The Habomai Islands (Russian: Хабомаи, romanizedKhabomai; Japanese: 歯舞群島, romanizedHabomai guntō) are a group of uninhabited islets (but for the Russian guards stationed there)[1] in the southernmost Kuril Islands. They are currently under Russian administration, but together with Iturup (Etorofu), Kunashir (Kunashiri), and Shikotan are claimed by Japan.

Habomai Islands
Disputed islands
Khabomai Rocks from space
Habomai Islands is located in Russia
Habomai Islands
Habomai Islands
Other namesМалые Курилы (Russian)
歯舞群島 (Japanese)
LocationPacific Ocean
Coordinates43°30′N 146°8′E / 43.500°N 146.133°E / 43.500; 146.133
ArchipelagoKuril Islands
Total islands10 + several rocks
Area100 km2 (39 sq mi)
Federal subjectSakhalin Oblast
Claimed by

History edit

Russian administered Yuzhno-Kurilsky District. The bottom left of the red-shaded area is the Habomai Islands. The dark grey area is Hokkaido, while the light grey area is the Kamchatka Peninsula.
Map including Habomi Shotō (DMA, 1990)

In the fifteenth century, the Matsumae clan made efforts to administer the islands; by 1644 the islands had been mapped as Japanese territories.[2]

In 1732 the islands were mapped during the Russian Great Eastern Expedition.

The Treaty of Shimoda, signed by Russia and Japan in 1855, recognised Japanese ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and the Habomai Islands.[3]

The Habomai Islands were occupied by Soviet forces in the last few days of World War II. The islands were eventually annexed by the Soviet Union, which deported all the island residents to Japan.[3] Moscow claimed the islands as part of a war-time agreement between the Allies (Yalta Agreement), which provided for the transfer of the Chishima (Kurile) Islands to the USSR in return for its participation in the Pacific War. However, Japan maintains that the Habomai Islands are not part of the Kuriles and are in fact part of Hokkaido prefecture. On May 26, 1955, the United States submitted an application for proceedings against the Soviet Union. As part of the proceedings, the United States questioned the validity of the Soviet Union's claim to the Habomai Islands.[4]

In 1956, after difficult negotiations, the Soviet Union agreed to cede the Habomai to Japan, along with Shikotan, after the conclusion of a peace treaty between the two countries.[5] As the treaty was never concluded, the islands remained under Soviet jurisdiction. However, the promise of a two-island solution (for the purpose of simplicity, the Habomai rocks count as one island) has been renewed in the Soviet-Japanese, and later Russo-Japanese negotiations. Formerly home to a Japanese fishing community, the islands are now uninhabited except for the Russian border guard outpost.

View of the Habomai Islands from Cape Nosappu (March 26, 2005).

List of islands edit

Island Japanese name Russian name Ainu transcription(s) Area
Highest point
Latitude N Longitude E Distance from Cape Nosappu[6]
Shikotan 色丹島
Shikotan tō
Остров Шикотан si-kotan (Big village) 255 412.6 43°47' 146°44' 73.3
Spangberg channel (Habomai islands are shown below.)
Shikotan channel
Oskolki 海馬島
Kaibajima, Todojima
Остров Осколки todo-mosir (Steller sea lion island) 1.5 38 43°34' 146°24'
Polonskogo 多楽島
Taraku tō
Остров Полонского torar-uk (Take in the strap) 11.69 25 43°37' 146°19' 45.5
Chayka rock カブ島
Kabu tō
Скала Чайка
Petsernaya カナクソ岩
Kanakuso iwa
Скала Пещерная
Shishki カブト島
Kabuto tō
Острова Шишки
Polonskogo channel
Taraku channel
Zelyony 志発島
Shibotsu tō
Остров Зелёный sipe-op (A place where a shoal of Chum salmon) 58.3 45 43°29' 146°09' 25.5
Vojeikov channel
Shibotsu channel
Demina 春苅島
Harukaru tō
Острова Дёмина haru-kar-kotan (Village of harvesting Cardiocrinum cordatum bulbs) 2 34 43°25' 146°10'
Yuri 勇留島
Yuri tō
Остров Юрий urir (Cormorant island) 10 43°25' 146°04' 16.6
Yuri channel
Anuchina 秋勇留島
Akiyuri tō
Остров Анучина aki-urir (Yuri's young brother) 5 33 43°21' 146°00' 13.7
Tanfilyeva 水晶島
Suishō tō
Остров Танфильева si-so (Big bare rock) 21 15 43°26' 145°55' 7.2
Goyōmai channel
Sovetskiy channel
Storozhevoy 萌茂尻島
Moemoshiri tō
Остров Сторожевой moi-mosir (A calm island) 0.07 11.8 43°23' 145°53' 6.0
Rifovy オドケ島
Odoke tō
Остров Рифовый 0.001 3.6 43°23' 145°52'
Signalny 貝殻島
Остров Сигнальный kay-ka-ra-i (Low thing above the wave) 43°23' 145°51' 3.7
Cape Nosappu, Hokkaido

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "An Overview of the Northern Territories". Retrieved 19 March 2023.
  2. ^ "The Kurile Islands Dispute". November 1997. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  3. ^ a b "Kuril islands dispute between Russia and Japan". BBC. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  4. ^ "October 7, 1952 Incident (Habomai Islands) : Application by the United States to the International Court of Justice, May 26, 1955". Yale Law School. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  5. ^ "Texts of Soviet–Japanese Statements; Peace Declaration Trade Protocol." The New York Times, page 2, October 20, 1956.
    Subtitle: "Moscow, October 19. (UP) – Following are the texts of a Soviet–Japanese peace declaration and of a trade protocol between the two countries, signed here today, in unofficial translation from the Russian". Quote:"...The U.S.S.R. and Japan have agreed to continue, after the establishment of normal diplomatic relations between them, negotiations for the conclusion of a peace treaty. Hereby, the U.S.S.R., in response to the desires of Japan and taking into consideration the interest of the Japanese state, agrees to hand over to Japan the Habomai and the Shikotan Islands, provided that the actual changing over to Japan of these islands will be carried out after the conclusion of a peace treaty..."
  6. ^ 北方領土の姿 北方対策本部 - 内閣府 (in Japanese) (tr. "The Northern Territories Northern Territories Headquarters - Cabinet Office Home Page"), Cabinet Office, accessed 19 March 2023

External links edit