Whoulda thunk it? Movies can cause change -- it's a nice thought in all of our cynicism, and even better with all the movie schlock out there. As you all know, Clint Eastwood released two Oscar nomination-grabbing movies about Iwo Jima and World War II -- Letters from Iwo Jima and Flags of Our Fathers. The former dealt with the Japanese perspective on the battle and the latter, the men who raised the flag, signaling the turning point in the war. It seems that these two films sparked a letter writing campaign to change the name of the island, headed by the former residents, who now live across Japan. Apparently, all those years ago, the island was named Iwo To. However, when the island was evacuated and Japanese officers came to fortify it against the US, they mixed up the name.

"Iwo To" and "Iwo Jima" looks the same when written, and both mean "Sulphur Island" yet, they sound different. (I don't quite get how they're different then, so chime in if you're knowledgeable in Japanese words and script.) So, this letter writing campaign was successful, and earlier this week, the Japanese Geographical Survey Institute officially changed the name back to Iwo To -- a small victory for the island's old residents. As Mitsugu Aizawa of the institute says: "These people are now scattered nationwide and are not able to go back to Iwo To. These people said that the place was originally called Iwo To and their claim left to this revision." (The island is currently inhabited by 400 Japanese soldiers.) Unfortunately, both films have already been released on DVD, so I think it'll be a while before the name change catches on.
CATEGORIES Movies, Cinematical