Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks   Donate Now  
Search Chronology Locations Aircraft Vessels Missing In Action (MIA)
    Marcus Island (南鳥島, Minamitorishima)  Japan

Click For Enlargement

Lat N 24°16'  Long E 154°00'  Small island located in the northwest Pacific Ocean, the most easterly island of Japan, 1,148 miles east of Tokyo. The nearest island is East Island of the Maug Islands in the Mariana Islands. In Japanese, known as "Minamitorishima" or "Minami Tori Shima" (Southern Bird Island).

On July 19, 1898 Marcus Island was initially claimed by Japan. In 1935, the Japanese Navy established a meteorological station on the island, and built the airfield. A channel was cut through the reef on the northwest side of the island.

Wartime History
At the start of the Pacific War the garrison included the 742 man Minamitorishima Guard Unit, under the command of Rear-Admiral Masata Matsubara and the 2,005 man 12th Independent Mixed Regiment, under the command of Colonel Yoshiichi Sakata.

At the height of the war, over 4,000 Japanese soldiers were stationed on the island. Defended by trench system and beach defenses around the perimeter of the island plus light and heavy anti-aircraft batteries.

The island was attacked by American aircraft and bypassed, leaving the garrison isolated and cut off from resupply, aside from submarine or rescue.

American missions against Marcus
March 4, 1942 - July 4, 1945

At the end of the war, the surviving garrison officially surrendered on August 31, 1945 to US Army General Whiting.

In 1951, the Treaty of San Francisco placed the island under American jurisdiction. In 1964 the U. S. Coast Guard opened a LORAN-C navigation station on Marcus, whose mast was until 1985 one of the tallest structures in the Pacific area. In the 1980s the Loran station was maintained by twenty-three US Coast Guard personnel.

In 1968, Marcus was returned to Japan. Today. the island is administratively considered part of Ogasawara, Tokyo.

Marcus Airfield (Minamitorishima Airfield)
Japanese built airfield that spanned the length of the island.


Contribute Information
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
May 3, 2016


    All rights reserved.  
  Pacific Wrecks Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to bringing home those Missing In Action (MIA) and leveraging new technologies in the study of World War II Pacific and the Korean War.  
Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram
Forum Updates People Museums Reviews Submit Info How You Can Help