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1882 Hirano Denkichi Map of Tokyo

名所繪入東亰區分全圖 / [Complete Map of Tokyo Districts, with Drawings of Famous Places]. - Main View

1882 Hirano Denkichi Map of Tokyo


Technicolor Tokyo.


名所繪入東亰區分全圖 / [Complete Map of Tokyo Districts, with Drawings of Famous Places].
  1882 (dated)     14.75 x 20 in (37.465 x 50.8 cm)     1 : 23000


This is a vibrant 1882 Hirano Denkichi tourist map of Tokyo, depicting the city divided into its various wards and counties, providing detailed information on the constituent parts of each. It was made in the wake of the Meiji Restoration, as Japan, with Tokyo as its imperial capital, was undergoing a rapid process of modernization and industrialization.
A Closer Look
This map is oriented towards the west with the Imperial Palace (皇居) at center. A legend at left indicates the color-coding on the map, with government-held land (including property of the imperial household) shaded dark pink, and land belonging to Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines as yellow. Common for East Asian maps of the era, the compass towards bottom-left uses both cardinal directions and the system composed of the twelve Earthly Branches derived from ancient Chinese astrology.

The boxes at bottom-left meticulously list the names of the 15 wards (區) and 6 counties (郡) of Tokyo, the names of Ward Mayors, the names of individual neighborhoods in each ward, and the neighborhoods and villages of each county. Each ward is shaded a different color to help distinguish them, while the adjacent counties (mostly beyond the scope of the map) are shaded blue.

Vignette illustrations surrounding the map include Nihonbashi (日本橋) at left, just above the list of neighborhoods, three sites in Asakusa at top-right, the Honzan Higashi Honganji Temple (東本願寺), Sensō-ji (金龍山浅草寺), and the Shin-Yoshiwara neighborhood (新吉原, where Edo's infamous red-light district was relocated in the 1650s), and the Tokyo Prefecture (東京府) and the Ministry of Finance (大藏省) buildings at bottom-right.
A Tourist's Itinerary
Along with the map's title, the supplementary four-day itinerary (附四日めぐり獨案内) suggest that it was intended for tourists and visitors to the capital. The itinerary dates from May 1881 (Meiji 14), made for the first edition of the map (see 'Publication History and Census' below). Despite the title, the itinerary is not arranged chronologically, but instead suggests the best sites to see in different neighborhoods of Tokyo. Notably, the kanji (Chinese characters) are accompanied by easier-to-read kana, indicating the intended audience, less educated and therefore less literate with kanji.
Meiji Era Tokyo
With the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the Tokugawa Shogunate was displaced from Edo and the Emperor Meiji moved the imperial capital from Kyoto to Edo (renamed Tokyo, 'eastern capital'). The Meiji era was a period of tremendous change in Japan, particularly in cities, and in Tokyo more than any other. New ideas, technologies, and fashions from abroad were sought out and adopted with rapidity, and in the process were localized to suit Japanese tastes.

Building on the foundations of Tokugawa Edo, Meiji-era Tokyo intermingled traditional architecture with styles reminiscent of Victorian London. Even the layout of the city was hybrid; here we can see Nihonbashi (日本橋) and Kyobashi (京橋), historically the most densely populated areas of Edo, as well as recent additions like Shimbashi Station, Tokyo's first railway station at bottom-left (between the Railway Ministry 鐵道寮 and Ministry of Industry 工部省), and the industrialization of Fukagawa (深川) and Honjo (本所) Wards at bottom. Much of Tokyo as it exists here would be destroyed in the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake.
A Bristling Imperial Capital
Tokyo and several other Japanese cities went through a dizzying period of administrative reforms during the Meiji era, due to the pace of their growth as well as changing bureaucratic practices and conceptions of governance. Initially, elements of the Tokugawa system of wards were maintained to appease elites who feared more rapid reforms. Then, in 1871 – 1872, Tokyo Prefecture was expanded and a system of 'large and small wards' (大區小區制) was put into place. Further adjustments were made in the following years and a wholesale reorganization was launched in 1888 – 1889, when many of the wards shown here ceased to exist.
The Height of Meiji Cartographic Art
Stylistically, this map represents the height of the Meiji-era (1868 - 1912) cartographic tradition - wherein western style cartographic standards, lithographic printing, and imported inks, were combined with Ukiyo-e color traditions and aesthetic values. This map falls in a cartographic lineage that begins with the Meiji Restoration and continued through about 1895. Here, the boldly bright palette likely associates this map with aka-e (赤絵; 'red pictures'), illustrations in vivid color achieved through imported German-made inks. Such maps began to fall out of fashion near the turn of the century, when they were supplanted by more reserved printed color.
Publication History and Census
This map was edited and published on March 15, 1882 (Meiji 15), by Hirano Denkichi (平野傳吉), who refers to himself as a commoner (平民), showing the persistence of social ranks even after their 1871 formal abolishment. There are two editions of this map from 1881, a second edition from (May) 1882, and an August 1883 edition. Two editions from 1884 are attributed to Ōkawa Jōkichi (大川錠吉), another publisher in Tokyo, suggesting that Hirano sold the rights. The present map also bears resemblance to an 1880 Kimata Isaburō map (tokyo-kimata-1880). All editions are quite rare, held by only one or two institutions in Japan. The only known institutional holdings of the present edition are with the National Diet Library and the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.


Hirano Denkichi (平野傳吉; fl. c. 1879 - 1886), also written 平野伝吉, was a Tokyo-based Japanese publisher of maps and books. In addition to maps of Tokyo, he produced a large national map of Japan (大日本道中細見) and a bird's eye view of Yokohama (横須賀明細一覧圖), among others. Briefly very active, his fortunes took a turn for the worse when he began publishing occult and apocalyptic books, which were banned by the authorities. More by this mapmaker...


Very good. Fold lines visible. Some imperfections in the margins.


Rumsey Eb50. OCLC 676327003.