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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


Week 5 (31 October): Settlers and colonialism


Week 6 (7 November): Fieldwork at Aka Renga

There is no class in our classroom today. Philip Seaton will be at Aka Renga between 14:45 and 16:15 to assist in fieldwork. If you have classes before/after our scheduled time and cannot go to Aka Renga, feel free do the fieldwork at a different time. The results of your fieldwork are discussed in class on 14 November.

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


Week 8 (21 November): Pre-war and Wartime Hokkaido


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


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%)