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.

1938 Koyama Kichizō View of Nanjing, Second Sino-Japanese War

南京 / [Nanjing]. - Main View

1938 Koyama Kichizō View of Nanjing, Second Sino-Japanese War


Days after the Rape of Nanjing.


南京 / [Nanjing].
  1938 (dated)     5.75 x 19.75 in (14.605 x 50.165 cm)


This is a very rare Koyama Kichizō bird's-eye view map of Nanjing from 1938 (Showa 13), soon after the Rape of Nanjing by Japanese forces in the Second-Sino Japanese War (1937 - 1945). The Yangtze River forms a great arc across the map and, outside of the walled city of Nanjing, major Chinese cities (Shanghai, Xi'an, Chongqing, etc.) are noted in the distance. The idyllic depiction of Nanjing here gives no sense of the intense battle and horrific massacres that had just taken place.
Closer Look at the Map
Aside from famous historical sites, the city gates, and the Japanese Consulate, most of the places indicated are the former offices of the just-defeated Republican government and Guomindang (Nationalist Party). Considerable attention is given to important cultural and historical sites outside the walled city, including Xuanwu Lake (玄武湖), the mausoleum of the first Ming Emperor (明孝陵), and Purple Mountain (紫金山). These sites would have been familiar to a literate Japanese audience because of their importance to China's imperial era history. The Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum (中山陵) is very prominently displayed; it had been completed by Chiang Kai-Shek's government in 1929 as a way to boost its own legitimacy. Sun had lived in Japan for several years and was more pro-Japanese than posthumous hagiographies would care to admit, making him and his mausoleum an easy symbol to appropriate in support of the Japanese occupation and the collaborationist Reformed Nanjing Government (中華民國維新政府) that was established after the city's capture.
Sketchbook Mailer Maps
Sketchbook Mailers (書簡圖繪) were a style of bird's-eye view map that became very popular in Japan in the 1920s-1940s, often depicting cityscapes from across Japan's growing empire. Each map was designed to be folded and packaged for safe and easy mailing and came with information about and photographs of the city on the verso, as is the case here. Although these maps are fascinating, beautiful, and educational, they also served a political function, informing Japanese audiences about the empire and providing a visual aid to understand places they would have read about frequently in the news.
Verso Content
As was standard with sketchbook mailers, the verso contains information on the city's history, economy, and tourist attractions. The 'Geography and History' section ends with recent events, praising the 'loyal and courageous' soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army in their 'holy war' (聖戰) in China, and repeating standard tropes of Japanese propaganda at the time that Japan's only goal was maintaining peace and that Chiang Kai-Shek was to blame for the conflict. The newly created collaborationist Reformed Nanjing Government is spoken of approvingly, and the text claims that with similar collaborationist administrations in northern China, a new 'road to paradise' was being constructed for the Chinese people. The section ends with a call for 'Japanese compatriots' to come to Nanjing to help realize this ideal.
Background and Battle for Nanjing
Nanjing became the capital city of China in 1927-28, following the partial reunification of the country by Chiang Kai-Shek's forces in the Northern Expedition. In the decade that followed, despite weak authority, civil war, a Communist insurgency, and an incremental Japanese invasion of northern China, the Nanjing Government and the Guomindang were able build something like a modern, functioning bureaucratic state, particularly in the Lower Yangzi Delta around Nanjing and Shanghai. These efforts were upended by the start of full-scale war with Japan in July 1937. Chiang decided to throw the bulk of his forces into a battle for Shanghai, which proved unsuccessful after several months of fighting. Severely weakened by the fighting in Shanghai and with many units in disarray, Chiang hastily arranged a symbolic but futile defense of Nanjing while planning a retreat to Chongqing (重慶), deep in the Chinese interior.
Nanjing Massacre and Its Aftermath
Facing demoralized and disorganized Chinese troops, the Japanese were able to take Nanjing in less than two weeks in early December. In the course of the battle and soon afterwards, Chinese troops and civilians alike were shown no mercy, and it was assumed that Chinese men of fighting age were deserting Chinese soldiers or partisans waiting to attack Japanese troops. In the weeks after main combat operations ended, Japanese troops massacred tens of thousands of Chinese prisoners of war and civilians and raped thousands of women in one of the most notorious war crimes of the World War II (1939 -1945). Xiaguan (下關), along the Yangtze River near Nanjing Station (南京駅) at top-center, was the site of some of the largest massacres. In the months that followed, a collaborationist Reform Government was established, and Japanese propagandists poured into Nanjing to tell the home front about the 'great' victory.
Publication History and Census
This map was produced by Koyama Kichizō (小山吉三), was printed on May 10, 1938, and was distributed five days later by the Shanghai branch of Tokyo-based publisher Shiseidō (至誠堂), and Chu Guangwei (出光衛), likely a Chinese employee of the Shanghai branch of Shiseidō. It is held at the Nichibunken (International Research Center for Japanese Studies) and National Diet Library (NDL). It is very scarce on the market. Koyama also collaborated with Shiseidō and Chu Guangwei on another map of Nanjing in 1938 (最新南京地圖, held by the Nichibunken, NDL, National Museum of Ethnology, and National Library of Australia), which is not a bird's eye view but a more conventional political map.


Koyama Kichizō (小山吉三; fl. c. 1929 - 1942) was a prolific cartographer who produced several dozen maps dealing primarily with Japan's expanding empire in Korea, China, and Southeast Asia in the 1930s and 1940s. He founded and often collaborated with Nihon Meisho Zuesha (日本名所圖繪社), a printing agency that published maps of famous sites in the Japanese home islands and throughout the empire. More by this mapmaker...

Nihon Meisho Zuesha (日本名所圖繪; fl. c. 1925 - 1942) was a Japanese publisher of maps, often dealing with cities or travel throughout Japan's growing empire in the 1920s - 1940s, founded by artist and cartographer Koyama Kichizō (小山吉三). They became especially known for bird's-eye views of cities, collaborating with leading artist-cartographers in that genre, such as Yoshida Hatsusaburō (吉田初三郎) and Kaneko Tsunemitsu (金子常光), and developing popular folding sketchbook maps (書簡圖繪) that could be easily mailed and transported. Learn More...


Good. Slight wear on original fold lines. Slight thinning along border, partially into map image, upper right. Right edge near title worn. Verso reinforcement along fold lines on verso. Additional small verso repair along bottom margin.


OCLC 1020951753. 钟翀, 旧城胜景(日绘近代中国都市鸟瞰地图(增订版) , #3-2-2.