Kuril Islands

The Kuril Islands or Kurile Islands (/ˈkʊərɪl, ˈkjʊərɪl, kjʊˈriːl/; Russian: Кури́льские острова́, tr. Kurilskiye ostrova, IPA: [kʊˈrʲilʲskʲɪjə ɐstrɐˈva] or островá Тисима; Japanese: Kuriru rettō (クリル列島, "Kuril Islands") or Chishima rettō (千島列島, "Chishima Islands")), in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately 1,300 km (810 mi) northeast from Hokkaido, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the north Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many minor rocks. It consists of Greater Kuril Chain and Lesser Kuril Chain.[1] The total land area is 10,503.2 square kilometres (4,055.3 sq mi)[2] and the total population is 19,434.[3]

All the islands are under Russian jurisdiction. Japan claims the four southernmost islands, including two of the largest (Iturup and Kunashir) as part of its territory, as well as Shikotan and the Habomai islets, which has led to the ongoing Kuril Islands dispute. The disputed islands are known in Japan as the country's "Northern Territories".[4] In 2018 Russo-Japanese talks on reunification of islands with Japan resumed.[5]

Kuril Islands
Disputed islands
Native name: Курильские острова
千島列島
Sea of Okhotsk map
Location of the Kuril Islands in the Western Pacific between Japan and the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia
Geography
LocationPacific Ocean
Coordinates46°30′N 151°30′E / 46.500°N 151.500°ECoordinates: 46°30′N 151°30′E / 46.500°N 151.500°E
Total islands56
Area10,503.2 km2 (2,595,400 acres; 4,055.3 sq mi)
Length1,150 km (715 miles)
Highest point
  • Alaid
  • 2,339 metres (7,674 ft)
Administered by
Russia
DistrictsSevero-Kurilsky, Kurilsky and Yuzhno-Kurilsky Districts (Sakhalin Oblast)
Claimed by
Russia
DistrictsSevero-Kurilsky, Kurilsky and Yuzhno-Kurilsky Districts (Sakhalin Oblast)
Japan
SubprefectureNemuro Subprefecture (Hokkaido) (partial claim, southernmost islands)
Demographics
Population19,434 (as of 2010)
Matua
Matua Island as seen from Raikoke.

Etymology

Sarychev Volcano edit
The Sarychev volcano erupting on June 12, 2009, as seen from the International Space Station.

The name Kuril originates from the autonym of the aboriginal Ainu, the islands' original inhabitants: "kur", meaning man. It may also be related to names for other islands that have traditionally been inhabited by the Ainu people, such as Kuyi or Kuye for Sakhalin and Kai for Hokkaidō. In Japanese, the Kuril Islands are known as the Chishima Islands (Kanji: 千島列島 Chishima Rettō pronounced [tɕi̥ɕima ɾettoː], literally, Thousand Islands Archipelago), also known as the Kuriru Islands (Katakana: クリル列島 Kuriru Rettō [kɯɾiɾɯ ɾettoː], literally, Kuril Archipelago). Once the Russians reached the islands in the 18th century they found a pseudo-etymology from Russian kurit' ("курить" – "to smoke") due to the continual fumes and steam above the islands from volcanoes.

Geography

Demis-kurils-russian names
The Kuril Islands, showing the de facto division between Japan and Russia over time.

The Kuril Islands form part of the ring of tectonic instability encircling the Pacific Ocean referred to as the Ring of Fire. The islands themselves are summits of stratovolcanoes that are a direct result of the subduction of the Pacific Plate under the Okhotsk Plate, which forms the Kuril Trench some 200 kilometres (120 mi) east of the islands. The chain has around 100 volcanoes, some 40 of which are active, and many hot springs and fumaroles. There is frequent seismic activity, including a magnitude 8.5 earthquake in 1963 and one of magnitude 8.3 recorded on November 15, 2006, which resulted in tsunami waves up to 1.5 metres (5 ft) reaching the California coast.[6]

The climate on the islands is generally severe, with long, cold, stormy winters and short and notoriously foggy summers. The average annual precipitation is 30–40 inches (760–1,020 mm), most of which falls as snow.

The chain ranges from temperate to sub-Arctic climate types, and the vegetative cover consequently ranges from tundra in the north to dense spruce and larch forests on the larger southern islands. The highest elevations on the islands are Alaid volcano (highest point: 2,339 m or 7,674 ft) on Atlasov Island at the northern end of the chain and Tyatya volcano (1,819 m or 5,968 ft) on Kunashir Island at the southern end.

Kuril Island
One of the Kuril Islands
Yankicha
Caldera of the island Ushishir

Landscape types and habitats on the islands include many kinds of beach and rocky shores, cliffs, wide rivers and fast gravelly streams, forests, grasslands, alpine tundra, crater lakes and peat bogs. The soils are generally productive, owing to the periodic influxes of volcanic ash and, in certain places, owing to significant enrichment by seabird guano. However, many of the steep, unconsolidated slopes are susceptible to landslides and newer volcanic activity can entirely denude a landscape. Only the southernmost island has large areas covered by trees, while more northerly islands have no trees, or spotty tree cover.

Ecology

Marine

Owing to their location along the Pacific shelf edge and the confluence of Okhotsk Sea gyre and the southward Oyashio Current, the Kuril islands are surrounded by waters that are among the most productive in the North Pacific, supporting a wide range and high abundance of marine life.

Invertebrates: Extensive kelp beds surrounding almost every island provide crucial habitat for sea urchins, various mollusks and countless other invertebrates and their associated predators. Many species of squid provide a principal component of the diet of many of the smaller marine mammals and birds along the chain.

Fish: Further offshore, walleye pollock, Pacific cod, several species of flatfish are of the greatest commercial importance. During the 1980s, migratory Japanese sardine was one of the most abundant fish in the summer and the main pinnipeds were a significant object of harvest for the indigenous populations of the Kuril islands, both for food and materials such as skin and bone. The long term fluctuations in the range and distribution of human settlements along the Kuril island presumably tracked the pinniped ranges. In historical times, fur seals were heavily exploited for their fur in the 19th and early 20th centuries and several of the largest reproductive rookeries, as on Raykoke island, were extirpated. In contrast, commercial harvest of the true seals and Steller sea lions has been relatively insignificant on the Kuril islands proper. Since the 1960s there has been essentially no additional harvest and the pinniped populations in the Kuril islands appear to be fairly healthy and in some cases expanding. The notable exception is the now extinct Japanese sea lion which was known to occasionally haul out on the Kuril islands.

Sea otters were exploited very heavily for their pelts in the 19th century. Indeed, as shown by 19th and 20th century whaling catch and sighting records.[7]

Seabirds: The Kuril islands are home to many millions of seabirds, including northern fulmars, tufted puffins, murres, kittiwakes, guillemots, auklets, petrels, gulls and cormorants. On many of the smaller islands in summer, where terrestrial predators are absent, virtually every possibly hummock, cliff niche or underneath of boulder is occupied by a nesting bird.

Terrestrial

The composition of terrestrial species on the Kuril islands is dominated by Asian mainland taxa via migration from Hokkaido and Sakhalin Islands and by Kamchatkan taxa from the North. While highly diverse, there is a relatively low level of endemism.

The WWF divides the Kuril Islands into two ecoregions. The southern Kurils, along with southwestern Sakhalin, comprise the South Sakhalin-Kurile mixed forests ecoregion. The northern islands are part of the Kamchatka-Kurile meadows sparse forests, a larger ecoregion that extends onto the Kamchatka peninsula and Commander Islands.

Because of the generally smaller size and isolation of the central islands, few major terrestrial mammals have colonized these, though red and Arctic foxes were introduced for the sake of the fur trade in the 1880s. The bulk of the terrestrial mammal biomass is taken up by rodents, many introduced in historical times. The largest southernmost and northernmost islands are inhabited by brown bear, foxes, and martens. Some species of deer are found on the more southerly islands. It is claimed that a wild cat, the Kurilian Bobtail, originates from the Kuril Islands. The bobtail is due to the mutation of a dominant gene. The cat has been domesticated and exported to nearby Russia and bred there, becoming a popular domestic cat.

Among terrestrial birds, ravens, peregrine falcons, some wrens and wagtails are common.

History

Kuril Ainu dwelling
Kuril Ainu people next to their traditional dwelling.
Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie spiegelretourschip Amsterdam replica
Replica of an East Indiaman of the Dutch East India Company/United East India Company (VOC). In 1643 the VOC's navigator Maarten Gerritsz Vries became the first recorded European to explore and map Vries Strait.

The Ainu people were early inhabitants of Kuril Islands, although there are few records that predate the 17th century. The Japanese administration first took nominal control of the islands in the Edo period of Japan, in the form of claims by the Matsumae clan. It is claimed that the Japanese knew of the northern islands 370 years ago.[8] On the Shōhō Era Map of Japan (Shōhō kuni ezu (正保国絵図)), a map of Japan made by the Tokugawa shogunate in 1644, there are 39 large and small islands shown northeast of the Shiretoko Peninsula and Cape Nosappu.

Choka seems to have been the Ainu name for Paramushir and its neighbouring islands. Then Rakkoshima ("sea-otter isles") extended from Onnekotan to Simushir. Urup, Iturup and Kunashir are the three southern islands.

In 1811, Russian Captain Vasily Golovnin and his crew, who stopped at Kunashir during their hydrographic survey, were captured by retainers of the Nambu clan, and sent to the Matsumae authorities. Because a Japanese trader, Takadaya Kahei, was also captured by Petr Rikord, Captain of a Russian vessel near Kunashir in 1812, Japan and Russia entered into negotiations to establish the border between the two countries.

American whaleships caught right whales off the islands between 1847 and 1892.[9] Three of the ships were wrecked on the islands: two on Urup in 1855[10][11] and one on Makanrushi in 1856.[12] In September 1892, the bark Cape Horn Pigeon, of New Bedford, was seized by a Russian schooner north of Kunashir Island and escorted to Vladivostok, where it was detained for nearly two weeks.[13]

The Treaty of Commerce, Navigation and Delimitation was concluded in 1855, and the border was established between Iturup and Urup. This border confirmed that Japanese territory stretched south from Iturup and Russian territory stretched north of Urup. Sakhalin remained a place where people from both countries could live. The Treaty of Saint Petersburg in 1875 resulted in Japan relinquishing all rights over Sakhalin in exchange for Russia ceding all of the Kuril Islands south of Kamchatka.

During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, Gunji, a retired Japanese military man and local settler in Shumshu, led an invading party to the Kamchatka coast. Russia sent reinforcements to the area to capture and inter this group. After the war was over, Japan received fishing rights in Russian waters as part of the Russo-Japanese Fisheries Agreement until 1945.

During their armed intervention in Siberia 1918–1925, Japanese forces from the northern Kurils, along with United States and European forces, occupied southern Kamchatka. Japanese vessels made naval strikes against Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

The Soviet Union conquered South Sakhalin and the Kuril islands at the end of World War II. Japan maintains a claim to the four southernmost islands of Kunashir, Iturup, Shikotan, and the Habomai rocks, together called the Northern Territories (see Kuril Islands dispute).

Japanese administration

Map of Chishima by Gisuke Sasamori
A map of Kuril Islands from Gisuke Sasamori's 1893 book Chishima Tanken
Shana Village in Etorofu Island
Shana Village in Etorofu (Shōwa period). There's a village hospital in the front, a factory in the left back with a fishery and a central radio tower (before 1945).

In 1869, the Meiji government established the Colonization Commission in Sapporo to aid in the development of the northern area. Ezo was renamed Hokkaidō and Kita Ezo later received the name of Karafuto. Eleven provinces and 86 districts were founded by Meiji government and were put under the control of feudal clans. Because the Meiji government could not sufficiently cope with Russians moving to south Sakhalin, Japan negotiated with Russia over control of the Kuril Islands, resulting in the Treaty of Saint Petersburg that ceded the eighteen islands north of Uruppu to Japan and all of Sakhalin to Russia.

Road networks and post offices were established on Kunashiri and Etorofu. Life on the islands became more stable when a regular sea route connecting islands with Hokkaidō was opened and a telegraphic system began. At the end of the Taishō period, towns and villages were organized in the northern territories and village offices were established on each island. The Habomai island towns were all part of Habomai Village for example. In other cases the town and village system was not adopted on islands north of Uruppu, which were under direct control of the Nemuro Subprefectural office of the Hokkaidō government.

Each village had a district forestry system, a marine product examination center, salmon hatchery, post office, police station, elementary school, Shinto temple, and other public facilities. In 1930, 8,300 people lived on Kunashiri island and 6,000 on Etorofu island, and most of them were engaged in coastal and high sea fishing.

World War II

  • Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto ordered the meeting of the Imperial Japanese Navy strike force for the Hawaii Operation attack on Pearl Harbor in Tankan or Hitokappu Bay, Iturup Island, South Kurils. The territory was chosen for its sparse population, lack of foreigners, and constant fog coverage. The Admiral ordered the move to Hawaii on the morning of 26 November.
  • On 10 July 1943 the first bombardment against the Shumshu and Paramushir Japanese bases by American forces occurred. From Alexai airfield 8 B-25 Mitchells from the 77th Bombardment Squadron took off, led by Capt James L. Hudelson. This mission principally struck Paramushir.
  • Another mission was flown during 11 September 1943 when the Eleventh Air Force dispatched eight B-24 Liberators and 12 B-25s. But now the Japanese were alert and reinforced their defenses. 74 crew members in three B-24s and seven B-25 failed to return. Twenty two men were killed in action, one taken prisoner and 51 interned in Kamchatka, Russia.
  • The Eleventh Air Force implemented other bombing missions against the northern Kurils including a strike by six B-24s from the 404th Bombardment Squadron and 16 P-38s from the 54th Fighter Squadron on 5 February 1944.
  • Japanese sources report that the Matsuwa military installations were subject to American air strikes between 1943–44.
  • The Americans' "Operation Wedlock", diverted Japanese attention north and misled them about U.S. strategy in the Pacific. The plan included air strikes by the USAAF and U.S. Navy bombers which included U.S. Navy shore bombardment and submarine operations. The Japanese increased their garrison in the north Kurils from 8,000 in 1943 to 41,000 in 1944 and maintained more than 400 aircraft in the Kurils and Hokkaidō area in anticipation that the Americans might invade from Alaska.
  • American planners had briefly contemplated an invasion of northern Japan from the Aleutian Islands during the autumn of 1943 but rejected that idea as too risky and impractical. They considered the use of Boeing B-29 Superfortresses, on Amchitka and Shemya bases, but rejected the idea. The U.S. military maintained interest in these plans when they ordered the expansion of bases in the western Aleutians, and major construction began on Shemya. In 1945, plans were shelved for a possible invasion of Japan via the northern route.
  • Between 18 August and 31 August 1945 Soviet forces invaded the North and South Kurils. The entire Japanese civilian population of roughly 17,000 was expelled by 1946.
  • Between 24 August and 4 September 1945 the Eleventh Air Force of the United States Army Air Forces sent two B-24s on reconnaissance missions over the North Kuril Islands with intention to take photos of the Soviet occupation in the area. Soviet fighters intercepted and forced them away, a foretaste of the Cold War that lay ahead.
214 1426 Sev Kur main street wiki
Severo-Kurilsk, Paramushir

Russian administration

Current situation

Шикотан 008
Main village in Shikotan
Kunashir hram
Russian Orthodox church, Kunashir
Yuzhno-Kurilsk anchor
Yuzhno-Kurilsk, Kunashir

As of 2013, 19,434 people inhabited the Kuril Islands. These include ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Tatars, Nivkhs, Oroch, and Ainus. Russian Orthodoxy and Islam are the only religions with significant following among the population. Some of the villages are permanently manned by Russian soldiers (especially in Kunashir following recent tensions). Others are inhabited by civilians, which are mostly fishermen, workers of the fish factories, dockers, and social sphere workers (policemen, medics, teachers, etc.). Recent construction works on the islands attracts a lot of migrant workers from the rest of Russia and former USSR. As of 2014, there were only 8 inhabited islands out of a total of 56. Iturup Island is over 60% ethnically Ukrainian.[4] On 8 February 2017 the Russian government gave names to five previously unnamed Kuril islands in Sakhalin Oblast: Derevyanko Island (after Kuzma Derevyanko, 43°22′8″N 146°1′3″E / 43.36889°N 146.01750°E), Gnechko Island (after Alexey Gnechko, 43°48′5″N 146°52′1″E / 43.80139°N 146.86694°E), Gromyko Island (after Andrei Gromyko, 46°14′1″N 150°36′1″E / 46.23361°N 150.60028°E), Farkhutdinov Island (after Igor Farkhutdinov, 43°48′5″N 146°53′2″E / 43.80139°N 146.88389°E) and Shchetinina Island (after Anna Shchetinina, 46°13′7″N 150°34′6″E / 46.21861°N 150.56833°E).[14]

Economy

Fishing is the primary occupation. The islands have strategic and economic value, in terms of fisheries and also mineral deposits of pyrite, sulfur, and various polymetallic ores. There are hopes that oil exploration will provide an economic boost to the islands.[15]

The economic rise of the Russian Federation has been seen on the Kurils too. The most visible sign of improvement is the new construction in infrastructure. In 2014, construction workers built a pier and a breakwater in Kitovy Bay, central Iturup, where barges are a major means of transport, sailing between the cove and ships anchored offshore. A new road has been carved through the woods near Kurilsk, the island's biggest village, going to the site of Yuzhno-Kurilsk Mendeleyevo Airport.[16]

Gidrostroy, the Kurils' biggest business group with interests in fishing, construction and real estate, built its second fish processing factory on Iturup island in 2006, introducing a state-of-the-art conveyor system.

To deal with a rise in the demand of electricity, the local government is also upgrading a state-run geothermal power plant at Mount Baransky, an active volcano, where steam and hot water can be found.[17]

Military

The main Russian force stationed on the islands is the 18th Machine Gun Artillery Division, which has its headquarters in Goryachiye Klyuchi on Iturup Island. There are also Border Guard Service troops stationed on the islands. In February 2011, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called for substantial reinforcements of the Kuril Islands defences. In 2015 anti-aircraft missile systems 'Tor', 'BUK' missile systems, coastal defence missile systems 'Bastion', combat helicopters Ka-52 'Alligator' and 1 'Varshavyanka' project submarine came on defence of Kuril Islands.[18]

Atlasov Island

Atlasov island
Atlasov Island — northernmost and highest island of the Kurils, viewed from space (southwest-up image)

The northernmost, Atlasov Island (Oyakoba in Japanese), is an almost perfect volcanic cone rising sheer out of the sea; it has been praised by the Japanese in haiku, wood-block prints, and other forms, in much the same way as the better-known Mt. Fuji.

List of main islands

Signalny Rock
Signalny Rock, viewed from Cape Nosappu, Japan

While in Russian sources the islands are mentioned for the first time in 1646, the earliest detailed information about them was provided by the explorer Vladimir Atlasov in 1697. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, the Kuril Islands were explored by Danila Antsiferov, I. Kozyrevsky, Ivan Yevreinov, Fyodor Luzhin, Martin Shpanberg, Adam Johann von Krusenstern, Vasily Golovnin, and Henry James Snow.

The following table lists information on the main islands from north to south:

Island Russian: Name Japanese: Name Alternative
names
Island Group Capital / Landing point Other
Cities
Area 
(km2)
Population
Severo-Kurilsky District North Kurils North Kurils ('"`UNIQ--templatestyles-0000002A-QINU`"'北千島(きたちしま)) Severo-Kurilsk Shelikovo, Podgorny, Baikovo 3,504.00 2,560
Shumshu Шумшу 占守島しゅむしゅとう Shumushu North Kurils Baikovo 388.0 20
Atlasov Атласова 阿頼度島あらいどとう Oyakoba, Araido North Kurils Alaidskaya Bay 150.0 0
Paramushir Парамушир 幌筵島ぱらむしるとう Paramushiru, Horomushiro North Kurils Severo-Kurilsk Shelikovo, Podgorny 2,053.0 2,540
Antsiferov Анциферова 志林規島しりんきとう Shirinki North Kurils Antsiferov beach Cape Terkut 7.0 0
Makanrushi Маканруши 磨勘留島|まかんるとう{{{2}}} Makanru North Kurils Zakat 50.0 0
Awos Авось 帆掛岩 Hokake, Hainoko North Kurils 0.1 0
Onekotan Онекотан 温禰古丹島おんねこたんとう North Kurils Mussel Kuroisi, Nemo, Shestakov 425.0 0
Kharimkotan Харимкотан 志林規島しりんきとう春牟古丹島 Harimukotan, Harumukotan North Kurils Sunazhma Severgin Bay 70.0 0
Ekarma Экарма 越渇磨島 Ekaruma North Kurils Kruglyy 30.0 0
Chirinkotan Чиринкотан 知林古丹島 North Kurils Cape Ptichy 6.0 0
Shiashkotan Шиашкотан 捨子古丹島 Shasukotan North Kurils Makarovka 122.0 0
Lowuschki Rocks Ловушки 牟知列岩 Mushiru North Kurils 1,5 0
Raikoke Райкоке 雷公計島 North Kurils Raikoke 4.6 0
Matua Матуа 松輪島 Matsuwa North Kurils Sarychevo 52.0 0
Rasshua Расшуа 羅処和島 Rashowa, Rasutsua North Kurils Arches Point 67.0 0
Srednego Среднего 摺手岩 Suride North Kurils 0
Ushishir Ушишир 宇志知島 Ushishiru North Kurils Kraternya Ryponkicha 5.0 0
Ketoy Кетой 計吐夷島 Ketoi North Kurils Storozheva 73.0 0
Kurilsky District Middle Kurils (Naka-chishima / 中千島) split between both Japanese groups Kurilsk Reidovo, Kitovyi, Rybaki, Goryachiye Klyuchi, Kasatka, Burevestnik, Shumi-Gorodok, Gornyy 5,138.4 6,606
Simushir Симушир 新知島 Shimushiru, Shinshiru North Kurils Kraternyy Srednaya bay 360.0 0
Broutona Броутона 武魯頓島 Buroton, Makanruru North Kurils Nedostupnyy 7.0 0
Chirpoy Чирпой 知理保以島 Chirihoi, Chierupoi North Kurils Peschanaya Bay 21.0 0
Brat Chirpoyev Брат Чирпоев 知理保以南島 Chirihoinan North Kurils Garovnikova Semenova 16.0 0
Urup Уруп 得撫島 Uruppu North Kurils Mys Kastrikum Mys Van-der-Lind 1,450.0 0
Other North Kurils 4.4 0
Iturup Итуруп 択捉島 Etorofu, Yetorup South Kurils (Minami-chishima / 南千島) Kurilsk Reidovo, Kitovyi, Rybaki, Goryachiye Klyuchi, Kasatka, Burevestnik, Shumi-Gorodok, Gornyy 3,280.0 6,602
Yuzhno-Kurilsky District South Kurils South Kurils Yuzhno-Kurilsk Malokurilskoye, Rudnaya, Lagunnoye, Otrada, Goryachiy Plyazh, Aliger, Mendeleyevo, Dubovoye, Polino, Golovnino 1,860.8 10,268
Kunashir Кунашир 国後島 Kunashiri South Kurils Yuzhno-Kurilsk Rudnaya, Lagunnoye, Otrada, Goryachiy Plyazh, Aliger, Mendeleyevo, Dubovoye, Polino, Golovnino 1,499.0 7,800
Shikotan Group Шикотан 色丹列島 South Kurils Malokurilskoye Dumnova, Otradnaya, Krabozavodskoye (formerly Anama), Zvezdnaya, Voloshina, Kray Sveta 264.13 2,440
Shikotan Island Шикотан 色丹島 South Kurils Malokurilskoye Dumnova, Otradnaya, Krabozavodskoye (formerly Anama), Zvezdnaya, Voloshina, Kray Sveta 255.00 2,440
Other South Kurils Ayvazovskovo 9.1 0
Khabomai Хабомаи 歯舞群島 Habomai South Kurils Zorkiy Zelyonyi, Polonskogo 97.70 28
** Polonskogo Полонского 多楽島 Taraku South Kurils Moriakov Bay station 11.57 2
** Oskolki Осколки 海馬島 Todo, Kaiba South Kurils 0
** Zelyonyi Зелёный 志発島 Shibotsu South Kurils Glushnevskyi station 58.72 3
** Kharkar Харкар 春苅島 Harukaru, Dyomina South Kurils Haruka 0.8 0
** Yuri Юрий 勇留島 Yuri South Kurils Kalernaya 10.32 0
** Anuchina Анучина 秋勇留島 Akiyuri South Kurils Bolshoye Bay 2.35 0
** Tanfilyeva Танфильева 水晶島 Suishō South Kurils Zorkiy Tanfilyevka Bay, Bolotnoye 12.92 23
** Storozhevoy Сторожевой 萌茂尻島 Moemoshiri South Kurils 0.07 0
** Rifovy Рифовый オドケ島 Odoke South Kurils 0
** Signalny Сигнальный 貝殻島 Kaigara South Kurils 0.02 0
** Other South Kurils Opasnaga, Udivitelnaya 1.0 0
Total 10,503.2 19,434

See also

References

  1. ^ GSE Archived 2013-04-24 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-01-14. Retrieved 2011-02-01.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Kuril Islands: factfile". The Daily Telegraph. London. November 1, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Koike, Yuriko (31 March 2014). "Japan's Russian Dilemma".
  5. ^ "Kuril Islands: Russia and Japan push to resolve Kuril Islands dispute". FinTimes. USA. November 28, 2018.
  6. ^ Central Kuril Island Tsunami in Crescent City, California Archived 2010-02-26 at the Wayback Machine University of Southern California
  7. ^ Clapham, P. J.; C. Good; S. E. Quinn; R. R. Reeves; J. E. Scarff; R.L. Brownell Jr (2004). "Distribution of North Pacific". Journal of Cetacean Research and Management. 6 (1): 1–6.
  8. ^ Stephan, John J (1974). The Kuril Islands. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 50–56.
  9. ^ Eliza Adams, of Fairhaven, May 29 – Jun 13, June 24-Aug. 1, 1847, Old Dartmouth Historical Society (ODHS); Splendid, of Edgartown, Aug. 12-Sep. 6, 1848, Nicholson Whaling Collection (NWC); Shepherdess, of Mystic, May 8–30, 1849, NWC; Hudson, of Fairhaven, Oct. 6, 1857, Kendall Whaling Museum (KWM); Sea Breeze, of New Bedford, Oct. 5–18, 1868, ODHS; Cape Horn Pigeon, of New Bedford, Aug. 23-Sep. 10, 1892, KWM.
  10. ^ Lexington, of Nantucket, May 31, 1855, Nantucket Historical Association.
  11. ^ Starbuck, Alexander (1878). History of the American Whale Fishery from Its Earliest Inception to the year 1876. Castle. ISBN 1-55521-537-8.
  12. ^ The Friend (Vol. V, No. 12, Dec. 11, 1856, p. 93, Honolulu).
  13. ^ Cape Horn Pigeon, of New Bedford, Sep. 10, Sep. 19-Oct. 1, 1892, KWM.
  14. ^ "Распоряжение Правительства Российской Федерации от 08.02.2017 № 223-р" (in Russian). Publication.pravo.gov.ru. 8 February 2017. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  15. ^ "It was hoped that the proceeds from the ongoing projects would help to alleviate the high level of poverty in the region". Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia, s.v. Sakhalin Oblast" (Europa Publications) 2003.
  16. ^ "Profile on Yuzhno-Kurilsk Mendeleyevo Airport". Retrieved May 24, 2014.
  17. ^ "Islands disputed with Japan feel Russia's boom". Archived from the original on 2007-10-29.
  18. ^ "Russia moves to defend Kuril Islands claim". RIA Novosti, 9 February 2011.

Further reading

  • Gorshkov, G. S. Volcanism and the Upper Mantle Investigations in the Kurile Island Arc. Monographs in geoscience. New York: Plenum Press, 1970. ISBN 0-306-30407-4
  • Krasheninnikov, Stepan Petrovich, and James Greive. The History of Kamtschatka and the Kurilski Islands, with the Countries Adjacent. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1963.
  • Rees, David. The Soviet Seizure of the Kuriles. New York: Praeger, 1985. ISBN 0-03-002552-4
  • Takahashi, Hideki, and Masahiro Ōhara. Biodiversity and Biogeography of the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin. Bulletin of the Hokkaido University Museum, no. 2-. Sapporo, Japan: Hokkaido University Museum, 2004.
  • Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi. Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan. 2006. ISBN 978-0-674-02241-6.
  • Alan Catharine and Denis Cleary. Unwelcome Company. A fiction thriller novel set in 1984 Tokyo and the Kuriles featuring a light aircraft crash and escape from Russian-held territory. On Kindle.

External links

2006 Kuril Islands earthquake

The 2006 Kuril Islands earthquake occurred on November 15 at 8:14:16 pm JST with a Mw magnitude of 8.3 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of IV (Light). This megathrust earthquake was the largest event in the central Kuril Islands since 1915 and generated a small tsunami that affected the northern Japanese coast. The tsunami crossed the Pacific Ocean and damaged the harbor at Crescent City, California. Post-tsunami surveys indicate that the local tsunami in the central Kuril Islands reached runup of 15 metres (49 ft) or more.This earthquake is considered a doublet of the 2007 Kuril Islands earthquake that hit the same area on January 13, 2007.

2007 Kuril Islands earthquake

The 2007 Kuril Islands earthquake occurred east of the Kuril Islands on 13 January at 1:23 p.m. (JST). The shock had a moment magnitude of 8.1 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VI (Strong). A non-destructive tsunami was generated, with maximum wave amplitudes of 0.32 meters (1 ft 1 in). The earthquake is considered a doublet of the 8.3 magnitude 2006 Kuril Islands earthquake which occurred the previous November approximately 95 km to the southeast.

Antsiferov Island

Antsiferov Island (Russian: Остров Анциферова; also known as Shirinki Russian: Ширинки Japanese 志林規島; Shirinki-tō) is an uninhabited volcanic island located in the northern Kuril Islands chain in the Sea of Okhotsk in the northwest Pacific Ocean. Its former Japanese name is derived from the Ainu language for "place of tall waves". Its nearest neighbor is Paramushir, located 15 km away across the Luzhin Strait. It is currently named for the cossack explorer Danila Antsiferov, who first described it along with other northern Kuril islands in the early eighteenth century.

Atlasov Island

Atlasov Island, known in Russian as Ostrov Atlasova (Остров Атласова), or in Japanese as Araido (阿頼度島), is the northernmost island and volcano and also the highest volcano of the Kuril islands, part of the Sakhalin Oblast in Russia. The Russian name is sometimes rendered in English as Atlasova Island. Other names for the island include Uyakhuzhach, Oyakoba and Alaid, the name of the volcano on the island.

The island is named after Vladimir Atlasov, a 17th-century Russian explorer who incorporated the nearby Kamchatka Peninsula into Russia. It is essentially the cone of a submarine volcano called Vulkan Alaid protruding above the Sea of Okhotsk to a height of 2,339 metres (7,674 feet). The island has an area of 119 square kilometres (46 square miles), but is currently uninhabited. Numerous pyroclastic cones dot the lower flanks of basaltic to basaltic andesite volcano, particularly on the NW and SE sides, including an offshore cone formed during the 1933–34 eruption.

Its near perfect shape gave rise to many legends about the volcano among the peoples of the region, such as the Itelmens and Kuril Ainu. The Russian scientist Stepan Krasheninnikov was told the story that it was once a mountain in Kamchatka, but the neighbouring mountains became jealous of its beauty and exiled it to the sea, leaving behind Kurile Lake in southern Kamchatka. Geographically, this story is not without evidence, as after the last Ice Age most of the icecaps melted, raising the world's water level, and possibly submerging a landbridge to the volcano.

Following the transfer of the Kuril Islands to Japan by the Treaty of St Petersburg, 1875, Oyakoba as it is called by the Japanese, became the northernmost island of the empire and subject of much aesthetic praise, described in haiku, ukiyo-e, etc.

Ito Osamu (1926) described it as more exquisitely shaped than Mount Fuji.

Administratively this island belongs to the Sakhalin Oblast of the Russian Federation.

Battle of Shumshu

The Battle of Shumshu, the Soviet invasion of Shumshu in the Kuril Islands, was the first stage of the Soviet Union's Invasion of the Kuril Islands in August–September 1945 during World War II. It took place from 18 to 23 August 1945, and was the only major battle of the Soviet campaign in the Kuril Islands and one of the last battles of the war.

Berutarube

Berutarube (Russian: Берутарубе; Japanese: ベルタルベ山, Berutarube-zan) is a stratovolcano located at the southern end of Iturup Island, Kuril Islands, Russia.

Broutona

Broutona (Russian: о.Броутона; Japanese 武魯頓島; Buroton-tō) is an uninhabited volcanic island located near the northern end of the southern Kuril Islands chain in the Sea of Okhotsk in the northwest Pacific Ocean. Its name is derived from William Robert Broughton, a British American ship captain who charted many of the Kuril Islands during his voyages during the 19th century. Its original Ainu name was Makanruru, which translates roughly to "island in a strong current".

Chyornye Bratya

Chyornye Bratya (Russian: Чёрные Братья, lit. Black Brothers; Japanese: 知理保以島, translit. Chiripoi-to) is collectively the name for a pair of uninhabited volcanic islands located between Simushir and Urup in the Kuril Islands chain in the Sea of Okhotsk in the northwest Pacific Ocean. The larger of the two is named Chirpoy, and the smaller is named Brat Chirpoyev (Russian for Chirpoy's Brother). The origin of the names is uncertain: the original Ainu language name of the island was Repunmoshiri, a word meaning “place of many small birds”.

Ekarma

Ekarma (Russian: Экарма; Japanese 越渇磨島; Ekaruma-tō) is an uninhabited volcanic island near the center of the Kuril Islands chain in the Sea of Okhotsk in the northwest Pacific Ocean, separated from Shiashkotan by the Ekarma Strait. Its name is derived from the Ainu language, from “safe anchorage”.

Invasion of the Kuril Islands

The Invasion of the Kuril Islands (Russian: Курильская десантная операция "Kuril Islands Landing Operation") was the World War II Soviet military operation to capture the Kuril Islands from Japan in 1945. The invasion was part of the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation, and was decided on when plans to land on Hokkaido were abandoned. The successful military operations of the Red Army at Mudanjiang and during the Invasion of South Sakhalin created the necessary prerequisites for invasion of the Kuril Islands.

Ketoy

Ketoy (or Ketoi) (Russian: Кетой; Japanese 計吐夷島; Ketoi-tō) is an uninhabited volcanic island located in the centre of the Kuril Islands chain in the Sea of Okhotsk in the northwest Pacific Ocean. Its name is derived from the Ainu language for "skeleton" or "bad".

Kunashir Island

Kunashir Island (Russian: Кунаши́р; Japanese: 国後島, Kunashiri-tō; Ainu: クナシㇼ or クナシㇽ, Kunasir), possibly meaning Black Island or Grass Island in Ainu, is the southernmost island of the Kuril Islands, an archipelago under Russian control, among which Kunashir Island and another three islands are claimed by Japan (see Kuril Islands dispute).

It lies between the straits of Kunashir Island, Catherine, Izmena, and South Kuril. Kunashir Island is visible from the nearby Japanese island of Hokkaido, from which it is separated by the Nemuro Strait.

Area: 1,490 km2 (580 sq mi)

Length: 123 km (76 mi)

Width: 4–30 km (2.5–18.6 mi)Kunashir Island is formed by four volcanoes which were separate islands but have since joined together by low-lying areas with lakes and hot springs. All these volcanoes are still active: Tyatya (1,819 m (5,968 ft)), Smirnov, Mendeleev (Rausu-yama), and Golovnin (Tomari-yama).The island is made up of volcanic and crystalline rocks. The climate is humid continental with very heavy precipitation especially in the autumn and a strong seasonal lag with maximum temperatures in August and September. The vegetation mostly consists of spruce, pine, fir, and mixed deciduous forests with lianas and Kuril bamboo underbrush. The mountains are covered with birch and Siberian Dwarf Pine scrub, herbaceous flowers or bare rocks.

Tree cores of century-old oaks (Quercus crispula) were found in July 2001 on Kunashiri Island.

Kuril Islands dispute

The Kuril Islands dispute, also known as the Northern Territories dispute, is a disagreement between Japan and Russia and also some individuals of the Ainu people over sovereignty of the South Kuril Islands, which stretch between northern Hokkaido and southern Kamchatka, in the Sea of Okhotsk. These islands, like other islands in the Kuril chain that are not in dispute, were annexed by the Soviet Union in aftermath of the Kuril Islands landing operation at the end of World War II. The disputed islands are under Russian administration as the South Kuril District of the Sakhalin Oblast (Сахалинская область, Sakhalinskaya oblast). They are claimed by Japan, which refers to them as its Northern Territories or Southern Chishima, and considers them part of the Nemuro Subprefecture of Hokkaido Prefecture.

The San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed between the Allies and Japan in 1951, states that Japan must give up "all right, title and claim to the Kuril Islands", but it also does not recognize the Soviet Union's sovereignty over them. Japan claims that at least some of the disputed islands are not a part of the Kuril Islands, and thus are not covered by the treaty. Russia maintains that the Soviet Union's sovereignty over the islands was recognized in post-war agreements. Japan and the Soviet Union ended their formal state of war with the Soviet–Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956, but did not resolve the territorial dispute.

The islands in question are:

Iturup (Russian: Итуруп)—Etorofu Island (Japanese: 択捉島, Etorofu-tō)

Kunashir (Russian: Кунашир)—Kunashiri Island (Japanese: 国後島, Kunashiri-tō)

Shikotan (Russian: Шикотан)—Shikotan Island (Japanese: 色丹島, Shikotan-tō)

Habomai Islands (Russian: острова Хабомаи ostrova Habomai)—Habomai Islands (Japanese: 歯舞群島, Habomai-guntō)

Kurilian Bobtail

The Kurilian Bobtail is a cat breed (or breed group, depending on registry) originating from the Kuril Islands, as well as Sakhalin Island and the Kamchatka peninsula of Russia. Short- or long-haired, it has a semi-cobby body type and a distinct short, fluffy tail. The back is slightly arched with hind legs longer than the front, similar to those of the Manx. The breed is also called the Kuril Islands Bobtail, Kuril Bobtail (both often misspelled "Kurile") and Curilsk Bobtail, and may be referred to without "Bobtail". It is sometimes also spelled Kurilean. The original short-haired variant is a natural breed, known on the islands for over 200 years. As selectively bred pets, they have been popular in Russia and to some extent other parts of Europe, especially for their rodent-hunting abilities, since the middle of the 20th century, but remained rare in North America as of 2011.

Kurilians are recognized as a breed group of a pair related short- and [semi-]long-haired breeds by The International Cat Association (TICA), which considers them "Advanced New Breeds" ineligible for championship status, as of 2011) and by the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe). The World Cat Federation (WCF) recognizes them as a single breed. As of 2011, the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) did not recognize the breed at all.

While possibly closely related to the Japanese Bobtail breed – both share the same kind of kinked, short tail, but the Japanese is leaner, more angular and less cobby – the Kurilian originated on the opposite side of Eurasia from the similarly named Karelian Bobtail of western Russia and Finland, and is thus unlikely to be a near relative. Genetic studies may eventually demonstrate the breed's connection to others. Just as the Japanese Bobtail and tailless-to-short-tailed Manx arose independently on islands a world apart, the Kurilian's bobbed tail may be an isolated spontaneous mutation that became common on the Kuril and Sakhalin islands because of the limited genetic diversity of island biogeography (an example of the founder effect and, at the sub-specific level, of the species-area curve).

List of islands of Russia

This is a list of islands of Russia. It includes all islands in Russia with an area greater than 3,000 square kilometres (1,158 sq mi) and some of the more significant minor islands.

Makanrushi

Makanrushi (Russian: Маканруши; Japanese 磨勘留島; Makanru-tō) is an uninhabited volcanic island located near the northern end of the Kuril Islands chain in the Sea of Okhotsk in the northwest Pacific Ocean. Its name is derived from the Ainu language.

Paramushir

Paramushir (Russian: Парамушир, translit. Paramushir, Japanese: 幌筵島, translit. Paramushiru-tō or Horomushiro-tō, Ainu: パラムシㇼ or パラムシㇽ, translit. Para-mu-sir, is a volcanic island in the northern portion of Kuril Islands chain in the Sea of Okhotsk in the northwest Pacific Ocean. It is separated from Shumshu by the very narrow Second Kuril Strait in the northeast 2.5 km (1.6 mi), from Antsiferov by the Luzhin Strait (15 km) to the southwest, from Atlasov in the northwest by 20 kilometres (12 mi), and from Onnekotan in the south by the 40 km wide Fourth Kuril Strait. Its northern tip is 39 kilometres (24 mi) from Cape Lopatka at the southern tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula. Its name is derived from the Ainu language, from “broad island” or “populous island”. Severo-Kurilsk, the administrative center of the Severo-Kurilsky district, is the only permanently populated settlement on Paramushir island.

Raikoke

Raikoke (Russian: Райкоке, Japanese: 雷公計島), also spelled Raykoke, is an uninhabited volcanic island near the centre of the Kuril Islands chain in the Sea of Okhotsk in the northwest Pacific Ocean, 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) across Golovnin Strait from Matua. Its name is derived from the Ainu language, from “hellmouth”.

Shiashkotan

Shiashkotan (Russian: Шиашкотан); (Japanese: 捨子古丹島; Shasukotan-tō) is an uninhabited volcanic island near the center of the Kuril Islands chain in the Sea of Okhotsk in the northwest Pacific Ocean, separated from Ekarma by the Ekarma Strait. Its name is derived from the Ainu language, from “Konbu village”.

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