Sanken-Ikkyoku Jidai (period of three prefectures and one bureau) (三県一局時代)

Sanken-Ikkyoku Jidai is one of the periods within the framework of periodization in the history of Hokkaido.

Summary

Due to the abolition of Hokkaido Development Commissioner on February 8, 1882, Hakodate Prefecture, Sapporo Prefecture and Nemuro Prefecture were established at the same time ('Haishi Chiken,' or abolishment of Commissioner and establishment of prefectures). In addition, along with the said three prefectures, Hokkaido Works Administration Bureau (one of the departments under Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce[Japan]) was established in Hokkaido.

These three prefectures and the Bureau were abolished due to establishment of the Hokkaido government on January 26, 1886 ('Haiken Chicho,' or abolishment of prefectures and establishment of local government).

Haishi Chiken

On October 3, 1871, Hokkaido Development Commissioner decided on a large-scale budget plan called the Ten-year Plan of Development Commissioner, which estimated the total budget for development of Hokkaido during the ten years after 1872 to be ten million yen.

When the Ten-year Plan of Development Commissioner was completed in 1882, Hokkaido Development Commissioner was abolished as originally planned, and it was decided that administrative districts called "prefecture" were introduced just as outside Hokkaido and that three prefectures were newly established in accordance with jurisdictions of the government in Sapporo City and two offices in Hakodate and Nemuro Cities which had been administered by Hokkaido Development Commissioner.

As for the development project, the three prefectures took over the works in the local level and Hokkaido Works Administration Bureau which was under Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce took over the works in the national level.

Though the 'Scandal concerning Disposal of Hokkaido Development Commissioner's Possession' which took place just before abolition of Hokkaido Development Commissioner resulted in a confusion, three prefectures, Sapporo, Hakodate and Nemuro, were established instead of Hokkaido Development Commissioner and Haishi Chiken was completed on February 8, 1882. With this Haishi Chiken, Hokkaido had a formal administration agency and administrative districts for the first time.

Unlike prefectures outside Hokkaido, no prefectural assembly or county office was formally established in those three prefectures because of continuous tasks as a development commissioner and because of too low population density.

Haiken Chicho

Haishi Chiken resulted in an obstacle to development after all, because the three prefectures and Hokkaido Works Administration Bureau could not align their policy with the others' in connection with development, and because the income stopped growing due to the economic slowdown under the Matsukata finance (also known as the Matsukata deflation, a financial measure to induce deflation to eliminate inflation generated by raising funds for war cost of the Seinan War). Furthermore, while the population of the whole area of Hokkaido was only two hundred sixty-five thousand in 1886 and more than half of the population (one hundred fifty-one thousand) concentrated in Hakodate Prefecture where people had lived in groups since the age of the Matsumae Domain, and Nemeuro Prefecture which consisted mostly of extremely cold undeveloped land had a population of only seventeen thousand, and this posed a problem of an imbalance. Thus Sangi (Councillor) Hirobumi ITO sent Kentaro KANEKO, a great secretary of Daijokan (Grand Council of State), to Hokkaido in 1885. Kaneko made a seventy-day inspection tour of Hokkaido and returning to the capital, reported that the present system of three prefectures did not function.

Based on this report, the three prefectures and Hokkaido Works Administration Bureau were reorganized into the Hokkaido government which was under the Ministry of Home Affairs on January 26, 1886 and the three prefectures went out of existence. The organization of former Hakodate and Nemuro Prefectures was succeeded by Hakodate and Nemuro offices of the Hokkaido government, and continued until the transition to the subprefecture system on November 5, 1890.

Hakodate Prefecture

It was established with the jurisdiction of the former Hakodate office of Hokkaido Development Commissioner. The seat of the prefectural capital was in Hakodate-ku, former Kameda County, Oshima Province. The prefectural governor was Tamemoto TOKITO.

The jurisdictional area corresponds to Oshima Province, eight counties of Shiribeshi Province (Kudo County, Okushiri County, Futoro County, Setana County, Suttsu County, Shimamaki County, Utasutsu County and Isoya County) and Yamagoe County of Iburi Province according to ryoseikoku (province).

Sapporo Prefecture

It was established with the jurisdiction of the government of Hokkaido Development Commissioner. The seat of the prefectural capital was in Sapporo-ku, former Sapporo County, Ishikari Province. The prefectural governor was Hirotake CHOSHO.

The jurisdictional area corresponds to the whole area of Ishikari, Teshio, Tokachi and Hidaka Provinces, four counties of Kitami Province (Soya County, Esashi County, Rishiri County and Rebun County), nine counties of Shiribeshi Province (Otaru County, Takashima County, Oshoro County, Yoichi County, Furubira County, Shakotan County, Bikuni County, Furuu County and Iwanai County), and seven counties of Iburi Province (Abuta County, Usu County, Muroran County, Horobetsu County, Shiraoi County, Yufutsu County and Chitose County), according to ryoseikoku. Geographically the eastern end of Tokachi County of Tokachi Province, Cape Soya (north), Cape Kamui (west) and Cape Erimo (south) were regarded as Shishi (the northern, southern, eastern, and western boundaries of a tract of land).

Nemuro Prefecture

It was established with the jurisdiction of the former Nemuro office of Hokkaido Development Commissioner. The seat of the prefectural capital was in Nemuroumegae-cho (renamed Nemuro-cho in 1900 after abolishment of Nemuro Prefecture), former Nemuro County, Nemuro Province. The prefectural governor was Sadamoto YUCHI.

The jurisdictional area corresponds to the whole area of Nemuro, Kushiro and Chitose Provinces and four counties of Kitami Province (Monbetsu County, Tokoro County, Abashiri County and Shari County), according to ryoseikoku.