Local History and War Memories in Hokkaido

This online appendix gives details about the contents of the book and links to online references useful for learning more about Hokkaido’s colonial and war history. Where possible, links are to English sites, but many are Japanese only.

Publisher’s Blurb

Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, barely features in most histories of the Second World War. However, the combination of distinctive war experiences, a vibrant set of local historian groups, and powerful media organizations disseminating local war history, has generated an identifiable set of local collective memories. Hokkaidoʼs status as an early colonial acquisition also makes the island an important vantage point from which to reassess the course and nature of the Japanese Empire.

This book argues that Hokkaido’s experiences of war and its militarized post-war constitutes a local case study with a much greater national and international significance on both theoretical and empirical grounds than first impressions might suggest. Using Japanese-language sources presented for the first time in English and a number of detailed local history case studies, it offers a fascinating and hitherto little-known perspective on the Second World War. It also combines a comprehensive theory of how war memories operate at the local level within a broad historical context that explains Hokkaidoʼs pivotal role within Japanese imperial history.

Chapter List



PART I: Local war memories in Hokkaido

Ch. 1. A theory of local war memories, PHILIP A. SEATON

Ch. 2. Grand narratives of empire and development, PHILIP A. SEATON

Ch. 3. Narratives of war in the Hokkaido media, PHILIP A. SEATON

PART II: Local history, local activism

Ch. 4, There was a raid in Sapporo, too: unearthing the history of air raids in Hokkaido, TSUNEKO HAYASHI (translated by Philip A. Seaton)

Ch. 5, Local Hokkaido and national memories of war horses, AARON SKABELUND

Ch. 6, Unearthing the history of minshū in Hokkaido: the case study of the Okhotsk People’s History Workshop, HIROSHI ODA

Ch. 7, Unearthing takobeya labour in Hokkaido, YOHEI ACHIRA (translated by Philip A. Seaton)

PART III: Memories in militarized Hokkaido

Ch. 8, Commemorating the war dead at Hokkaido Gokoku Shrine, PHILIP A. SEATON

Ch. 9, War memory, local history, gender: self-representation in exhibitions of the Ground Self-Defense Force, ANDRÉ HERTRICH

Ch. 10, Building snow statues, building communities: the SDF and Hokkaido during the early Cold War decades, AARON SKABELUND



Online Resources

Ainu-related Resources

Ainu Association of Hokkaido (main organization representing the Ainu people)

Ainu Museum Poroto Kotan (open air museum in Shiraoi)

Akan Ainu Kotan (performing arts centre in eastern Hokkaido)

Foundation for Research and Promotion of Ainu Culture


Archives of Hokkaido (government historical archives in Sapporo)

Hokkaido Prefectural Library (about 40 minutes from the center of Sapporo)

Hokkaido University Northern Studies Collection (the largest university collection relating to Hokkaido history)

Hokkaido University Center for Ainu and Indigenous Studies

National Diet Library (in Tokyo)

Sapporo City Archives

Sapporo Chuo (Central) Library (the major municipal library with resources on Hokkaido history)

Government Sites

Hokkaido Bureau (part of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism)

History of Development in Hokkaido (an article of Hokkaido’s administrative history linked from the Hokkaido Bureau website)

Hokkaido Government (general information about Hokkaido for residents and visitors)

Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau (local branch of the Hokkaido Bureau)

Northern Territories Issue (Ministry of Foreign Affairs site outline Japan’s claims to the Russian-occupied islands)

Portal Site of Hokkaido’s History and Culture, Akarenga (government site presenting an overview of Hokkaido history and culture)

Hokkaido Media

Hokkaido Shinbun Newspaper. The series Memories of War Devastation (60th anniversary testimony collection) was available online when the book came out but has since been removed.

Hokkaido’s local television stations (national network): NHK Hokkaido (NHK General), STV (Nippon TV), UHB (Fuji TV), HTB (TV Asahi), HBC (TBS), TVH (TV Tokyo)


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)

Organisations and Societies

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)

Tourist Organisations

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

Good Day Hokkaido (Hokkaido’s official tourism promotion site)

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