← Back to War and Natural Disaster

I lived in Hokkaido for 14 years and conducted much research into local war history and memories. This resulted in the book Local History and War Memories in Hokkaido. See also:

Philip Seaton, “Family, Friends and Furusato: “Home” in the Formation of Japanese War Memories”.

Vivian Blaxell, “Designs of Power: The “Japanization” of Urban and Rural Space in Colonial Hokkaidō”.

Komori Yoichi, Helen J.S. Lee and Michele Mason, “Rule in the Name of Protection: The Japanese State, the Ainu and the Vocabulary of Colonialism”.

Uemura Hideaki and Jeffry Gayman, “Rethinking Japan’s Constitution from the Perspective of the Ainu and Ryūkyū Peoples”.

Ainu History

The Ainu are the indigenous people of Hokkaido. Their land was colonized and the people were forcibly assimilated into Japan following the Meiji Restoration (1868). For Ainu history and culture, see Ainu Association of Hokkaido, the Upopoy National Ainu Museum, Akan Ainu Kotan (performing arts centre in eastern Hokkaido), and The Foundation for Ainu Culture.

Settler History

The article History of Development in Hokkaido (in the Hokkaido Bureau website) gives a brief history of Hokkaido from a settler and development perspective. One of Hokkaido’s most famous buildings, Akarenga in Sapporo, lends its name to a Portal Site of Hokkaido’s History and Culture, Akarenga.

Local Media

One of the key reasons distinctive local war memories can exist is a strong local media. The prefectural broadsheet is the Hokkaido Shinbun Newspaper. Hokkaido’s local television stations (and their affiliated national network) are NHK Hokkaido (NHK General), STV (Nippon TV), UHB (Fuji TV), HTB (TV Asahi), HBC (TBS), TVH (TV Tokyo)


The main museums in Hokkaido dealing with issues of colonialism and war are:

Abashiri Prison Museum (a museum documenting the harsh conditions faced by prison laborers in the nineteenth century)

Historical Village of Hokkaido (an open air museum containing many colonization period buildings)

Hokkaido Museum (large, general history museum funded by prefectural government)

Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples (a museum presenting indigenous cultures in Hokkaido and beyond)

Hokkaido University Museum (a general science and history museum)

Hokuchin Memorial Museum (history of the military in Hokkaido from the tondenhei to the present-day SDF, Japanese only)

Kitami Regional Museum of Science, History and Art (contains exhibits based on the work of people’s history groups)

Sapporo Virtual Peace Museum (an online museum about wartime Hokkaido)


Other organizations with links to war in Hokkaido include:

All Japan Federation of Karafuto (a Hokkaido-based organization for former residents of Karafuto/Sakhalin, many of whom reside in Hokkaido, Japanese only)

Hokkaido Gokoku Shrine (a shrine that commemorates the military dead from Hokkaido from the Meiji period to World War II)

Hokkaido Heritage (52 sites designated as regional cultural treasures, Japanese only)

Hokkaido Tonden Club (a club for those interested in tondenhei farmer-soldiers, in Japanese only)

Jomon Japan (a site introducing Jomon Period heritage in Hokkaido and Tohoku)

People’s History and Hokkaido Studies bibliography (from the website of Hokkaido University professor Oda Hiroshi, Japanese only)

Tourism Promotion

A Journey into the History and Culture of Hokkaido (booklet listing historical tourist sites produced by Hokkaido government)

Hokkaido Official Tourism Site

Hōheikan (a colonial period building in Nakajima Park, Sapporo)

Forward to Hiroshima (I)