1926 Yoshida Bird's-Eye View of the Kansai Region (Kyoto, Osaka), Japan

近畿を中心とせる名勝交通大鳥瞰圖 / [A Bird's-Eye View of Scenic Spots and Transportation Centered on the Kinki Region]. - Main View

1926 Yoshida Bird's-Eye View of the Kansai Region (Kyoto, Osaka), Japan


Guide to Japan's Historical Heartland.


近畿を中心とせる名勝交通大鳥瞰圖 / [A Bird's-Eye View of Scenic Spots and Transportation Centered on the Kinki Region].
  1926 (dated)     10 x 36.5 in (25.4 x 92.71 cm)


A stunning 1926 bird's-eye view of the Kansai region of Japan drawn by Yoshida Hatsusaburō and published in Osaka Mainichi Shimbun. Both beautiful and functional, the view and its verso provide a comprehensive guide for tourists and travelers to the region.
A Closer Look
Oriented towards the west, and taking in a broad horizon stretching from Taiwan, Shanghai, and the Ryukyu Islands at left to Toyama, Tokyo, and Mt. Fuji at right, this view focuses on the Kinki (近畿) or Kansai (関西) region - the densely populated lowlands of central Japan including Kyoto and Osaka - and cities not in Kansai proper but nearby, such as Kobe, Gifu, and Nagoya. Railways, shipping lines, cities, mountains, and waterways (including the large Lake Biwa 琵琶湖at right) are illustrated. Cherry blossoms in bloom and stylized drawings of clouds add color and flourish to the view.

Considerable attention is paid to Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, along with culturally significant forests, islands, and bridges. (The Kansai region was the 'stage' for most of Japanese history and is rich with historical and cultural sites). At right-center in the foreground are both the city of Nara (奈良) (Japan's capital for a brief but definitive period in the 8th century) and the various structures of the Ise Grand Shrine. Further into the background lie the cities of Osaka (at left-center) and Kyoto (towards right-center). Important sites, especially shrines, temples, and palaces in and around Kyoto, are labeled.
Verso Content
The verso provides an extensive travel guide, focusing on rail lines connecting cities, parks, temples, hot springs, and other attractions in the Kansai region. A map at center illustrates the connections between the Kansai region and Kyushu, including shipping lines and a main rail line between Osaka (大阪) and Shimonoseki (下関).
Publication History and Census
This view was drawn by Yoshida Hatsusaburō, printed by the Seiban Printing Company, and published as a supplement to April 5, 1926 (Taishō 15) edition of the Osaka Mainichi Shimbun. It is only listed among the holdings of the Fukui Prefecture Library and Archives and the Nichibunken (International Research Center for Japanese Studies).


Yoshida Hatsusaburō (吉田初三郎, March 4, 1884 - August 16, 1955) was a Japanese illustrator and painter of birds-eye views active during the Taisho and Showa periods. Yoshida was born in Kyoto and apprenticed under Takeshiro Kanokgoi (1874 - 1941). Yoshida is significant for pioneering the use parallel perspective birds-eye views to illustrate Japanese bus and railroad transit networks. His first birds-eye view, completed in 1914, illustrated the Keihan railway and was highly praised by no less than Hirohito, then a prince but soon to be the Shōwa Emperor. With the Emperor's approval, Yoshida's views became widely popular and were adopted by the Ministry of Railways for the illustration all of its major public transportation networks. His style was so fashionable and distinctive that an entire genre was named after him (初三郎式絵図), and his works helped to spur a domestic tourism boom in the 1920s – 1930s. Most of his work consisted of city and regional views, though larger views encompassing the entirety of Japan do exist. Yoshida's most significant piece is most likely his rendering of the Hiroshima bombing, which was published in an English language magazine in 1949. He took on Tsunemitsu Kaneko as an assistant and apprentice in the early 1930s. Eventually Kaneko started making parallel perspective views of his own and became Yoshida's primary rival. Although he made over 3,000 maps in his lifetime, Yoshida was known to dedicate months to research and preparation for particular maps. For his 1949 Hiroshima map and his striking depiction of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, he adopted a journalistic approach and spoke to many survivors of the disasters. More by this mapmaker...

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. Learn More...

Seiban Printing Co. (精版印刷株式會社; fl. c. 1925 - 1945) was an Osaka-based publisher in the early Showa period. A number of contemporaneous publishing houses used Seiban (or Seihan) in their name (帝国精版印刷, 京都精版印刷社, 日本精版印刷), but were evidently distinct from this publishing house, which specialized in producing maps of the Japanese Empire (such as Manchukuo and occupied areas of China), often for the Osaka Mainchi Shimbun. The company published its own brief history in English in 1929 (A brief history of the Seihan Printing Company Limited, OCLC 843142406), suggesting that the company had already existed for some time by that point. Learn More...


Good. Surface wear at fold lines with minor loss. Part of margin missing and professionally infilled through verso. Several splits along fold lines, joined and repaired on verso.


OCLC 1020885040.