Kumejima, Okinawa

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Kumejima
久米島町
Town
Sky view
Sky view
Flag of Kumejima
Flag
Official seal of Kumejima
Symbol
Location of Kumejima in Okinawa Prefecture
Location of Kumejima in Okinawa Prefecture
Kumejima is located in Japan
Kumejima
Kumejima
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 26°20′27″N 126°48′18″E / 26.34083°N 126.80500°E / 26.34083; 126.80500Coordinates: 26°20′27″N 126°48′18″E / 26.34083°N 126.80500°E / 26.34083; 126.80500
Country Japan
Region Kyushu (Ryukyu)
Prefecture Okinawa Prefecture
District Shimajiri
Government
 • Mayor Haruo Ota
Area
 • Total 63.5 km2 (24.5 sq mi)
Population (October 2016)
 • Total 7,647
 • Density 120/km2 (310/sq mi)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
Website www.town.kumejima.okinawa.jp

Kumejima (久米島町, Kumejima-chō, Okinawan: Kumishima) is a town located in Shimajiri District, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. The town consists of the islands of Kume, Ōjima, Ōhajima, Torishima, and Iōtorishima. Among the islands, only Kumejima and Ōjima are populated. Kumejima is located approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) west of Naha.[1] The town can be accessed by the New Kumejima Ferry, Japan Transocean Air, or Ryukyu Air Commuter. Kumejima Airport serves the island. As of 2016, the town had an estimated population of 7,647 and a population density of 120 persons per km².[2] The total area is 63.50 km².

Kume Island is often said to be one of the most beautiful of the Okinawa Islands. It is well known for its textiles, called Kumejima-tsumugi which are designated an Important Intangible Cultural Property. The town is also known for its Kumesen Awamori (Okinawan sake) and deep sea water. Kumejima's main industries are sugar cane (sato-kibi), tourism, and deep seawater products.[1]

History[edit]

Historically due to Kume's abundance of freshwater, rice was once extensively cultivated. During the time of the Ryukyu Kingdom, Kume Island was often visited by Chinese envoys called "sapposhi" on their way to Shuri Castle on Okinawa Island. When the Ryukyu Kingdom was annexed by Japan, many noble families moved from Shuri to Kume.

In 1945, Japanese soldiers killed 20 inhabitants suspected of being close to the U.S. forces, including a baby and children.[3]

Geography[edit]

An area of 119 km² of land and sea is protected as the Kumejima Prefectural Natural Park and 255 ha of wetland have been designated a Ramsar Site.[4][5]

Numerous unique rock formations around the island can be viewed including Tatami Rocks, Bird Mouth Rock, Miifugaa, Garasaa Mountain, Tachijami, and the Yajiyagama Cave system.[6]

Climate[edit]

Kumejima has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) bordering on a tropical rainforest climate (Köppen Af) with very warm summers and mild winters. Precipitation is abundant throughout the year; the wettest month is May and the driest month is July.

Climate data for Kumejima
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 19.2
(66.6)
19.6
(67.3)
21.6
(70.9)
24.1
(75.4)
26.7
(80.1)
29.3
(84.7)
31.7
(89.1)
31.5
(88.7)
30.2
(86.4)
27.6
(81.7)
24.4
(75.9)
21.0
(69.8)
25.58
(78.05)
Daily mean °C (°F) 16.7
(62.1)
17.0
(62.6)
18.8
(65.8)
21.4
(70.5)
24.0
(75.2)
26.8
(80.2)
28.8
(83.8)
28.6
(83.5)
27.4
(81.3)
25.0
(77)
22.1
(71.8)
18.6
(65.5)
22.93
(73.27)
Average low °C (°F) 14.1
(57.4)
14.5
(58.1)
16.2
(61.2)
18.9
(66)
21.6
(70.9)
24.7
(76.5)
26.5
(79.7)
26.1
(79)
24.9
(76.8)
22.8
(73)
19.8
(67.6)
16.1
(61)
20.52
(68.93)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 139.0
(5.472)
144.7
(5.697)
202.4
(7.969)
195.1
(7.681)
265.0
(10.433)
263.9
(10.39)
119.0
(4.685)
182.1
(7.169)
217.9
(8.579)
138.3
(5.445)
122.5
(4.823)
121.8
(4.795)
2,111.7
(83.138)
Average relative humidity (%) 68 70 74 76 79 84 80 80 78 72 69 66 74.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours 78.4 77.4 100.7 120.9 142.6 163.2 255.4 236.1 204.0 167.1 111.7 100.4 1,757.9
Source: JMA (1981-2010)[7]

Culture[edit]

Uezu House is a traditional Ryukyuan Governor's house dating back hundreds of years. The walled grounds contain gardens, a main house, and outlying buildings. The house is a quiet and peaceful look back into the history of Okinawa.[8]

In order to maintain and preserve the historic estate, there is a 300 yen entry fee for adults, payable at the house. If an attendant is not available, it is customary to leave the amount in a tray.

There are five castle sites on Kume Island that can be visited. The most prominent is Uegusuku Castle on Mount Uegusuku, which is the highest situated castle in Okinawa Prefecture. Gushikawa Castle is also designated a National Treasure.[9]

Deep Seawater and OTEC[edit]

Since 2001, the Okinawa Prefecture Deep Seawater Research Institute has researched the uses of deep seawater on Kumejima, fostering the development of new aquaculture and production industries totaling $20 million in yearly revenue. Due to the deep seawater resource, Kumejima now has the largest market share of Sea Grapes and Kuruma Prawns in Japan.[10]

In March 2013, Okinawa Prefecture completed the world's only fully operational Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Demonstration Facility. The facility is open to tours by appointment for free.[11]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Kumejima". Encyclopedia of Japan. Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2013. OCLC 56431036. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2013-01-27. 
  2. ^ 久米島の人口・世帯数 [Populations and Households of Kumejima] (in Japanese). Kumejima, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan: Town of Kumejima. 2012. Retrieved Jan 27, 2013. 
  3. ^ http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201709290008.html
  4. ^ "Kumejima Prefectural Natural Park". Okinawa Prefecture. Retrieved 3 February 2012. 
  5. ^ "Ramsar Sites in Japan - Streams in Kume-jima" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  6. ^ "Natural Attractions". Retrieved 2014-09-10. 
  7. ^ "Kumejima Climate Normals 1981-2010". Japan Meteorological Agency. Retrieved February 16, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Uezu Historic House". Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Castles". Retrieved 2014-09-10. 
  10. ^ 久米島海洋深層水複合利用基本調査 [Kume Island Deep Seawater Multiple Use Basic Research] (PDF) (in Japanese). Kumejima, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan: Kumejima Town. 2011. Retrieved 2014-09-10. 
  11. ^ "OTEC Okinawa". Kumejima, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan: Okinawa Prefecture. 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-10. 

External links[edit]