University News | March 15, 2023
The annual Sapporo Snow Festival took place after a three-year gap due to COVID-19. Many snow sculptures were available for public view on February 4-11 2023. Hokkaido University participated in the making of one of the giant sculptures, in partnership with Sapporo Television Broadcasting (STV).
Realized under the supervision of Professor Yoshitsugu Kobayashi (The Hokkaido University Museum), the sculpture represents the extremely famous Tyrannosaurus rex and a newly discovered Kamuysaurus japonicus, whose name comes from the word “kamuy”, meaning “deity” in Ainu language. It is the latter that represents a true breakthrough in the field of paleontology for Hokkaido, a dinosaur that is thought to have lived in the region 72 million years ago, contemporary to the T-Rex.
Kamuysaurus japonicus is believed to have measured around 8 meters in length. Its fossils have been excavated in Mukawa Town, Hokkaido and to this date are the largest bone fossils ever found in Japan. The lead paleontologist in the excavation is Kobayashi. Together with his team he excavated the fossils in 2013, realizing that they had found a new species closely related to the Kerberosaurus found in Russia and the Laiyangosaurus of China. Located in STV Square in Odori Park 4-Chome venue, this breathtaking life-sized dinosaurs sculpture impressed the visitors.
Next to the snow sculpture we found a pop-up shop of Hokkaido University that sold many dinosaur-related original goods and other Hokkaido University official merchandise, including Shorthorn cattle products from Hokkaido. Across of the Hokkaido University pop-up shop was the Mukawa Town Dinosaur World Museum’s booth, where a full size replica of a Kamuysaurus’ femur was displayed.
In addition to the wonderful sights in Odori Park, we must not forget the incredible venue of Susukino, with the “Susukino Ice World”, where a great collection of ice sculptures could be admired for the entire Snow Festival week. From ancient mythological creatures to modern logos and mascots, more than 100 ice sculptures were submitted in an ice-sculpting competition, crowning three best designs.
It is true that Sapporo Snow Festival has always been considered one of the biggest snow festivals in the world, so even though this year was a relatively low key event, the sculptures were as beautiful and glorious as the previous years.
Written by Alessandra Mazza, student intern.