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Amami Ōshima
Native name: 奄美大島, Amami Ōshima
Nickname: Uushima
Naze port2.JPG
Naze Port on Amami Ōshima
Satsunan Islands.png
Geography
Location East China Sea
Coordinates 28°19′35″N 129°22′29″E / 28.32639°N 129.37472°E / 28.32639; 129.37472Coordinates: 28°19′35″N 129°22′29″E / 28.32639°N 129.37472°E / 28.32639; 129.37472
Archipelago Amami Islands
Area 712.39 km2 (275.06 sq mi)
Coastline 461.1 km (286.51 mi)
Highest elevation 694 m (2,277 ft)
Highest point Yuwandake
Country
Prefectures Kagoshima Prefecture
District Ōshima District
Largest city Amami (pop. 44,561)
Demographics
Population 73,000 (as of 2013)
Ethnic groups Japanese

Amami Ōshima (奄美大島?, Okinawan: Uushima (ウーシマ?); Amami: Ushima (ウシマ?)) is one of the Satsunan Islands, and is the largest island within the Amami archipelago between Kyūshū and Okinawa.[1]

The island, 712.35  km² in area, has a population of approximately 73,000 people. Administratively it is divided into the city of Amami, the towns of Tatsugō, Setouchi, and the villages of Uken and Yamato in Kagoshima Prefecture. Much of the island is within the borders of the Amami Guntō Quasi-National Park.

Geography[edit]

Amami Ōshima is the seventh largest island in the Japanese archipelago (excluding the disputed Kurile Islands) after the four main islands, Okinawa Island and Sado Island. It is located approximately 380 kilometres (210 nmi) south of the southern tip of Kyūshū and 250 kilometres (130 nmi) north of Okinawa. The island is of volcanic origin, with Mount Yuwanda at 605 metres (1,985 ft) above sea level at its highest peak. The coast of the island is surrounded by a coral reef. It is surrounded by the East China Sea on the west and the Pacific Ocean on the east.

The climate of Amami Ōshima is classified as has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with very warm summers and mild winters. The rainy season lasts from May through September. The island is subject to frequent typhoons.

Fauna[edit]

Amami Ōshima is home to several rare or endangered endemic animals, including the Amami Rabbit and the Lidth's Jay, both of which are now found only in Amami Ōshima and Tokunoshima. The Amami rabbit is sometimes called a living fossil because it represents an ancient Asian lineage that has elsewhere disappeared.

The island is also home to the habu, a venomous snake that can be found throughout the Ryūkyū Islands. Mongooses were introduced to kill the habu, but have become another problem, as an increase in the mongoose population has been linked to the decline of the Amami rabbit and other endemic species.[2]

Whale Watching to target Humpback Whales has become one of featured attractions in winter in recent years, with tourism associations specialized for whale-watching have founded.[3] It is also notable that North Pacific Right Whale, the most endangered of all whale species have repeatedly appeared around the island[4][5] (there are 5 records of 3 sightings, a capture, and a strandings since in 1901) and Amami is the only location in East China Sea where this species have been confirmed at least in the past century, and is also one of two locations in the world among with Bonin Islands where constant appearance in winter have been confirmed since in the 20th century. Discovery of Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins in Seto strait made it the first confirmation in the nation.

Historically, the island was the world's northernmost of Dugongs' distributions. These sea cows are now facing functional extinct, but there was a record of a single Dugong stayed for a short period in Kasari bay in the 2000s.

Amami Oshima is the only place where a nesting of Leatherback Turtle was seen in Japan.

History[edit]

It is uncertain when Amami Ōshima was first settled. Stone tools indicate settlement in the Japanese Paleolithic period, and other artifacts, including pottery, indicate a constant contact with Jomon, Yayoi and Kofun period Japan.

The island is mentioned in the ancient Japanese chronicle Nihon Shoki in an entry for the year 657 AD. During the Nara period and early Heian period it was a stopping place for envoys from Japan to the court of Tang dynasty China. Mother of pearl was an important export item to Japan. Until 1624, Amami Ōshima was part of the Ryukyu Kingdom. The island was invaded by samurai from Shimazu clan in 1609 and its incorporation into the official holdings of that domain was recognized by the Tokugawa shogunate in 1624. Shimazu 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. Saigo Takamori was exiled to Amami Ōshima in 1859, staying for two years, and his house has been preserved as a memorial museum. After the Meiji Restoration Amami Ōshima was incorporated into Ōsumi Province and later became part of Kagoshima Prefecture. Following World War II, although with the other Amami Islands, it was occupied by the United States until 1953, at which time it reverted to the control of Japan.

Since February 1974, the sea around and some parts of the island, a protected area in about 7.8 acres large national park "Amami Gunto Quasi-National Park".[6] The area also has a large mangrove forest.

Economy[edit]

The economy of Amami Ōshima is based on agriculture (sugar cane, rice and sweet potatoes), commercial fishing, and the distillation of shōchū. The favorable climate allows for two rice crops a year. Seasonal tourism is also an important part of the economy. The traditional crafts include the production of high quality hand-crafted silk, which has, however, suffered from the abandonment of traditional Japanese clothing and competition from overseas.

Transportation[edit]

The port of Naze, located in the city of Amami is a major regional shipping and ferry hub. Amami Airport, located in Amami, is connected to Tokyo, Osaka, Naha and Kagoshima as well as local flights to the other Amami islands.

Language[edit]

Main article: Amami language

Two dialects of the Amami language are spoken in Amami Ōshima: the Northern Ōshima dialect and the Southern Ōshima dialect. These dialects are part of the Ryukyuan languages group. According to Ethnologue, as of 2004 there were about 10,000 speakers of the Northern Ōshima dialect and about 1,800 speakers of the Southern Ōshima dialect. These dialects are now spoken mostly by older residents of the island, while most of the younger generations are monolingual in Japanese. The Amami language, including the Ōshima dialects, is classified as endangered by UNESCO.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Teikoku's Complete Atlas of Japan, Teikoku-Shoin Co., Ltd., Tokyo, ISBN 4-8071-0004-1
  2. ^ Watari Y, Yamada F, Sugimura K, Takatsuki S. 2006. Direct and indirect effects of an alien mongoose (Herpestes javanicus) on the native animal community on Amami-Oshima Island, southern Japan, as inferred from distribution patterns of animals.
  3. ^ Oki K., 2014. Amami whale and dolphin association. retrieved on 28-05-2014
  4. ^ Ito H., 2014. Endangered whale captured on film off Amami-Oshima. The Asahi Shimbun. retrieved on 28-05-2014
  5. ^ Oki K., 2014.1/28 セミクジラ!!!!. 奄美大島撮影日記. retrieved on 28-05-2014
  6. ^ http://www.env.go.jp/en/nature/nps/parks_list.html
  • 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 978-1448818723
  • Ravina, Mark. The Last Samurai: The Life and Battles of Saigo Takamori. Whiley (2011) ISBN 1118045564
  • Yeo, Andrew. Activists, Alliances, and Anti-U.S. Base Protests. Cambridge University Press. (2011) ISBN 1107002478

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amami_Ōshima — Please support Wikipedia.
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20 news items

 
The Japan Times
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 06:07:30 -0700

The Defense Ministry asked local authorities on Tuesday for their cooperation in establishing a Ground Self-Defense Force unit on Amami-Oshima Island as part of efforts to boost the defense of remote islands in the region. Parliamentary Senior Vice ...

The Economist (blog)

The Economist (blog)
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 01:12:52 -0700

The latest plan includes the dispatch of about 550 troops to Amami-Oshima in the same island chain. The defence ministry also wants to build up an amphibious assault force (by 2019), modeled on the US Marines, to take remote territory from enemy hands.
 
The Japan Times
Wed, 27 Aug 2014 02:16:32 -0700

Japanese universities bring in professors who live in Osaka, Kyoto or Tokyo to teach a class once a week at some of the more provincial universities. I know a woman in Amami Oshima, one of the Ryukyu Islands, who is flown 400 km into Kagoshima once a ...
 
Page Six
Sun, 17 Aug 2014 22:37:30 -0700

In Amami Oshima — “Oshima,” as in Hiroshima, means “island” — a private land tour's costly. Guides are imported from the mainland. Instead, I figured I'd nap in my cabin until a friend informed me: “The guide and car cost $2,000. Like it or not, you ...

The Diplomat

The Diplomat
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 06:18:45 -0700

On Tuesday the Defense Ministry made requests to two separate mayors from Kagoshima prefecture to continue plans to establish a Ground SDF base on Amami-Oshima Island. According to the Kyodo News, both mayors intend to agree to the request, which ...

Washington Post

The Japan Times
Fri, 08 Aug 2014 07:26:15 -0700

At 6 p.m., the typhoon was around 210 km east of Amami Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, and heading north with an atmospheric pressure of 950 hectopascals at its center and gusts of up to 198 kph. Rainfall in a 24-hour period ending at 6 p.m. ...
 
Indie Wire (blog)
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 07:29:35 -0700

On the subtropical Japanese island of Amami-Ōshima, traditions about nature remain eternal. During the full-moon night of traditional dances in August, 16-year-old Kaito discovers a dead body floating in the sea. His girlfriend Kyoko will attempt to ...
 
The Japan Times
Mon, 04 Aug 2014 23:22:30 -0700

Chiaki said she sometimes uses kimono produced in other parts of Japan, such as Yonezawa, Yamagata Prefecture, and from Amami-Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture. Yuzuru Otsuki, 53, director of the center, is now preparing to seek Guinness World ...
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