1910 Nakamura Fusetsu Around the World Sugoroku

日英博覽會見物 世界一周双六 / [Japan-Britain Exhibition Showpiece – 'Around the World' Sugoroku]. - Main View

1910 Nakamura Fusetsu Around the World Sugoroku


Board game made to celebrate the Anglo-Japanese Alliance.


日英博覽會見物 世界一周双六 / [Japan-Britain Exhibition Showpiece – 'Around the World' Sugoroku].
  1910 (dated)     21 x 31 in (53.34 x 78.74 cm)


This is a rare and whimsical 1910 (Meiji 43) sugoroku game board published in the Tokyo Asahi Shimbun. It was produced for the 1910 Japan-British Exhibition (日英博覽會) held in London, an event designed to bolster the Anglo-Japanese Alliance forged in 1902.
Sugoroku Geography Lesson
The map is intended for sugoroku, more specifically e-sugoroku (繪双六). 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. Many sugoroku had an educational or didactic purpose and were geared towards inculcating patriotism and good morals in children, especially in the Meiji period.

Here, players begin at Shinbashi (新橋) in Tokyo on the bottom-right, progress through illustrations of Yokohama (橫濱) to Tsuruga (敦賀) and Vladivostok (浦塩斯徳), on to the Trans-Siberian Railway to Moscow (莫斯科), then proceed in a counter-clockwise fashion around the board through Berlin, Rome, London, and more to San Francisco (桑港), and finally return by boat to Japan. Up to seven players could join, and each player used one boat and one automobile stamp at left. It is common to play sugoroku on New Year's Day, traditionally the first day of the lunar new year in the Meiji era and since on January 1.
The 1910 Japan–British Exhibition
This game board was made for the 1910 Japan–British Exhibition (日英博覽會) held in London in May through October. The exhibition was supported and planned primarily by Japanese elites and funded in large part by the Japanese Diet to increase popular support in Britain for the 1902 Anglo-Japanese Alliance. Over 2,000 Japanese exhibitors attended, far more than their British counterparts, to the extent that the British public referred to it simply as 'the Japanese Exhibition.' While the exhibition was designed to show the British public that Japan was a modern and sophisticated empire, after the fact the common perception in Japan was that it had failed despite widespread praise in the British press.
Publication History and Census
This map was published as an addendum to the January 1, 1910 edition of the Tokyo Asahi Shimbun (東京朝日新聞). It was drawn by the renowned Japanese painter Nakamura Fusetsu (中村不折), the writing was done by Maeda Mitsuho (前田黙鳳), a well-known calligrapher, and it was printed by Toppan Printing Co. (凸版印刷株式會社). It is held by Waseda University, Ritsumeikan University, and the National Museum of Japanese History and is scarce to the market.


Nakamura Fusetsu (中村不折; August 19, 1866 – June 6, 1943) was a Japanese painter of the yōga style, which was strongly influenced by trends in contemporary Western art. Nakamura gained a reputation when one of his paintings won a prize at the 1900 Paris Exposition, after which he was able to travel to France and study with leading French painters. He did many paintings for leading newspapers including the Tokyo Asahi Shimbun as well as for writers' and poets' book covers, including Natsume Sōseki's I am a Cat. More by this mapmaker...

The Asahi Shimbun (朝日新聞; January 25, 1879 – Present), translated Morning Sun Newspaper, is one of Japan's oldest and most venerable daily newspapers. The Asahi Shimbun began publication in Osaka on January 25, 1879 as a small-print, four-page illustrated paper. The paper was founded by Kimura Noboru (company president), Murayama Ryōhei (owner), and Tsuda Tei (managing editor). In 1888 the newspaper expanded with a branch in Tokyo and began issuing the Tokyo Asahi Shimbun. The the Osaka and Tokyo papers formally merged under a single imprint in 1940. Almost from its inception the newspaper was known for its liberal views. The Asahi Shimbun continues to publish from Osaka today. Learn More...

Toppan Printing Company (凸版印刷株式會社, 1900 - present) was a printer and lithographic press founded in Meiji Japan in 1900 as Toppan Printing Limited Partnership. The founding of Toppen closely correlates to Meiji efforts to modernize Japan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The firm was formally reorganized with an influx of new investment in 1908, taking the name Toppan Printing Co., LTD (凸版印刷株式會社), which literally translates as 'Letterpress Printing Company,' reflecting the company's embrace of the then cutting edge Erhört letterpress method. By 1910, Japan had modernized to such an extent there was a growing need for brightly colored advertising, propaganda, touristic, and commercial printing. Toppen employee Gennojo Inoue split off from the firm to import color offset printing technologies from the United States and Europe, founding the Offset Printing Company in 1913. After four years of successful operation and growing market share, Toppen acquired the technologically superior company and reabsorbed Gennojo Inoue as an executive. Despite the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, Japanese efforts at modernization advanced rapidly. Between 1920 and 1929 the company's production and revenue grew dramatically. In 1920 or 1920 photomechanical printing was introduced to Japan, again by the efforts of visionary company president Gennojo Inoue. From the 1930s on, Toppen under Gennojo Inoue's guidance continued to grow, becoming one of the largest printing concerns in Japan. They established offices in other cities, including Osaka. In 1938, they built a large press factory, the Itabashi Plant, in Tokyo. During World War II the Toppen firm was utilized for the war effort, producing new currencies, bonds, government securities, and propaganda material. Following the war, Toppan was reorganized and continued to grow. It is today a major Japanese firm, diversified in multiple industries and traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Learn More...


Very good. Some minor wear along the old fold lines.