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Eastwood Movies Spark Island Name Change

Posted: June 21st, 2007 by WorstPreviews.com Staff
Eastwood Movies Spark Island Name ChangeSubmit Comment
This is not really movie news, but I thought was still interesting. Japan has changed the name of the Pacific island of Iwo Jima, site of the famous World War II battle, to its original name of Iwo To after residents there were prodded into action by two recent Clint Eastwood movies.

The new name in Japanese looks and means the same as Iwo Jima -- or Sulfur Island -- but sounds different, the Japanese Geographical Survey Institute said, who announced the name change Monday after discussing the issue with Japan's coast guard.

Iwo Jima was the site of the World War II battle immortalized by the famous photograph by Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press of U.S. Marines raising the American flag on the islet's Mount Suribachi.

Before the war, however, the volcanic island was known as Iwo To by the 1,000 or so civilians who lived there.

They were evacuated in 1944 as U.S. forces advanced across the Pacific. Some Japanese navy officers who moved in to fortify the island mistakenly called it Iwo Jima, and the name stuck. After the war, civilians weren't allowed to return, and the island was put to exclusive military use by both the U.S. and Japan, cementing its identity.

Never satisfied that the name Iwo Jima took root, locals took action in March after the release of Eastwood's two films "Letters From Iwo Jima" and "Flags of Our Fathers" spotlighted the misnomer.

The 1945 battle for Iwo Jima pitted some 100,000 U.S. troops against 22,000 Japanese deeply dug into a labyrinth of tunnels and trenches. Nearly 7,000 Americans were killed capturing the island, and fewer than 1,000 of the Japanese would survive.

The Americans occupied the island after the war, and returned it to Japanese jurisdiction in 1968. The U.S. Navy still uses an Iwo To airstrip to train pilots who operate from aircraft carriers.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter


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