Volcanic peak of Mount Mihara.
|Elevation||764 m (2,507 ft)|
|Type||Stratovolcano with summit caldera.|
|Last eruption||October 1990|
From a vantage point near the top of the cone it was once possible to leap into the crater. As a result, the volcano became a popular venue for suicides. Beginning in the 1920s, several suicides occurred in the volcano every week; more than six hundred people jumped in 1936. Authorities eventually erected a fence around the base of the structure to curb the number of suicides.
Mount Mihara's major eruption in 1986 saw spectacular lava fountains up to 1.6 kilometers high. The eruption had a VEI of 3, and involved a: Central vent eruption, radial fissure eruption, explosive eruption, lava flows and a lava lake eruption. There was also a 16-km high subplinian plume. All of the island's 12,000 inhabitants were evacuated by dozens of vessels consisting of both the military and civilian volunteers.
The most recent eruption was in 1990.
Mihara in popular culture
In the realm of fiction, Mount Mihara was the place where the Japanese government imprisoned Godzilla in the movie The Return of Godzilla. Five years later, in the sequel Godzilla vs. Biollante, bombs placed on Mt. Mihara go off and release Godzilla from his fiery tomb. In the novel/motion picture Ring, by Suzuki Koji, it is the location where Shizuko Yamamura, mother of the infamous Sadako Yamamura, took her own life.
- Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide by Kay Redfield Jamison, Vintage Books 2000
- The New Yorker, "Jumpers" by Tad Friend
- Reading Eagle, "Japan's 'Suicide Island' Popular'", 14 April 1937"
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