Tokara Islands

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Tokara
Akusekijima.jpg
Akusekijima
Satsunan Islands.png
Map of the Satsunan Islands
Geography
Coordinates 29°58′00″N 129°55′01″E / 29.9667°N 129.917°E / 29.9667; 129.917Coordinates: 29°58′00″N 129°55′01″E / 29.9667°N 129.917°E / 29.9667; 129.917
Adjacent bodies of water Pacific Ocean
Total islands 12
Country
Prefectures Kagoshima
District Kagoshima District
Village Toshima
Demographics
Population 648 (as of 2010)
Ethnic groups Japanese

The Tokara Islands (吐噶喇列島 Tokara-rettō?) is an archipelago in the Nansei Islands, and are part of the Satsunan Islands, which is in turn part of the Ryukyu Archipelago. The 150 kilometres (81 nmi) chain consists of twelve small islands located between Yakushima and Amami-Oshima. The islands have a total area of 101.35 square kilometres (39.13 sq mi). Administratively, the whole group belongs to Toshima Village, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. Only seven of the islands are permanently inhabited. The islands, especially Takarajima, are home to the Tokara Pony.

Etymology[edit]

One theory holds that the name “Tokara” was derived from “tohara”, or “distant sea area” (沖の海原), as viewed from Okinawa. Another theory states that the name come from the Ainu word tokap, which means “breast”. The northernmost island in the archipelago, Takarajima, has an mountain Megamiyama (女神山 Goddess Mountain?) with such a shape.

History[edit]

Mention is made in the Shoku Nihongi under an entry for the year 699 of an island called “Tokan” ( 度感 ), which is usually identified with Tokara, together with the islands of Tane, Yaku and Amami, although “Tokan” is also sometimes identified with Tokunoshima, an island approximately 150 kilometers away. However, an entry in the earlier Nihon Shoki for the year 654 mentions a "Tokara Country" ( 吐火罗国, Tokara no kuni ), but is in reference to Tukhāra, the land of the Tocharians, and has nothing to do with the Tokara Islands. During the Edo period, the islands came under the control of the Shimazu clan of Satsuma Domain.

In 1908, the islands were administratively organized into Jitto Village (十島村 Jitto-mura, literally “Ten islands”?), of which seven were inhabited. After World War II, from 2 February 1946 all of the Satsunan islands south of 30th Latitude, including the Tokara Islands, were placed under United States military administration as part of the Provisional Government of Northern Ryukyu Islands. However, the three northern inhabited islands in the archipelago, Iōjima, Kuroshima und Takeshima, remained under the control of Japan, and were placed under the administration of the village of Mishima. The remaining Tokara Islands reverted to Japan on 10 February 1952 and are now administered as the village of Toshima.

Islands[edit]

The crater on the highest peak (Otake) in Nakano-shima. The stripes that can be seen at the right in this photograph are disused sulfur mining facilities.
Tokara Pony
Photo Name Kanji Area
[km²]
Population
2004[1]
highest point
[m]
Peak Coordinates
Kuchinoshima 口之島 13.33 140 628.5 Maedake 29°58′15″N 129°55′20″E / 29.97083°N 129.92222°E / 29.97083; 129.92222 (Kuchinoshima)
Nakanoshima Kagoshima.jpg Nakanoshima 中之島 34.47 167 979.0 Otake 29°50′30″N 129°52′30″E / 29.84167°N 129.87500°E / 29.84167; 129.87500 (Nakanoshima)
Gaja island and Kogaja island 20070308.jpg Gajajima 臥蛇島 4.07 497.2 29°54′11″N 129°32′30″E / 29.90306°N 129.54167°E / 29.90306; 129.54167 (Gajajima)
Gaja island and Kogaja island 20070308.jpg Kogajajima 小臥蛇島 0.50 301,0 29°52′48″N 129°37′15″E / 29.88000°N 129.62083°E / 29.88000; 129.62083 (Kogajajima)
Taira-Jima Tokara Island Aerial Photograph.jpg Tairajima 平島 2.08 79 242.9 Ontake 29°41′15″N 129°31′57″E / 29.68750°N 129.53250°E / 29.68750; 129.53250 (Tairajima)
Suwanosejima.jpg Suwanosejima 諏訪之瀬島 27.66 48 796,0 Ontake 29°38′19″N 129°42′50″E / 29.63861°N 129.71389°E / 29.63861; 129.71389 (Suwanosejima)
Akusekijima 2.jpg Akusekijima 悪石島 7.49 72 584.0 Mitake 29°27′36″N 129°36′06″E / 29.46000°N 129.60167°E / 29.46000; 129.60167 (Akusekijima)
Kojima 小島 0.36 56,0 29°13′40″N 129°20′45″E / 29.22778°N 129.34583°E / 29.22778; 129.34583 (Kojima)
Kodakara-Jima Island Aerial Photograph.jpg Kodakarajima 小宝島 1.00 43 102.7 29°13′26″N 129°19′34″E / 29.22389°N 129.32611°E / 29.22389; 129.32611 (Kodakarajima)
Takarajima zenkei.JPG Takarajima 宝島 7.14 114 291.9 Imakira-dake 29°08′40″N 129°12′29″E / 29.14444°N 129.20806°E / 29.14444; 129.20806 (Takarajima)
Kaminone-island Aerial Photograph.jpg Kaminonejima 上ノ根島 0.54 280,0 28°49′56″N 129°0′03″E / 28.83222°N 129.00083°E / 28.83222; 129.00083 (Kaminonejima)
Yokoate-island Aerial Photograph.jpg Yokoate-jima 横当島 2.76 494.8 28°47′57″N 128°59′20″E / 28.79917°N 128.98889°E / 28.79917; 128.98889 (Yokoate-jima)

References[edit]

  • National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGIA). Prostar Sailing Directions 2005 Japan Enroute. Prostar Publications (2005). ISBN 1577856511
  1. ^ "Toshima" (PDF; 19 kB). 2004. Retrieved 6 July 2013. 

External links[edit]