This item has been sold, but you can get on the Waitlist to be notified if another example becomes available, or purchase a digital scan.

1881 Yamanaka Zensaburo Map of the World on Mercator Projection

Bankokushnghizu. - Main View

1881 Yamanaka Zensaburo Map of the World on Mercator Projection


Uncommon Japanese map of the world.


  1881 (dated)     26 x 36 in (66.04 x 91.44 cm)     1 : 41300000


An uncommon 1881 (Meiji 14) Japanese map of the world by Yamanaka Zensaburo. This map, clearly derived from European sources, illustrates the world on Mercator's projection. The routes of various explorer as well as oceanic trade routes are noted throughout. Along the bottom and right hand sides of the map there is a wealth of information that includes important flags, hemisphere maps, comparative charts illustrating mountains and rivers, and distances tables. The presence of English text at the top of the map is indicative of Japan's opening to the world under the Meiji Restoration.


Japanese cartography appears as early as the 1600s. Japanese maps are known for their exceptional beauty and high quality of workmanship. Early Japanese cartography has its own very distinctive projection and layout system. Japanese maps made prior to the appearance of Commodore Perry and the opening of Japan in the mid to late 1850s often have no firm directional orientation, incorporate views into the map proper, and tend to be hand colored woodblock prints. This era, from the 1600s to the c. 1855, which roughly coincides with the Tokugawa or Edo Period (1603-1886), some consider the Golden Age of Japanese Cartography. Most maps from this period, which followed isolationist ideology, predictably focus on Japan. The greatest cartographer of the period, whose work redefined all subsequent cartography, was Ino Tadataka (1745 -1818). Ino's maps of Japan were so detailed that, when the European cartographers arrived they had no need, even with their far more sophisticated survey equipment, to remap the region. Later Japanese maps, produced in the late Edo and throughout the Meiji period, draw heavily upon western maps as models in both their content and overall cartographic style. While many of these later maps maintain elements of traditional Japanese cartography such as the use of rice paper, woodblock printing, and delicate hand color, they also incorporate western directional orientation, projection systems, and structural norms. Even so, Japan's isolationist policy kept most western maps from reaching Japan so even 19th century maps appear extremely out of date. The early Japanese maps copy the great 1602 Chinese world map of the friar Matto Ricci. After Shiba Kokan's 1792 map, most Japanese cartographers used Covens and Mortier's 1730 copy of Jaillot's 1689 double hemisphere work as their base world-view. In 1862 Seiyo Sato based a new world map on Dutch sources dating to 1857, thus introducing the Mercator projection to Japan. By the late Meiji Era, western maps became far more common in Asia and Japanese maps began to follow modern conventions. More by this mapmaker...


Very good. Some Japanese style repair on original centerfold.