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1944 or Showa 19 Japanese World War II era Map of the Philippines

Philippines. - Main View

1944 or Showa 19 Japanese World War II era Map of the Philippines



  1944 (undated)     42 x 30 in (106.68 x 76.2 cm)     1 : 1500000


This is a beautiful 1944 or Showa 19 large Japanese wall map of the Philippines, issued during World War II. It covers all the Philippine Islands from Luzon, south as far as Borneo. The map offers superb detail regarding both topographical and political elements. Notes cities, roads, trade routes on sea and land, and uses shading to display oceanic depths. A large inset of Manila is included in the top right quadrant of the map.

The Philippines were considered to be of great strategic importance because their capture by Japan would pose a significant threat to the U.S.  The Japanese occupation of Philippines occurred between 1942 and 1945, but the Allied forces of the U.S., Philippines and Mexico regained control of the island in 1945.

This map was issued by the Japanese in 1944. 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. Learn More...


Very good. Minor wear and toning along original fold lines. Some foxing and water stains at places. Professionally flattened and backed with archival tissue.