亞細亞內部 / 大日本韓清地圖 / Asia Interior. Map of Great Japan, Korea and Qing China.
1894 (dated) 20.5 x 29 in (52.07 x 73.66 cm)
A very rare map of China and Korea issued by the Japanese to illustrate the theater of war early in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895). Centered roughly on Shanghai, the map is presented on an odd projection that covers from Vietnam to Vladivostok and from Beijing to southern Taiwan, Hainan, and Vietnam. The focus is on Korea, the primary point of contention and main battleground of the First Sino-Japanese War. Here the scale of Korea is vastly exaggerated in relation to China, which, especially in the lower quadrants, has been curiously reduced in scale and warped to include all of Taiwan, Hainan, and even parts of northern Vietnam – other areas of interest for Imperial Japan. Comparative tables in the bottom right quadrant detailed Qing China's naval fleets, breaking them down into the North Sea Fleet, South Sea Fleet, Fujian Fleet, and Guangdong Fleet. A second table details the Japanese fleet.
The first Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict between Qing China and Imperial Japan over control of the Korean peninsula. The Meiji Restoration led to the modernization and industrialization of Japan. With a strong industrial base, Japan turned its attention to military matters and began to assert itself as a regional power. Korea, then under a centuries-old Chinese suzerainty, had the potential not only to provide Japan with much needed industrial materials, but also act as a buffer zone (or stepping stone) to the Chinese mainland. The Japanese forced trade relationships with Korea and, when tensions ran high, defended Japanese interests in Korea with a show of military force. This led both to an increase in Japanese influence in Korea and a series of incidents with Qing China, both in Korea and in China itself. The Donghak Peasant Revolt in June of 1894 provided the excuse Japan needed to declare war on China and seize the Korea. Japanese forces, armed with superior technology, equipment, and training, dominated throughout the war. The war ended Chinese suzerainty over Korea and established Japan as the regional military and economic power. In China, the loss to Japan broke the prestige of Qing China, leading the political reforms led by Sun Yat-sen and Kang Youwei.
This map was printed on October 12th, of 1894, and issued a few days later, on October 15. It was created by Sagano Hikotarō. This map is rare. We have been able to identify only one other example, that being in the National Diet Library, Japan.
Very good. Minor wear on original folds.