Tanega-shima tänā´gä-shĭmä [key], island, 176 sq mi (456 sq km), off S Kyushu, Japan. Fishing and farming are important there. It is the site of Japan's main rocket launch center and a space satellite tracking station. Mendez Pinto, a Portuguese voyager on his way to China, landed (1543) there and introduced firearms to Japan. The name of the island came to mean firearms to the Japanese.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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