Okinoerabujima (沖永良部島, Okinoerabu: いぃらぶ Yirabu) is one of the Satsunan Islands, classed with the Amami archipelago between Kyūshū and Okinawa.[1]

The island, 93.63  km² in area, has a population of approximately 15,000 persons. Administratively it is divided into the towns of Wadomari and China in Kagoshima Prefecture. Much of the island is within the borders of the Amami Guntō Quasi-National Park.

Japanese: Okinoerabujima (沖永良部島)
Okinoerabu: Yirabu (いぃらぶ)
Yakomo beach 2012
Yakomo beach on Okinoerabujima
Satsunan Islands
LocationEast China Sea
Coordinates27°22′08″N 128°34′00″E / 27.36889°N 128.56667°ECoordinates: 27°22′08″N 128°34′00″E / 27.36889°N 128.56667°E
ArchipelagoAmami Islands
Area93.63 km2 (36.15 sq mi)
Length20 km (12 mi)
Width7 km (4.3 mi)
Coastline50 km (31 mi)
Highest elevation246 m (807 ft)
Highest pointŌyama
PrefecturesKagoshima Prefecture
DistrictŌshima District
Population15,000 (2013)
Pop. density150 /km2 (390 /sq mi)
Ethnic groupsRyukyuan, Japanese


Okinoerabujima is isolated from the other Amami islands, and is located in between Tokunoshima and Yoronjima, approximately 536 kilometres (289 nmi) south of the southern tip of Kyūshū and 60 kilometres (32 nmi) north of Okinawa.

The island is an elevated coralline island with a length of approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) and width of 7 kilometres (4.3 mi), with Mount Ōyama at 246 metres (807 ft) above sea level at its highest peak.[2] In the eastern part of the island is an extensive limestone cave system, one of the largest in Asia.[3] The coast of the island is surrounded by a coral reef.


It is uncertain when Okinoerabujima was first settled. It was ruled by the Aji nobility who built numerous gusuku fortifications from the 8th century onwards. From 1266 it was part of Hokuzan, and from 1422 the Ryukyu Kingdom. The island was invaded by samurai from Satsuma Domain during the 1609 Invasion of Ryukyu and its incorporation into the official holdings of Satsuma was recognized by the Tokugawa shogunate in 1624. Satsuma rule was harsh, with the inhabitants of the island reduced to serfdom and forced to raise sugar cane to meet high taxation, which often resulted in famine. The island was subordinate to Tokunoshima from 1616 to 1690, when an independent daikansho was established. Throughout the Satsuma period, the island was used as a prison settlement, especially for political offenders, including many members of the Ryukyuan royal family. Saigō Takamori was exiled to Okinoerabujima from 1862 to 1864.

After the Meiji Restoration the island was incorporated into Ōsumi Province and later became part of Kagoshima Prefecture. Following World War II, along with the other Amami Islands, it was occupied by the United States until 1953, at which time it reverted to the control of Japan. In September 1977, a massive typhoon (Typhoon Babe (1977)) devastated the island, which experienced winds in excess of 210 km/h (130 mph) for two hours as the typhoon passed by.[4] Nearly two-thirds of the homes across the island were damaged or destroyed by the storm and 73 people were injured.[5] Most of the injuries across the island were caused by collapsing buildings.[6]


Okinoerabujima has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with very warm summers and mild winters. Precipitation is significant throughout the year, but is somewhat lower in winter. The island is subject to frequent typhoons.


Okinoerabujima is home to several rare species of reptiles and insects endemic to the island itself, or more generally to the Ryukyu Islands. The island is one of fewer locations where swimming with whales (humpback whales) is legally approved. [8]


With moderate rainfall and a warm climate, the island is suitable for agriculture. Main crops include sweet potatoes, sugar cane and floriculture. Brown sugar refining and the production of distilled shōchū liquor is the major industry. The island is not a major tourist destination, unlike many in the Amami archipelago.


The port of Wadomari, located in the town the same name has regular ferry services to Okinawa and Kagoshima and Kobe. The smaller port of China, in the town of China, has ferries to Kagoshima and other of the Amami islands.

Okinoerabu Airport, in Wadomari, is located on the island.

See also


  1. ^ Teikoku's Complete Atlas of Japan, Teikoku-Shoin Co., Ltd., Tokyo, ISBN 4-8071-0004-1
  2. ^ Map of Okinoerabujima
  3. ^ Guide to Amami Islands - Okinoerabujima Archived 2011-03-21 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Associated Press (September 11, 1977). "Typhoon Rakes Japan". The Spokesman-Review. Tokyo, Japan. p. A5. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  5. ^ United Press International (September 10, 1977). "Typhoon Babe Slashes Japan". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Tokyo, Japan. p. 2. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  6. ^ Associated Press (September 10, 1977). "Typhoon Babe ravages Japan's island chain". The Day. Tokyo, Japan. p. 1. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  7. ^ "Okinoerabu Climate Normals 1961-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
  8. ^ Kamibayashi T.. 2014. 沖永良部島の ホエールスイムとケイビング - Tourism activities in Okinoerabu Island:Swimming with whales and caving. みどりいし (25). pp.36-37. Retrieved on February 15, 2017
  • 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
  • Ravina, Mark. The Last Samurai: The Life and Battles of Saigo Takamori. Whiley (2011) ISBN 1118045564

External links

1977 in Japan

Events in the year 1977 in Japan. It corresponds to Shōwa 52 (昭和52年) in the Japanese calendar.

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.

China, Kagoshima

China (知名町, China-chō, IPA: [tɕina]) is a town located on Okinoerabujima, in Ōshima District, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.

As of June 2013, the town has an estimated population of 6,506 and a population density of 122 persons per km² (320 people/sq mi). The total area is 53.29 km² (20.6 sq mi).

List of islands by name (O)

This article features a list of islands sorted by their name beginning with the letter O.

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.

Naha Helicopter Airlift Squadron (JASDF)

The Naha Helicopter Airlift Squadron (那覇ヘリコプター空輸隊 (naha-herikoputa-kūyu-tai)) also known as the Naha Helicopter Transport Squadron is a unit of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. It comes under the authority of the Air Rescue Wing. It is based at Naha Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture. It is equipped with CH-47J aircraft.

Okinoerabu Airport

Okinoerabu Airport (沖永良部空港, Okinoerabu Kūkō) (IATA: OKE, ICAO: RJKB) is located on the island of Okinoerabujima in the town of Wadomari, Ōshima District, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.

Pterophorus albidus

Pterophorus albidus is a moth of the family Pterophoridae. It is distributed in Africa, south and south-east Asia, including New Guinea and Australia, as well as Japan (Kyushu) and the Ryukyu Islands (Tokunoshima, Okinoerabujima, Okinawa).

The length of the forewings is 8–10 mm. The species is characterized by the faint yellow colour.

Larvae have been recorded feeding on Ipomoea nil.

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".

Saigō Takamori

Saigō Takamori (Takanaga) (西郷 隆盛 (隆永), January 23, 1828 – September 24, 1877) was one of the most influential samurai in Japanese history and one of the three great nobles who led the Meiji Restoration. Living during the late Edo and early Meiji periods, he has been dubbed the last true samurai. He was born Saigō Kokichi (西郷 小吉), and received the given name Takamori in adulthood. He wrote poetry under the name Saigō Nanshū (西郷 南洲). His younger brother was Gensui The Marquis Saigō Jūdō.

Satsunan Islands

The Satsunan Islands (薩南諸島, Satsunan-shotō) is a geopolitical name for a group of islands that forms the northern part of the Ryukyu Islands. The whole island group belongs to Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.


Tokunoshima (Japanese: 徳之島, Tokunoshima: トゥクヌシマ, Tukunushima), also known in English as Tokunoshima Island and Tokuno Island, is one of the Satsunan Islands, classed with the Amami archipelago between Kyūshū and Okinawa.The island, 247.77 km2 (95.66 sq mi) in area, has a population of approximately 27,000. Administratively it is divided into the three towns of Tokunoshima, Isen, and Amagi in Kagoshima Prefecture. Much of the island is within the borders of the Amami Guntō Quasi-National Park.

Typhoon Babe (1977)

Typhoon Babe, also known as the Okinoerabu Typhoon (沖永良部台風, Okinoerabu Taifū), was regarded as "the worst typhoon to threaten Japan in 18 years." Developing as a tropical depression on September 2, Babe initially tracked west-northwestward as it intensified. On September 5, an abrupt shift in steering currents caused the system to turn north-northwestward. Early on September 6, the system intensified into a typhoon. Over the following two days, Babe quickly intensified, ultimately attaining its peak intensity early on September 8 with winds of 240 km/h (150 mph) and a barometric pressure of 905 mbar (hPa; 26.72 inHg). Not long after reaching this strength, another shift in the steering patterns caused the typhoon to execute a prolonged counter-clockwise arc, causing it to track through the Ryukyu Islands southwest of Japan, as it interacted with a low pressure originating from the Korean Peninsula. During this time, the system gradually weakened and eventually it made landfall near Shanghai, China on September 11 as a minimal typhoon before dissipating inland the following day. Coincidentally, Typhoon Babe and Atlantic Hurricane Babe existed at the same time from September 3–9.Passing through the Ryukyu Islands as a powerful typhoon, Babe caused considerable damage in the region. More than 1,000 homes were destroyed and nearly 7,000 more were damaged or flooded. One person was killed on Amami Ōshima and 77 others were injured throughout the country. Total losses reached ¥6.1 billion (US$23 million). Offshore, over 100 vessels were affected by the storm, including a Panamanian freighter where 13 people lost their lives. In China, more than 24,000 homes were destroyed and nine people were killed.

Wadomari, Kagoshima

Wadomari (和泊町, Wadomari-chō) is a town located on Okinoerabujima, in Ōshima District, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.

As of June 2013, the town has an estimated population of 6,929 and a population density of 172 persons per km². The total area is 40.37 km².

Yoron, Kagoshima

Yoron (与論町, Yoron-chō) is a town located on Yoronjima, in Ōshima District, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.

As of June 2013, the town has an estimated population of 5,263 and a population density of 257 persons per km². The total area is 20.49 km². Much of the island is within the boundaries of the Amami Guntō Quasi-National Park.

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)

Climate data for Tateyama
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 18.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 15.9
Average low °C (°F) 13.7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 125.5
Average relative humidity (%) 66 69 72 77 81 86 82 80 78 71 67 64 74
Mean monthly sunshine hours 84.8 82.2 103.6 135.9 154.5 179.3 274.8 246.2 213.5 172.8 113.4 100.6 1,861.6
Source: NOAA (1961-1990) [7]


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