Back in January I mentioned the name Iwo Jima in connection with its first element (which means ‘sulfur’); now it’s in the news because the island has been renamed Iwoto (more accurately, Iōtō), which is what its inhabitants called it before the war:
“I have felt something was wrong because the name of my hometown was called by a different name after the end of the war. I’m really happy,” said 74-year-old Yoshiharu Okamoto, who heads an association of former Iwoto residents.
The interesting, and very Japanese, thing is that the written form stays exactly the same, 硫黄島; the last character, meaning ‘island,’ can be read either tō (the Sino-Japanese reading) or shima/jima (the native Japanese reading). Thanks for the Japan Times link go to frequent commenter (and superb blogger) MMcM.