SHIRAKIZAWA Asahiko Professor
Research Subject
  1. Trade Policy, Cotrolled Economy and Export Industry in 1930’s JAPAN.
  2. Economic Development in the Occupied Area by Japanese Army in World War Ⅱ.
Research Fields
Japanese Modern History, Japanese Economic History
Faculty - Division / Research Group / Laboratory
Division of Humanities / Research Group of History / Laboratory of Japanese History
Graduate School - Division / Department / Laboratory
Division of Humanities / Department of History / Laboratory of Japanese History
School - Course / Laboratory
Division of Humanities and Human Sciences / Course of History and Anthropology / Laboratory of Japanese History

Office/Lab: 516
TEL: +81-11-706-3040
Email: siraki(at)
Replace “(at)” with “@” when sending email.

Foreign exchange students who want to be research students (including Japanese residents) should apply for the designated period in accordance with the “Research Student Application Guidelines”. Even if you send an email directly to the staff, there is no reply.
Related Links


Laboratory of Japanese HistorySHIRAKIZAWA Asahiko Professor

A controlled economy for Japan's reconstruction The Sino-Japanese war from the standpoint of the long-term development of heavy industry

During the Sino-Japanese war, the Koain (East Asia Development Board), a government agency in charge of administering occupied territory in China, was established. Documents possessed by an engineer of the Koain.

The term “controlled economy” as used in the early Showa period originally referred to a situation in which the national government placed bright hopes on breaking out of the Showa Depression. “Control” in this context at first meant artificial control of markets via production adjustments and price agreements. However, as export industries grew, including industries related to artificial silk textiles and ceramics, the government took the controlled economy in a different direction, in order to avoid international trade friction. The Sino-Japanese War broke out, triggered by the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937. For a Japanese government struggling to secure resources such as coal and iron ore, the war also meant a long-term construction war to build a foundation for heavy industry in China. I’ve been working on research concerning the history of the Asian continental economy during wartime by referring to Japanese documents that still remain in various parts of Japan.

During the Sino-Japanese War, a plan to launch an iron industry in Northern China was developed.
A map indicating the locations of iron ore and coal mines in Northern China in 1939 The precise handwriting reveals the engineer’s high level of workmanship.

Discover historical documents still unknown. The first research on people repatriated to Japan

What I most expect of graduate students is an enthusiasm for gathering historical documents. Discovering historical documents that no one has known about or that haven’t been made public and introducing new historical facts based on these records are likely outcomes of modern historical research, especially with respect to colonization and the Asian continent. A few years ago, a graduate student chose the research theme of “Repatriation from Korea”. As the research theme was obscure relative to its prominence today, we ourselves discovered many fresh findings as supervisors. Some people repatriated from Karafuto (the present-day Sakhalin) are living in Hokkaido, which makes Hokkaido a prime place for research on the history of Karafuto. Hokkaido University, which has strong ties with research institutes in China, is blessed with an environment conducive to gathering data and documents.


It was only when I had opportunities to consult a massive number of documents relevant to the development of the Asian continent possessed by the Hokkaido University Library that I began to take interest in continental economic construction during the war. The continent was familiar to the Japanese who lived there before and during the war. People often visited the continent not only on business but also for pleasure, and presumably their acquaintances and relatives must have lived there. The universities that existed before the war—including Hokkaido University— house books and magazines published in this period, thereby enabling you to follow in the footsteps of people in those days.

In recent years, Japan has proactively interacted with neighboring countries including Korea, China, Taiwan and Russia (Sakhalin), which allows these countries to mutually visit other countries for resource research. I have been made aware that Japanese literature surprisingly remains in these regions to this day. At the Hokkaido University Laboratory of Japanese History, you can thoroughly study everything from ancient history to modern and present-day history, with a growing number of students choosing nations such as Korea, Manchuria, China and Sakhalin as the themes for their graduation and master’s theses.

Since the region of Hokkaido has an “external nature,” you can apply the accumulated expertise of research on Hokkaido’s modern history to that on colonial history. Why not try your hand at tackling the frontier of historical research?