Karafuto-Cho (Karafuto Agency) (樺太庁)

Karafuto Agency (Karafuto-Cho) was a regional administrative agency, which controlled Karafuto under Japanese possession.

In this case Karafuto means the region and attached islands south of the fifty northern latitude on Sakhalin (so-called Southern Sakhalin), which was incorporated into Japan through the Treaty of Portsmouth.

Due to the Proclamation of the Imperial Ordinance no.33, 1907 on March 15, 1907 Karafuto's Government's system of administration was officially established on April 1, 1907. In this way the Karafuto Civil Office (Karafuto Minseisho), which was the administrative body up to then, was dissolved and absorbed into the new administration. The government building was first located in Otomari Town and then moved to Toyohara City on August 13, 1908.

According to the Proclamation in 1920, Imperial Ordinance no.124, 1920 (regarding exceptions in law which is enforced on Karafuto), Karafuto-Cho became part of the so-called outer territories (gaichi), later, in 1942 it fell under the jurisdiction of the Home Ministry (Japan) and the municipal law of Japan came to be applied. In this way Karafuto was incorporated into the so-called Japan proper (naichi).

After the Soviet Declaration of War on Japan in August 1945, Soviet troops invaded the district of Karafuto-Cho and by the end of the month all of Karafuto was occupied. Karafuto-Cho as a government agency was transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs jurisdiction and was then abolished in June 1, 1949 under the National Government Organization Act (See "Nihon Tochika no Karafuto" [Sakhalin under Japanese rule] , Gaimusho Joyakukyoku Hokika [Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Treaty Bureau, Regulation Section]; 1969).

For details on territorial rights or territorial disputes of this area see Sakhalin.


In the South, Karafuto-Cho was separated from Hokkaido by the Soya Strait, in the North it bordered to Russia at fifty northern latitude, in the West it was surrounded by the Mamiya Strait and in the East by the Sea of Okhotsk.


The industry was based on primary industries, mainly fishery, forestry and farming. Later on paper manufacture and coal mining were booming. Due to the small population, workers were always in demand, migration from the mainland and other areas was promoted by tax incentives.

March 15, 1907:

Due to reorganization of the Karafuto Civil Office (Karafuto Minseisho), Karafuto-Cho was officially established on April, 1.

April, 1907:

Three branch offices were set up in Korsakov (Otomari), Vladimirofka (Toyohara) and Mauka (Maoka).

December, 1908:

A system of five branch offices was set up as Shisuka local office of Toyohara branch office was promoted to Shikuka branch office and Nayashi local office of Maoka branch office to Nayoshi branch office respectively.

June, 1913:

The Nayoshi branch office moved to Kushunnai and was called Kushunnai branch office. It then moved to Tomarioru in October and was called Tomarioru branch office.

June 26, 1915:

Due to Imperial Ordinance no.101 "regarding the organization of districts, towns and villages in Karafuto," 17 districts, 4 towns and 58 villages were established.


After the Nikolayevsk Incident North Sakhalin (North Karafuto) was occupied until 1925, when the troops withdrew.

May 3, 1920:

Due to "regarding special usage of laws operation in Karafuto," Karafuto-Cho was incorporated into the outer territories (gaichi).

October, 1922:

The branch offices were reorganized and it became a system of nine branch offices: Toyohara, Otomari, Rutaka, Mototomari, Shikuka, Honto, Maoka, Tomarioru and Ushiro.

December, 1924:

It became a system of seven branch offices, as Rutaka branch office and Ushiro branch office were abolished and demoted to local branch offices.

June 10, 1929:

Establishment of Ministry of Colonial Affairs, Karafuto-Cho placed under its authority.

March 26, 1929:

Official announcement of system of towns and villages on Karafuto, towns and villages were given the status of self-governing body.

December, 1934:

Between Fukami Village in Kurafuto and Sarafutsu Village in Hokkaido the set up of an underwater cable and a relay station was completed, telephone to the main island was opened.

July 1, 1937:

With the enforcement of Karafuto City System Toyohara Town became Toyohara City. The Toyohara branch office was called Toyosakae branch office.

January, 1940:

It became a system of eight branch offices, as Esutoru branch office was established.

December 26, 1941:

The Japan Broadcasting Corporation officially opened Toyohara radio station.

November 1, 1942:

The Ministry of Colonial Affairs and some other ministries and agencies were merged into the Ministry of Greater East Asia. The authority of Karafuto-Cho was then transferred to the Home Ministry. The branch offices were reorganized and it became a system of four branch offices: Toyohara, Shikuka, Maoka and Esutoru.

March 26, 1943:

"Regarding exceptions in law which is enforced on Karafuto" was abolished, in other words, Karafuto-Cho was incorporated into Japan proper (naichi).

The Bank of Japan opened an office in Toyohara City and posted employees after April 1945.

August 9, 1945:

The Soviet Union one-sidedly broke the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact and participated in the war against Japan. On August 28 it had gained control over all of the islands.

December 30, 1945:

Under Soviet occupation Karafuto-Cho was made to carry out the administration, but was then ordered to dissolve and governor Toshio OTSU as a representative and other high ranked government officials were imprisoned.

January, 1946:

By the memorandum of the GHQ (the General Headquarters of the Allied Powers), Japanese administrative rights over Karafuto were removed.

January 30, 1946:

Due to "Regarding revision of system of administration of the Home Ministry" (Imperial Ordinance no.55, 1946) Karafuto-Cho was transferred from the Home Ministry to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs jurisdiction.

June 1, 1949:

With the enforcement of the National Government Organization Act, Karafuto-Cho was abolished.


In August 1945, there were 42 municipalities (1 city, 12 towns, 29 villages) and 10 counties in Karafuto-Cho.

Karafuto administrative division (July 1, 1929-August 1945)

Karafuto-Cho was divided into four branch offices (shicho).

A branch office (shicho) was an independent branch office of Karafuto-Cho, the duties of the central government office were divided within its jurisdiction.

Toyohara branch office

Toyohara City

Toyosakae County: Toyokita Village

-Kawakami Village (Karafuto)
-Ochiai Town (Karafuto)
-Sakaehama Village
-Shiranui Village

Otomari (Odomari) County: Otomari Town

-Chitose Village
-Fukami Village
-Nagahama Village
-Tobuchi Village
-Tomunai Village
-Shiretoko Village

Rutaka County: Rutaka Town

-Sango Village
-Notoro Village

Maoka branch office

Honto County: Honto Town

-Naihoro Town
-Koni Village
-Kaiba Village

Maoka County: Maoka Town

-Hirochi Village
-Randomari Village
-Shimizu Village
-Noda Town (Karafuto)
-Konotoro Village

Tomarioru County: Tomarioru Town

-Nayori Village
-Kushunnai Village

Esutoru branch office

Esutoru County: Chinnai Town

-Ushiro Village
-Esutoru Town
-Toro Town

Nayoshi County: Nayoshi Town

-Nishisakutan Village

Shikuka branch office

Mototomari (Motodomari) County: Mototomari (Motodomari) Village

-Hoyori Village
-Shirutoru Town

Shikuka (Shisuka) County: Tomarikeshi Village

-Nairo Village
-Shikuka Town
-Chirie Village

Governors of Karafuto-Cho

Civil Governor: Kiichiro KUMAGAI (July 28, 1905 - March 31, 1907)

1) Yukihiko KUSUNOSE (April 1, 1907 - April 24, 1908)

2) Takejiro TOKONAMI (April 24, 1908 - June 12, 1908)

3) Jotaro HIRAOKA (June 12, 1908 - June 5, 1914)

4) Bunji OKADA (June 5, 1914 - October 9, 1916)

5) Akira SAKAYA (October 13, 1916 - April 17, 1919)

6) Kinjiro NAGAI (April 17, 1919 - June 11, 1924)

7) Akira SAKAYA (June, 11 1924 - August 5, 1926 reappointed)

8) Katsuzo TOYOTA (August 5, 1926 - July 27, 1927)

9) Koji KITA (July 27, 1927 - July 9, 1929)

10) Shinobu AGATA (July 9, 1929 - December 17, 1931)

11) Masao KISHIMOTO (December 17, 1931 - July 5, 1932)

12) Takeshi IMAMURA (July 5, 1932 - May 7, 1938)

13) Toshikazu MUNEI (May 7, 1938 - April 9, 1940)

14) Masayoshi OGAWA (April 9, 1940 - July 1, 1943)

15) Toshio OTSU (July 1, 1943 - November 17, 1947)


In 1939

Karafuto District Court

Toyohara Local Court

Maoka Local Court

Shirutoru Local Court


In 1941

Karafuto Prison

Karafuto Prison Maoka Prison Branch


In 1941

Karafuto Agency Police

Toyohara Police Station

Ochiai Police Station

Mototomari Police Station

Shirutoru Police Station

Shikuka Police Station

Otomari Police Station

Rutaka Police Station

Honto Police Station

Maoka Police Station

Noda Police Station

Tomarioru Police Station

Esutoru Police Station


In 1939


Hakodate Customs Otomari Branch Customs

Hakodate Customs Maoka Branch Customs

Guard Post

"Guard Post" is a government office, which watched out for smuggling at the border to Russia at fifty northern latitude.

Nairo Guard Post

Anbetsu Guard Post

Forest Policy

In 1942

Toyohara forestry office

Otomari forestry office

Rutaka forestry office

Honto forestry office

Maoka forestry office

Tomarioru forestry office

Mototomari forestry office

Esutoru forestry office

Shikuka forestry office

Nogoro forestry office


In 1942

Karafuto-Cho weather station

Otomari meteorological station

Shikuka meteorological station

Esutoru meteorological station

Keton meteorological station

Honto meteorological station

Postal service

By 1945 one hundred and seven post offices were established. Post offices were established and supervised under the jurisdiction of Karafuto-Cho, before it was incorporated into Japan proper.

After the incorporation into Japan proper they were supervised by the Ministry of Communications (Teishinsho).

There were ordinary post offices (futsu yubinkyoku) in Otomari, Toyohara, Maoka and Tomarioru, all the other ones were special post offices (tokutei yubinkyoku).

Medical care

In 1939

Toyohara clinic, Karafuto-Cho

Otomari clinic, Karafuto-Cho

Maoka clinic, Karafuto-Cho

Schools of higher education

Karafuto Igaku Senmon Gakko (Karafuto Vocational School of Medicine)

Karafuto-Cho Karafuto Normal School

Karafuto Seinen (youth) Normal School

Schools of secondary education

Otomari junior high school

Toyohara junior high school

Maoka junior high school

Shikuka junior high school

Shirutoru junior high school

Esutoru junior high school

Otomari girls' high school

Maoka girls' high school

Toyohara girls' high school

Tomarioru girls' high school

Shikuka girls' high school

Shirutoru girls' high school

Esutoru girls' high school

Ochiai girls' high school

Sea Route

As it is an island, ships were used to transport goods and people to and from Hokkaido.
Regular sea routes

Otaru City

-Shikuka Town

Wakkannai City

-Otomari Town (Chihaku Renraku Sen)




As the industries on the island boomed, transport of lumber and coal became a pressing need and therefore railroad lines were laid as below.

Karafuto-Cho Railway (merged into Ministry of Railway in 1943, later came under control of the Ministry of Communications)

Karafuto East Line: Otomari Port Station - Koton Station (414.4km) : Branch line Ochiai Station (Karafuto-Cho) - Sakaehama Station (10.3km) : Freight Line Sakaehama Station - Sakaehama Kaigan (coast) Station (1.8km)

Hoshin Line: Konuma Station - Tei Station (76.2km)

Kawakami Line: Konuma Station - Kawakami coal mine Station (21.9km)

Karafuto West Line: Honto Station - Kushunnai Station (170.1km) : Freight Line Honto Station - Hama Honto Station (1.3km) : Freight Line Maoka Station (Karafuto) - Hama Maoka Station (1.8km)

South Karafuto Railway Line: Shinba Station - Rutaka Station (18.6km)

South Karafuto Coalmine Railway Company Line (Imperial Fuel Industrial Enterprise Company Naihoro line) : Honto Station - Naihoro coal mine Station (16.4km)

Imperial Fuel Industrial Enterprise Company Naibuchi Line: Otani Station (Karafuto) - Naibuchi Station (23.2km)

For details, see: Karafuto Railway.


According to Karafuto-Cho Notification of 1932, roads of the Karafuto Agency were as below.

Otomari border route

Honto - Anbetsu route

Toyohara - Maoka route

Toyohara - Rutaka route

Karamatsu - Minakishi route

Otomari - Nakashiretoko-Misaki route

Otomari - Tonai route

Shinba - Nishinotoro-Misaki route

Rutaka - Rantomari route

Honto - Nishinotoro-Misaki route

Sakaehama - Nakashiretoko-Misaki route

Sakaehama - Yamanaka route

Manui - Kushunnai route

Shisuka - Nairo route

Shisuka - Kamishisuka route

Shisuka - Kitashiretoko-Misaki route

Ennai - Kitashiretoko-Misaki route

Otoyo - Tobushi route

Ozato - Obara route

Nairo - Esutoru route

Esutoru - Raichishi route

Ochiai - Noda route

Tarannai - Taihojoryu route

Temples and Shrines

In Buddhism there are many various sects, the Jodo Shinshu sect (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism) had with 48 the most temples, followed by the Sotoshu sect with 20 temples.

In the south part of Sakhalin there were more than 250 religious institutions in 1945 (Buddhist temples 150, [Shinto] Shrines 50, Tenrikyo churches 50, Catholic churches 4, Protestant churches 5).

153 religious institutions were left in the province as of January 1, 1947.

Japanese religious institutions were 13 Buddhist temples and 2 Catholic churches as of January 1, 1948.


Karafuto-jinja Shrine

Toyohara-jinja Shrine

Ochiai-jinja Shrine

Karafuto Gokoku-jinja Shrine

Aniwa-jinja Shrine

Maoka-jinja Shrine

Esutoru-jinja Shrine

Shirutoru-jinja Shrine

Shikuka-jinja Shrine

Radio broadcasting

Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) Toyohara Broadcasting Station


In 1939

Karafuto Shinbun-sha (affiliated with Yomiuri Newspaper) existed as a local paper.

Karafuto Nichinichi Shinbun

Karafuto Mainichi Shinbun

Okita/Taihoku (大北) Shinpo

Karafuto Jiji Shinbun

Maoka Mainichi Shinbun

Karafuto Shinpo

Karafuto Nippo

Karafuto Saikai Shinpo

Esutoru Mainichi Shinbun

Toka Nichinichi Shinbun

Karafuto Shikuka Jiho

Yukan Karafuto


Bank of Japan Toyohara Office

Karafuto Bank

Formerly Karafuto Finance Co., changed its trade name in 1916. It had a similar disposition like a local bank of today. The head office was in Otomari, a branch was in Maoka with two shops.

Hokkaido Takushoku Bank

Head office in Sapporo City. Branches in Toyohara, Esutoru, Otomari, Ochiai, Shikuka, Shirutoru, Tomarioru, Noda, Honto, Maoka, Rutaka.

Hokumon Chochiku bank

Savings bank. Head office only in Toyohara.

Karafuto Shoken

The only stock company with its head office in Karafuto.


Kawakami coal mine

Shiraura coal mine

Mita coal mine

Naihoro coal mine

Chinnai coal mine

Otasu coal mine

Minami Chinnai coal mine

Anbetsu coal mine

Konan coal mine

Hokuei coal mine

Toyohata coal mine

Ohira coal mine

Kamitoro coal mine

Toro coal mine

Esutoru coal mine

Shirutoru coal mine

Kashiho coal mine

Tomarikeshi coal mine

Uchikawa coal mine

Nairo coal mine


Fureppu Torippu by Hakushu KITAHAEA

Karafuto e no Tabi (Trip to Karafuto) by Fumiko HAYASHI

Oroshiyakoku Suimutan (Dream of Russia) by Yasushi INOUE

Kaikyo (Strait) by Kotaro SAMUKAWA

Hyosetsu no Mon (Snowgate) by Toshio KANEKO

Tenpoku Genya (North Plain) by Ayako MIURA

Famous people from Karafuto

Kotaro SAMUKAWA (Novelist, Akutagawa Prize)

Kaisei RI (Novelist, Gunzo Prize for New Writers, Akutagawa Prize)

Kenjo TSUNABACHI (Novelist, Naoki Prize)

Kazuo SHIBUI (Artist, Nika Art Exhibition Incentive Award)

Koki TAIHO (Sumo wrestler, forty-eighth Yokozuna, special sumo coaching stock awarded to retired grand champion)

Ryu OTA (Pollitical activist, editor-in-chief of 'Shukan Nihon Shinbun')

Mitsuo SENDA (Comedian)

Genzo WAKAYAMA (Voice actor)

Takashi NAGASE (Critic)

Setsuo FUKUTOMI (Anti-war activist)

Toshio KANEKO (Journalist)

Tatsuya HORI (Fifth governor of Hokkaido)

Dahinien Gendanu (Daxinnieni Geldanu, Uilta [Orok] man)

Migrants to Karafuto, residents


[Original Japanese]