1889 Ichikawa Six-Sheet Japanese World Map

新訂萬國地圖 / [Newly Revised World Map]. - Main View

1889 Ichikawa Six-Sheet Japanese World Map


Features the flag of the Republic of Texas.


新訂萬國地圖 / [Newly Revised World Map].
  1889 (dated)     34 x 33.5 in (86.36 x 85.09 cm)     1 : 33070000


This is a scarce unjoined six-sheet 1889 (Meiji 22) Ichikawa Raijirō world map. A distinctive product of the Meiji Era, the map scrupulously includes not only geographic information but also reference material from a range of related sciences. The map, although well after the fact, includes the flag of the Republic of Texas - suggesting Japanese recognition of the short-lived state.
Cataloging the World
The information contained here is so abundant that the map serves as an atlas and almanac together. At top-left is a legend indicating symbols for geographic and maritime features, railways, and telegraph lines. At top-center, just below the title, is a banner showing the various flags of the Japanese military forces, the imperial family, the merchant fleet, and so on. Along the top of the map are a set of insets detailing major Japanese ports (Niigata, Yokohama and Tokyo, Nagasaki, Kobe, and Hakodate). At the bottom of the map, another set of inset maps depict (from left to right): Egypt, Southampton, the Cape of Good Hope, Singapore, the Sunda Strait (between Java and Sumatra), the Pearl River Delta, Shanghai, Port Philip (Melbourne), Honolulu, New York City, Panama, San Francisco, and Rio de Janeiro.
The Map Itself
The map demonstrates considerable accuracy, even more than many maps of the later Meiji. Also worth noting is the placement of Japan at the center of the map, shrinking the southern hemisphere to accommodate it. Below the map are a series of insets covering a wide range of fields, including illustrations and maps of major world cities, the flags of various nations, a map comparing the lengths of major world rivers, a diagram comparing the heights of the world's tallest mountains, a table noting the distance of various countries from Tokyo in Japanese ri (里), an illustration to exhibit geographic terminology, and much more.
Japan Branching Out into the World
This map was produced during a period when Japan had already launched a dramatic modernization drive and was engaging more in global affairs. Many of the reforms of the early Meiji were deeply unpopular, but most elites recognized that the old ways could not persist if Japan were to escape Western hegemony. In order to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible, students and study groups were sent abroad by the government while information from abroad was imported and translated for domestic consumption. While Japan had not been entirely closed off during the Tokugawa era, as is often assumed, the early Meiji era still represented an accelerated crash course in the latest methods and knowledge from abroad in all manner of sciences, including cartography, geography, and navigation. But some remnants of the pre-Meiji era can be witnessed here; for example, Ichikawa and the publisher Mizuochi are both noted as 'commoners' (平民), a Tokugawa-era social classification that had nominally been eliminated at the beginning of the Meiji period.
Meiji Cartographic Art
Stylistically, this map represents an example of the distinctive Meiji-era (1868 - 1912) cartographic tradition - wherein western style cartographic standards, lithographic printing, and imported inks, were combined with Ukiyo-e color traditions and aesthetic values. This map falls in a cartographic lineage that began with the Meiji Restoration in 1868 and continued through about 1895. The new style was often employed by upstart printers seeking to unseat long-established printing houses. Such maps began to fall out of fashion near the turn of the century, when they were supplanted by more reserved printed color.


Ichikawa Raijirō (市川来次郎; fl. c. 1876 - 1893) was an editor, cartographer, and publisher of the early Meiji period based in Tokyo. His known works are quite limited - aside from an impressive world map, he also published several illustrated works (画譜, gafu) of the sort that were popular in the Meiji era. More by this mapmaker...

Mizuochi Chūjirō (水落忠次郎; fl. c. 1868 - 1911) was a publisher of the Meiji era based in Kyōbashi, Tokyo. His works were quite few in number and spread out chronologically, but mostly date from the late 1880s and early 1890s, including at least two printings of Ichikawa Raijirō's impressive world map (新訂萬國地圖) and maps of Japan by Kanō Morifushi (狩野守節) and Miyawaki Tsūkaku (宮脇通赫). Learn More...

Meguro Jūrō (目黒十郎; fl. c. 1877 - 1936) was a publisher and bookseller based in Tokyo. In addition to maps of the world and Japan, it published works in several fields, especially those relating to pedagogy and language education. Learn More...


Good. Light wear along original folds. Some loss along folds and at junctions of folds. Several tears professionally repaired. Ink splotch (perhaps intentional) over the American Southwest and Baja Peninsula.


OCLC 21788979 (1876 edition).