Okidaitōjima

Okidaitōjima (沖大東島), also spelled as Oki Daitō Island or Oki-Daitō or Oki-no-Daitō, previously known as Rasa Island (ラサ島 Rasa-tō), is an abandoned island in the Daitō Islands group southeast of Okinawa, Japan. It is administered as part of the village of Kitadaitō, Shimajiri District, Okinawa.

Okidaitōjima
Native name:
沖大東島
Okidaitō-jima
Okidaitojima mlit1978
Aerial Photograph of Okidaitōjima
Daito islands en
Geography
LocationPhilippine Sea
Coordinates24°28′N 131°11′E / 24.467°N 131.183°E
ArchipelagoDaitō Islands
Area1.19 km2 (0.46 sq mi)
Length1.5 km (0.93 mi)
Width1 km (0.6 mi)
Coastline4.5 km (2.8 mi)
Highest elevation31.1 m (102 ft)
Administration
Japan
PrefecturesOkinawa Prefecture
DistrictShimajiri District
VillageKitadaitō
Demographics
Population-uninhabited-
Okidaitojima
Map of Okidaitō

Geography

Okidaitōjima is a relatively isolated coralline island, located approximately 110 kilometres (59 nmi) south of Minamidaitōjima, the largest island of the archipelago, and 160 kilometres (86 nmi) south of Kitadaitōjima. Naha, Okinawa, is 408 kilometres (220 nmi) to the northwest. As with the other islands in the archipelago, Okidaitōjima is an uplifted coral atoll with a steep coastal cliff of limestone (the former fringing coral reef of the island), and a depressed center (the former lagoon of the island). The island is roughly triangular in shape, with a circumference of about 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi) and an area of 1.15 square kilometres (0.44 sq mi). The highest point is 33 metres (108 ft) above sea level. Due to extensive phosphate mining operations in the early 20th century, and decades of use as a bombing and gunnery range by the United States Navy, the island has very little topsoil and no trees.

Okidaitō has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with very warm summers and mild winters. Precipitation is significant throughout the year; the wettest month is June and the driest month is February. The island is subject to frequent typhoons.

History

It was first sighted by the Spanish navigator Bernardo de la Torre on 25 September 1543, during his abortive attempt to reach New Spain from the Philippines with the San Juan de Letran. It was then charted as Abreojos (Keep your eyes open!) because being so flat and almost water level it was dangerous for navigation. It was later sighted by a Manila galleon on 28 July 1587, commanded by Pedro de Unamuno who charted the Daitōs as the Islas sin Provecho (Useless Islands). Another Manila galleon, the Nuestra Señora de la Consolación commanded by Felipe Tompson, reported its sighting in 1773 and charted it as Isla Dolores.[1] Its sighting was also reported by the British in 1788 and named "Grampus Island", but the recorded coordinates were not correct. The French also reported sighting an island in 1807. However, in 1815, the last Manila Galleon, the Spanish frigate San Fernando de Magallanes, made a definite sighting at the present coordinates, and named the island "Isla Rasa" (Flat Island in Spanish). The island remained uninhabited until formally claimed by the Empire of Japan in 1900. In 1907, a team of pioneers from Hachijōjima, one of the Izu Islands located 287 kilometres (178 mi) south of Tokyo, led by Tamaoki Han'emon (1838–1910), who had previously pioneered settlement on Minamidaitōjima, became the first human inhabitants of the island. The island was surveyed in 1908 by Tsuneto Noritaka, a professor with the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce, who recommended that its guano resources be exploited for fertilizer. "The Rasa Island Phosphate Ore Company" (ラサ島燐礦株式會社; today: Rasa Kōgyō KK) was created in 1911 for this purpose and also for the export of sugar. During this period (1911–1945), Okidaitōjima was inhabited by up to 2000 people, with a settlement was located in the west of the island. Until 1929, the population was exclusively male and consisted of workers from Okinawa and managers from Hachijojima. The disparity in wages led to labor unrest in the 1920s.

Mining operations were halted from 1929 to 1940 for economic reasons, but were resumed in 1940 due to the need for phosphates in explosives. The inhabitants were evacuated to mainland Okinawa in 1945 due to the increasing threat of attack during World War II.

After World War II, the island was occupied by the United States and was used as a bombing range by the United States Navy. The island was returned to Japan in 1972, and remains the private property of Rasa Industries.

Self-Defense Force Exercises

In late October 2013 it was announced that Okidaitojima would be the site of large scale exercises by the JSDF, including live fire naval exercises and amphibious landings, intended to test the JSDF's ability to defend remote islands against hostile incursions. These would be among the largest exercises ever held by the JSDF, involving at least 34,000 troops along with vessels and aircraft.

References

  1. ^ Welsch, Bernard (June 2004). "Was Marcus Island Discovered by Bernardo de la Torre in 1543?". The Journal of Pacific History. Taylor & Francis. Ltd. 39 (1): 109–122. doi:10.1080/00223340410001684886.

External links

Daitō Islands

The Daitō Islands (大東諸島, Daitō-shotō) are an archipelago consisting of three isolated coral islands in the Philippine Sea southeast of Okinawa. The islands have a total area of 44.427 square kilometres (17.153 sq mi) and a population of 2,107.Administratively, the whole group belongs to Shimajiri District of Okinawa Prefecture, and is divided between the villages of Minamidaitō and Kitadaitō, with uninhabited Okidaitōjima island administered as part of Kitadaitō municipality, although physically located closer to Minamidaitōjima.

Kitadaitō, Okinawa

Kitadaitō (北大東村, Kitadaitō-son) is a village consisting of the islands of Kitadaitōjima and Okidaitōjima of Shimajiri District, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan.

As of October 2016, the village has an estimated population of 615 and a density of 47 persons per km². The total area is 13.10 km². All of the inhabitants live on Kitadaitōjima.

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.

List of political and geographic subdivisions by total area (all)

This is one of a series of comprehensive lists of continents, countries, and first level administrative country subdivisions such as states, provinces, and territories, as well as certain political and geographic features of substantial area. Some divisions are listed twice, with one listing including territory that is excluded in the other for various reasons, including territorial disputes. Names of currently existing countries are bolded, while names of geographic features are italicized. There is intentional overlap between the lists in order to maximize ease of use.

List of political and geographic subdivisions by total area from 0.1 to 1,000 square kilometers

This is one of a series of comprehensive lists of continents, countries, and first level administrative country subdivisions such as states, provinces, and territories, as well as certain political and geographic features of substantial area. Some divisions are listed twice, with one listing including territory that is excluded in the other for various reasons, including territorial disputes. Names of currently existing countries are bolded, while names of geographic features are italicized. There is intentional overlap between the lists in order to maximize ease of use.

List of political and geographic subdivisions by total area from 0.1 to 250 square kilometers

This is one of a series of comprehensive lists of continents, countries, and first level administrative country subdivisions such as states, provinces, and territories, as well as certain political and geographic features of substantial area. Some divisions are listed twice, with one listing including territory that is excluded in the other for various reasons, including territorial disputes. Names of currently existing countries are bolded, while names of geographic features are italicized. There is intentional overlap between the lists in order to maximize ease of use.

Okinawa Prefecture

Okinawa Prefecture (Japanese: 沖縄県, Hepburn: Okinawa-ken, Okinawan: ウチナー Uchinaa) is the southernmost prefecture of Japan. It encompasses two thirds of the Ryukyu Islands in a chain over 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) long. The Ryukyu Islands extend southwest from Kagoshima Prefecture in Kyushu (the southwesternmost of Japan's four main islands) to Taiwan. Naha, Okinawa's capital, is located in the southern part of Okinawa Island.Although Okinawa Prefecture comprises just 0.6 percent of Japan's total land mass, about 75 percent of all United States military personnel stationed in Japan are assigned to installations in the prefecture. Currently about 26,000 U.S. troops are based in the prefecture.

Okinotorishima

The Okinotorishima (沖ノ鳥島, Okinotori-shima) is a coral reef with two rocks enlarged with tetrapod-cement structures. It is administered by Japan with a total shoal area of 8,482 m2 (2.096 acres) and land area 9.44 square metres (101.6 sq ft). Its dry land area is mostly made up by three concrete encasings and there is a 100 by 50 m (330 by 160 ft) stilt platform in the lagoon housing a research station. There is a third complete artificial tetrapod-cement islet. It is located on the Palau–Kyushu Ridge in the Philippine Sea, 534 km (332 mi) southeast of Okidaitōjima and 567 km (352 mi) west-southwest of South Iwo Jima in the Bonin Islands or 1,740 km (1,080 mi) south of Tokyo, Japan. The atoll is the southernmost part of Japan and the only Japanese territory in the tropics.

Japan claims the atoll is significant enough for Japan to have a 200 nautical mile (370.4 km) exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around the atoll, but China, South Korea, and Taiwan dispute the Japanese EEZ, saying that the atoll does not meet the definition of an island under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31)

USS Bon Homme Richard (CV/CVA-31) was one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers completed during or shortly after World War II for the United States Navy. She was the second US Navy ship to bear the name, the first one being named for John Paul Jones's famous Revolutionary War frigate by the same name. Jones had named that ship, usually rendered in more correct French as Bonhomme Richard, to honor Benjamin Franklin, the American Commissioner at Paris, whose Poor Richard's Almanac had been published in France under the title Les Maximes du Bonhomme Richard.

Bon Homme Richard was commissioned in November 1944, and served in the final campaigns of the Pacific Theater of Operations, earning one battle star. Decommissioned shortly after the end of the war, she was recommissioned in 1951 for the Korean War. In her second career she operated exclusively in the Pacific, playing a prominent role in the Korean War, for which she earned five battle stars, and the Vietnam War. She was modernized and recommissioned in 1955. She was decommissioned in 1971, and scrapped in 1992.

USS Hornet (CV-12)

USS Hornet (CV/CVA/CVS-12) is an Essex-class aircraft carrier built for the United States Navy (USN) during World War II. Completed in late 1943, the ship was assigned to the Fast Carrier Task Force (variously designated as Task Force 38 or 58) in the Pacific Ocean, the navy's primary offensive force during the Pacific War. In early 1944, she participated in attacks on Japanese installations in New Guinea, Palau and Truk among others. Hornet then took part in the Mariana and Palau Islands campaign and most of the subsidiary operations, most notably the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June that was nicknamed the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot" for the disproportionate losses inflicted upon the Japanese. The ship then participated in the Philippines Campaign in late 1944, and the Volcano and Ryukyu Islands campaign in the first half of 1945. She was badly damaged by a typhoon in June and had to return to the United States for repairs.

After the war she took part in Operation Magic Carpet, returning troops to the U.S. and was then placed in reserve in 1946. Hornet was reactivated during the Korean War of 1950–1953, but spent the rest of the war being modernized to allow her to operate jet-propelled aircraft. The ship was modernized again in the late 1950s for service as an anti-submarine carrier. She played a minor role in the Vietnam War during the 1960s and in the Apollo program, recovering the Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 astronauts as they returned from the Moon.

Hornet was decommissioned in 1970. She was eventually designated as both a National Historic Landmark and a California Historical Landmark, and she opened to the public as the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, California, in 1998.

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