I can understand "島" being used in 硫黄島 (Iwo Jima/Iwo To, literally "Sulphur island"), because it is an island, but why is it used in 福島市 (Fukushima city, literally "Good fortune island") and 広島市 (Hiroshima city, literally "Wide island")?


In short, that is because "island" is not the only meaning of 「島/しま/シマ」.

Besides "island", it can mean "settlement", "arable land by a river", "isolated area", "territory", "turf", "sandbank", etc. Even each section of a supermarket or any sizable store is called 「シマ」. So, it does not have to be sea water that surrounds a 「島/しま/シマ」.

「[福島]{ふくしま}」 was largely lakes and marshes at least as late as the 16th century according to chimei-allguide. So it was a kind of an island surrounded by fresh water.

「[広島]{ひろしま}」 is said to have started from a delta according to the same source as above. So, like Fukushima, it was like an island in a river if not the ocean.

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