An alternative, Iwō-jima, modern Iō-jima, also appeared in nautical atlases. (Tō and shima are different readings of the kanji for island (島), the shima being changed to jima in this case. ) Japanese naval officers who arrived to fortify the island before the U. S. invasion mistakenly called it Iwō-jima, and in this way, the Iwo Jima reading became mainstream and was the one used by U. S. forces who arrived during World War II. Former island residents protested against this rendering, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s Geographical Survey Institute debated the issue and formally announced on June 18, 2007, that the official Japanese pronunciation of the island’s name would revert to the pre-war Iō-tō. Moves to revert the pronunciation were sparked by the high-profile films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. The change does not affect how the name is written with kanji, 硫黄島, only how it is pronounced or written in hiragana, katakana and rōmaji.

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