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Hokkaido

Relief map of Hokkaido

Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost and second largest main island, is mountainous and heavily forested, with a cold, damp climate.  Most settlement here occurred after the end of the Boshin Civil War in 1869, when samurai were encouraged to settle their families here to serve as a ready militia against any Russian incursion from Sakhalin. As a result, there were strong Western elements in the city planning and architecture.  The island became an integral part of Japan in 1886, and received representation in the Diet several years later.

The population was relatively small at about 3,000,000 persons in 1944. Farms were unusually large by Japanese standards at 10-12 acres (4-5 hectares).  There were significant coal and some iron ore deposits that helped push industrial development.

The capital and largest city was Sapporo. Other sizable cities were Hakodate and Asahikawa.

Russia had plans to invade Hokkaido from Karafuto as part of the campaign of August 1945. These plans were thwarted by fanatical Japanese resistance on Karafuto and diplomatic pressure by Truman to honor the cease-fire of 15 August 1945.

 

References

Cohen (1949)

Dolan and Worden (1990)

Drea (2009)
Frank (1999)
McClain (2002)

Myers and Peattie (1984)



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