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(shĭkō`ko͞o), island (1990 pop. 4,240,265), 7,247 sq mi (18,770 sq km), S Japan, separated from Honshu and Kyushu by the Inland Sea. The smallest of the major islands of Japan, its high mountains and steep slopes limit agriculture and impede communication; there are no volcanoes. Shikoku's climate is humid subtropical. Rice, grains, mulberry, palms, and camphor are the chief products. Fishing and salt production are important, along with the petroleum, metal, paper, and textile industries. A large copper mine is located at Besshi. Population is concentrated along the coast; Takamatsu and Matsuyama are the largest cities.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an island in Japan, in the southern part of the Japanese Archipelago. Area, 17,760 sq km (18,800 sq km including about 300 islets and offshore rocks). Population, 3.9 million (1970). Shikoku is bounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Inland Sea, and the Kii, Naruto, Hoyo, and Bungo straits; its coastline is approximately 1,800 km long. The northwestern and southeastern coasts are regular, but parts of the northeastern and southwestern coasts are greatly indented by bays exposed to strong tidal currents.

Shikoku is predominantly mountainous. In the north is the Sanuki range, a chain of hills and low mountains composed mostly of granites. In the island’s southern and central parts are mountains composed primarily of shales; Mount Ishizuchi, at 1,981 m, is the highest point. The largest deposits of copper ore in Japan are found at Besshiyama.

The climate is subtropical and monsoonal. The average temperature in January ranges from 5° to 10°C; in some intermon-tane basins it drops to as low as – 2° C. The average temperature in July ranges from 20° to 28°C. In the north, annual precipitation is less than 1,000 mm, but in the south it may reach 3,000 mm. Typhoons are frequent.

The rivers of Shikoku characteristically descend over frequent stretches of rapids and discharge large volumes of water into the sea; the largest is the Yoshino. High water occurs in the summer. Dense forests of oak, fir, cryptomeria, and hemlock grow on the island’s hillsides.

Citrus fruits are grown widely on Shikoku. Nearby waters yield fish and pearls. The largest cities are Matsuyama, Ima-bari, Niihama, Takamatsu, Tokushima, and Kochi.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


the smallest of the four main islands of Japan, separated from Honshu by the Inland Sea: forested and mountainous. Pop.: 4 137 000 (2002 est.). Area: 17 759 sq. km (6857 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005