Okinawa Island is the largest of the Okinawa Islands and the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. The island is 70 miles long and an average 7 miles wide, has an area of 1,206.98 square kilometers. It is 640 kilometres south of the rest of Japan and 500 km north of Taiwan; the Greater Naha area, home to the prefectural seat of Okinawa Prefecture on the southwestern part of Okinawa Island, has 800,000 of the island's 1.423 million residents, while the city itself is home to about 320,000. Okinawa has been a critical strategic location for the United States Armed Forces since the end of World War II; the island hosts around 26,000 US military personnel, about half of the total complement of the United States Forces Japan, spread among 32 bases and 48 training sites. US bases in Okinawa played critical roles in the Korean War, Vietnam War, War in Afghanistan, Iraq War; the presence of the US military in Okinawa has caused political controversy both on the island and elsewhere in Japan. Okinawa's population is among the longest living peoples in the world.
Residents have less cancer, heart disease and dementia than Americans, while Okinawan women live longer than anywhere else on Earth. Early Okinawan history is defined by midden or shell heap culture, is divided into Early and Late Shell Mound periods; the Early Shell Mound period was a hunter-gatherer society, with wave-like opening Jōmon pottery. In the latter part of this period, archaeological sites moved near the seashore, suggesting the engagement of people in fishing. In Okinawa, rice was not cultivated until the Middle Shell Mound period. Shell rings for arms made of shells obtained in the Sakishima Islands, namely Miyakojima and Yaeyama islands, were imported by Japan. In these islands, the presence of shell axes, 2500 years ago, suggests the influence of a southeastern-Pacific culture. After the Late Shell Mound period, agriculture started about the 12th century, with the center moving from the seashore to higher places; this period is called the Gusuku period. Gusuku is the term used for the distinctive Ryukyuan form of fortresses.
Many gusukus and related cultural remains in the Ryukyu Islands have been listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites under the title Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu. There are three perspectives regarding the nature of gusukus: 1) a holy place, 2) dwellings encircled by stones, 3) a castle of a leader of people. In this period, porcelain trade between Okinawa and other countries became busy, Okinawa became an important relay point in eastern-Asian trade. Ryukyuan kings, such as Shunten and Eiso, were important rulers. An attempted Mongolian invasion in 1291 during the Eiso Dynasty ended in failure. Hiragana was imported from Japan by Ganjin in 1265. Noro, village priestesses of the Ryukyuan religion, appeared; the Sanzan period began in 1314, when the kingdoms of Hokuzan and Nanzan declared independence from Chūzan. The three kingdoms competed with one another for trade with Ming China. King Satto, leading Chūzan, was successful, establishing relations with Korea and Southeast Asia as well as China.
The Hongwu Emperor sent 36 families from Fujian in 1392 at the request of the Ryukyuan King. Their job was to manage maritime dealings in the kingdom. Many Ryukyuan officials were descended from these Chinese immigrants, being born in China or having Chinese ancestors, they assisted the Ryukyuans in developing diplomatic relations. In 1407, however, a man named Hashi overthrew Satto's descendant, King Bunei, installed his own father, Shishō, as king of Chūzan. After his father died, Hashi became king, the Xuande Emperor of China gave him the surname "Shō". In 1429, King Shō Hashi completed the unification of the three kingdoms and founded the Ryūkyū Kingdom with its capital at Shuri Castle, his descendants would conquer the Amami Islands. In 1469, King Shō Taikyū died, so the royal government chose a man named Kanemaru as the new king, who chose the name Shō En and established the Second Shō Dynasty, his son, Shō Shin would conquer the Sakishima Islands and centralize the royal government, the military, the noro priestesses.
In 1609, the Japanese domain of Satsuma launched an invasion of the Ryukyu Kingdom capturing the king and his capital after a long struggle. Ryukyu was forced to become a vassal of Satsuma; the kingdom became both a tributary of Japan. Because China would not make a formal trade agreement unless a country was a tributary state, the kingdom was a convenient loophole for Japanese trade with China; when Japan closed off trade with European nations except the Dutch, Nagasaki and Kagoshima became the only Japanese trading ports offering connections with the outside world. A number of Europeans visited Ryukyu starting in the late 18th century; the most important visits to Okinawa were from Captain Basil Chamberlain in 1816 and Commodore Matthew C. Perry in 1852. A Christian missionary, Bernard Jean Bettelheim, lived in the Gokoku-ji temple in Naha from 1846 to 1854. In 1879, Japan annexed the entire Ryukyu archipelago; the Meiji government established Okinawa Prefecture. The monarchy in Shuri was abolished and the deposed king Shō Tai was forced to relocate to Tokyo.
Hostility against Japan increased in the islands after the annexation in part because of the systematic attempt on the part of Japan to eliminate Ryukyuan culture, including the language and cultural practices. The island of Okinawa was the site of most of the ground warfare in
The Tokugawa Shogunate known as the Tokugawa Bakufu and the Edo Bakufu, was the last feudal Japanese military government, which existed between 1603 and 1867. The head of government was the shōgun, each was a member of the Tokugawa clan; the Tokugawa shogunate ruled from Edo Castle and the years of the shogunate became known as the Edo period. This time is called the Tokugawa period or pre-modern. Following the Sengoku period, the central government had been re-established by Oda Nobunaga during the Azuchi–Momoyama period. After the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, central authority fell to Tokugawa Ieyasu. Society in the Tokugawa period, unlike in previous shogunates, was based on the strict class hierarchy established by Toyotomi Hideyoshi; the daimyō were at the top, followed by the warrior-caste of samurai, with the farmers and traders ranking below. In some parts of the country smaller regions, daimyō and samurai were more or less identical, since daimyō might be trained as samurai, samurai might act as local rulers.
Otherwise, the inflexible nature of this social stratification system unleashed disruptive forces over time. Taxes on the peasantry were set at fixed amounts that did not account for inflation or other changes in monetary value; as a result, the tax revenues collected by the samurai landowners were worth less and less over time. This led to numerous confrontations between noble but impoverished samurai and well-to-do peasants, ranging from simple local disturbances to much larger rebellions. None, proved compelling enough to challenge the established order until the arrival of foreign powers. A 2017 study found that peasant rebellions and collective desertion lowered tax rates and inhibited state growth in the Tokugawa shogunate. In the mid-19th century, an alliance of several of the more powerful daimyō, along with the titular Emperor, succeeded in overthrowing the shogunate after the Boshin War, culminating in the Meiji Restoration; the Tokugawa shogunate came to an official end in 1868 with the resignation of the 15th Tokugawa shōgun Tokugawa Yoshinobu, leading to the "restoration" of imperial rule.
Notwithstanding its eventual overthrow in favor of the more modernized, less feudal form of governance of the Meiji Restoration, the Tokugawa shogunate oversaw the longest period of peace and stability in Japan's history, lasting well over 260 years. The bakuhan taisei was the feudal political system in the Edo period of Japan. Baku is an abbreviation of bakufu, meaning "military government"—that is, the shogunate; the han were the domains headed by daimyō. Vassals provided military service and homage to their lords; the bakuhan taisei split feudal power between the shogunate in Edo and provincial domains throughout Japan. Provinces had a degree of sovereignty and were allowed an independent administration of the han in exchange for loyalty to the shōgun, responsible for foreign relations and national security; the shōgun and lords were all daimyōs: feudal lords with their own bureaucracies and territories. The shōgun administered the most powerful han, the hereditary fief of the House of Tokugawa.
Each level of government administered its own system of taxation. The emperor, nominally a religious leader, held no real power; the shogunate had the power to discard and transform domains. The sankin-kōtai system of alternative residence required each daimyō to reside in alternate years between the han and the court in Edo. During their absences from Edo, it was required that they leave family as hostages until their return; the huge expenditure sankin-kōtai imposed on each han helped centralize aristocratic alliances and ensured loyalty to the shōgun as each representative doubled as a potential hostage. Tokugawa's descendants further ensured loyalty by maintaining a dogmatic insistence on loyalty to the shōgun. Fudai daimyō were hereditary vassals of Ieyasu, as well as of his descendants. Tozama became vassals of Ieyasu after the Battle of Sekigahara. Shinpan were collaterals of Tokugawa Hidetada. Early in the Edo period, the shogunate viewed the tozama as the least to be loyal. In the end, it was the great tozama of Satsuma, Chōshū and Tosa, to a lesser extent Hizen, that brought down the shogunate.
These four states are called Satchotohi for short. The number of han fluctuated throughout the Edo period, they were ranked by size, measured as the number of koku of rice that the domain produced each year. One koku was the amount of rice necessary to feed one adult male for one year; the minimum number for a daimyō was ten thousand koku. Regardless of the political title of the Emperor, the shōguns of the Tokugawa family controlled Japan; the administration of Japan was a task given by the Imperial Court in Kyoto to the Tokugawa family, which returned to the court in the Meiji Restoration. While the Emperor had the prerogative of appointing the shōgun, he had no say in state affairs; the shogunate appointed a liaison, the Kyoto Shoshidai, to deal with the Emperor and nobility. Towards the end of the shogunate, after centuries of the Emperor having little say in state affairs and being secluded in his Kyoto palace, in the wake of the reigning shōgun, Tokugawa Iemochi, marrying the sister of Emperor Kōmei, in 1862, the Imperial Court in Kyoto
The Jōmon period is the time in Japanese prehistory, traditionally dated between c. 14,000–300 BCE refined to about 1000 BCE, during which Japan was inhabited by a hunter-gatherer culture, which reached a considerable degree of sedentism and cultural complexity. The name "cord-marked" was first applied by the American scholar Edward S. Morse, who discovered sherds of pottery in 1877 and subsequently translated it into Japanese as jōmon; the pottery style characteristic of the first phases of Jōmon culture was decorated by impressing cords into the surface of wet clay and is accepted to be among the oldest in East Asia and the world. The Jōmon period was rich in tools and jewellery made from bone, stone and antler, it is compared to pre-Columbian cultures of the North American Pacific Northwest and to the Valdivia culture in Ecuador because in these settings cultural complexity developed within a hunting-gathering context with limited use of horticulture. The long 14,000 years, Jōmon period is conventionally divided into a number of phases: Incipient, Early, Middle and Final, with the phases getting progressively shorter.
The fact that this entire period is given the same name by archaeologists should not be taken to mean that there was not considerable regional and temporal diversity. Dating of the Jōmon sub-phases is based upon ceramic typology, to a lesser extent radiocarbon dating. Traces of Paleolithic culture stone tools, occur in Japan from around 30,000 BCE onwards; the earliest "Incipient Jōmon" phase began while Japan was still linked to continental Asia as a narrow peninsula. As the glaciers melted following the end of the last glacial period, sea levels rose, separating the Japanese archipelago from the Asian mainland. In addition, a continuous chain of islands encompasses Luzon, Taiwan and Kyushu, allowing for continuous contact between the Jōmon and maritime Southeast Asia. Within the archipelago, the vegetation was transformed by the end of the Ice Age. In southwestern Honshu and Kyushu, broadleaf evergreen trees dominated the forests, whereas broadleaf deciduous trees and conifers were common in northeastern Honshu and southern Hokkaido.
Many native tree species, such as beeches, buckeyes and oaks produced edible nuts and acorns. These provided abundant sources of food for animals. In the northeast, the plentiful marine life carried south by the Oyashio Current salmon, was another major food source. Settlements along both the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean subsisted on immense amounts of shellfish, leaving distinctive middens that are now prized sources of information for archaeologists. Other food sources meriting special mention include Sika deer, wild boar, wild plants such as yam-like tubers, freshwater fish. Supported by the productive deciduous forests and an abundance of seafood, the population was concentrated in central and northern Honshu, but Jōmon sites range from Hokkaido to the Ryukyu Islands; the earliest pottery in Japan was made before the start of the Incipient Jōmon period. Small fragments, dated to 14,500 BCE, were found at the Odai Yamamoto I site in 1998. Pottery of the same age was subsequently found at other sites such as Kamikuroiwa and Fukui Cave.
Archaeologist Junko Habu claims "he majority of Japanese scholars believed, still believe, that pottery production was first invented in mainland Asia and subsequently introduced into the Japanese archipelago." This seems to be confirmed by recent archaeology. As of now, the earliest pottery vessels in the world date back to 20,000 BP and were discovered in Xianren Cave in Jiangxi, China; the pottery may have been used as cookware. Other early pottery vessels include those excavated from the Yuchanyan Cave in southern China, dated from 16,000 BCE, at present it appears that pottery emerged at the same time in Japan, in the Amur River basin of the Russian Far East; the first Jōmon pottery is characterized by the cord-marking that gives the period its name and has now been found in large numbers of sites. The pottery of the period has been classified by archaeologists into some 70 styles, with many more local varieties of the styles; the antiquity of Jōmon pottery was first identified after World War II, through radiocarbon dating methods.
The earliest vessels were smallish round-bottomed bowls 10–50 cm high that are assumed to have been used for boiling food and storing it beforehand. They belonged to hunter-gatherers and the size of the vessels may have been limited by a need for portability; as bowls increase in size, this is taken to be a sign of an settled pattern of living. These types continued to develop, with elaborate patterns of decoration, undulating rims, flat bottoms so that they could stand on a surface; the manufacture of pottery implies some form of sedentary life because pottery is heavy and fragile and thus unusable for hunter-gatherers. However, this doe
Nichiren was a Japanese Buddhist priest who lived during the Kamakura period and developed the teachings that are now considered Nichiren Buddhism, a branch school of Mahayana Buddhism. Nichiren was controversial in his day and was known for preaching that the Lotus Sutra alone contains the highest truth of Buddhist teachings and represents the effective teaching for the Third Age of Buddhism, he declared that social and political peace are dependent on the quality of the belief system, upheld in a nation. He advocated the repeated recitation of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. In addition, he held that the historical Shakyamuni Buddha was the manifestation of a Buddha-nature, accessible to all, he insisted that those who claim to be believers of the Sutra must propagate it in the face of persecution. Nichiren was a prolific writer and his biography and the evolution of his thinking has been gleaned from his own writings, he launched his teachings in 1253, advocating an exclusive return to the Lotus Sutra as based on its original Tendai interpretations.
His 1260 treatise Risshō Ankoku Ron argued that a nation that embraces the Lotus Sutra will experience peace and prosperity whereas rulers who support inferior religious teachings invite disorder and disaster into their realms. In a 1264 essay, he stated that the title of the Lotus Sutra, "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo," encompasses all Buddhist teachings and its recitation leads to enlightenment; as a result of his adamant stance, he experienced severe persecution imposed by the Kamakura Shogunate and began to see himself as "bodily reading the Lotus Sutra." In some of his writings during a second exile he began to identify himself with the key Lotus Sutra characters Sadāparibhūta and Visistacaritra and saw himself in the role of leading a vast outpouring of Bodhisattvas of the Earth. In 1274, after his two predictions of foreign invasion and political strife were actualized by the first attempted Mongol invasion of Japan along with an unsuccessful coup within the Hōjō clan, Nichiren was pardoned by the Shogunate authorities and his advice was sought but not heeded.
The Risshō Ankoku Ron in which he first predicted foreign invasion and civil disorder is now considered by Japanese historians to be a literary classic illustrating the apprehensions of that period. After his death, in 1358 he was bestowed the title Nichiren Dai-Bosatsu by Emperor Go-Kōgon and in 1922 the title Risshō Daishi was conferred posthumously by imperial edict. Nichiren remains a controversial figure among scholars who cast him as either a fervent nationalist or a social reformer with a transnational religious vision. Critical scholars have used words such as intolerant, nationalistic and self-righteous to portray him. On the other hand, Nichiren has been presented as a revolutionary, a classic reformer, as a prophet. Nichiren is compared to other religious figures who shared similar rebellious and revolutionary drives to reform degeneration in their respective societies or schools. Today, Nichiren Buddhism includes traditional temple schools such as the confederation of Nichiren-shū and Nichiren Shōshū temples, as well as modern lay movements such as Soka Gakkai, Risshō Kōsei Kai, Reiyūkai, Kenshōkai, Honmon Butsuryū-shū, Kempon Hokke, Shōshinkai.
Each group has varying views of Nichiren's teachings with interpretations of Nichiren's identity ranging from the reincarnation of bodhisattva Visistacaritra to the primordial or "true" Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law. Since there is no historical record of Nichiren, the story of his life has been constructed from the quite substantial number of extant letters and treatises he wrote, counted in one collection as 523 complete writings and 248 fragments; the first extensive biography of Nichiren did not appear until more than 200 years after his death. Several unsubstantiated stories found their way into hagiographies about Nichiren and are reflected in various pieces of artwork about incidents in his life. There is a current effort among scholars to create new biographies about Nichiren through cross-historical and literary analyses. According to the lunar Chinese calendar, Nichiren was born on 27th of the first month in 1222, 16 February in the Gregorian calendar. Nichiren was born in the village of Nagase District, Awa Province.
Accounts of his lineage vary. Nichiren described himself as "the son of a Sendara, "a son born of the lowly people living on a rocky strand of the out-of-the-way sea," and "the son of a sea-diver." In contrast, Hōnen, Shinran, Dōgen, Eisai, the other founders of religious schools who predated Nichiren, were all born in the Kyoto region and came from noble or samurai backgrounds. Although his writings reflect a fierce pride of his lowly birth, followers after his death began to ascribe to him a more noble lineage to attract more adherents; some have claimed his father was a manorial functionary, or a political refugee. Nichiren's father was Mikuni-no-Tayu Shigetada known as Nukina Shigetada Jiro and his mother was Umegiku-nyo. On his birth, his parents named him Zennichimaro which has variously been translated into English as "Splendid Sun" and "Virtuous Sun Boy" among others; the exact site of Nichiren's birth is believed to be submerged off the shore from present-day Kominato-zan
Emperor Juntoku was the 84th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. His reign spanned the years from 1210 through 1221. Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name was Morinari-shinnō, he was the third son of Emperor Go-Toba. His mother was Shigeko, the daughter of Fujiwara Hanki Empress: Kujō Fujiwara no Ritsushi Higashiichijō-in, Kujo Yoshitsune’s daughter Second daughter: Imperial Princess Taiko Gekgimon’in Fourth son: Imperial Prince Kanenari Emperor ChūkyōLady-in-waiting: Toku-Naishi, Fujiwara Norimitsu’s Daughter Sixth son: Imperial Prince Yoshimune Seventh son: Prince Hikonari Consort: Fujiwara Noriko, Bomon Nobukiyo’s daughter Daughter: Imperial Princess Jōko Consort: Fujiwara Kiyotaka’s Daughter Son: Imperial Prince Priest Sonkaku Son: Imperial Prince Priest Kaku‘e Fifth son: Prince Iwakura no Miya Tadanari Consort: Saishō-no-Tsubone, Priest’s daughter Son: Kangan GiinMother unknown: Daughter: Princess Yoshiko (慶子女王, he was elevated to the throne.
1210: In the 12th year of Tsuchimikado-tennō's reign, the emperor abdicated. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Juntoku is said to have acceded to the throne. In actuality, Emperor Go-Toba wielded effective power as a cloistered emperor during the years of Juntoku's reign. In 1221, he was forced to abdicate because of his participation in Go-Toba's unsuccessful attempt to displace the Kamakura bakufu with re-asserted Imperial power; this political and military struggle was called the Jōkyū Incident. After the Jōkyū-no ran, Juntoku was sent into exile on Sado Island, where he remained until his death in 1242; this emperor is known posthumously. He was buried in the Mano Goryo, on Sado's west coast. Juntoku's official Imperial tomb is in Kyoto. Juntoku was tutored in poetry by Fujiwara no Sadaie, known as Teika. One of the emperor's poems was selected for inclusion in what became a well-known anthology, the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu; this literary legacy in Teika's collection of poems has accorded Juntoku a continuing popular prominence beyond the scope of his other lifetime achievements.
The poets and poems of the Hyakunin isshu form the basis for a card game, still played today. Kugyō is a collective term for the few most powerful men attached to the court of the Emperor of Japan in pre-Meiji eras. In general, this elite group included only three to four men at a time; these were hereditary courtiers whose experience and background would have brought them to the pinnacle of a life's career. During juntoku's reign, this apex of the Daijō-kan included: Kampaku, Konoe Iezane, d. 1242. Sadaijin Udaijin Nadaijin Dainagon The years of Juntoku's reign are more identified by more than one era name or nengō. Jōgen Kenryaku Kempō Jōkyū Emperor of Japan List of Emperors of Japan Imperial cult
In biology, a population is all the organisms of the same group or species, which live in a particular geographical area, have the capability of interbreeding. The area of a sexual population is the area where inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area, where the probability of interbreeding is greater than the probability of cross-breeding with individuals from other areas. In sociology, population refers to a collection of humans. Demography is a social science. Population in simpler terms is the number of people in a city or town, country or world. In population genetics a sex population is a set of organisms in which any pair of members can breed together; this means that they can exchange gametes to produce normally-fertile offspring, such a breeding group is known therefore as a Gamo deme. This implies that all members belong to the same species. If the Gamo deme is large, all gene alleles are uniformly distributed by the gametes within it, the Gamo deme is said to be panmictic.
Under this state, allele frequencies can be converted to genotype frequencies by expanding an appropriate quadratic equation, as shown by Sir Ronald Fisher in his establishment of quantitative genetics. This occurs in Nature: localization of gamete exchange – through dispersal limitations, preferential mating, cataclysm, or other cause – may lead to small actual Gamo demes which exchange gametes reasonably uniformly within themselves but are separated from their neighboring Gamo demes. However, there may be low frequencies of exchange with these neighbors; this may be viewed as the breaking up of a large sexual population into smaller overlapping sexual populations. This failure of panmixia leads to two important changes in overall population structure: the component Gamo demos vary in their allele frequencies when compared with each other and with the theoretical panmictic original; the overall rise in homozygosity is quantified by the inbreeding coefficient. Note that all homozygotes are increased in frequency – both the deleterious and the desirable.
The mean phenotype of the Gamo demes collection is lower than that of the panmictic original –, known as inbreeding depression. It is most important to note, that some dispersion lines will be superior to the panmictic original, while some will be about the same, some will be inferior; the probabilities of each can be estimated from those binomial equations. In plant and animal breeding, procedures have been developed which deliberately utilize the effects of dispersion, it can be shown that dispersion-assisted selection leads to the greatest genetic advance, is much more powerful than selection acting without attendant dispersion. This is so for both autogamous Gamo demes. In ecology, the population of a certain species in a certain area can be estimated using the Lincoln Index. According to the United States Census Bureau the world's population was about 7.55 billion in 2019 and that the 7 billion number was surpassed on 12 March 2012. According to a separate estimate by the United Nations, Earth’s population exceeded seven billion in October 2011, a milestone that offers unprecedented challenges and opportunities to all of humanity, according to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.
According to papers published by the United States Census Bureau, the world population hit 6.5 billion on 24 February 2006. The United Nations Population Fund designated 12 October 1999 as the approximate day on which world population reached 6 billion; this was about 12 years after world population reached 5 billion in 1987, 6 years after world population reached 5.5 billion in 1993. The population of countries such as Nigeria, is not known to the nearest million, so there is a considerable margin of error in such estimates. Researcher Carl Haub calculated that a total of over 100 billion people have been born in the last 2000 years. Population growth increased as the Industrial Revolution gathered pace from 1700 onwards; the last 50 years have seen a yet more rapid increase in the rate of population growth due to medical advances and substantial increases in agricultural productivity beginning in the 1960s, made by the Green Revolution. In 2017 the United Nations Population Division projected that the world's population will reach about 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100.
In the future, the world's population is expected to peak, after which it will decline due to economic reasons, health concerns, land exhaustion and environmental hazards. According to one report, it is likely that the world's population will stop growing before the end of the 21st century. Further, there is some likelihood that population will decline before 2100. Population has declined in the last decade or two in Eastern Europe, the Baltics and in the Commonwealth of Independent States; the population pattern of less-developed regions of the world in recent years has been marked by increasing birth rates. These followed an earlier sharp reduction in death rates; this transition from high birth and death rates to low birth
Kuril Islands dispute
The Kuril Islands dispute known as the Northern Territories dispute, is a disagreement between Japan and Russia and some individuals of the Ainu people over sovereignty of the South Kuril Islands, which stretch between northern Hokkaido and southern Kamchatka, in the Sea of Okhotsk. These islands, like other islands in the Kuril chain that are not in dispute, were annexed by the Soviet Union in aftermath of the Kuril Islands landing operation at the end of World War II; the disputed islands are under Russian administration as the South Kuril District of the Sakhalin Oblast. They are claimed by Japan, which refers to them as its Northern Territories or Southern Chishima, considers them part of the Nemuro Subprefecture of Hokkaido Prefecture; the San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed between the Allies and Japan in 1951, states that Japan must give up "all right and claim to the Kuril Islands", but it does not recognize the Soviet Union's sovereignty over them. Japan claims that at least some of the disputed islands are not a part of the Kuril Islands, thus are not covered by the treaty.
Russia maintains that the Soviet Union's sovereignty over the islands was recognized in post-war agreements. Japan and the Soviet Union ended their formal state of war with the Soviet–Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956, but did not resolve the territorial dispute; the islands in question are: Iturup —Etorofu Island Kunashir —Kunashiri Island Shikotan —Shikotan Island Habomai Islands —Habomai Islands The first Russo-Japanese agreement to deal with the status of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands was the 1855 Treaty of Shimoda, which first established official relations between Russia and Japan. Article 2 of the Treaty of Shimoda, which provided for an agreement on borders, states "Henceforth the borders between Russia and Japan will pass between the islands Iturup and Urup; the whole island of Iturup belongs to Japan and the whole island Urup and the other Kuril Islands to the north constitute possessions of Russia". The islands of Kunashiri and the Habomai Islands, that all lie to the south of Uturup, are not explicitly mentioned in the treaty and were understood at the time to be a non-disputed part of Japan.
The treaty specified that the island of Sakhalin/Karafuto would remain un-partitioned betweeen Russia and Japan, as in the past. In the 1875 Treaty of Saint Petersburg Russia and Japan agreed that Japan would give up all rights to Sakhalin in exchange for Russia giving up all rights to the Kuril Islands in favor of Japan. However, a controversy remains as to what constitutes the Kuril islands, due to translation discrepancies of the French official text of that treaty; the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905 was a military disaster for Russia. The 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth, concluded at the end of this war, gave the southern half of Sakhalin Island to Japan. Although Japan occupied parts of Russia's Far East during the Russian Civil War following the October Revolution, Japan did not formally annex any of these territories and they were vacated by Japan by the mid-1920s. There was no hostile activity between the USSR and the Empire of Japan after the Battle of Khalkin Gol ended the Japanese–Soviet Border War in 1939 and before the USSR declared war on Japan on August 8, 1945.
The Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact was signed in Moscow on April 13, 1941, but was renounced by the Soviet Union in 1945 as in accordance with the Pact itself, it remains relevant for 5 years and automatically renews for the next 5 years if any of the countries does not renounce the Pact a year before the date of its expiry. So, the USSR renounced the Pact. On August 14, 1945, Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration and on the following day announced unconditional capitulation; the Soviet operation to occupy the Kuril Islands took place between August 18 and September 3. Japanese inhabitants were repatriated two years later; the modern Kuril Islands dispute arose in the aftermath of World War II and results from the ambiguities in and disagreements about the meaning of the Yalta agreement, the Potsdam Declaration and the Treaty of San Francisco. The Yalta Agreement, signed by the US, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, stated: The leaders of the three great powers – the Soviet Union, the United States of America and Great Britain – have agreed that in two or three months after Germany has surrendered and the war in Europe is terminated, the Soviet Union shall enter into war against Japan on the side of the Allies on condition that:...
2. The former rights of Russia violated by the treacherous attack of Japan in 1904 shall be restored, viz.: The southern part of Sakhalin as well as the islands adjacent to it shall be returned to the Soviet Union. 3. The Kurile Islands shall be handed over to the Soviet Union. Japan and the US claimed that the Yalta agreement did not apply to the Northern Territories because they were not a part of the Kuril Islands, although US geographers have traditionally listed them as part of the Kuril chain. In a 1998 article in the journal Pacific Affairs, Bruce Elleman, Michael Nichols and Matthew Ouimet argue that the US never accepted the cession of all the Kuril Islands to the Soviet Union and has maintained from Yalta onwards that it agreed at Yalta that Moscow could negotiate directly with Tokyo to come to a mutually acceptable solution, that the US would support in such a peace agreement the Soviet acquisition of the Kurils; as a key piece of evidence