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1904 or Meiji 37 Large Japanese Map of Korea (Corea) and Manchuria

Korea and Manchuria. - Main View

1904 or Meiji 37 Large Japanese Map of Korea (Corea) and Manchuria



Korea and Manchuria.
  1904 (undated)     30 x 21 in (76.2 x 53.34 cm)     1 : 3000000


This is an unusual and appealing large format map of Korea (Corea) and Manchuria dating to 1904 or Meiji 37. This map, made in the 37th year of the Emperor Meiji's reign, covers all of peninsular Korea (Corea) and Manchuria in the northeastern part of China. The map includes an inset of the region in the upper left quadrant.

This map was issued during the Russo-Japanese War which lasted from February 1904 to September 1905. The war was fought between Imperial Japan and Tsarist Russia over control of Manchuria and Korea. Russia sought control of the region in order to gain access to the warm water port of the Pacific. The war resulted in a string of embarrassing defeats for Russia, leading to a general distaste for the Tsarist regime. Some believe that the negative sentiment towards the Tsar established during this campaign was a strong influence in the upcoming Bolshevik Revolution.

The map notes several important towns, rivers, roads and other topography. All text is in Japanese.


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. Minor wear along original fold lines. Minor worm holes at a few places.