Variations from the Northern Sea was commissioned by the Ominato Band of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. It received its premier performance in Japan on June 10, 1991, under the direction of Akio Shimizu. The second presentation was conducted by the composer with his alma mater, the Hamamatsu Kita High School Band. It is based on the Japanese old folk song "Soran--bushi" sung in Hokkaido, northern island of Japan. Many Japanese composers are inspired by this song because it is so well known.