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Research Faculty of Media and Communication, Hokkaido University

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Hokkaido History

Welcome to the homepage for my class “Aspects of Japan I: Hokkaido History”. This course is taught during the autumn and winter term, 2017/8.

Statue of Dr Clark, Hitsujigaoka.


Syllabus and Course Outline

Course Goals: To learn about Hokkaido history, primarily through analysis of heritage sites and tourist sites.

To consider how history as presented in tourist sites contrasts with academic and other forms of history.
To conduct and individual research project and write a term paper that considers an aspect of Hokkaido history and its representation in at least one tourist site.

Week 1 (3 October): Introduction, Heritage tourism and Hokkaido

In our first class there is an introduction to the course. Then, we discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of a “heritage tourism” approach to history, and look at the Jomon Period. Lecture materials are here.

Reading List:

Ann B. Irish, Hokkaido

Jomon Archaeological Sites in Hokkaido and Tohoku website

The fascination of Hokkaido’s Jomon culture website (videos)

General online reading list:

There are many online resources available in the online appendix to Local History and War Memories in Hokkaido. The book is in the library.

Week 2 (10 October): Ainu History and Culture

The lecture notes are here: HH2 Ainu

Reading List:

ann-elise lewallen, “Indigenous at Last! Ainu Grassroots Organizing and the Indigenous Peoples Summit in Ainu Mosir

Ainu Association of Hokkaido: “The beginning of history

Ainu Association of Hokkaido: “Ainu Historical Events

Chisato (Kitty) Dubreuil: “The Ainu and Their Culture: A Critical Twenty-First Century Assessment

The Foundation for Research and Promotion of Ainu Culture

The Ainu Museum

Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum

Lake Akan Ainu Theater Ikor

Ainu Rebels (YouTube Video)

Further Reading: Brett Walker, The Conquest of Ainu Lands; Philip Seaton, Local History and War Memories in Hokkaido, Chapter 2; Richard Siddle, Race, Resistance and the Ainu of Japan; Mark Hudson, Ann-elise Lewallen, and Mark K. Watson, Beyond Ainu Studies.

Week 3 (17 October): The Japanese in Hokkaido before it was called Hokkaido

The lecture notes are here: HH3 Matsumae online version

Reading List:

Ann Irish: Hokkaido (recommended, lots of materials on this period)

History of the Development of the Northern Territories

Brett Walker: “Mamiya Rinzo and the Japanese exploration of Sakhalin Island: cartography and empire”

Tourist sites in Wakkanai

Week 4 (24 October): The Meiji Restoration

The lecture notes are here: HH4 Boshin War

Reading List:

Ann Irish: Hokkaido (especially Chapter 5)

City of Hakodate Outline and Chronology

Goryokaku Tower Pamphlet

Hijikata Toshizo Museum (Hakodate)

Goryokaku Festival

Hijikata Toshizo Museum (Hino)

Ayaki Kimura: My Ancestor Hijikata Toshizo

Philip Seaton: Taiga Dramas and Tourism

Week 5 (31 October): Early Meiji Period

Today we discuss colonizers, frontiers, development and pioneers. The lecture materials are here: HH5 Pioneers

Reading List:

Hokkaido University: Our philosophies

Hokkaido Museum

Hokkaido Museum booklet (Japanese only)

History of Development in Hokkaido

Hokkaido Bureau

Statistics Bureau (for Hokkaido population statistics)

Year One in the North (trailer on YouTube)

Historical Village of Hokkaido

Hokkaido Rice Production

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

Manemon Takahashi, “The History and Future of Rice Cultivation in Hokkaido”

Week 6 (7 November): Fieldwork at Akarenga

There is no class in our classroom today. Philip Seaton will be at Akarenga between 14:45 and 16:15 to assist in fieldwork. If you have classes before/after our scheduled time and cannot go to Akarenga, feel free do the fieldwork at a different time.

Akarenga website (including access map and opening times). Note: It is not necessary to visit the main site of the Historical Museum of Hokkaido.

During/after your fieldwork, complete the questionnaire. PDF version Hokkaido History questionnaire. Word file Hokkaido History questionnaire. Submit it to Philip Seaton by email by 14:00 on 14 November, or hand in one copy at the beginning of class (14:45) on 14 November. We will discuss the results of your fieldwork in class on 14 November.

Week 7 (14 November): Class Discussion about Akarenga as historical site and tourist site

Class discussions based on your fieldwork at Akarenga.

Week 8 (21 November): Pre-war Hokkaido

Today we discuss prewar Hokkaido with particular focus on issues of class and economics. The lecture materials for today’s class are here: HH8 Prewar Devt

Reading List:

History of Hakodate

Kitajima Saburo Museum

The Japan Times: Tourism boom boosts cruise liner visits but not all ports are ready

Cruise Port Guide of Japan

Chitose Airport entertainment guide

Nikka Whisky Founder

Heather Bowen-Struyk: Why a boom in proletarian literature in Japan?

Norma Field: Commercial appetite and human need.

Sapporo Virtual Peace Museum

Further Reading:

On local history and historians in Hokkaido, see especially the chapters by Oda and Achira in Philip Seaton (ed) Local History and War Memories in Hokkaido.

Week 9 (28 November): A history of Hokkaido University

This week we look at the history of our university, and some of the issues it faces today. The materials are here: HH9 Hokudai

Reading materials:

Hokkaido University: Discover our history

Center for Ainu and Indigenous Studies

Japan Times: Hokkaido University agrees to return remains of Ainu to descendants

Hokkaido University homepage

Extra reading:

ann-elise lewallen, “Bones of Contention: Negotiating anthropological ethics within fields of Ainu refusal”. Critical Asian Studies 34:9, 2007 (available via the university’s online journal service).

Week 10 (5 December): Fieldwork at Sapporo Clock Tower

Note: Philip Seaton is away on 5 December. Please go to Sapporo Clock Tower at the time of your choosing and spend time there doing the fieldwork. The results of your visit are discussed in class on 12 December.

Week 11 (12 December): Class discussion about Sapporo Clock Tower as historical site and tourist site


Week 12 (19 December): Guest Lecture


Week 13 (9 January): Modern Hokkaido


Week 14 (16 January): Hokkaido in the world


Week 15 (23 January): Conclusions



Students will research online about tourist sites and read related academic literature in preparation for class discussions. Students will prepare a 1500 word term paper. Participation in class discussion (50%), End of term paper (50%)