- The Human Geographical Society of Japan
- 人文地理 (ISSN:00187216)
- vol.33, no.3, pp.193-209, 1981-06-28 (Released:2009-04-28)
Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, Japan's northern island, Hokkaido, was divided into a Wajin-Japanese settlement exclave, called Wajinchi or Wajinland, and an area in which only Ainu were allowed to reside permanently, known as Ezochi. This paper looks at changes in the location of the boundary and in the function of guardhouses located near it as one way to analyze Tokugawa frontier policy. Sources include diaries of travelers, government documents, old maps, and sketches.Results show that the Wajinchi expanded in five stages. From the thirteenth to the mid-sixteenth century, Wajin-Japanese settlement remained in a punctiform pattern with forts spaced along the extreme southern coast of the Oshima Peninsula. This initial stage is characterized by a lack of unity among Wajin and relative strength of the Ainu.Next, an accord reached around 1550 between the strongest Wajin-Japanese leader and two Ainu chieftains delimited a conterminous zone on the southwestern tip of the Oshima Peninsula. This second phase suggest the unification of Hokkaido's Wajin was well underway.The Matsumae clan formed in the early seventeenth century, expanded the exclave, demarcated the boundary with poles, and established guardhouses. During the following two centuries, these efforts to partition the Wajin-Japanese and Ainu continued. It is of special note that the distance between Matsumae castle and the eastern and western boundaries was roughly equivalent.A major policy transformation occurred at the beginning of the nineteenth century when the Tokugawa government took over control of Ezochi, installed a magistrate in Hakodate, and extended the eastern portion of the Wajinchi. The concern of the Tokugawa government in the affairs of Ezochi was apparent since the new eastern guardhouse was located on the Ezochi side of the boundary, a condition. which had never previously existed.In the mid-nineteenth century, the Wajinchi was enlarged again. However, the absence of boundary guardhouses along with the lack of contiguity marked this as a transitional stage prior to the opening of the whole island for colonization in 1869.These Wajinchi expansions can be conceived of as concentric zones. The second and third stages surround Matsumae castle while the fourth and fifth have double foci, Hakodate and Matsumae, and generally encircle Hakodate. The lack of guardhouses in the second and fifth stages illustrates their transitional character in contrast to the third and fourth stages of Matsumae and subsequent Tokugawa direct control.