| External territory (1905–1907) |
Prefecture (1907–1949) of the Empire of Japan and Occupied Japan
Green: Karafuto Prefecture within Japan in 1942
Light green: Other constituents of Imperial Japan
|Capital|| Ōtomari (1907–1908)|
• December 1941
|5 September 1905|
• Prefecture status
• Upgraded to "inner land"
|11–25 August 1945|
|1 June 1949|
|Today part of||Russia|
Karafuto Prefecture (Japanese : 樺太廳, Karafuto-chō; Russian : Префектура Карафуто), commonly known as South Sakhalin, was a prefecture of Japan located in Sakhalin from 1907 to 1949.
Karafuto became territory of the Empire of Japan in 1905 after the Russo-Japanese War when the portion of Sakhalin south of 50°N was ceded from the Russian Empire in the Treaty of Portsmouth. Karafuto was established in 1907 as an external territory until being upgraded to an "Inner Land" of the Japanese metropole in 1943. Ōtomari (Korsakov) was the capital of Karafuto from 1905 to 1908 and Toyohara (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk) from 1908 to August 1945 when the Japanese administration ceased to function in the invasion of South Sakhalin by the Soviet Union after the surrender of Japan in World War II. Karafuto Prefecture was de facto replaced with Sakhalin Oblast, although it continued to exist de jure under Japanese law until it was formally abolished as a legal entity by Japan on June 1, 1949.
The Japanese name Karafuto comes from Ainu kamuy kar put ya mosir, which means "the island a god has created on the estuary (of Amur River)". It was formerly known as Kita Ezo, meaning Northern Ezo (Ezo was the former name for Hokkaido). When the Japanese administered the prefecture, Karafuto usually meant Southern Sakhalin only. For convenience, the northern part of the island was sometimes called Sagaren.
In Russian, the entire island was named Sakhalin or Saghalien. It is from Manchu sahaliyan ula angga hada, meaning "peak of the mouth of Amur River". The southern part was simply called Yuzhny Sakhalin ("South Sakhalin"). In Korean, the name is Sahallin or Hwataedo, with the latter name in use during Korea under Japanese rule.
Japanese settlement on Sakhalin dates to at least the Edo period. Ōtomari was established in 1679, and cartographers of the Matsumae domain mapped the island, and named it "Kita-Ezo". Japanese cartographer and explorer Mamiya Rinzō established that Sakhalin was an island through his discovery of what is now named Mamiya Strait (Strait of Tartary) in 1809. Japan unilaterally proclaimed sovereignty over the whole island in 1845.
The 1855 Treaty of Shimoda acknowledged that both Russia and Japan had joint rights of occupation to Sakhalin, without setting a definite territorial demarcation. As the island became settled in the 1860s and 1870s, this ambiguity led to increasing friction between settlers. Attempts by the Tokugawa shogunate to purchase the entire island from the Russian Empire failed, and the new Meiji government was unable to negotiate a partition of the island into separate territories. In the Treaty of Saint Petersburg (1875), Japan agreed to give up its claims on Sakhalin in exchange for undisputed ownership of the Kuril Islands.
Japan invaded Sakhalin in the final stages of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, but per the 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth was allowed to retain only the southern portion of the island below the 50° N parallel. Russia retained the northern portion, although the Japanese were awarded favorable commercial rights, including fishing and mineral extraction rights in the north. In 1907, Karafuto Prefecture was officially established, with the capital at Ōtomari. In 1908, the capital was relocated to Toyohara.
In 1920, Karafuto was officially designated an external territory of Japan, and its administration and development came under the aegis of the Ministry of Colonial Affairs. Following the Nikolaevsk Incident in 1920, Japan briefly seized the northern half of Sakhalin, and occupied it until the establishment of formal diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union in 1925; however, Japan continued to maintain petroleum and coal concessions in northern Sakhalin until 1944. In 1943, the status of Karafuto was upgraded to that of an "inner land", making it an integral part of the Empire of Japan.
As Japan was extending its influence over East Asia and the Pacific through the establishment of a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, the Imperial Japanese Army as part of its offensive contingency plans to invade the Soviet Union if it either became involved in the Pacific War or collapsed due to the ongoing German invasion, proposed the annexation of the remaining northern half of Sakhalin to Japan.
In August 1945, after repudiating the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact in April, the Soviet Union invaded Karafuto. The Soviet attack started on August 11, 1945, three weeks before the surrender of Japan. The Soviet 56th Rifle Corps, part of the 16th Army, consisting of the 79th Rifle Division, the 2nd Rifle Brigade, the 5th Rifle Brigade and the 214 Armored Brigade,attacked the Japanese 88th Infantry Division. Although the Soviet Red Army outnumbered the Japanese by three to one, they advanced only slowly due to strong Japanese resistance. It was not until the 113th Rifle Brigade and the 365th Independent Naval Infantry Rifle Battalion from Sovetskaya Gavan landed on Tōro, a seashore village of western Karafuto on August 16 that the Soviets broke the Japanese defense line. Japanese resistance grew weaker after this landing. Actual fighting continued until August 21. Between August 22 and August 23, most remaining Japanese units agreed to a ceasefire. The Soviets completed the conquest of Karafuto on August 25, 1945, by occupying the capital of Toyohara.
There were over 400,000 people living in Karafuto when the Soviet offensive began in early August 1945.[ citation needed ] Most were of Japanese or Korean extraction, though there was also a small White Russian community as well as some Ainu indigenous tribes. By the time of the ceasefire approximately 100,000 civilians had managed to escape to Hokkaidō.[ citation needed ] The military government established by the Soviet Army banned the local press, confiscated cars and radio sets and imposed a curfew.[ citation needed ] Local managers and bureaucrats were made to aid Russian authorities in the process of reconstruction, before being deported to labor camps, either on North Sakhalin or in Siberia.[ citation needed ] In schools, courses in Marxism–Leninism were introduced, and Japanese children were obliged to sing songs in praise of Stalin.[ citation needed ]
Step by step Karafuto lost its Japanese identity.[ citation needed ] Sakhalin Oblast was created in February 1946, and by March all towns, villages and streets were renamed with Russian names.[ citation needed ] More and more colonists began to arrive from mainland Russia, with whom the Japanese were obliged to share the limited stock of housing.[ citation needed ] In October 1946 the Soviets began to repatriate all remaining Japanese.[ citation needed ] By 1950 most had been sent, willing or not, to Hokkaidō, though they had to leave all of their possessions behind, including any currency they had, Russian or Japanese.[ citation needed ] Today some keep alive the memory of their former home in the meetings of the Karafuto Renmei, an association for former Karafuto residents.[ citation needed ]
In 1945, with the defeat of Japan in World War II, the Japanese administration in Karafuto ceased to function.[ citation needed ] The Japanese government formally abolished Karafuto Prefecture as a legal entity on June 1, 1949.[ citation needed ] In 1951, at the Treaty of San Francisco, Japan renounced its rights to Sakhalin, but did not formally acknowledge Soviet sovereignty over it. Since that time, no final peace treaty has been signed between Japan and Russia, and the status of the neighboring Kuril Islands remains disputed.
(For subsequent history, see Sakhalin Oblast.)
The pre-war economy of Karafuto was based on fishing, forestry and agriculture, together with extraction of coal and petroleum. In terms of industry, the paper industry and the charcoal production industry was well developed. Karafuto suffered from a labor shortage through most of its history, and tax incentives were provided to encourage immigration.During World War II, a large number of Koreans were also forcibly relocated to Karafuto.
An extensive railway network was constructed in Karafuto to support the extraction of natural resources. The Karafuto Railway Bureau (樺太鐵道局, Karafuto Tetsudōkyoku) maintained 682.6 kilometers of track in four main lines and an additional 58.2 kilometers of track.
Karafuto was administered from the central government in Tokyo as the Karafuto Agency (樺太廳, Karafuto-chō) under the Colonization Bureau (拓務局, Takumukyoku) of the Home Ministry. The Colonization Bureau became the Ministry of Colonial Affairs (拓務省, Takumushō) in 1923 at which time Karafuto was officially designated an overseas territory of the Empire of Japan.
When the Ministry of Colonial Affairs was absorbed into the new Ministry of Greater East Asia in 1942, the administration of Karafuto was separated, and Karafuto became an integral part of the Japanese archipelago.
|Kiichirō Kumagai||July 28, 1905||March 31, 1907|
|Kusunose Yukihiko||April 1, 1907||April 24, 1908|
|Takejirō Tokonami||April 24, 1908||June 12, 1908|
|Sadatarō Hiraoka||June 12, 1908||June 5, 1914|
|Bunji Okada||June 5, 1914||October 9, 1916|
|Akira Masaya||October 13, 1916||April 17, 1919|
|Kinjirō Nagai||April 17, 1919||June 11, 1924|
|Akira Masaya (second term)||June 11, 1924||August 5, 1926|
|Katsuzō Toyota||August 5, 1926||July 27, 1927|
|Kōji Kita||July 27, 1927||July 9, 1929|
|Shinobu Agata||July 9, 1929||December 17, 1931|
|Masao Kishimoto||December 17, 1931||July 5, 1932|
|Takeshi Imamura||July 5, 1932||May 7, 1938|
|Toshikazu Munei||May 7, 1938||April 9, 1940|
|Masayoshi Ogawa||April 9, 1940||July 1, 1943|
|Toshio Ōtsu||July 1, 1943||November 11, 1947|
As of 1945, Karafuto was divided into four subprefectures, which in turn were subdivided into 11 districts, in turn divided into 41 municipalities (one city, 13 towns, and 27 villages).
Karafuto's largest city was Toyohara, while other major cities included Esutoru in the north central and Maoka in the south central region.
The list below are the towns and the city of the prefecture. These in italics are the corresponding current Russian names.
Esutoru Subprefecture ( 惠須取支廳 )
Maoka Subprefecture ( 眞岡支廳 )
Shikuka Subprefecture ( 敷香支廳 )
Toyohara Subprefecture ( 豐原支廳 )
Sakhalin is the northernmost island of the Japanese archipelago and the largest island of the Russian Federation. It is situated in the North Pacific Ocean between 45°50' and 54°24' N, and is sandwiched between the Sea of Okhotsk to the east and the Sea of Japan to the west. It is administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast. Sakhalin, which is about one third the size of Honshu, is just off the Russian Pacific coast, and just north of the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The population of Sakhalin Island was 497,973 as of the 2010 census, made up of mostly ethnic Russians and a smaller Korean community. The indigenous peoples of the island are the Ainu, Oroks and Nivkhs. Derived from the Manchu word Sahaliyan, the island of Sakhalin was home to indigenous peoples including the Ainu. Certain elements of the Sakhalin Ainu were once tributaries of the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties for periods of time from the 14th to 18th centuries. Sakhalin was later claimed by both Russia and Japan over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. These disputes sometimes involved military conflicts and divisions of the island between the two powers. In 1875, Japan ceded its claims to Russia in exchange for the northern Kuril Islands. In 1905, following the Russo-Japanese War, the island was divided, with the south going to Japan. Russia has held all of the island since seizing the Japanese portion—as well as all the Kuril Islands—in the final days of World War II in 1945. Japan no longer claims any of Sakhalin, although it does still claim the southern Kuril Islands. Most Ainu on Sakhalin moved to Hokkaido, 43 kilometres (27 mi) to the south across the La Pérouse Strait, when the Japanese were displaced from the island in 1949.
The Kuril Islands or Kurile Islands is a volcanic archipelago in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast that stretches approximately 1,300 km (810 mi) northeast from Hokkaido, Japan to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the north Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many minor rocks. It consists of the Greater Kuril Chain and the Lesser Kuril Chain. The total land area is 10,503.2 square kilometres (4,055.3 sq mi), and the total population is 19,434.
The Treaty of Saint Petersburg between the Empire of Japan and Empire of Russia was signed on 7 May 1875, and its ratifications exchanged at Tokyo on 22 August 1875. The treaty itself went into effect in 1877.
Sakhalin Oblast is a federal subject of Russia comprising the island of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands in the Russian Far East. The oblast has an area of 87,100 square kilometers (33,600 sq mi). Its administrative center and largest city is Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. As of the 2010 Census, the oblast has a population of 497,973. Besides people from other parts of the former Soviet Union and the Korean Peninsula, the oblast is home to Nivkhs and Ainu, with the latter having lost their language in Sakhalin recently. Sakhalin is rich in natural gas and oil, and is Russia's fourth wealthiest federal subject and wealthiest oblast. It borders Khabarovsk Krai to the west and Kamchatka Krai to the north, along with Hokkaido, Japan to the south.
Subprefecture of Japan are a Japanese form of self-government which focuses on local issues below the prefectural level. It acts as part of the greater administration of the state and as part of a self-government system.
Shikotan, also known as Shpanberg, is an island in the Kurils administered by the Russian Federation as part of Yuzhno-Kurilsky District of Sakhalin Oblast. It is claimed by Japan as the nominal Shikotan District, part of Nemuro Subprefecture of Hokkaido Prefecture.
Between 1905 and 1945, the Japanese Empire administered the southern half of Sakhalin, using the name Karafuto (樺太). The area was designated a chō (廳), the same term given to Hokkaidō at the time. It is commonly referred to as Karafuto Prefecture in English. The prefecture was divided into 4 subprefectures, which in turn were subdivided into 11 districts, in turn divided into 41 municipalities
Karafuto was a former Japanese prefecture in the southern part of Sakhalin island, from 1905 to 1945.
In 1869, the island of Hokkaido, Japan was divided into 11 provinces and 86 districts. The majority of Japan's former provinces were converted into prefectures by the Meiji government between 1870 and 1876.
The 50th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 50 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean.
Kiri no Hi (霧の火) is a Japanese television drama which originally aired on Nippon Television (NTV) on August 25, 2008. Directed by Nozomu Amamiya and with a screenplay by Yō Takeyama, it starred Etsuko Ichihara and Karina Nose. The production won a TV Drama Award at the 2008 Festival of the Arts of the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs.
Karafuto 1945 Summer Hyosetsu no Mon is a 1974 Japanese film based on the Soviet Union's military action on Karafuto during the Soviet–Japanese War near the end of World War II. The movie is set in Maoka, and the story is based on the deaths of nine women who worked in the postal telegraph office in the city. Twelve women worked in the office, and on August 20, 1945, nine of them committed suicide.
Sakhalin Railway was a subsidiary of the Russian Railways from 1992 until 2010, when it was made part of the Far Eastern Railway.
The evacuation of Karafuto (Sakhalin) and the Kuriles refers to the events that took place during the Pacific theater of World War II as the Japanese population left these areas, to August 1945 in the northwest of the main islands of Japan.
Mamiya Rinzō was a Japanese explorer of the late Edo period. He is best known for his exploration of Karafuto, now known as Sakhalin. He mapped areas of northeast Asia then unknown to Japanese.
The 87th Rifle Corps was a rifle corps of the Red Army during World War II and the Soviet Army in the early years of the Cold War.
The Japan–Russia border is the de facto maritime boundary that separates the territorial waters of the two countries. According to the Russia border agency, the border's length is 194.3 km (120.7 mi).
The Invasion of South Sakhalin, also called the Battle of Sakhalin, was the Soviet invasion of the Japanese territorial portion of Sakhalin Island known as Karafuto Prefecture. The invasion was part of the Soviet–Japanese War, a massive campaign of the Second World War.
The Northern Pacific Flotilla was a flotilla of the Pacific Fleet of the Soviet Navy between 1939 and 1945, with its main base at Sovetskaya Gavan in the Soviet Far East.
Karafuto Prefecture, commonly called South Sakhalin, was the Japanese administrative division corresponding to Japanese territory on southern Sakhalin island from 1905 to 1945.
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