Iejima

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  • Japanese: 伊江島 (Ie jima)

Iejima, or Ie Island, is a small island lying roughly 2 km northwest of the Motobu peninsula of Okinawa Island. It is perhaps most known for the terrible losses suffered there during the 1945 Battle of Okinawa. The Imperial Japanese military's airfield on Iejima was sometimes described as the largest air base in East Asia. Some 4,700 people were killed in the fighting on Iejima, including 1,500 civilians.[1] American journalist Ernie Pyle was among them; a monument to him stands on the island today.

History

In the early modern period, the island was officially the domain of the Ie udun lineage of aristocrats, with each successive head of that line holding the title of Ie ueekata or Ie ôji (Prince Ie). A collection of documents associated with the family, now held by the Naha City Museum of History, was designated an Important Cultural Property in 2019.

Iejima was sometimes used by the Ryûkyû Kingdom as a site for exile. Following the Makishi-Onga Incident of 1859, high-ranking scholar-official Oroku Ryôchû was sent into exile for 500 days at the Buddhist temple Shôtai-ji on the island.[2]

References

  1. Okinawa ken heiwa kinen shiryôkan sôgô annai 沖縄県平和祈念資料館総合案内 ("General Catalog of Okinawa Peace Memorial Museum"), Nanjô, Okinawa: Okinawa Peace Memorial Museum (2004), 62-63.
  2. "Oroku Ryôchû." Okinawa Compact Encyclopedia 沖縄コンパクト事典, Ryukyu Shimpo, 1 March 2003.