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.
Demonstrating that understanding local history and memories is essential for a nuanced understanding of national history and memories, the book will be highly valuable to students and scholars of Japanese history, Second World War history, and Asian history.
"Without any doubt, the volume illuminates World War II memories in Hokkaido. It exposes readers to Hokkaido’s relatively unknown experiences of the war and, in the postwar period, to its economic dependence on SDF bases, local peace activism, progressive voices in the region, local media coverage, and Hokkaido museum exhibits."
Takashi Yoshida, Western Michigan University, The Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol. 43, No. 2, Summer 2017
Introduction Philip A. Seaton Part I: Local war memories in Hokkaido 1. A theory of local war memories Philip A. Seaton 2. Grand narratives of empire and development Philip A. Seaton 3. Narratives of war in the Hokkaido media Philip A. Seaton Part II: Local history, local activism 4. There was a raid in Sapporo, too: unearthing the history of air raids in Hokkaido Tsuneko Hayashi (translated by Philip A. Seaton) 5. Local Hokkaido and national memories of war horses Aaron Skabelund 6. Unearthing the history of minshū in Hokkaido: the case study of the Okhotsk People’s History Workshop Hiroshi Oda 7. Unearthing takobeya labour in Hokkaido Yohei Achira (translated by Philip A. Seaton) Part III: Memories in militarized Hokkaido 8. Commemorating the war dead at Hokkaido Gokoku Shrine Philip A. Seaton 9. War memory, local history, gender: self-representation in exhibitions of the Ground Self-Defense Force André Hertrich 10. Building snow statues, building communities: the SDF and Hokkaido during the early Cold War decades Aaron Skabelund Epilogue Philip A. Seaton