Time Table of Sakhalin Island
- 1 A.D.
- Sengai-kyo (ancient Chinese geography book) says that
northern limit of Japan is located at Amur River.
- Nihon-shyoki (ancient Japanese history book) says that
there was a
fierce battle between Japanese army led by Admiral
Abe-no-hirafu with 200 battle ships and
Tsungus at the mouth of a big river (Amur River?) located on the north of
- According to the Japanese narrative book, Konjaku Monogatari, after a lost battle, Japanese Samurai, Abe-no-yoritoki
and his clan,
fled to the north of Japan with a big ship. They discovered
a huge river (Amur River?) and went up it during one month. Feared
they met one thousand cavalrymen (Mongols?) crossing over the river on a raft by
attaching together their horses, they returned
- Japanese Buddhist monk, Nichiji-shyounin went to
order to evangelize the island.
- Kaitou-shyokoku-ki (ancient Korean geography book
describing her eastern countries such as Japan and
Maritime Territory) says that the northern frontier of Japan
the north of Amur River.
- A boss of Sakhalin Ainu met Lord Matsumae who was
the northern frontier of Japan and accepted to become his
- Matsumae sent Murakami-kamonzaemon to explore the
year, another explorer, Koudou-shouemon, reached the village
Shikka, located about 49th parallel.
- The central government of Tokyo asked each lord to send
map of their own lands in order to make up the complete map
Japan. Lord Matsumae sent a map including the whole
Kuril Islands and Kamchatka peninsula. This map, called Shoho-okuni-ezu is the oldest existing
map that draws this part of the world.
- Matsumae established the town of Ootomari (Kushunkotan
actual Korsakov), located on the southern shore of Sakhalin, in order
to control the commerce with aborigines (Ainu and Nivkh). It
became the biggest Japanese
treading post in Sakhalin with more than one hundred houses.
Each summer, aborigines living in
north Sakhalin came there to do a business with Japanese.
- Russian frigate Junona directed by Chvostoff attacked Ootomari, the largest Japanese trading post of
Sakhalin and burned warehouses after looting
them. They brought then Japanese merchants to Kamchatka as prisoners.
Next year, they
attacked Etorofu Island (Iturup in Russian) in the southern Kuril chain then Rutaka
on the west of Ootomari.
- The central government sent Mamiya
Rinzo to Sakhalin in order to
explore the northern part of Sakhalin, unknown for Japanese until then.
- Russia put her flag at the northern limit of Sakhalin
and declared it
as her territory. Then, she established a military base at
Ootomari near Japanese treading post, despite of the protestation of Japanese,
to intimidate them.
- First negotiation to settle a frontier between the two
held in 1855 at Shimoda, a tiny town located at 50km
Tokyo. Japanese chief negotiator was Kawaji Toshiakira and
Evfimii Vasilievich Putiatin. This is Treaty of Shimoda and
following: Russia takes North Kurils and Japan South Kurils
there was no settlement about Sakhalin i.e. two nationals
live in this island as before, Japanese in the south and
Russians in the north, without fixing the frontier. Russia
accepted to destroy the
military base of Ootomari.
- Admiral Muravieff, governor of East Siberia entered in
the bay of
Tokyo with 7 battle ships and threatened Japanese to accept
Russian belonging of Sakhalin, but it was refused.
- By taking advantage of Taiping rebellion in China, Russia took the Maritime Territory, where actual
Vladivostok is, by threatening Chinese to declare a war, if they didn't give it
is Treaty of Pekin (1860). From then the Russian pressure to
increased: they argued that because Nivkh, inhabitants of
Sakhalin, had obeyed the Chinese government, Sakhalin should
be Russian too.
- The central government sent Okamoto Kanpo to the
of Sakhalin and put a stele declaring the whole island as
- Japan had to accept the convention of Saint Petersburg
stipulates that Sakhalin is a condominium between two
As soon as Sakhalin became a condominium, Russian threat
increased in force. They sent Cossack's troops that set fire
Japanese settlements and tried to provoke diplomatic
- Very ill equipped and unable to respond to the Russian
power, Japanese had to give up very rich Sakhalin Island in
exchange of icy and uninhabitable North Kurils that had
to them before. This is Treaty of Saint Petersburg.
- After the Russo-Japanese war, Japanese recovered
sovereignty of Sakhalin but should give up North Sakhalin
occupied during the war. The island was divided into two
and the frontier between two countries was settled at 50th
This is Treaty of Portsmouth.
- During the occupation of the southern Siberia by the Allied
Powers, several hundred Japanese (350 workers and 370
slaughtered in the prison of Nikolayevsk upon Amur, the town
South Siberia near Sakhalin, by Bolsheviks. In reprisal,
occupied North Sakhalin and this provoked in turn a
Americans and Soviets. Finally in January 1925, the two
signed a treaty and the Japanese army withdrew from North
exchange of a right of petroleum's concession. The Soviet
expressed a sincere regret to the massacre of Nikolayevsk.
- On August 8 1945, denouncing the pact of neutrality
countries, valid until spring 1946, Russia entered the war
Japan. The Red Army crossed the 50th parallel, frontier
countries in Sakhalin, and went down to the south. On August
Japan accepted the declaration of Potsdam to end the war.
the cease-fire line becomes the definitive frontier (they
only 100 km in Sakhalin and even worse no Russian in Kuril islands), they
continued to bombard Japanese towns and military positions,
prepared to invade Hokkaido. During this period, several
civilians were killed by Russians. The worst case was the
Russian submarines, of the 3 Japanese ships transporting
Sakhalin and made 1700 victims. Finally they stopped to
August 22. Then, 600,000 Japanese, mostly soldiers from
Manchuria have been brought to Siberia's labor camps and
them have never returned to the homeland.
- Conference of San Francisco that should settle the
frontier between two countries was boycotted by the Russian
delegation. They refused to sign the final document, because
didn't say clearly that south Sakhalin and Kurils should
territories. So the frontier between 2 countries remains
undefined until now.
- Soviet war planes brought down a Boeing of Korean Air Lines
and killed 240
passengers aboard above South Sakhalin. It is a totally
illegal action for the international law because
that land don't yet officially belong to Russia.
- A huge earthquake rocked North Sakhalin and destroyed
completely the town of Neftegorsk.
Boris Yeltsin refused an immediate Japanese rescue, fearing
that the territorial dispute
should appear again before the international scene. Total
victims rose to 1800 people.
Last update: July 17, 2020