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Iwo Jima and the Bonin Islands in U.S.-Japanese Relations

American Strategy, Japanese Territory, and the Islanders In-Between

Robert D. Eldridge

DOI: 10.56686/9780991158850


This is first and foremost a study on the “intra-alliance” dynamics in which one country, the United States, continued to occupy and administer islands that were recognized as Japanese territory but, for a number of reasons, the United States and its wartime allies felt necessary to continue to administer. The longer this control continued, the more unnecessary it was seen by increasingly larger segments of the public and government of both countries due to the political erosion of the relationship caused by this friction. The question for policy makers and political leaders was finding the balance between security concerns, reversion demands, and national sentiment (in both countries), particularly as it related to the memory and sacrifices at Iwo Jima, in an effort to maintain friendly and cooperative relations.

Robert D. Eldridge, PhD, is the deputy assistant chief of staff, G-7 (Government and External Affairs), Marine Corps Installations Pacific, headquartered at Camp Smedley D. Butler, Okinawa, Japan. He earned his BA in international relations at Lynchburg College in Virginia and his MA and PhD in political science at Kobe University in Japan, specializing in Japanese political and diplomatic history. He was previously a tenured associate professor at the School of International Public Policy, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan, where he taught about U.S.-Japan relations, foreign and security policy, and Okinawa issues. From 2004 to 2005, he served as the first-ever scholar-in-residence at Marine Corps Forces Pacific, Camp Smith, HI. His books include The Origins of the Bilateral Okinawa Problem: Okinawa in Post-war U.S.-Japan Relations, 1945–1952 (2001) and Fighting Spirit: The Memoirs of Yoshitaka Horie and the Battle of Okinawa (2011), translated and coedited with Iwo Jima veteran Chuck Tatum. His current work Megaquake: How Japan and the World Should Respond, is available from Potomac Books. He is editing a book about the history of the Japanese ground self-defense forces and writing a book about the origins of the Senkaku Islands dispute.


Introduction: The Bonin (Ogasawara) and Volcano (Kazan) Islands

Chapter 1. History of the Islands to the Pacific War

Chapter 2. The War and the Battle of Iwo Jima

Chapter 3. The Bonin Islands During the War

Chapter 4. The Peace Treaty and Island Disposition

Chapter 5. Naval Administration and Chichi Jima Life, 1945–68

Chapter 6. Bilateral Problem: Reversion and Repatriation, 1952–57

Chapter 7. Bilateral Problem: Compensation, Visits, and Rites, 1957–67

Chapter 8. The Reversion, 1967–68

Conclusion: End of an Era

Appendix A • The Ogasawara Reversion Agreement

Appendix B • Statement on Mt. Suribachi Memorial

Appendix C • Draft Text on Nuclear Weapons Storage, 21 March 1968

Appendix D • List of Island Appeals and Petitions, 1947–64


7 x 10 paperback
568 pages
PDF download

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