Challenges facing local museums in preserving
and handing down history and culture

ICOM KYOTO 2019 Post-Conference Programme in Hokkaido

Sunday, September 8 – Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Date City, Toyako Town, Shiraoi Town and Biratori Town (Hokkaido Prefecture)

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A Message from the Honorary President

Hokkaido is a hub of exchange in Northeast Asia as it is bordered on the south by other Japanese islands, on the north by the Eurasian continent via Sakhalin and on the east by the Kamchatka Peninsula via the Kuril Islands. In Hokkaido, Paleolithic culture thrived 30,000 or so years ago, followed by Jomon culture, Epi-Jomon culture, Okhotsk culture and Satsumon culture, before the culture of the indigenous Ainu prospered from the 13th century. Some 150 years ago, the new Meiji government started land reclamation in Hokkaido, which caused a large number of ethnic Japanese from mainland Japan, known as Wajin, to settle in Hokkaido and transformed the lives of local people. Today, museums across Hokkaido promote activities that hand down local traditions to younger generations. I look forward to welcoming many of you to the post-conference programme.

Shuzo Ishimori

Shuzo Ishimori
Director-General, Hokkaido Museum Honorary President,
Organising Committee for the ICOM KYOTO 2019 Post-Conference Programme in Date City and Toyako Town, Hokkaido Prefecture


In the past several years, Hokkaido’ s natural splendor and cuisine have made it a very popular destination among tourists, especially those from Asia. Date City is rich in history and culture. One can find the Kitakogane Shell Midden, evidence of Ainu*1 settlements, and modern development by samurai immigrants from other islands of Japan. The Kitakogane Shell Midden is part of the “Jomon*2 Archaeological Sites in Hokkaido and Northern Tohoku” , which is aiming to be inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage. There is also the Irie and Takasago Shell Midden in the adjacent Toyako Town. Museums in this area exhibit culture rooted in the area’ s rich environment from the Jomon Period.

With the planned opening of the Date City Museum of History and Culture, Japan’ s newest*3 local cultural museum, in April 2019, we are planning a post-conference programme to this local museum, which embodies the theme of ICOM KYOTO 2019: “Museums as Cultural Hubs: The Future of Tradition” .

This post-conference programme aims to facilitate exchanges between researchers based in Hokkaido and other ICOM researchers. We look forward to seeing you.

*1 The Ainu are an indigenous people with their own culture who today live primarily in Hokkaido. Previously, the Ainu lived not just in Hokkaido, but also in Sakhalin to the north, the Kuril Islands to the east and the northern part of Japan’ s main island to the south. Many place names in Hokkaido derive from their native language.

*2 Jomon culture thrived on the Japanese archipelago after the Japanese Paleolithic period. It was a hunter-gatherer culture characterized by pit dwellings. The Jomon culture period continued from 15,000 years ago to 2,300 years ago, which in world history corresponds to an era between the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods.

*3 as of 1 September 2019, when the ICOM Kyoto 2019 will be held


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