The Iwakura Mission or Iwakura Embassy was a Japanese diplomatic voyage to the United States and Europe conducted between 1871 and 1873 by leading statesmen and scholars of the Meiji period. Although it was not the only such mission, it is the most well-known and most significant in terms of its impact on the modernization of Japan after a long period of isolation from the West; the mission was first proposed by the influential Dutch missionary and engineer Guido Verbeck, based to some degree on the model of the Grand Embassy of Peter I. The aim of the mission was threefold; the Iwakura mission followed several such missions sent by the Shogunate, such as the Japanese Embassy to the United States in 1860, the First Japanese Embassy to Europe in 1862, the Second Japanese Embassy to Europe in 1863. The mission was named after and headed by Iwakura Tomomi in the role of extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador, assisted by four vice-ambassadors, three of whom were ministers in the Japanese government.
The historian Kume Kunitake as private secretary to Iwakura Tomomi, was the official diarist of the journey. The log of the expedition published in 1878 in five volumes as Tokumei Zenken Taishi Bei-O Kairan Jikki, provided a detailed account of Japanese observations on the United States and industrializing Western Europe. Included in the mission were a number of administrators and scholars, totaling 48 people. In addition to the mission staff, about 53 students and attendants joined the outward voyage from Yokohama. Several of the students were left behind to complete their education in the foreign countries, including five young women who stayed in the United States to study, including the 6-year old Tsuda Umeko, who after returning to Japan, founded the Joshi Eigaku Juku in 1900, Nagai Shigeko Baroness Uryū Shigeko, as well as Yamakawa Sutematsu Princess Ōyama Sutematsu. Kaneko Kentarō was left in the U. S. too, as a student. In 1890 he was introduced to Theodore Roosevelt, they became friends and their relationship resulted in Roosevelt's mediation at the end of the Russo-Japanese War and the Treaty of Portsmouth.
Makino Nobuaki, a student member of the mission was to remark in his memoirs: Together with the abolition of the han system, dispatching the Iwakura Mission to America and Europe must be cited as the most important events that built the foundation of our state after the Restoration. Nakae Chōmin, a member of the mission staff and the Ministry of Justice, stayed in France to study the French legal system with the radical republican Emile Acollas, he became a journalist and translator and introduced French thinkers like Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Japan. On 23 December 1871 the mission sailed from Yokohama on the SS America, bound for San Francisco. Arriving in San Francisco on 15 January 1872, the group travelled by train via Salt Lake City and Chicago reaching Washington, D. C. on 29 February. The mission's stay in the United States was extended with an attempt to negotiate new treaty rights, a task that necessitated two members of the party to return to Japan to obtain necessary letters of representation.
Members of the Iwakura Mission were keenly interested in observing schools and learning more about educational policy. Tours to schools and industrial locations in Boston, New York and Washington DC were made as a result. Unsuccessful in their attempts to renegotiate the existing unequal treaties the party set sail for the United Kingdom in August 1872. On 17 August 1872 the Iwakura Mission arrived at Liverpool on the Cunard steamer Olympus. Traveling to London via Manchester the party spent much of late August and early September in and around the capital inspecting political and military institutions, visiting the British Museum, travelling on the newly constructed London Underground and attending musical concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. After visits to the Royal dockyards at Portsmouth and a day visit to Brighton, the mission split into smaller groups to visit, among other places, Blair Atholl in the Highlands of Scotland, the Yorkshire Dales and the industrial centers of Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle upon Tyne and Bradford.
Iwakura Tomomi led the Manchester-Liverpool delegation. A visit that culminated on 7 October in a civic reception and banquet where toasts highlighted the leading role of the region in world manufacturing and municipal administration. In Glasgow, as guests of Lord Blantyre, the delegation stayed at Erskine House and given tours of shipbuilding and steel fabrication facilities on banks of the River Clyde. In Newcastle upon Tyne the group arrived on 21 October staying in the Royal Station Hotel where they met the industrialist Sir William Armstrong, it had been ten years since the Bakufu mission had visited the town, but as a direct result of the visit significant new export orders were obtained for ships and armaments from Tyneside factories. "The gentlemen were attired in ordinary morning costume and except for their complexion and the oriental cast of their features, they could scarcely be distinguished from their English companions." They visited the Elswick Engine and Ordnance Works with Captain Andrew Noble and George Rendell, inspected the hydraulic engines and the boring and turni
Tokyo Tokyo Metropolis, one of the 47 prefectures of Japan, has served as the Japanese capital since 1869. As of 2018, the Greater Tokyo Area ranked as the most populous metropolitan area in the world; the urban area houses the seat of the Emperor of Japan, of the Japanese government and of the National Diet. Tokyo forms part of the Kantō region on the southeastern side of Japan's main island and includes the Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands. Tokyo was named Edo when Shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu made the city his headquarters in 1603, it became the capital after Emperor Meiji moved his seat to the city from Kyoto in 1868. Tokyo Metropolis formed in 1943 from the merger of the former Tokyo Prefecture and the city of Tokyo. Tokyo is referred to as a city but is known and governed as a "metropolitan prefecture", which differs from and combines elements of a city and a prefecture, a characteristic unique to Tokyo; the 23 Special Wards of Tokyo were Tokyo City. On July 1, 1943, it merged with Tokyo Prefecture and became Tokyo Metropolis with an additional 26 municipalities in the western part of the prefecture, the Izu islands and Ogasawara islands south of Tokyo.
The population of the special wards is over 9 million people, with the total population of Tokyo Metropolis exceeding 13.8 million. The prefecture is part of the world's most populous metropolitan area called the Greater Tokyo Area with over 38 million people and the world's largest urban agglomeration economy; as of 2011, Tokyo hosted 51 of the Fortune Global 500 companies, the highest number of any city in the world at that time. Tokyo ranked third in the International Financial Centres Development Index; the city is home to various television networks such as Fuji TV, Tokyo MX, TV Tokyo, TV Asahi, Nippon Television, NHK and the Tokyo Broadcasting System. Tokyo third in the Global Cities Index; the GaWC's 2018 inventory classified Tokyo as an alpha+ world city – and as of 2014 TripAdvisor's World City Survey ranked Tokyo first in its "Best overall experience" category. As of 2018 Tokyo ranked as the 2nd-most expensive city for expatriates, according to the Mercer consulting firm, and the world's 11th-most expensive city according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's cost-of-living survey.
In 2015, Tokyo was named the Most Liveable City in the world by the magazine Monocle. The Michelin Guide has awarded Tokyo by far the most Michelin stars of any city in the world. Tokyo was ranked first out of all sixty cities in the 2017 Safe Cities Index; the QS Best Student Cities ranked Tokyo as the 3rd-best city in the world to be a university student in 2016 and 2nd in 2018. Tokyo hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics, the 1979 G-7 summit, the 1986 G-7 summit, the 1993 G-7 summit, will host the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the 2020 Summer Olympics and the 2020 Summer Paralympics. Tokyo was known as Edo, which means "estuary", its name was changed to Tokyo when it became the imperial capital with the arrival of Emperor Meiji in 1868, in line with the East Asian tradition of including the word capital in the name of the capital city. During the early Meiji period, the city was called "Tōkei", an alternative pronunciation for the same characters representing "Tokyo", making it a kanji homograph; some surviving official English documents use the spelling "Tokei".
The name Tokyo was first suggested in 1813 in the book Kondō Hisaku, written by Satō Nobuhiro. When Ōkubo Toshimichi proposed the renaming to the government during the Meiji Restoration, according to Oda Kanshi, he got the idea from that book. Tokyo was a small fishing village named Edo, in what was part of the old Musashi Province. Edo was first fortified in the late twelfth century. In 1457, Ōta Dōkan built Edo Castle. In 1590, Tokugawa Ieyasu was transferred from Mikawa Province to Kantō region; when he became shōgun in 1603, Edo became the center of his ruling. During the subsequent Edo period, Edo grew into one of the largest cities in the world with a population topping one million by the 18th century, but Edo was Tokugawa's home and was not capital of Japan. The Emperor himself lived in Kyoto from 794 to 1868 as capital of Japan. During the Edo era, the city enjoyed a prolonged period of peace known as the Pax Tokugawa, in the presence of such peace, Edo adopted a stringent policy of seclusion, which helped to perpetuate the lack of any serious military threat to the city.
The absence of war-inflicted devastation allowed Edo to devote the majority of its resources to rebuilding in the wake of the consistent fires and other devastating natural disasters that plagued the city. However, this prolonged period of seclusion came to an end with the arrival of American Commodore Matthew C. Perry in 1853. Commodore Perry forced the opening of the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate, leading to an increase in the demand for new foreign goods and subsequently a severe rise in inflation. Social unrest mounted in the wake of these higher prices and culminated in widespread rebellions and demonstrations in the form of the "smashing" of rice establishments. Meanwhile, supporters of the Meiji Emperor leveraged the disruption that t
In political and social sciences, communism is the philosophical, social and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes and the state. Communism includes a variety of schools of thought, which broadly include Marxism and anarchism, as well as the political ideologies grouped around both. All of these share the analysis that the current order of society stems from its economic system, capitalism; the two classes are the working class—who must work to survive and who make up the majority within society—and the capitalist class—a minority who derives profit from employing the working class through private ownership of the means of production. The revolution will put the working class in power and in turn establish social ownership of the means of production, which according to this analysis is the primary element in the transformation of society towards communism.
Critics of communism can be divided into those concerning themselves with the practical aspects of 20th century communist states and those concerning themselves with communist principles and theory. Marxism-Leninism and democratic socialism were the two dominant forms of socialism in the 20th century; the term "communism" was first coined and defined in its modern definition by the French philosopher and writer Victor d'Hupay. In his 1777 book Projet de communauté philosophe, d'Hupay pushes the philosophy of the Enlightenment to principles which he lived up to during most of his life in his bastide of Fuveau; this book can be seen as the cornerstone of communist philosophy as d'Hupay defines this lifestyle as a "commune" and advises to "share all economic and material products between inhabitants of the commune, so that all may benefit from everybody's work". According to Richard Pipes, the idea of a classless, egalitarian society first emerged in Ancient Greece; the 5th-century Mazdak movement in Persia has been described as "communistic" for challenging the enormous privileges of the noble classes and the clergy, for criticizing the institution of private property and for striving to create an egalitarian society.
At one time or another, various small communist communities existed under the inspiration of Scripture. For example, in the medieval Christian Church some monastic communities and religious orders shared their land and their other property. Communist thought has been traced back to the works of the 16th-century English writer Thomas More. In his treatise Utopia, More portrayed a society based on common ownership of property, whose rulers administered it through the application of reason. In the 17th century, communist thought surfaced again in England, where a Puritan religious group known as the "Diggers" advocated the abolition of private ownership of land. In his 1895 Cromwell and Communism, Eduard Bernstein argued that several groups during the English Civil War espoused clear communistic, agrarian ideals and that Oliver Cromwell's attitude towards these groups was at best ambivalent and hostile. Criticism of the idea of private property continued into the Age of Enlightenment of the 18th century through such thinkers as Jean Jacques Rousseau in France.
Following the upheaval of the French Revolution communism emerged as a political doctrine. In the early 19th century, various social reformers founded communities based on common ownership. However, unlike many previous communist communities they replaced the religious emphasis with a rational and philanthropic basis. Notable among them were Robert Owen, who founded New Harmony in Indiana, as well as Charles Fourier, whose followers organized other settlements in the United States such as Brook Farm. In its modern form, communism grew out of the socialist movement in 19th-century Europe; as the Industrial Revolution advanced, socialist critics blamed capitalism for the misery of the proletariat—a new class of urban factory workers who labored under often-hazardous conditions. Foremost among these critics were his associate Friedrich Engels. In 1848, Marx and Engels offered a new definition of communism and popularized the term in their famous pamphlet The Communist Manifesto; the 1917 October Revolution in Russia set the conditions for the rise to state power of Vladimir Lenin's Bolsheviks, the first time any avowedly communist party reached that position.
The revolution transferred power to the All-Russian Congress of Soviets, in which the Bolsheviks had a majority. The event generated a great deal of theoretical debate within the Marxist movement. Marx predicted that socialism and communism would be built upon foundations laid by the most advanced capitalist development. However, Russia was one of the poorest countries in Europe with an enormous illiterate peasantry and a minority of industrial workers. Marx had explicitly stated; the moderate Mensheviks opposed Lenin's Bolshevik plan for socialist revolution before capitalism was more developed. The Bolsheviks' successful rise to power was based upon the slogans such as "Peace and land" which tapp
Japanese Communist Party
The Japanese Communist Party is a political party in Japan and is one of the largest non-governing communist parties in the world. The JCP advocates the establishment of a society based on socialism, democracy and opposition to militarism, it proposes to achieve its objectives by working within a democratic framework in order to achieve its goals while struggling against what it describes as "imperialism and its subordinate ally, monopoly capital". The party does not advocate violent revolution, instead it proposes a "democratic revolution" to achieve "democratic change in politics and the economy" and "the complete restoration of Japan's national sovereignty", which it sees as infringed by Japan's security alliance with the United States, although it defends Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution due to its opposition of the re-militarization of Japan. Following the most recent councillors election held on 10 July 2016, the party holds 14 seats in the House of Councillors. Following the most recent general election held on 22 October 2017, the party holds 12 seats in the House of Representatives.
The JCP is one of the largest non-ruling communist parties in the world, with 305,000 members belonging to 20,000 branches. In the wake of the Sino-Soviet split, the party began to distance itself from the Eastern Bloc from the Soviet Union. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the JCP released a press statement titled: "We welcome the end of a party which embodied the historical evil of Great power chauvinism and hegemonism", while at the same time criticizing Eastern European countries for abandoning socialism, describing it as a "reversal of history"; the party has not suffered an internal crisis as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union, nor has it considered disbanding or changing its name or fundamental objectives, as many other Communist parties have done. It polled 11.3% of the vote in 2000, 8.2% in 2003, 7.3% in 2005, 7.0% in the August 2009 election and 6.2% in 2012. In recent years its support has accrued, but as of the 2014 General Election it won 21 seats, up from eight in the previous general election.
The JCP took 7,040,130 votes in 6,062,962 in the party lists. This continues a new wave of support, evident in the 2013 Tokyo metropolitan election where the party doubled its representation. Fighting on a platform directly opposed to neoliberalism, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, attempts to rewrite the constitution, U. S. military bases on Japanese soil and nuclear power, the JCP tapped into a minority current that seeks an alternative to Japan's rightward direction. In January 2014, the JCP had 320,000 members. Following the party's advancement in the 2013 Tokyo prefectural election, there had been an increase in membership growth, with over 1,000 people joining in each of the final three months of 2013. 20% of new members during this period were aged 20–40, showing a higher ratio of young people joining the party than in the past. In 2016, membership was reported to be around 305,000; the JCP was founded on 15 July 1922 as an underground political association. Outlawed at once under the Peace Preservation Law, the JCP was subjected to repression and persecution by the military and police of Imperial Japan.
The party was legalised during the American occupation of Japan in 1945 and since has been a legal political party able to contest elections. In 1949, the party made unprecedented gains by winning 10 percent of the vote and sent 35 representatives to the Diet, but early in 1950 the Soviet Union criticized the JCP's parliamentary strategy. Stalin insisted that the JCP pursue more militant violent, actions; the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers seized this occasion to engineer the Red Purge, which forced the party leaders underground. After the Korean War broke out, the party staged some acts of terrorism or sabotage, which resulted in a loss of popular confidence. Through the end of the decade, it never won more than three percent of the votes or two seats in the Diet. So, its strong support among many intellectuals gave it a greater importance than these numbers suggest; the party did not take sides during the Sino-Soviet split of the 1960s. In the mid-1960s, the United States Department of State estimated the party membership to be 120,000.
Lam Peng Er argued in Pacific Affairs in 1996 that "the JCP's viability is crucial to the health of Japanese democracy" and says this is because: It is the only established party in parliament that has not been coopted by the conservative parties. It performs the watchdog role against the ruling parties without favor. More the JCP offers the only opposition candidate in prefectural governorship, city mayoral and other local elections. Despite the ostensible differences between the non-Communist parties at the national level, they support a joint candidate for governor or mayor so that all parties are assured of being part of the ruling coalition. If the JCP did not offer a candidate, there would be a walkover and Japanese voters would be offered a fait accompli without an electoral avenue of protest. Promoting women candidates in elections to win women's votes is another characteristic of the party. More women are elected under the Communist label than other political parties in Japan. In 2008, foreign media recorded an increase in support for the party due to the effect of the global financial crisis on Japanese workers.
However, the party failed to increase its number of seats in the 2009 general election. Subsequently, the projected decline of the party was halted, with the J
Public health has been defined as "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting human health through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations and private, communities and individuals". Analyzing the health of a population and the threats it faces is the basis for public health; the public can be as large as a village or an entire city. The concept of health takes into account physical and social well-being; as such, according to the World Health Organization, it is not the absence of disease or infirmity. Public health is an interdisciplinary field. For example, epidemiology and management of health services are all relevant. Other important subfields include environmental health, community health, behavioral health, health economics, public policy, mental health, occupational safety, gender issues in health, sexual and reproductive health. Public health aims to improve the quality of life through prevention and treatment of disease, including mental health.
This is done through the surveillance of cases and health indicators, through the promotion of healthy behaviors. Common public health initiatives include promotion of handwashing and breastfeeding, delivery of vaccinations, suicide prevention, distribution of condoms to control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Modern public health practice requires multidisciplinary teams of public health workers and professionals. Teams might include epidemiologists, medical assistants, public health nurses, medical microbiologists, sociologists, data managers, physicians. Depending on the need, environmental health officers or public health inspectors and veterinarians, gender experts, or sexual and reproductive health specialists might be called on. Access to health care and public health initiatives are difficult challenges in developing countries. Public health infrastructures are still forming in those countries; the focus of a public health intervention is to prevent and manage diseases and other health conditions through surveillance of cases and the promotion of healthy behaviors and environments.
Many diseases are preventable through nonmedical methods. For example, research has shown that the simple act of handwashing with soap can prevent the spread of many contagious diseases. In other cases, treating a disease or controlling a pathogen can be vital to preventing its spread to others, either during an outbreak of infectious disease or through contamination of food or water supplies. Public health communications programs, vaccination programs and distribution of condoms are examples of common preventive public health measures. Measures such as these have contributed to the health of populations and increases in life expectancy. Public health plays an important role in disease prevention efforts in both the developing world and in developed countries through local health systems and non-governmental organizations; the World Health Organization is the international agency that coordinates and acts on global public health issues. Most countries have their own governmental public health agency called the ministry of health, with responsibility for domestic health issues.
In the United States and local health departments are on the front line of public health initiatives. In addition to their national duties, the United States Public Health Service, led by the Surgeon General of the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, headquartered in Atlanta, are involved with international health activities. In Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada is the national agency responsible for public health, emergency preparedness and response, infectious and chronic disease control and prevention; the Public health system in India is managed by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare of the government of India with state-owned health care facilities. Most governments recognize the importance of public health programs in reducing the incidence of disease and the effects of aging and other physical and mental health conditions. However, public health receives less government funding compared with medicine. Public health programs providing vaccinations have made strides in promoting health, including the eradication of smallpox, a disease that plagued humanity for thousands of years.
The World Health Organization identifies core functions of public health programs including: providing leadership on matters critical to health and engaging in partnerships where joint action is needed. In particular, public health surveillance programs can: serve as an early warning system for impending public health emergencies. Diagnose and monitor health problems and health hazards of the communityPublic health surveillance has led to the identification and prioritization of many public health issues facing the world today, including HIV/AIDS, waterborne diseases, zoonotic diseases, antibiotic resistance leading to the reemergence of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis. Antibiotic resistance kno
Samurai were the military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan. In Japanese, they are referred to as bushi or buke. According to translator William Scott Wilson: "In Chinese, the character 侍 was a verb meaning'to wait upon','accompany persons' in the upper ranks of society, this is true of the original term in Japanese, saburau. In both countries the terms were nominalized to mean'those who serve in close attendance to the nobility', the Japanese term saburai being the nominal form of the verb." According to Wilson, an early reference to the word samurai appears in the Kokin Wakashū, the first imperial anthology of poems, completed in the first part of the 10th century. By the end of the 12th century, samurai became entirely synonymous with bushi, the word was associated with the middle and upper echelons of the warrior class; the samurai were associated with a clan and their lord, were trained as officers in military tactics and grand strategy. While the samurai numbered less than 10% of Japan's population, their teachings can still be found today in both everyday life and in modern Japanese martial arts.
Following the Battle of Hakusukinoe against Tang China and Silla in 663 AD which led to a retreat from Korean affairs, Japan underwent widespread reform. One of the most important was that of the Taika Reform, issued by Prince Naka-no-Ōe in 646 AD; this edict allowed the Japanese aristocracy to adopt the Tang dynasty political structure, culture and philosophy. As part of the Taihō Code of 702 AD, the Yōrō Code, the population was required to report for the census, a precursor for national conscription. With an understanding of how the population was distributed, Emperor Monmu introduced a law whereby 1 in 3–4 adult males were drafted into the national military; these soldiers were required to supply their own weapons, in return were exempted from duties and taxes. This was one of the first attempts by the Imperial government to form an organized army modeled after the Chinese system, it was called "Gundan-Sei" by historians and is believed to have been short-lived. The Taihō Code classified most of the Imperial bureaucrats into 12 ranks, each divided into two sub-ranks, 1st rank being the highest adviser to the Emperor.
Those of 6th rank and below were dealt with day-to-day affairs. Although these "samurai" were civilian public servants, the modern word is believed to have derived from this term. Military men, would not be referred to as "samurai" for many more centuries. In the early Heian period, during the late 8th and early 9th centuries, Emperor Kanmu sought to consolidate and expand his rule in northern Honshū, sent military campaigns against the Emishi, who resisted the governance of the Kyoto-based imperial court. Emperor Kanmu introduced the title of sei'i-taishōgun, or shōgun, began to rely on the powerful regional clans to conquer the Emishi. Skilled in mounted combat and archery, these clan warriors became the Emperor's preferred tool for putting down rebellions. Though this is the first known use of the title shōgun, it was a temporary title and was not imbued with political power until the 13th century. At this time, the Imperial Court officials considered them to be a military section under the control of the Imperial Court.
Emperor Kanmu disbanded his army. From this time, the emperor's power declined. While the emperor was still the ruler, powerful clans around Kyoto assumed positions as ministers, their relatives bought positions as magistrates. To amass wealth and repay their debts, magistrates imposed heavy taxes, resulting in many farmers becoming landless. Through protective agreements and political marriages, the aristocrats accumulated political power surpassing the traditional aristocracy; some clans were formed by farmers who had taken up arms to protect themselves from the Imperial magistrates sent to govern their lands and collect taxes. These clans formed alliances to protect themselves against more powerful clans, by the mid-Heian period, they had adopted characteristic Japanese armor and weapons; the Emperor and non-warrior nobility employed these warrior nobles. In time they amassed enough manpower and political backing, in the form of alliances with one another, to establish the first samurai-dominated government.
As the power of these regional clans grew, their chief was a distant relative of the Emperor and a lesser member of either the Fujiwara, Minamoto, or Taira clans. Though sent to provincial areas for fixed four-year terms as magistrates, the toryo declined to return to the capital when their terms ended, their sons inherited their positions and continued to lead the clans in putting down rebellions throughout Japan during the middle- and later-Heian period; because of their rising military and economic power, the warriors became a new force in the politics of the Imperial court. Their involvement in the Hōgen Rebellion in the late Heian period consolidated their power, which pitted the rivalry of Minamoto and Taira clans against each other in the Heiji Rebellion of 1160; the victor, Taira no Kiyomori, became an imperial advisor and was the first warrior to attain such a position. He seized control of the central government, establishing the first samurai-dominated government and relegating the Emperor to figurehead status.
However, the Taira clan was still conservative when compared to its eventual successor, the Minamoto, instead of expanding or stre
Hokkaido known as Ezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is the second largest island of Japan, the largest and northernmost prefecture. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu; the two islands are connected by the undersea railway Seikan Tunnel. The largest city on Hokkaido is its capital, its only ordinance-designated city. About 43 km north of Hokkaido lies Russia. To its east and north-east are the disputed Kuril Islands; the Nihon Shoki, finished in 720 AD, is said to be the first mention of Hokkaido in recorded history. According to the text, Abe no Hirafu led a large navy and army to northern areas from 658 to 660 and came into contact with the Mishihase and Emishi. One of the places Hirafu went to was called Watarishima, believed to be present-day Hokkaido. However, many theories exist in relation to the details of this event, including the location of Watarishima and the common belief that the Emishi in Watarishima were the ancestors of the present-day Ainu people. During the Nara and Heian periods, people in Hokkaido conducted trade with Dewa Province, an outpost of the Japanese central government.
From the Middle Ages, the people in Hokkaido began to be called Ezo. Hokkaido subsequently became known as Ezogashima; the Ezo relied upon hunting and fishing and obtained rice and iron through trade with the Japanese. During the Muromachi period, the Japanese created a settlement at the south of the Oshima Peninsula; as more people moved to the settlement to avoid battles, disputes arose between the Japanese and the Ainu. The disputes developed into a war. Takeda Nobuhiro killed the Ainu leader and defeated the opposition in 1457. Nobuhiro's descendants became the rulers of the Matsumae-han, granted exclusive trading rights with the Ainu in the Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo periods; the Matsumae family's economy relied upon trade with the Ainu. They held authority over the south of Ezochi until the end of the Edo period in 1868; the Matsumae clan rule over the Ainu must be understood in the context of the expansion of the Japanese feudal state. Medieval military leaders in northern Honshū maintained only tenuous political and cultural ties to the imperial court and its proxies, the Kamakura Shogunate and Ashikaga Shogunate.
Feudal strongmen sometimes located themselves within medieval institutional order, taking shogunal titles, while in other times they assumed titles that seemed to give them a non-Japanese identity. In fact, many of the feudal strongmen were descended from Emishi military leaders, assimilated into Japanese society; the Matsumae clan were of Yamato descent like other ethnic Japanese people, whereas the Emishi of northern Honshu were a distinctive group related to the Ainu. The Emishi were conquered and integrated into the Japanese state dating back as far as the 8th century, as result began to lose their distinctive culture and ethnicity as they became minorities. By the time the Matsumae clan ruled over the Ainu most of the Emishi were ethnically mixed and physically closer to Japanese than they were to Ainu; this dovetails nicely with the "transformation" theory that native Jōmon peoples changed with the infusion of Yayoi immigrants into the Tōhoku rather than the "replacement" theory which posits that one population was replaced by another.
There were numerous revolts by the Ainu against the feudal rule. The last large-scale resistance was Shakushain's Revolt in 1669–1672. In 1789, a smaller movement, the Menashi–Kunashir rebellion, was crushed. After that rebellion, the terms "Japanese" and "Ainu" referred to distinguished groups, the Matsumae were unequivocally Japanese. In 1799–1821 and 1855–1858, the Edo Shogunate took direct control over Hokkaido in response to a perceived threat from Russia. Leading up to the Meiji Restoration, the Tokugawa Shogunate realized there was a need to prepare northern defenses against a possible Russian invasion and took over control of most of Ezochi; the Shogunate made the plight of the Ainu easier, but did not change the overall form of rule. Hokkaido was known as Ezochi until the Meiji Restoration. Shortly after the Boshin War in 1868, a group of Tokugawa loyalists led by Enomoto Takeaki temporarily occupied the island, but the rebellion was crushed in May 1869. Ezochi was subsequently put under control of Hakodate Prefectural Government.
When establishing the Development Commission, the Meiji Government introduced a new name. After 1869, the northern Japanese island was known as Hokkaido; the primary purpose of the development commission was to secure Hokkaido before the Russians extended their control of the Far East beyond Vladivostok. Kuroda Kiyotaka was put in charge of the venture, his first step was to journey to the United States and recruit Horace Capron, President Grant's Commissioner of Agriculture. From 1871 to 1873 Capron bent his efforts to expounding Western agriculture and mining with mixed results. Capron, frustrated with obstacles to his efforts returned home in 1875. In 1876, William S. Clark arrived to found an agricultural college in Sapporo. Although he only remained a year, Clark left a lasting impression on Hokkaido, inspiring the Japanese with his teachings on agriculture as well as Christianity