北の生活文化(Life in Hokkaido during~)

 

 

北の生活文化(Life in Hokkaido during its development )


 

 
Life in Hokkaido during its development
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20. Transport of logs in the snow 21. Cultivation at Hiragishi village
 The transport of logs over the snow was an important job for farmers in many areas in winter. Those who owned horses used horse-drawn sleighs to transport logs while young people were engaged in logging. Housewives worked in the cafeterias at the work site. Entire households had to work tirelessly in the mountains during the winter, an even harder job than the cultivation done in summer.

 Large river systems including the Ishikari River, Sorachi River, Teshio River, Tokachi River, Kushiro River and Shiribetsu River run across the land with branches and tributary streams running in a grid all over the wilderness of Hokkaido. Water systems such as these brought the blessings of nature to the immigrants even though the rivers carried the potential of causing a large-scale flood. Stocks of salmon migrating upstream were seen even in small streams in autumn, and a large amount of salmon was caught in the Toyohira River in developed urban areas like Sapporo and was consumed by immigrants in winter.

 As for wildlife, bears and wolves were considered harmful to humans and were targeted to be eliminated in a bid to protect the lives of immigrate. In the initial stages of development, the Hokkaido Development Commission, the Hokkaido Government and immigrants could not afford to contemplate proper ways to maintain an ecological balance As a result, incentives such as bounties were given for the capture of animals considered harmful and the use of poison including strychnine was facilitated to exterminate them. Despite the fact that cases of wolves attacking people were rarely reported, they became extinct around the 1890s due to efforts to protect livestock.
 
Forest conservation by settlers
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22. Land cultivated by Hokuetsu Development Company 23. Nopporo Primeval Forest Park, today
 The development of Hokkaido by the Japanese people had caused changes in nature that were drastic enough to be termed destruction of the environment. The settlers at that point in time, however, did not view their actions as the cause of environmental destruction. Rather, they were convinced that they were making progress by cultivating an undeveloped land and promoting agriculture in line with government policies with a view toward creating a new rural society.

 Some people, on the other hand, advocated the conservation of forests upon understanding that excessive destruction of forests could jeopardize agriculture and the lives of people. The Nopporo Primeval Forest Park managed by the Hokkaido Government today is one successful example of conservation initiatives by settlers. Magozaemon Sekiya of Hokuetsu Shokuminsha, a private company involved in the development of Hokkaido and Ikujiro Wada representing a group of settlers from Hiroshima area were among a few conservationist pioneers who made the utmost efforts to balance the conflicting issues of development and forest conservation. They knew forest conservation was an issue of top priority in order to irrigate the land. protect crops from wind, ensure a stable life for immigrants, and ultimately to establish the foundation for agriculture based life in the area. An historical document written by Sekiya in 1899 contains articles by a group of people led by Sekiya and Wada who strenuously opposed and discouraged the idea of selling the government owned Nopporo forest to the private sector as property of the municipalities involved.
 
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