Jima: see Jimma, Ethiopia.
, formerly known as Peel Island, is the largest island in the Ogasawara archipelago. Chichi-jima is about 150 miles (241.4 km) north from Iwo Jima.

The island is within the political boundaries of Ogasawara Town, Ogasawara Subprefecture, Tokyo, Japan.


Chichijima is located at 27° 4' 0N 142° 12' 30E. There are currently around 2000 people living on the island, and the island's area is around 24 km².


Nineteenth century

Various scientific expeditions visited the island in the Nineteenth century, including:

Two shipwrecked sailors who were picked up by Beechey in 1827 suggested that the island would make a good stopover station for whalers, and settlement was begun in 1830. The settlement was lead in May 1830 by thirty-six year old Nathaniel Savory along with twenty-two other adventurous men and woman via a three-thousand mile long trip from Pearl Harbor to the beautiful island of Chichi Jima to found his whaling supply enterprise. In 1854, the Rodgers-Ringgold expedition encountered rats and feral goats, sheep, dogs and cats (feral pigs were already found by Kittlitz and may have been left by Beechey to provision possible future castaways).

Possibly as a result of the introduction of alien animals, at least three species of birds became extinct: the Bonin Nankeen Night Heron, Bonin Grosbeak a finch, and Bonin Thrush. The island was the only known home of the thrush and probably the finch, although the heron was found on Nakōdo-jima (also "Nakoudo-" or, erroneously, "Nakondo-") as well. The existence of the birds was documented by von Kittlitz in 1828, and five stuffed thrushes are in European museums.

The Bonin Wood-pigeon died out in the late Nineteenth century, apparently as the result of deforestation or the introduction of alien mammals or from both causes. The species is known to have existed only on Chichi-jima and another island, Nakōdo-jima.

World War II

The island was the site of a radio station during World War II, and a frequent target of US attacks. The young George H. W. Bush was once shot down while on one of these raids. Japanese troops and resources from Chichi Jima were used in reinforcing the strategic point of Iwo Jima before the battle of Iwo Jima. The island also served as a major point for Japanese radio communication and surveillance operations in the Pacific, with two radio stations atop its two mountains being the primary goal of multiple bombing attempts by the US Navy.

Chichi Jima was also the subject of a book by James Bradley entitled Flyboys: A True Story of Courage, a factual account of the lives of a group of World War II fighter pilots including George H. W. Bush. In the book, it tells the story of United States Navy pilots who bombed the island's two radio stations. The book details the stories of the pilots that were captured, tortured, killed, and in some cases, partially eaten.

The island was never captured and surrendered with the Japanese Empire. After the surrender some of the senior officers were court-martialled and punished according to the class "B" war crimes standard.

Nobuaki "Warren" Iwatake, a Japanese American from Hawaii who was drafted into the Japanese army while living with his family back in Hiroshima, is known for his service in the Japanese Imperial Army at Chichi Jima.

Island development

Astrometry and telemetry stations

The Japanese National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) is the umbrella agency maintaining a radio astrometry facility on Chichi-jima. Since 2004, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) has been a division of NINS. The NINS/NAQJ research is on-going using a VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry (VERA) 20m radio telescope. The dual-beam VERA array consists of four coordinated radio telescope stations located at Mizusawa, Iriki, Ishigakijima and Ogasawara. The combined signals of the four-part array produce a correlated image which is used for deep space study.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) also maintains a facility on Chichi-jima. The Ogasawara Downrange Station at Kuwanokiyama, was established in 1975 as a National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) facility. The Station is equipped with radar (rocket telemeter antenna and precision radar antenna) to check the flight trajectories, status, and safety of rockets launched from the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC).

US nuclear arms base

Chichi-jima appears to be one of a number of Japanese islands which has been used by the United States to host nuclear arms, according to Robert S. Norris, William M. Arkin, and William Burr writing for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in early 2000. This is despite the Japanese Constitution being explicitely anti-war. Japan hold Three Non-Nuclear Principles. The island has been under Japanese control since 1968 and the site is currently used for nothing more than storage by the local village government.

Sea Turtle Project

Chichi Jima houses a facility on the edge of Futami Harbor dedicated to the restoration of sea turtle populations that have been decimated due to human activity. Infant turtles are raised at the facility until they have reached a certain bodymass, at which point they are released into the wild; newly-hatched turtles face enormous risks of predation, and the facility believes their efforts increase the turtles' chances of survival. Additionally, the facility maintains half a dozen adult sea turtles on site.


Ogasawara Village operates the island's public elementary and junior high schools.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Board of Education operates Ogasawara High School on Chichi-jima.

See also



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