This little Japanese island, newly made famous again by the two Clint Eastwood movie Flags of our Fathers and Letters native Iwo Jima was renamed Ioto officially on September 1, 2007. Though the meaning of the name, "Sulfur Island", continued to be the same, the pronunciation changed.


The factors for the name adjust have to do with the history of the island, which was by its aboriginal inhabitants before World war II referred to as Ioto, and was never by any kind of Japanese referred to as Iwo Jima. Due to the fact that the end of the war the island has been uninhabited, remaining first a U.S. Territory, and much more recently a Japanese territory of military and also historical significance.

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(Rosenthal / linked Press)

Memorials and reunions have been held on Iwo Jima in the years since WWII. In 2006 numerous widows that Japanese soldiers who fought and died there were enabled to visit the island and pay your respects to your deceased family members. The event was covered widely in the Japanese media, yet the island got reasonably little attention until Clint Eastwood do his movies.

The 2 movies vividly depict the battle for the island indigenous both perspectives, the Japanese imperial Army and the U.S. Military. In either case, the bloody, ugly, and also agonizing fact of warfare is there to be seen, together with the story behind the famed photo (see above), and now statues, the American soldiers increasing a flag top top the island.

But the name "iwo-jima" is just wrong. The really pronunciation is “iō-jima” (ee-oo-jima, long "o" sound, sometimes romanized together "ou"), however the "w”" got added in WWII as result of how Japanese to be romanized ago then. There space two ways of creating "o" in Japanese kana script, one of which is used only for grammatical purposes. By the conventions that romanization in the 1940s, that "o" was created "wo" to assist foreign learners of the language. But it was also applied to help all foreigners address combinations of vowels, choose "i-o" that otherwise would certainly be mispronounced. There is no "w" sound in the "i-o" the Iwo Jima and also never has been.

So the romanization stuck, offering a couple of generations of americans the dorn pronunciation. The "jima" component simply means "island" and is from words "shima" (meaning island of course). The "s" sound alters to a "j" for voice reasons, though no always. There are plenty of islands in Japan the are named with "shima" in ~ the end: Oshima, for instance.

But the character because that "shima" (島) is additionally pronounced "tō" (long “o” sound, sometimes romanized together "tou"), and so the brand-new name for Iwo Jima is walking to it is in Iotō, written with the same personalities as always. Because the characters have no changed, the meaning of the name of the island stays the same: Sulfur Island.

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So the method you write the island’s surname did no change: 硫黄島. Yet the method it"s pronounced (read together we often way when talking around Japanese characters) did, together of September 1, 2007.