Hokkaido: A History of Japan’s Northern Isle and its People charts the journey of the island and its inhabitants through history. Located at the far north of the country’s island chain, Hokkaido is a very different place from Japan’s other main islands and is the center of the culture and history of Japan’s indigenous people, the Ainu. This book tells the unique story of the Ainu as well as exploring the unique role Hokkaido has played in the development of modern Japan. It looks at the challenges the Ainu faced through the past few centuries, and still to some extent continue to face today. It explores the incredible stories of contacts with outsiders, both settlers from the south and Russians from the north. It gives details of the unique Ainu experience during the Second World War, and how Ainu activists and Japanese reconciliation has claimed a place for the Ainu in Japanese society today. There is also a parallel history to Hokkaido, that of the Japanese settlers from samurai in the 16th century through to the island’s development in the 19th Century and beyond. With the opening of Japan to foreign nations, Hokkaido became a key focus for Japan’s interactions with the wider world, a melting pot, a frontier of opportunity and a symbol of the rising tide of modernization that would change the face of Japan forever. This book is filled with revelations and formerly little-known stories from a distant, yet important corner of Japan. It is the ideal introduction to the history of Hokkaido and the Ainu, including materials translated into English for the first time from Japanese.