Hokkaido: Folk museum displays rare artifacts, plants from Kunashiri Island

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Rausucho Kyodo Shiryokan curator Hiroshi Ushiro explains photos and archaeological materials from the northern territories now on display for the first time, in Rausu, Hokkaido, on Oct. 15.

RAUSU, Hokkaido — Archaeological materials and unique plants found on Kunashiri Island in the northern territories have gone on display in a museum in Rausu, Hokkaido.

The Rausucho Kyodo Shiryokan (Rausu folk museum) is showing the pieces, which include Jomon period stone tools from the island and specimens of alpine plants collected on the island’s 1,822-meter-tall Mt. Chacha, in its newly established northern territories exhibition room. The room opened to the public on Oct. 15.

On display are about 30 plant specimens from the mountain, including a shirobana komakusa, a type of poppy, as well as clay pots and stone tools. The archaeological materials, including a polished and pointed stone axe, collected by a man who worked at a sulfur mine on Kunashiri Island before World War II, and photos of the same mine are being displayed for the first time.

The botanical specimens come from a donation made to the town of Rausu. “It’s very possible that botanical specimens from Mt. Chacha are not being exhibited anywhere else in Japan,” said a museum curator.

Another curator, Hiroshi Ushiro, former curator of the Hokkaido Museum, gave a presentation at the exhibition room on Oct. 15.

“The Soviet Union occupied [Kunashiri Island], and Japanese islanders were forcibly relocated to the mainland. They were not given time to pack their belongings. Many historically valuable materials and other assets were taken from them. These are valuable materials brought to the mainland before the war. We hope many people will see them,” Ushiro said.