Russian Hokkaido

Any POD is fine. How can Imperial Russia be made to have ownership over the entirety of Hokkaido, either through settlement or some form of conquest?
 
Prehapse have the Europeans partition the an isolationist japan and colonize the outer japinese home islands while only the main one stays independent, with russia picking up the northern most island thierby getting Hokkaido. There are a crazy amount of Europeans that you could get for the southern japinese islands depending on pod with the Porchugese, Dutch, spanish, French or british being the most likly along with some odd picks which might include italy, Germany or the USA
 
I don’t see how this could be done short of the early major changes in the Russian foreign policy, economy, demography, etc. In OTL even claim to the whole Sakhalin was not backed up by an adequate number of the settlers (including prisoners) and Southern Sakhalin remained almost empty. Not that there were any serious trade interests on the Pacific except those related to China and even those were predominantly inland.

So you would need an early (somewhere in the late XVIII a or even earlier) reorientation of the Russian policy from the West to the East, promotion of the mass migration from the European Russia to the Western and then Eastern Siberia (keep in mind that until the early XIX population of the empire was quite small) with all backing infrastructure (definitely, reasonably good roads), much earlier readjustment of the Russian-Chinese border to allow navigation on Amur River, development of the Russian Pacific coast, building a meaningful fleet and merchant marine on the Pacific coast ...

and then figuring out why on the Earth Russia need Hokkaido. 😜
 
Similarly to what alexmilman said, this scenario requires Russia to have a much stronger powerbase in the Far East earlier, which necessitates an earlier expansion into Siberia. If they played their cards right, they could have conquered the Kazan Khanate in 1830 and then moved against the Siberian Khanate earlier, allowing them to reach the Far East a few decades ahead of schedule. I found a detailed analysis of the situation here; basically, if Russia is able to vassalize the tribes living around the Amur River before the Qing get a chance (which they did in the 1640s IOTL), it would be viewed as a fait accompli rather than an encroachment on rightful Qing subjects. This would significantly avert the need for wars of expansion in which China holds an advantage due to their closer powerbase. Once Russia has settled northern Manchuria and constructed a Pacific port, it would be well-positioned to conquer the rest of the region and in turn expand onto Hokkaido. Since both Manchuria and Hokkaido were thinly populated at this time, their native inhabitants would be assimilated by the rising settler population with little difficulty. I'm just summarizing what the other person said, but their response is definitely worth reading.

As for the long-term consequences of this change, it would be an obvious handicap for Japan. With Manchuria integrated into Russia, the region would hardly resemble the battleground for influence it became IOTL. Russian control of Hokkaido would result in a filtration of Russian influence and culture into Japan proper, which would have interesting consequences if they still chose to pursue sakoku. I don't think you would see an expansionist Japanese Empire, but rather a much stronger Russian presence competing for dominance in the Pacific instead.
 
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