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. The total land area is 10,503.2 square kilometres (4,055.3 sq mi) and the total population is 19,434.
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". In 2018 Russo-Japanese talks on reunification of islands with Japan resumed.
Native name: Курильские острова
Location of the Kuril Islands in the Western Pacific between Japan and the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia
|Area||10,503.2 km2 (2,595,400 acres; 4,055.3 sq mi)|
|Length||1,150 km (715 miles)|
|Districts||Severo-Kurilsky, Kurilsky and Yuzhno-Kurilsky Districts (Sakhalin Oblast)|
|Districts||Severo-Kurilsky, Kurilsky and Yuzhno-Kurilsky Districts (Sakhalin Oblast)|
|Subprefecture||Nemuro Subprefecture (Hokkaido) (partial claim, southernmost islands)|
|Population||19,434 (as of 2010)|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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. Three of the ships were wrecked on the islands: two on Urup in 1855 and one on Makanrushi in 1856. 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.
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 .
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.
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. On 8 February 2017 the Russian government gave names to five previously unnamed Kuril islands in Sakhalin Oblast: Derevyanko Island (after Kuzma Derevyanko, ), Gnechko Island (after Alexey Gnechko, ), Gromyko Island (after Andrei Gromyko, ), Farkhutdinov Island (after Igor Farkhutdinov, ) and Shchetinina Island (after Anna Shchetinina, ).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
|Island Group||Capital / Landing point||Other
|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|
|Atlasov||Атласова||Oyakoba, Araido||North Kurils||Alaidskaya Bay||150.0||0|
|Paramushir||Парамушир||Paramushiru, Horomushiro||North Kurils||Severo-Kurilsk||Shelikovo, Podgorny||2,053.0||2,540|
|Antsiferov||Анциферова||Shirinki||North Kurils||Antsiferov beach||Cape Terkut||7.0||0|
|Awos||Авось||Hokake, Hainoko||North Kurils||0.1||0|
|Onekotan||Онекотан||North Kurils||Mussel||Kuroisi, Nemo, Shestakov||425.0||0|
|Kharimkotan||Харимкотан||Harimukotan, Harumukotan||North Kurils||Sunazhma||Severgin Bay||70.0||0|
|Chirinkotan||Чиринкотан||知林古丹島||North Kurils||Cape Ptichy||6.0||0|
|Lowuschki Rocks||Ловушки||牟知列岩||Mushiru||North Kurils||1,5||0|
|Rasshua||Расшуа||羅処和島||Rashowa, Rasutsua||North Kurils||Arches Point||67.0||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|
|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|
|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|
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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