan, the de facto ruler of the Kamakura shogunate, created a set of documents that specified properties to be inherited by his family members, which included Kikaijima, together with other islands of the Ōsumi, Tokara and Amami Islands.[5] After the fall of the Kamakura shogunate, the southern islands seem to have been transferred to the Shimazu clan. It claimed the jito of the Twelve Islands, which were limited to the Ōsumi and Tokara Islands. However, when Shimazu Sadahisa, the head of the clan, handed over Satsuma Province to his son Morohisa in 1363, he added the extra Five Islands as the territories to be succeeded, which seem to refer to the Amami Islands including Kikaijima.[6]

Kikaijima was conquered by the Ryūkyū Kingdom. The Haedong Jegukgi (1471), whose source was a Japanese monk visiting Korea in 1453, describes Kikaijima as a territory of Ryūkyū. An article of 1462 in the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty, which records an interview from a Jeju islander who had drifted to Okinawa in 1456, states that Kikaijima was resisting Ryūkyū's repeated invasions. According to the Chūzan Seikan (1650), King Shō Toku himself pacified Kikaijima in 1466, claiming that Kikaijima had not paid tribute for years.[7]

As a result of Satsuma Domain's conquest of the Ryūkyū Kingdom of 1609, Kikaijima fell under the direct control of Satsuma. After the Meiji Restoration it was incorporated into Ōsumi Province and later became part of Kagoshima Prefecture. Following World War II, although with the other Amami Islands, it was occupied by the United States until 1953, at which time it reverted to the control of Japan.


Kakaijima is connected by regular ferry service to Kagoshima, Amami-Oshima and various of the Amami islands.

Kikai Airport connects the island with Amami-Oshima and Kagoshima by air.


The economy of the island is based on agriculture (primarily sugar cane and citrus fruits) as well as commercial fishing. Seasonal tourism also plays a role in the local economy. Industry is limited to sugar refining and Shōchū production.

Strategic location

The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force maintains an important SIGINT station on the island, which includes a large Circularly Disposed Antenna Array. The station was opened in 2006, and is considered a vital component of the MSDF's JOSIS (JMSDF Ocean Surveillance Information System).[8]


The traditional local language, a Ryukyuan language known as Kikai or Kikai-Ryukyuan, is deemed endangered, with younger generations having only limited knowledge of it, or being monolingual in Japanese.[9][10]


  1. ^ Teikoku's Complete Atlas of Japan, Teikoku-Shoin Co., Ltd., Tokyo, ISBN 4-8071-0004-1
  2. ^ a b c d Takanashi Osamu 高梨修, Rettō nan'en ni okeru kyōkai ryōiki no yōsō 列島南縁における境界領域の様相, Kodai makki Nihon no kyōkai 古代末期・日本の境界, pp. 85–130, 2010
  3. ^ The Tales of the Heike. Translated by Burton Watson. Columbia University Press. 2006. p. 35. ISBN 9780231138031.
  4. ^ Takanashi Osamu 高梨修, Gusuku isekigun to Kikai-ga-shima 城久遺跡群とキカイガシマ, Nichiryū Bōeki no reimei 日琉交易の黎明, pp. 121–149, 2008
  5. ^ Murai Shōsuke 村井章介, Chūsei kokka no kyōkai to Ryūkyū, Emishi 中世国家の境界と琉球・蝦夷, Kyōkai no Nihon-shi 境界の日本史, pp. 106–137, 1997.
  6. ^ Nagayama Shūichi 永山修一, Kodai chūsei ni okeru Satsuma Nantō kan no kōryū 古代・中世における薩摩・南島間の交流, Kyōkai no Nihon-shi 境界の日本史, pp. 145–150, 1997.
  7. ^ Takahashi Ichirō 高橋一郎, Umi no Ko-Amami 海の古奄美, Nichiryū Bōeki no reimei 日琉交易の黎明, pp. 151–181, 2008.
  8. ^ Ball, Desmond; Tanter, Richard (21 January 2015). The Tools of Owatatsumi: Japan’s Ocean Surveillance and Coastal Defence Capabilities. Australia: ANU Press. p. 15. ISBN 9781925022261.
  9. ^ Endangered Languages Archive, SOAS, University of London
  10. ^ Ethnologue
  • Eldridge, Mark. The Return of the Amami Islands: The Reversion Movement and U.S.-Japan Relations. Levington Books (2004) ISBN 0739107100
  • Hellyer. Robert. Defining Engagement: Japan and Global Contexts, 1640-1868. Harvard University Press (2009) ISBN 0674035771
  • Turnbull, Stephen. The Most Daring Raid of the Samurai. Rosen Publishing Group (2011) ISBN 978-1-4488-1872-3

External links

Media related to Kikaijima at Wikimedia Commons

Administrative divisions of the Ryukyu Kingdom

The administrative divisions of the Ryukyu Kingdom were a hierarchy composed of districts, magiri, cities, villages, and islands established by the Ryukyu Kingdom throughout the Ryukyu Islands.

Amami Guntō National Park

Amami Guntō National Park (奄美群島国立公園, Amami Guntō Kokuritsu Kōen) is a national park in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. Established in 2017, the park comprises a land area of 42,181 ha (104,230 acres) and

a sea area of 33,082 ha (81,750 acres). The national park includes areas of these islands: Tokunoshima, Kikai, Amami, Yoron, Okinoerabujima, Uke Island, Kakeromajima and Yoroshima.

Amami Islands

The Amami Islands (奄美群島, Amami-guntō) is an archipelago in the Satsunan Islands, which is part of the Ryukyu Islands, and is southwest of Kyushu. Administratively, the group belongs to Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan and the Japan Coast Guard agreed on February 15, 2010, to use the name of Amami-guntō (奄美群島) for the Amami Islands. Prior to that, Amami-shotō (奄美諸島) was also used. The name of Amami is probably cognate with Amamikyu (阿摩美久), the goddess of creation in the Ryukyuan creation myth.

Amami Ōshima language

The Amami language or languages (島口, シマユムタ, Shimayumuta), also known as Amami Ōshima or simply Ōshima ('Big Island'), is a Ryukyuan language spoken in the Amami Islands south of Kyūshū. The southern variety of Setouchi township may be a distinct language more closely related to Okinawan than it is to northern Ōshima.

As Amami does not have recognition within Japan as a language, it is officially known as the Amami dialect (奄美方言, Amami Hōgen).

Battle of Amami-Ōshima

The Battle of Amami-Ōshima, also known as the Spy Ship Incident in the Southwest Sea of Kyūshū (九州南西海域工作船事件, kyūshū-nansei-kaiiki-kōsakusen-jiken), was a six-hour confrontation between the Japan Coast Guard and an armed North Korean vessel, which took place near the island of Amami Ōshima, in the East China Sea. The December 2001 encounter ended in the sinking of the North Korean vessel, which the Japanese authorities later announced was determined to have been a spy craft. The encounter took place outside Japanese territorial waters, but within the exclusive economic zone, an area extending 200 nautical miles (370 km; 230 mi) from Japanese land, within which Japan can claim exclusive rights to fishing and mineral resources.

Defense Intelligence Headquarters

The Defense Intelligence Headquarters (情報本部, Jōhōhonbu) is a signals intelligence agency of the Japanese government, under the jurisdiction of the Japanese Ministry of Defense. It is currently one of the biggest Japanese intelligence agencies, with its creation and structure modeled after the American Defense Intelligence Agency.

Kikai, Kagoshima

Not to be confused with Kikai Caldera, which is submerged in the Ōsumi Islands

Kikai (喜界町, Kikai-chō) is a town located on Kikaijima, in Ōshima District, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.

In June 2013 the town had an estimated population of 7,657 and a population density of 134 persons per km². The total area is 56.94 km². The economy of the town is based on sugar cane, shōchū refining and seasonal tourism.

Kikai Airport

Kikai Airport (喜界空港, Kikai Kūkō) (IATA: KKX, ICAO: RJKI), also known as Kikaijima Airport or Kikaiga Shima Airport, is located in Kikai, a town on Kikaijima (also known as Kikai Island, Kikaishima, Kikaigashima, etc.), one of the Amami Islands in the Kagoshima Prefecture of Japan.

Kikai language

The Kikai language (しまゆみた Shimayumita) is spoken on Kikai Island, Kagoshima Prefecture of southwestern Japan. It is debated whether it is a single dialect cluster. Regardless, all Kikai dialects are members of the Amami–Okinawan languages, which are part of the Japonic languages.

As Kikai does not have recognition within Japan as a language, it is officially known as the Kikai Island dialect (喜界島方言, Kikai-jima hōgen).

List of Medaka Box characters

Medaka Box (Japanese: めだかボックス, Hepburn: Medaka Bokkusu), a manga series written by Nisio Isin and illustrated by Akira Akatsuki, follows the efforts of Student Council President Medaka Kurokami, a young woman with extraordinary capabilities, as she works to improve Hakoniwa Academy, along with her closest friend, Zenkichi Hitoyoshi.Ch. 1 The Hokoniwa Academy population consists of several groups of students. The Specials are scholarship students whose abilities allow them to excel in a specific area. They include Student Council members Kouki Akune and Mogana Kikajima. The Abnormals are students who possess overwhelming capabilities such that they are dominated by that aspect; they are unable to relate to normal people, and typically have a superiority complex; Medaka herself is one of these. The antithesis to the Abnormals are Minuses; their abnormalities as destructive expressions of mental illnesses, chronic depression, being mentally shut off from the world, and possibly a complementary inferiority complex. The students who lack any special abilities are known as Normals.

List of Medaka Box episodes

Medaka Box (Japanese: めだかボックス, Hepburn: Medaka Bokkusu) is an anime series adapted from the manga of the same title by Nisio Isin and Akira Akatsuki. The series follows Medaka Kurokami, Zenkichi Hitoyoshi, Kouki Akune and Mogana Kikaijima, who are the members of the student council, during their various adventures to honor suggestions presented by academy members in order to better the academy. Produced by Gainax and directed by Shouji Saeki, the anime series premiered on TV Tokyo on April 5, 2012, and ran for 12 episodes. The anime has been licensed in North America by Sentai Filmworks, who will release the anime in both digital and home video formats. The opening theme is "Happy Crazy Box", performed by Minami Kuribayashi. The ending theme is "Ohanabatake ni Tsuretette" (お花畑に連れてって), performed by Medaka's voice actress Aki Toyosaki. A second season, titled Medaka Box Abnormal (めだかボックス アブノーマル, Medaka Bokkusu Abunōmaru), aired from October 11 to December 27, 2012. The opening theme, "Believe", is once again performed by Minami Kuribayashi for the first 11 episodes and "Want to be winner!" is performed by Megumi Ogata for the final episode. The ending theme for the first 11 episodes is "Shugoshin Paradox" (守護心PARADOX) by Aki Misato.

List of islands in the East China Sea

Islands in the East China Sea include:

Matsu Islands (29.61 km²)

Peikan (Beigan)

Kaoteng (Gaodeng)

Nankan (Nangan)

Tungyin (Dongyin)

Hsiyin (Xiyin)

Liang Island

Chukuang (Jyuguang)

Tungchu (Dongjyu, Dongquan)

Hsichu (Xijyu, Xiquan)


Ryukyu Islands (4,597.68 km²—Daitō Islands excluded)

Satsunan Islands

Ōsumi Islands:

Tanegashima, Yaku, Kuchinoerabu, Mageshima

Takeshima, Iōjima, Kuroshima

Tokara Islands: Kuchinoshima, Nakanoshima, Gajajima, Suwanosejima, Akusekijima, Tairajima, Kodakarajima, Takarajima

Amami Islands: Amami Ōshima, Kikaijima, Kakeromajima, Yoroshima, Ukeshima, Tokunoshima, Okinoerabujima, Yoronjima


Okinawa Islands: Okinawa Island, Kume, Iheya, Izena, Aguni, Ie (Iejima), Iwo Tori Shima (Iōtorishima)

Kerama Islands: Tokashiki, Zamami, Aka, Geruma

Sakishima Islands

Miyako Islands: Miyakojima, Ikema, Ōgami, Irabu, Shimoji, Kurima, Minna, Tarama

Yaeyama Islands: Iriomote, Ishigaki, Taketomi, Kohama, Kuroshima, Aragusuku, Hatoma, Yubujima, Hateruma, Yonaguni

Senkaku Islands (7 km²)

Uotsurijima, Kuba Jima, Taisho Jima, Kita Kojima, Minami Kojima, Oki-no-Kita-Iwa, Oki-no-Minami-Iwa, Tobise

Zhoushan Archipelago (1,440.12 km²)

Zhoushan Island

Daishan Island

Liuheng Island

Jintang Island

Zhujiajian Island

Qushan Island

Mount Putuo

Jeju Island (1,849 km²)


Pengjia Islet (1.14 km²)Total land area: 7,924.55 square kilometres

List of islands of Japan

Japan has 6,852 islands. Approximately 430 are inhabited. Japan is the largest island country in East Asia and the fourth largest island country in the world. Here's a list of islands of Japan.

Medaka Box

Medaka Box (Japanese: めだかボックス, Hepburn: Medaka Bokkusu) is a Japanese shōnen manga written by Nisio Isin and illustrated by Akira Akatsuki. The series follows Medaka Kurokami, Zenkichi Hitoyoshi, Kouki Akune and Mogana Kikaijima, who are the members of the student council, during their various adventures to honor suggestions presented by academy members in order to better the academy.

Medaka Box was serialized in the Japanese magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump, published by Shueisha between May 2009 and April 2013. As of February 2013, Shueisha has compiled its chapters into 22 bound volumes. It was adapted into an anime television series that aired between April 5 and June 21, 2012. A second season aired between October 11 and December 27, 2012.

Nakanoshima (Kagoshima)

Nakanoshima (中之島), is a volcanic island located in the Tokara Islands, part of the Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. It is the largest and most populous island of the islands in Toshima village. The island, 34.47 km² in area, had 167 inhabitants as of 2005.

The island has no airport, and access is normally by ferry to the city of Kagoshima on the mainland, seven hours away. The islanders are dependent mainly on agriculture, fishing and seasonal tourism. The island's attractions include hot springs, a lighthouse, an observatory and a museum of local history and folklore.

Ryukyuan languages

The Ryukyuan languages (琉球語派, Ryūkyū-goha, also 琉球諸語, Ryūkyū-shogo or 島言葉, Shima kutuba, lit. Island Speech) are the indigenous languages of the Ryukyu Islands, the southernmost part of the Japanese archipelago. Along with the Japanese language, they make up the Japonic language family. The languages are not mutually intelligible with each other. It is not known how many speakers of these languages remain, but language shift towards the use of Standard Japanese and dialects like Okinawan Japanese has resulted in these languages becoming endangered; UNESCO labels four of the languages "definitely endangered" and two others "severely endangered".

The Tale of the Heike

The Tale of the Heike (平家物語, Heike Monogatari) is an epic account compiled prior to 1330 of the struggle between the Taira clan and Minamoto clan for control of Japan at the end of the 12th century in the Genpei War (1180–1185). Heike (平家) refers to the Taira (平), hei being an alternate reading of the first kanji. Note that in the title of the Genpei War, "hei" is in this combination read as "pei" and the "gen" (源) is the first kanji used in the Minamoto (also known as "Genji") clan's name. The Tale of the Heike is often likened to a Japanese Iliad.

It has been translated into English at least five times, the first by Arthur Lindsay Sadler in 1918–1921. A complete translation in nearly 800 pages by Hiroshi Kitagawa & Bruce T. Tsuchida was published in 1975. Also translated by Helen McCullough in 1988. An abridged translation by Burton Watson was published in 2006. In 2012, Royall Tyler completed his translation, which seeks to be mindful of the performance style for which the work was originally intended.

It was famously retold in Japanese prose by historical novelist Eiji Yoshikawa, published in Asahi Weekly in 1950 with the title New Tale of the Heike (Shin Heike Monogatari).

Tokara horse

The Tokara (吐噶喇馬, Tokara-uma) (also known as the Kagoshima horse) is a Japanese horse native to the Tokara Islands, a group of islands in Kagoshima Prefecture at the southwestern tip of the island of Kyushu. Its height is about 100 to 120 centimetres (10 to 12 hands). Its coat color is predominantly seal brown. The Tokara has a good tolerance for heat and is used for agriculture, riding and sugar cane processing.

Ōshima Subprefecture (Kagoshima)

Ōshima Subprefecture (大島支庁, Ōshima-shichō) is a subprefecture of Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. The subprefectural office is located in Amami.

It includes the following municipalities on the Amami Islands:

Ōshima Subprefecture

Amami (city on Amami Ōshima)

Tatsugō (town on Amami Ōshima)

Yamato (village on Amami Ōshima)

Setouchi Office

Uken (village on Amami Ōshima)

Setouchi (town on Amami Ōshima, Kakeromajima, Yoroshima, Ukejima, and others)

Kikai Office

Kikai (town on Kikaijima)

Tokunoshima Office

Tokunoshima (town on Tokunoshima)

Amagi (town on Tokunoshima)

Isen (town on Tokunoshima)

Okinoerabu Office

Wadomari (town on Okinoerabujima)

China (town on Okinoerabujima)

Yoron (town on Yoronjima)



This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.