A remarkable 1937 Osaka Mainichi Shimbun
large-format Japanese anti-Soviet propaganda pictorial map of East Asia. Centered on China, this stunning map depicts from Central Asia and India to Japan, and from Siberia to Vietnam. The map employs text, color coding, and cartoon imagery to illustrate the confusing political, military, and economic environment in East Asia at this time, expressing the dangers of Soviet expansionism, and suggesting a Japanese military buildup to counter it.
Using Color to Express the Map's Message
There is so much going on here it is hard to know where to start, but we will begin with the color coding and general message of the map. The three main players are Russia or the Soviet Union (Red), Japan (Yellow), and China (Purple). Lighter red zones are those areas under Communist / Soviet influence, including Mongolia and Qinghai. Regions under Japanese influence, such as Manchuria, are lighter yellow. China (Purple) is the region of contention, with areas Chinese control, such as the five northern Chinese provinces, in light blue. British India and Burma appear in Dark Yellow, while areas of China under British influence, including Tibet, are shaded Peach.
Representing the Chinese Civil War and a Potential Russian Invasion
Notations within China highlight the Chinese Civil War (1927 - 1950) between the Kuomintang government forces (represented as blue soldiers) and the Communist forces (represented as little red soldiers within China). Note how the Communist forces occupy the Chinese heartland while the blue Kuomintang forces are concentrated on the borders to counter Russian advances. Russian forces, meanwhile, gather on the borders of Manchuria, where Japanese forces, in lesser numbers, maintain a tenuous line of defense. Red lines outline the Soviet strategy for northern China and Manchuria, which involves a horseshoe form, with land forces entering northern China via Mongolia, other armies bottling up the Japanese in Manchuria, and a potential air attack against the Japanese mainland via the Russian base of Vladivostok.
A Region Rich in Natural Resources
The map further makes some effort to illustrate the wealth of resources throughout the region via a series of pictorial vignettes illustrating everything from oil rigs, to coal mines, to livestock, to gold and copper deposits. Among the resources are hemp plants illustrated in Manchuria, China, and northern Luzon, although to be fair, at the time cannabis was more valuable for making ropes and clothing than as a drug. Apart from livestock, Russian territories are relatively lacking in resources, while Korea, Manchuria, and China are exceptionally rich, highlighting their intrinsic value for whatever power might seize them.
A World Map
In the lower-left appears a world map on a Japan-centered Mercator projection. The coverage area of the larger map is highlighted in the inset. The color coding reflects colonial powers, such as orange for England, Red for Japan, Brown for Italy, and Light Red for the Soviet Union.
A Tank Cartouche
In the upper left corner there is a tank-shaped text block offering a comparative breakdown of Russian versus Chinese military might. As follows:
- Russian Forces: 300,000 / Chinese Forces: 2,200,000
- Military Aircraft: 1000 (R) / 700 (C)
- Russian Tanks: 1000
- Russian Heavy Bombers: 70
- Russian Submarines: 40
- Chinese Communist Forces: 200,000
Publication History and Census
This map was created and published by the Osaka Mainichi Shimbun
in 1937. Eleven examples are cataloged in OCLC and are part of the institutional collections at the New York Public Library, Princeton University, Harvard University, the Library of Congress, the Saint Louis Art Museum, Stanford University, the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, the National Diet Library in Tokyo, the National Library Board of Singapore, the State Library of New South Wales, and the National Library of Australia.
The Osaka Mainichi Shimbun (大阪毎日新聞; 1876 - 1942) was an Osaka based daily newspaper active in the late 19th and early 20th century. The Osaka Mainichi Shimbun (大阪毎日新聞, Osaka Daily News) was founded in 1876 as Osaka Nippo(大阪日報). In 1888 it was renamed Osaka Mainichi Shimbun. In 1911 it merged with the Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun (東京日日新聞), but both companies continued to print their newspapers independently until 1943, they were consolidated under the Mainichi Shimbun (毎日新聞, Daily News) masthead. The Mainichi Shimbun is today one of Japans larges and longest lasting newspapers.
Very good. Some fold wear and verso reinforcements on original fold lines. Blank on verso.
OCLC 127724862, 47544666.