The Sea of Okhotsk, separated from the Pacific by the Kurile Archipelago and from the Sea of Japan by the islands of Sakhalin and Yezo, is notorious as one of the worst seas of the world, owing to its dense fogs and its masses of floating ice.
HAKODATE, a town on the south of the island of Yezo, Japan, for many years regarded as the capital of the island until Sapporo was officially raised to that rank.
The town is not situated so as to profit largely by the development of the resources of Yezo, and as a port of foreign trade its outlook is indifferent.
There are six large islands, namely Sakhalin (called by the Japanese Karafuto); Yezo or Ezo (which with the Kuriles is designated Hokkaido, or the north-sea district); Nippon (the origin of the sun), which is the main island; Shikoku (the four provinces), which lies on the east of Nippon; KiUshi or Kyushu (the nine provinces), which lies on the south of Nippon, and Formosa, which forms the most southerly link of the chain.
Yezo I 1,423.32 30,148.41
Isles adjacent to Yezo - - - - 13 110.24 30.51
Yezo is not rich in anchorages.
Tarumai (Yezo) 2969.
Noboribetsu (Yezo) In a state of continuous activity, with 1148.
Komagatake (Yezo) The ancient crater-wall, with a lofty 3822.
In North Hondo the great Bandai arc forms the axis of the island and stretches into Yezo (HokkaidO).
Finally in the east of Yezo rise the most westerly volcanoes of the Kurile chain.
In the northern half of the main island, in Yezo and in the Kuriles, the cold is severe during the winter, which lasts for at least four months, and snow falls sometimes to great depths.
Whereas in Tokyo the number of frosty nights during a year does not average much over 60, the corresponding number in Sapporo on the north-west of Yezo is 145.
Sapporo (Yezo) 44
A comparison of the force habitually developed by the wind in various parts of the islands shows that at Suttsu in Yezo the average strength is 9 metres per second, while Izuhara in the island Tsu-shima, Kumamoto in KiOshi and Gifu in the east centre of the main island stand at the bottom of the list with an average wind velocity of only 2 metres.
In the main island the black bear (kuma, Ursusjaponicus) alone has its habitation, but the island of Yezo has the great brown bear (called shi-guma, oki-kuma or aka-kuma), the grisly of North America.
Those in the neighbourhood of Semipalatinsk may be instanced in the first case and those in the island of Yezo in the second.
KURILES (Jap. Chishima, " thousand islands"), a chain of small islands belonging to Japan, stretching in a north-easterly direction from Nemuro Bay, on the extreme east of the island of Yezo, to Chishima-kaikyo (Kuriles Strait), which separates them from the southernmost point of Kamchatka.
By some authorities Ainu colonists are supposed to have been the first settlers, and to have arrived there via Yezo; by others, the earliest corners are believed to have been a hyperborean tribe travelling southwards by way of Kamchatka.
He returned on the eve of the abolition of the Shogunate, and followed Enomoto (q.v.) when the latter, sailing with the Tokugawa fleet to Yezo, attempted to establish a republic there in defiance of the newly organized government of the emperor.
Sakhalin is separated from the mainland by the narrow and shallow Strait of Tartary or Mamiya Strait, which often freezes in winter in its narrower part, and from Yezo (Japan) by the Strait of La Perouse.