1895 Miyako Shinbun Map of Taiwan, First Sino-Japanese War

台灣諸島全圖 / [Complete Map of the Islands of Taiwan]. - Main View

1895 Miyako Shinbun Map of Taiwan, First Sino-Japanese War


News of colonial conquest, distributed to the masses.


台灣諸島全圖 / [Complete Map of the Islands of Taiwan].
  1895 (dated)     18.5 x 12.5 in (46.99 x 31.75 cm)     1 : 1000000


This is an important early Japanese map of Taiwan or Formosa drawn in August 1895, shortly after the island was seized following the First Sino-Japanese War (1894 - 1895). It was published as an appendix to Miyako Shinbun (都新聞, or Capital News) and shows the basic geography, infrastructure, and administrative divisions of Taiwan, along with nearby islands and portions of the Fujian coast.
Surveying the Empire
After occupying Taiwan, the Japanese government dispatched surveyors to properly assess and map their new territory. The maps that immediately followed these surveys were a cartographic attempt to assimilate Taiwan into the expanding Japanese Empire. They also reflect the extreme popular interest in Taiwan among Japanese citizens. Despite large print runs often associated with major Japanese news publishers few of this initial wave of Japanese Taiwan maps survive today and are, as a class, quite rare.
Looking Closely at the Map
The present map covers the entirety of Taiwan as well as the nearby Pescadores (Penghu Islands) and Fujian Coast (China). An extensive legend lists communications and transportation lines (including extant rail lines, those under construction, and future lines that have been surveyed), maritime and geographic features, administrative information, and military garrisons and fortifications.

At several points on the map, the elevation is given in feet, suggesting these numbers were borrowed from an English source. For instance, Yushan (玉山) or Mt. Morrison (モリソン山), a bit south of the center of the island, is listed as 12,850 feet. However, the scales at bottom-right are in Japanese ri and kilometers.

An inset at bottom-left shows shipping routes between Nagasaki, Shimonoseki, Tsushima, Pusan, Incheon, and Shanghai to various points in Korea and China, though not Taiwan.
Taiwan at the Peripheries of Empires
Due to its strategic location and proximity to the Chinese mainland, Taiwan has been eyed by foreign powers for the past four centuries. The island's early indigenous inhabitants had minimal interaction with Chinese culture until the Ming, when larger numbers of traders, fishermen, settlers, and pirates operated on or along the coast facing Fujian. Europeans also appeared in the early seventeenth century, with both the Dutch and Spanish building forts. However, the main powers in the Taiwan Straits were prominent families of traders and officials from Fujian, especially the Zheng family, who controlled trade routes in the Straits stretching as far as Japan and Southeast Asia.

By the Ming's collapse in 1644, the Zhengs had evolved their operation into a quasi-state (the Zheng Ministry 鄭部), led by the dynamic but reckless Zheng Chenggong (鄭成功 1624 – 1662, known in European sources as Koxinga or Coxinga). Zheng captured the Dutch Fort Zeelandia, refused to acknowledge the Qing, and launched an attack on Nanjing, but was driven back to Taiwan, which the Qing eventually captured in 1683. Unsure of what to do with the island, the Qing evacuated most of the Chinese population and ruled it at arm's length, but Chinese migration increased throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and officials in Beijing viewed it as an annoyance and a sort of lawless frontier. By the First Sino-Japanese War, settlers from the Chinese mainland who lived on the west side of the island far outnumbered the aboriginal population to the east. Although a border (marked here as 蕃地境界線) had been established to separate the two communities (mainly to protect aborigines from attack and exploitation by Chinese settlers and to prevent Chinese settlers from fleeing to aboriginal areas to shirk their taxes), the boundaries between them were fluid.
Japan's Growing Clout in East Asia
The background to Japan's occupation of Taiwan can be dated to the Meiji Restoration (1868). Recognizing that one of the common elements among all foreign powers was colonies, the leaders of the Meiji Restoration set their eyes on building both an informal and formal empire in East Asia. As a distant and often-ignored vassal state of the Qing, the Ryukyu Kingdom was an obvious place to begin imperial expansion. Taiwan was likewise an enticing option. Though a part of the Qing empire, the Japanese rightly determined that the Qing were not especially interested in the island. By the time the Qing court recognized the problems that foreign rule of Taiwan would cause, it was already too late.

Following the Opium Wars, and especially after the Japanese established a de facto protectorate over the Ryukyu Islands in 1872 and launched a military expedition to Taiwan in 1874, the Qing realized the vulnerabilities that would be created if Taiwan were captured by foreign powers (the French also tried to invade Taiwan in 1884). They established more direct administration of the island, eventually making it a province in 1887, and appointed a modernizer, Liu Mingchuan (劉銘傳), as governor. Liu oversaw the construction of a schools, fortifications, and a railway, completed in 1893, seen here connecting Keelung (基隆), Taipei (臺北), and Hsinchu (新竹). It was planned to continue to Taiwan-fu (臺灣府 that is, Taichung) and Tainan, but work was not completed before Liu had to leave Taiwan for health reasons.
Japan's Occupation of Taiwan
Japanese forces invaded Taiwan in May 1895, after it was ceded by the Treaty of Shimonoseki (April 17, 1895) at the end of the First Sino-Japanese War (1894 - 1895). The occupation of Taiwan fit into Imperial Japan's Nanshin-ron (南進論) or Southern Expansion Doctrine, which argued that Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines were essential to Japan's economic survival and territorial growth. Katsura Taro (1747 - 1913), a Yamaguchi Samurai, wrote of Taiwan's significance, 'It is not only the most ideal location for expanding power to southern China, but also the islands in Southeast Asia.' Although there were some indigenous attempts at resistance and self-governance, including the founding of the 'Republic of Formosa,' arguably Asia's first republic, the Japanese were quickly able to suppress organized opposition, though guerilla warfare would continue for several years. In less than six months, Japanese forces achieved, with the arguable exception of the tribal central highlands, full control of the island. Taiwan was Japan's first major extraterritorial holding, and Imperial Japan worked diligently to transform it into showpiece 'model colony.' Japan lavished resources on the island's economy, including public works and industrial development, while also pursuing cultural Japanization.
Publication History and Census
This map was published on August 23, 1895 (Meiji 28) as a supplement to the Miyako Shinbun (都新聞), the predecessor to the Tokyo Shimbun. The publisher and editor is listed as Inoue Yonejirō (井上米次郎) and the printer is listed as Nomoto Ryōjirō (野本良次郎), both of whom appear to have been employees of the newspaper. The Tokyo Tsukiji Letterpress Printing Co. (株式會社東京築地活版製造所) is credited for the lithograph. The only known institutional holding of this map is with the National Museum of Taiwan History and it is very scarce to the market. A map with the same title was published the same year with Moriyoshi Yamayoshi (山吉盛義) as compiler and Inoma Shūzaburō (猪間收三郎) as publisher, but it is unclear if any relationship existed between the two (many maps of Taiwan were published in 1895, so their sharing a title may just be a coincidence).


Tokyo Shimbun (東京新聞 / Tōkyō Shinbun / Tokyo Newspaper) (1888 - present) is a Japanese newspaper published by the Chunichi Shimbun Company.  The Tokyo Shimbun was founded in Nagoya, Japan in 1888. As the paper grew it absorbed smaller news publications, including the Capital News, among others. Eventually, in 1942, it merged with the Miyako Shumbun, another Nagoya-based newspaper. The Tokyo Shimbun remains in publication to this day. More by this mapmaker...

Tokyo Tsukiji Letterpress Printing Co. (株式會社東京築地活版製造所; fl. c. 1890 - 1936) was a printshop that spanned the Meiji to early Showa periods. A 2006 book focused on the importance of the company for the history of letterpress printing in Japan (Historical Development of Letterpress Printing: The Role Played by the Tokyo Tsukiji Letterpress Printing Co. 活版印刷発達史 : 東京築地活版製造所の果たした役割). Learn More...


Good. Wear and some loss along the fold line. Wear along edges.