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Iwo jima

The meaning of «iwo jima»

Iwo Jima (/ˌiːwoʊ ˈdʒiːmə/, also US: /ˌiːwə ˈ-/),[2][3][4][5] known in Japan as Iō Tō (硫黄島, Iō-tō, lit. '"sulfur island"'),[6] is one of the Japanese Volcano Islands and lies south of the Bonin Islands. Together with other islands, they form the Ogasawara Archipelago. The highest point of Iwo Jima is Mount Suribachi at 169 m (554 ft) high.

Although 1,200 kilometres (750 mi; 650 nmi) south of the metropolis of Tokyo on the mainland, this island of 21 km2 (8 square miles) is administered as part of the Ogasawara Subprefecture of Tokyo and since July 1944, when the civilian population was forcibly evacuated, has been only populated by military forces.

The island was the location of the Battle of Iwo Jima between February 1945–March 1945. The island became globally recognized when Joe Rosenthal, who worked for the Associated Press at the time, published his photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, which was photographed on Mount Suribachi. The US military occupied Iwo Jima until 1968, when it was returned to Japan.

The first European to arrive at Iwo Jima was Spanish sailor Bernardo de la Torre who named it Sufre Island, after the old Spanish term for sulphur (azufre in modern Spanish).[7] At that time Iwo Jima and other nearby islands represented boundaries between the Spanish and Portuguese Empires within the far East as the demarcation line of the Treaty of Zaragoza crossed the area.

In 1779, the island was charted as Sulphur Island, the literal translation of its official name, during Captain James Cook's third surveying voyage.[8]

The name "Sulphur Island" was translated into Late Middle Japanese with the Sino-Japanese rendering iwau-tau (硫黄島, modern Japanese Iō-tō), from Middle Chinese ljuw-huang "sulfur" and táw "island". The historical spelling iwautau[9] had come to be pronounced (approximately) Iwō-tō by the age of Western exploration, and the 1946 orthography reform fixed the spelling and pronunciation at Iō-tō.

An alternative, Iwō-jima, modern Iō-jima, also appeared in nautical atlases.[10] (Tō and shima are different readings of the kanji for island (島), the shima being changed to jima in this case.) Japanese naval officers who arrived to fortify the island before the U.S. invasion mistakenly called it Iwō-jima,[10] and in this way, the Iwo Jima reading became mainstream and was the one used by U.S. forces who arrived during World War II. Former island residents protested against this rendering, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism's Geographical Survey Institute debated the issue and formally announced on June 18, 2007, that the official Japanese pronunciation of the island's name would revert to the pre-war Iō-tō.[6] Moves to revert the pronunciation were sparked by the high-profile films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima.[10] The change does not affect how the name is written with kanji, 硫黄島, only how it is pronounced or written in hiragana, katakana and rōmaji.

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