Let’s Visit the Time of William S. Clark

Let’s take a look at the time when this island was named Hokkaido. Matthew Perry’s fleet arrived in Hakodate in 1854, opening Shimoda Port and Hakodate Port to ships from abroad. Hakodate became the gateway to the Western modern civilization and jumped to the frontline of its time. In preparation of threats from Russia and to develop national prosperity and military strength as the core of the modern state, there was a pressing need for settlers move to Hokkaido and develop every corner of the land.

Schools were an effective method to develop land where the agricultural technology south of Honshu did not work. The best example of this is Sapporo Agricultural College, which is regarded as the origin of Hokkaido University. In the new world of freedom, hired foreigner advisors led by W. S. Clark enthusiastically instructed young men who ardently hoped for a new era and showed a remarkable willingness to learn.

Rows of poplars and vast meadows stretching under the blue sky. Exotic barns adding a touch of charm to the pastures where milk cows grazed and sheep frolicked. Such images of Hokkaido were created by the Sapporo Agricultural College.

Although Mr. Clark, the first vice-principal of Sapporo Agricultural College is well-known, few people are familiar with the “Sapporo Agricultural College Farm No. 2” for which he took the lead to establish. A new controversial movement surrounded this farm, which has been selected as a Hokkaido Heritage. We would like to shed new light on the history of the development of Hokkaido, by learning about the farms affiliated with Sapporo Agricultural College, including Farm No. 2, from the viewpoint of KAI.