History of Hokkaido University

Hokkaido University was founded in 1876.

For 136 years, Hokkaido University has earned a reputation for pioneering research on the cutting edge. Today, Hokkaido University is an advanced research institution, with strong links to industry, community and government. Our stunning main campus is located in downtown Sapporo, within walking distance to almost everything the beautiful city has to offer. With an additional campus in the coastal city of Hakodate, Hokkaido University has become the powerhouse of innovation and research of northern Japan.;xNLx;Founded back in 1876 as Sapporo Agricultural College - we were remarkably the nation’s first institute to issue formal degrees. The phrase “Be ambitious!”, which serves as Hokkaido University’s motto, is derived from the words of Dr. William Clark, the founding father of the College. The quote not only inspired the very first pupils in 1877, but remains extremely popular today as a message to encourage all young people. ;xNLx;;xNLx;Find out more about our rich and fascinating history by using this timeline which offers detailed information about our past set against a backdrop of historical events which helped shape contemporary Japan. We hope you enjoy it.

Kumao TAKAOKA 3rd President

Presided over the building of the Agricultural Building which is considered today as one of the University's iconic structures and welcomed the Showa Emperior to the University in October 1936.

Yutaka KON 4th President

Yutaka Kon is remembered for reparing the university as the war approached whilst at the same time, putting in place measures to keep the university operational over the period of the war. Over his period of presidency, he also oversaw the setting up of the Institute of Low Temperature Science, the Catalysis Research Center, and the Research Institute of Ultrashort Waves. (now RIES)

The first group of International Students join the university

Hokkaido University sees the arrival of its first group of young scholars from around the world

Direct Rule and Exploration

The Tokugawa Shogunate placed Ezo under its direct control and commissioned the mapping/exploration of Ezo and beyond.

The Imperial University System

The birth of the imperial university, prestigious universities educating the elite of Japan. Hokkaido University joined the club in 1918.

Ainu Mosir

In the days before settlement by the Japanese people, what we now call Hokkaido was the homeland of the indigenous Ainu people.

The Matsumae Fiefdom

The Kakizaki family gained exclusive trading rights with the Ainu and established the Wajin presence in Ainu Mosir.

Shakushain’s War

The Ainu rose up against Wajin (Japanese) in a dispute over hunting and fishing rights. It was the largest ever conflict between the two peoples.

The Treaty of Peace and Amity

As a result of the Treaty of Peace and Amity, Hakodate was opened up as a treaty port.

The Meiji Restoration and Boshin War

The civil war between the Tokugawa Shogunate and forces urging an Imperial Restoration ended in Hakodate.

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