Western Hemisphere / North and South America.
June 15, 1879 / Meiji 12 (dated) 22 x 19 in (55.88 x 48.26 cm)
This is a rare Japanese folding map of the Western Hemisphere dated June 15, 1879 or Meiji 12. Depicts North America and South America on a hemispherical projection. Shows parts of Antarctica, New Zealand, Greenland, and Siberia. Most of the individual U.S. States and territories are labeled and color coded based upon a configuration prevalent in 1860. Shows a large Nebraska territory extending north as far as Canada. Colorado is present and Oregon and Washington extend eastward as far as the Rocky Mountains. Shows the Rocky Mountain range, the Andes, and other mountain ranges with green color. Notes Hawaii. An inset of the New England states appears in the upper left quadrant. Folds into its original yellow boards. It is extremely rare to find a Japanese map of America from this period. This is the only example we have found.
Japanese cartography appears as early as the 1600s. Japanese maps are known for their exceptional beauty and high quality of workmanship. Early Japanese cartography has its own very distinctive projection and layout system. Japanese maps made prior to the appearance of Commodore Perry and the opening of Japan in the mid to late 1850s often have no firm directional orientation, incorporate views into the map proper, and tend to be hand colored woodblock prints. This era, from the 1600s to the c. 1855, which roughly coincides with the Tokugawa or Edo Period (1603-1886), some consider the Golden Age of Japanese Cartography. Most maps from this period, which followed isolationist ideology, predictably focus on Japan. The greatest cartographer of the period, whose work redefined all subsequent cartography, was Ino Tadataka (1745 -1818). Ino's maps of Japan were so detailed that, when the European cartographers arrived they had no need, even with their far more sophisticated survey equipment, to remap the region. Later Japanese maps, produced in the late Edo and throughout the Meiji period, draw heavily upon western maps as models in both their content and overall cartographic style. While many of these later maps maintain elements of traditional Japanese cartography such as the use of rice paper, woodblock printing, and delicate hand color, they also incorporate western directional orientation, projection systems, and structural norms. Even so, Japan's isolationist policy kept most western maps from reaching Japan so even 19th century maps appear extremely out of date. The early Japanese maps copy the great 1602 Chinese world map of the friar Matto Ricci. After Shiba Kokan's 1792 map, most Japanese cartographers used Covens and Mortier's 1730 copy of Jaillot's 1689 double hemisphere work as their base world-view. In 1862 Seiyo Sato based a new world map on Dutch sources dating to 1857, thus introducing the Mercator projection to Japan. By the late Meiji Era, western maps became far more common in Asia and Japanese maps began to follow modern conventions.
Very good condition. Original fold lines. Minor discoloration in the lower left quadrant. Attached to original yellow paper boards.