Kunashir Island
Kunashir Island possibly meaning Black Island or Grass Island in Ainu
Ainu language
Ainu is one of the Ainu languages, spoken by members of the Ainu ethnic group on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaidō....

, is the southernmost island of the Kuril Islands
Kuril Islands
The Kuril Islands , in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater...

, which are controlled by Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and claimed by Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 (see Kuril Islands dispute
Kuril Islands dispute
The Kuril Islands dispute , also known as the , is a dispute between Japan and Russia over sovereignty over the South Kuril Islands. The disputed islands, which were occupied by Soviet forces during the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation at the end of World War II, are under Russian...


It lies between the strait
A strait or straits is a narrow, typically navigable channel of water that connects two larger, navigable bodies of water. It most commonly refers to a channel of water that lies between two land masses, but it may also refer to a navigable channel through a body of water that is otherwise not...

s of Kunashir, Catherine, Izmena, and South Kuril. Kunashir is visible from the nearby Japanese island of Hokkaidō
, formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japan's second largest island; it is also the largest and northernmost of Japan's 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu, although the two islands are connected by the underwater railway Seikan Tunnel...

 from which it is separated by the Nemuro Strait
Nemuro Strait
Nemuro Strait, also called Notsuke Strait and Kunashirsky Strait , is a strait, located at , separating Kunashir Island of the Kuril Islands, Russia from the Shiretoko Peninsula, Hokkaidō, Japan.- External links :*...

  • Area
    Area is a quantity that expresses the extent of a two-dimensional surface or shape in the plane. Area can be understood as the amount of material with a given thickness that would be necessary to fashion a model of the shape, or the amount of paint necessary to cover the surface with a single coat...

    : 1,490 km²
  • Length
    In geometric measurements, length most commonly refers to the longest dimension of an object.In certain contexts, the term "length" is reserved for a certain dimension of an object along which the length is measured. For example it is possible to cut a length of a wire which is shorter than wire...

    : 123 km
  • Width: 4–30 km

Kunashir is formed by four volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

es which were separate islands but have since joined together by low-lying areas with lake
A lake is a body of relatively still fresh or salt water of considerable size, localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland and not part of the ocean and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are larger and deeper than ponds. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams,...

s and hot springs
Hot Springs
Hot Springs may refer to:* Hot Springs, Arkansas** Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas*Hot Springs, California**Hot Springs, Lassen County, California**Hot Springs, Modoc County, California**Hot Springs, Placer County, California...

. All these volcanoes are still active: Tyatya
Tyatya in Japanese) is a volcano located in the northeastern part of Kunashir Island, Kuril Islands, Russia. It is the highest peak on the island with an elevation of...

 (1,819 m), Smirnov
Smirnov (volcano)
Smirnov is a volcano located at the northwestern end of Kunashir Island, Kuril Islands, Russia. It comprises Smirnov and Rurui stratovolcanoes. Rurui is the higher one....

, Mendeleev
Mendeleev (volcano)
Mendeleyeva is a stratovolcano located in the southern part of Kunashir Island, Kuril Islands, Russia.The dominantly andesitic-dacitic volcano is cut by two nested calderas, the larger 6–7 km in diameter and the smaller 3-3.5 km. A central cone that formed inside the younger caldera was...

 (Ruasu-yama), and Golovnin
Golovnin is a caldera located in the southern part of Kunashir Island, Kuril Islands, Russia. It is the southernmost volcano of the Kuril Islands.It is named after Russian explorer Vasily Golovnin....


The island is formed with the volcanic and crystalline rock
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

s. The climate is humid continental
Humid continental climate
A humid continental climate is a climatic region typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot summers and cold winters....

 with very heavy precipitation especially in the autumn and a strong seasonal lag with maximum temperatures in August and September. The vegetation
Vegetation is a general term for the plant life of a region; it refers to the ground cover provided by plants. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular taxa, life forms, structure, spatial extent, or any other specific botanical or geographic characteristics. It is broader...

 mostly consists of spruce
A spruce is a tree of the genus Picea , a genus of about 35 species of coniferous evergreen trees in the Family Pinaceae, found in the northern temperate and boreal regions of the earth. Spruces are large trees, from tall when mature, and can be distinguished by their whorled branches and conical...

, pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

, fir
Firs are a genus of 48–55 species of evergreen conifers in the family Pinaceae. They are found through much of North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, occurring in mountains over most of the range...

, and mixed deciduous
Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit when ripe...

A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

s with liana
A liana is any of various long-stemmed, woody vines that are rooted in the soil at ground level and use trees, as well as other means of vertical support, to climb up to the canopy to get access to well-lit areas of the forest. Lianas are especially characteristic of tropical moist deciduous...

s and Kuril bamboo
Bamboo is a group of perennial evergreens in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family....

 underbrush. The mountain
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...

s are covered with birch
Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula , in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. The Betula genus contains 30–60 known taxa...

 and Siberian Dwarf Pine
Siberian Dwarf Pine
Pinus pumila is a native to northeastern Asia, including the islands of Japan. This shrubby pine ranges from 1–3 m in height, exceptionally up to 5 m, but may have individual branches that extend farther along the ground in length...

 scrub, herb
Except in botanical usage, an herb is "any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume" or "a part of such a plant as used in cooking"...

aceous flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

s or bare rocks.

Tree cores of century-old oaks (Quercus crispula) were found in July 2001 on Kunashir Island.

The primary economic activity is fishery
Generally, a fishery is an entity engaged in raising or harvesting fish which is determined by some authority to be a fishery. According to the FAO, a fishery is typically defined in terms of the "people involved, species or type of fish, area of water or seabed, method of fishing, class of boats,...

 and fishing industry
Fishing industry
The fishing industry includes any industry or activity concerned with taking, culturing, processing, preserving, storing, transporting, marketing or selling fish or fish products....

. The island has a port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

 next to Yuzhno-Kurilsk
Yuzhno-Kurilsk is an urban-type settlement in Sakhalin Oblast, Russia. It is the largest settlement on the Kunashir Island of the Kuril Islands. Population: 5,751 ; 6,344 ....

, administrative center of Yuzhno-Kurilsky District and the island's main settlement. Administratively this island belongs to the Sakhalin Oblast
Sakhalin Oblast
Sakhalin Oblast is a federal subject of Russia comprising the island of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands.The oblast has an area of 87,100 km² and a population of 546,695...

 of the Russian Federation.


In 1789 Kunashiri was one of the settings of the Menashi-Kunashir Battle in which Ainu
Ainu people
The , also called Aynu, Aino , and in historical texts Ezo , are indigenous people or groups in Japan and Russia. Historically they spoke the Ainu language and related varieties and lived in Hokkaidō, the Kuril Islands, and much of Sakhalin...

 revolted against Japanese tradespeople and colonists.

Russian navigator Vasily Golovnin
Vasily Golovnin
Vasily Mikhailovich Golovnin .-Early life and career:Vasily Mikhailovich Golovnin was born in April 1776, in the village of Gulyniki in Ryazan Oblast, on his father's country estate. Both his father and grandfather had served in the Russian military as officers in the elite Preobrazhensky...

 attempted to map and explore the island in 1811, but was apprehended by Japanese authorities and spent two years in prison.

On September 1, 1945, or one day before the surrender documents of World War II were signed on September 2, 1945, after the denounciation of the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact
Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact
The , more extensively known as was a pact between the Empire of Japan and the Soviet Union signed on April 13, 1941, two years after the brief Soviet-Japanese Border War .- Background and history :...

 in April 1945 and the declaration of war on Japan on August 9, 1945 (formally, the pact itself remained in effect until April 13, 1946), according to decisions of the Yalta Conference
Yalta Conference
The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the wartime meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D...

, Soviet Union annexed the Kuril Islands and the mainly disputed Northern territories, which Japanese government claims that they are not parts of Kurile Islands for historical reasons, and landed on the disputed island.


After the 1994 earthquake
1994 Kuril Islands earthquake
The 1994 Kuril Islands earthquake occurred on October 4, 1994 at 13:22 UTC . It had a magnitude of Mw 8.2. The epicenter was located at about 70 km east of the Shikotan Island. This earthquake triggered a tsunami in southern Kuril Islands and Hokkaido. The shaking and tsunami caused road and...

, about one-third of Kunashir's population left, and did not come back. By 2002, the island's population is around 7,800. The total population of the disputed Kuril islands is approximately 17,000.

General references

External links

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