Okushiri, Hokkaido
is a town
Towns of Japan
A town is a local administrative unit in Japan. It is a local public body along with prefecture , city , and village...

 encompassing all of Okushiri Island
Okushiri Island
is an island in Hokkaidō, Japan. It has an area of . The town of Okushiri and Hiyama Prefectural Natural Park encompass the entire island.-History:It was the site of a powerful earthquake and tsunami in 1993....

, located in Okushiri District
Okushiri District, Hokkaido
is a district consisting of Okushiri Island, administered as part of Hiyama Subprefecture, Hokkaidō, Japan.As of 2004, the district has an estimated population of 3,708 and a density of 25.93 persons per km². The total area is 142.98 km²....

, Hiyama
Hiyama Subprefecture
is a subprefecture of Hokkaidō, Japan located on the Oshima Peninsula on the Sea of Japan side. It includes Okushiri Island. It was established in 1897.-Towns and villages by district:* Hiyama District** Assabu** Esashi ** Kaminokuni* Kudō District...

, 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...

, 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...


As of 2008, the town has an estimated population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

 of 3,442 and a density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 of 24.5 persons per km². The total area is 142.98 km².

Hiyama Prefectural Natural Park
Hiyama Prefectural Natural Park
is a prefectural natural park of Hokkaidō, Japan. The park encompasses over , including all of Okushiri Island and parts of the following towns of Hiyama Subprefecture:*Esashi*Kaminokuni*Otobe*TaiseiThe park also includes Kamome Island in Esashi....

 encompasses the entire island and town.


On July 12, 1993, the Southwest Hokkaidō Open Sea earthquake
1993 Hokkaidō earthquake
The occurred at 13:17:12 UTC on in the Sea of Japan near the island of Hokkaido. It had a magnitude of 7.7 on the moment magnitude scale and a maximum felt intensity of VIII on the Mercalli intensity scale. It triggered a major tsunami that caused deaths on Hokkaidō and in southeastern Russia,...

 (北海道南西沖地震) of magnitude
Richter magnitude scale
The expression Richter magnitude scale refers to a number of ways to assign a single number to quantify the energy contained in an earthquake....

 7.8 in the Sea of Japan
Sea of Japan
The Sea of Japan is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean, between the Asian mainland, the Japanese archipelago and Sakhalin. It is bordered by Japan, North Korea, Russia and South Korea. Like the Mediterranean Sea, it has almost no tides due to its nearly complete enclosure from the Pacific...

  off southwest Hokkaidō created a devastating tsunami
A tsunami is a series of water waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of a body of water, typically an ocean or a large lake...

. This tsunami
A tsunami is a series of water waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of a body of water, typically an ocean or a large lake...

 killed 198. people in the town, despite a tsunami warning system
Tsunami warning system
A Tsunami warning system is used to detect tsunamis in advance and issue warnings to prevent loss of life and damage. It consists of two equally important components: a network of sensors to detect tsunamis and a communications infrastructure to issue timely alarms to permit evacuation of coastal...

 and Seawall, and also caused landslides on the hills above. 32 people went missing, including 3 in 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 129 were injured. The subsequent fire burned down much of what remained. The island was reshaped by the tsunami, which was 10 meters high in town. The tsunami struck within five minutes of the earthquake, leaving residents absolutely no warning.

This was probably the world's first tsunami recorded by personal camcorders.

A separate earthquake produced a minor tsunami in 1983 on the island, but with no injuries or deaths.

The name Okushiri comes from the 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....

 name Ikusyun-shiri. Iku means other side and shiri means island.

External links

Town website
  • Animation of Okushiri tsunami from the Tsunami Research Center at USC
    University of Southern California
    The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...

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