Land of Exile

In 724, the year Emperor Shōmu ascended the throne, Oki was designated as a place of exile. Until the mid-Edo Period where around 3,000 criminals (members of public) were exiled, notable and political figures such as emperors, aristocrats and officials were banished to Oki. Emperor Go-Toba and Emperor Go-Daigo, both defeated in power struggles during Kamakura Period, and Ono no Takamura, a poet of Heian Period, are amongst the many notable exiles.
The reason why Oki became a penal colony is not only because it is far from the capital, but also because there are not a lot of problems regarding life on the islands. A penal colony where exiled nobles would starve or find life dangerous is not desirable. Therefore, it can be inferred that one of the reasons why Oki was selected was that the islands were rich in crops and had a history that began with obsidian despite being a remote location.