In the austral summer of 1911-1912, Lieutenant Shirase organized the first Japanese Antarctic Expedition and explored the eastern part of Ross Ice Shelf and a part of Edward VII Peninsula. After that, only a few bibliographical studies were conducted by some scholars and people who are interested in polar expeditions. Japan resumed its Antarctic activity on the occasion of the International Geophysical Year in 1957-1958. Since then, multi-disciplinary scientific investigations have been continued within the framework of international cooperation. The progress of the earth science research in the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition can be devided chronologically into four stages. In the first stage from 1957 to 1968, the research in earth science provided fundamental knowledge on the environment of the vast region around the Japanese Scientific Station ‘Syowa’ in Liitzow-Holm Bay, East Antarctica, through extensive studies conducted by oversnow traverses and field surveys in ice-free areas. General geology and geomorphology of the eastern Lutzow-Holm Bay area and the inland Yamato Mountains, surface features of the ice sheet from Syowa to South Pole, and some ice thickness profiles by seismic shooting gradually came to our knowledge through this stage. During the second stage in 1969-1975, the research programme became rather intensive, based on a systematic planning. The main research project was the Glaciological Research Programme in Mizuho Plateau. Glaciological oversnow traverses were carried out for the studies of mass budget in a local drainage basin of the ice sheet and the ice sheet dynamics. The drilling of the ice sheet was also conducted at the inland Mizuho Station. In addition, geological, geomorphological and geochemical studies were also made on a smaller scale. The finding of the “Yamato Meteorites” was one of the main results. In the third stage in 1976/1978, the main programme of the expedition was the upper atmosphere physics during the International Magnetospheric Studies. Therefore, earth science studies were done on a smaller scale, as a sort of supplementary investigation. In 1979, research activities entered into the fourth stage. The glaciology programme were combined together for the study of interaction in heat and mass transfer among the ice sheet, the atmosphere, and the surrounding ocean, in the international POLEX SOUTH programme. The earth science programmes, as one of the two major projects in this period, cover the integrated investigation of geology, solid earth geophysics, and marine geology and geomorphology. On the other hand, the research in South Victoria Land has been continued by Japanese parties since 1963/1964, with logistic support by the United States and New Zealand. The geochemistry had been the main research field, culminated in the international Dry Valley Drilling Project from 1973 to 1975. From 1976/1977 to 1978/1979 austral summer, a search for Antarctic meteorites became the main theme as the U.S.-Japan joint project, which terminated in successful results.
The Satsumon culture was in existence in Hokkaido from 9th to 13th century A.D. as a Pre-Ainu culture of Hokkaido. The Satsumon culture succeeded the Post-Jomon culture. The Satsumon culture was formed on the basic cultural elements of the Post-Jomon culture. Some cultural elements from Japanese culture of that time were added to them. The basic cultural elements of the Post-Jomon culture had their roots in late or the latest Jomon culture in northern Japan. So, the Satsumon culture can be regarded as one of the direct descendants of the late or the latest Jomon culture in the northern Japan. About two thousands years ago, rice cultivation began in Japan. At first, rice cultivation was practised in southwestern Japan and it gradually expanded to the east. Finally, it reached the southern Tohoku district, but it could not penetrate into northern Tohoku and Hokkaido. In the northern Tohoku and Hokkaido, people lived on fishing, gathering and hunting as was the case in the previous Jomon period. After the introduction of rice cultivation, the livelihood of people in Japan was separated into two different ways. In most parts of Japan, in southern Japan, people depended on rice cultivation and in the northern extremity of Japan, people lived on fishing, gathering and hunting.