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  • Writer's picturePhillip Radcliffe

The History of Chitose City

(Japanese translation below)

By Zen Maruyama

Chitose is located in the southeastern part of Hokkaido. Chitose has been an important transportation route connecting the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan. The Chitose area has been called "Shikotsu" in the Ainu language since the 1600s.

However, because people didn’t like the sound, the name was changed to Chitose in 1805. The name was changed to Chitose after the saying, "cranes live for a thousand years, turtles live for ten thousand years" because of the many cranes in Chitose at that time.

In 1926, the Hokkaido railroad opened a new station in Chitose. The Hokkaido Shimbun (Hokkaido Newspaper) used this railroad for salmon hatching events. When they returned from the events, they promised to fly the plane they had just purchased over Chitose, but many people said that if they're going to fly in, please land and show us the plane up close. Those kinds of comments led to the creation of the landing site. The landing field was built by a total of 150 village residents over a two-day span and was the beginning of the Chitose Airfield. 

Later, the population increased due to the opening of the naval air force base, and in 1942 (Showa 17), Chitose Village was upgraded to Chitose City. After the Second World War, civil aviation resumed at Chitose Airfield, which had been used by the U.S. military. A garrison and base of the Ground Self-Defense Force and Air Self-Defense Force was established in 1954 and 1957, respectively, supporting the development of Chitose after it became Chitose City in 1958.


丸山 禅





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