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Hokkaido (formerly Yezo) Most northerly and second largest of the main islands of Japan, bounded w by the Sea of Japan and e by the Pacific Ocean; the capital is Sapporo. Until the late 19th century, it was the homeland of the Ainu aboriginals. It is mountainous and forested, with some active volcanoes. Linked to Honshu by the Seikan Tunnel, Hokkaido is Japan's chief farming region and coal-producer, and a winter sports resort. Area: 83,451sq km (32,212sq mi). Pop. (2000) 5,683,000.