• Noto Peninsula Earthquake

Ishikawa Pref.’s Battleship Island Collapses in Jan. 1 Quake; Loses Iconic Shape

Yomiuri Shimbun photos
The collapsed southeast side of Mitsukejima Island in Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture, is seen on Jan. 19. The photo was taken by a drone with permission from the relevant authorities.

SUZU, Ishikawa — Mitsukejima Island, a scenic spot known as Battleship Island in Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture, partially collapsed in the Noto Peninsula Earthquake and has lost its protruding tip that gave it the popular nickname.

The island has long been a symbol of the area and is designated as a natural monument by the Ishikawa prefectural government. Looking at the ruined island, local residents were despondent, with one of them saying, “We can no longer call it Battleship Island.”

According to the Suzu city government’s tourism exchange division, the rhomboid-shaped island was about 28 meters high and 400 meters in circumference before the Jan. 1 earthquake, but its southeast side collapsed, reducing its size by half.

The island has been experiencing erosion caused by the wind and waves and some sections had collapsed during earthquakes in June 2022 and May 2023, which respectively registered lower 6 and upper 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7.

According to an investigation by the Disaster Prevention Research Institute of Kyoto University and others, the New Year’s Day earthquake is believed to have caused a 4-meter-high tsunami that surged into the city’s Horyumachi district where the island is located.

Yoshio Hama, 72, who lives nearby, recalled the days when he was in elementary school and enjoyed swimming off the island.

“The island no longer looks like it used to. It’s so sad,” he said.

“The impact on tourism is significant, but we want to rebuild the area as soon as possible and welcome visitors,” said an official of the Noto Peninsula Wide Area Tourism Association.

The Yomiuri Shimbun