1932 Showa 7 Japanese 'World Adventure' World Map and Game

世界漫遊スコロク / World Adventure. - Main View

1932 Showa 7 Japanese 'World Adventure' World Map and Game


Japan explores the world!


世界漫遊スコロク / World Adventure.
  1932 (dated)     21 x 30.5 in (53.34 x 77.47 cm)


A rare 1932 Showa 7 Japanese manga world map and sugoroku game board. Centered on Japan (and mount Fuji) the map covers the entire world. Manga vignettes illustrate Japanese people exploring the world and interacting with people and places throughout. The vignettes address stereotypes, but are generally inoffensive, focusing instead on flora, fauna, sports, and industry. Dirigibles are prominent throughout - highlighting the popularity of this form of air-transportation before the 1937 Hindenburg disaster. Nonetheless, despite the game board's superficial playfulness, there is an undertone of war. An American aircraft carrier and battleship sits ready off the coast of San Diego and the Hawaiian islands are presented as an American fort with big cannons pointing towards Japan - which is deceptively close.
Japan Finds a Place on the Global Stage
This map illustrates Japan's emergence from an insular feudal nation to a rising power on the world's social, military, and economic stage. The arrival of Commodore Perry and forced opening of Japan in 1853 transformed Japan's vision of itself, breaking the illusion that it was the sole repository of civilization, and underscoring the truth that it was indeed well behind western powers. What followed was the Meiji Restoration, a major reorganization of government, a reassertion of imperial power, and a drive towards aggressive industrial and social modernization. Japan's victory over Imperial Russia in the Russo-Japanese War (1904 - 1905) marked the first major victory in war by an Asian power over a European Power, an achievement that established Japan as a modern global power.
The essence of the game, generally known as simplified sugoroku, is akin to the western board game, snakes and ladders. Historically there are two variants of sugoroku, one that is similar to backgammon, and the presently offered 'snakes and ladders' variant. This version of the game appeared as early as the 13th century, and was popularized by the rise of printing technology, especially in the Edo and Meiji periods, leading to the production of high-quality visually-arresting gameboards. A standard sugoroku board has a starting point, the furi-dashi, and a winding or spiral path terminating at the agari or finish-line. The gameplay itself, not unlike 'snakes and ladders,' is a race to the finish.
Publication History and Census
This map was published in Tokyo by the Shengjin News Agency in 1932 or Showa 7 as a New Year's supplement. The map is rare, with no institutional holdings outside of Japan and no market history.


Good. Laid down on archival tissue. Verso repairs. Repair to left margin. Slight loss at original fold intersections.