Iwo Jima Name Change

Source:  by Whitman S. Bartley
Japan has officially renamed the island known as Iwo Jima to Iwo To.  According to the island's original inhabitants, Iwo To has always been the island's real name.  It was mistakenly called Iwo Jima by the Japanese navy during World War II, and the name stuck.  Read more about the name change in the MarineCorps Times article or see the official announcement in Japanese from the Geographical Survey Institute of Japan.

Iwo Jima, now Iwo To, is famous for its role in World War II in the Battle of Iwo Jima.  It is the site of Mount Suribachi and the raising of the American flag photographed by Joe Rosenthal.  Abilene resident Major Keith Wells commanded the troops.

The name change is met with various opinions.  The change was prompted in part by the high profile films by Clint Eastwood Flags of our Fathers, portraying the Battle of Iwo Jima from the American point of view, and Letters from Iwo Jima, from the Japanese perspective.

Official maps with the name change will be released September 2007.



  • photo by Rosenthal
  • from the National Archives


  • - zoomable map and satellite

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