This item has been sold, but you can enter your email address to be notified if another example becomes available, or purchase a digital scan.

1895 Meiji 28 Map of Taiwan or Formosa (Predates Treaty of Shimonoseki)

New Map of Taiwan, All Rights Reserved. / 台灣新地圖 版權所有.  / Táiwān Xīn Dìtú Bǎnquán Suǒyǒu.

1895 Meiji 28 Map of Taiwan or Formosa (Predates Treaty of Shimonoseki)


Rare 1895 map illustrating the official Japanese position on Taiwan predating the Treaty of Shimonoseki. Earlier than National Museum of Taiwan example.



New Map of Taiwan, All Rights Reserved. / 台灣新地圖 版權所有. / Táiwān Xīn Dìtú Bǎnquán Suǒyǒu.
  1895 (dated)    21 x 15.5 in (53.34 x 39.37 cm)     1 : 1005000


A scarce and important Meiji 28, April 10, 1895 map of Taiwan or Formosa drawn shortly before the Treaty of Shimonoseki, which formally ended the First Sino-Japanese War (August 1, 1894 – April 17, 1895). The map covers all of Taiwan with a clear division between eastern and western territories. At the time western Formosa, or Taiwan (臺灣) was primarily Chinese, while Formosa east of the Central Mountain Range, Banchi (蕃地) consisted of unexplored indigenous tribal lands. This map is an important historical illustration of the Japanese position on Formosa prior to the Treaty of Shimonoseki. The official Japanese Stance from the 1871 Mudan Incident onward was that only the western ethnically Chinese part of Formosa was considered to be 'Taiwan (臺灣).' This positioned changed after the Treaty of Shimonoseki and the term Taiwan (臺灣) was reassigned to the entire island.

This map is part of a series of maps issued in 1895, both before and after the treaty, typically by private newspapers, book stores, and enterprising publishers, to capitalize on Japanese public interest in Taiwan. All are quite rare and significant. The present map was printed by the Osaka publisher Heisuke Kasahara (笠原平助) and distributed by Akakokorozashi Chushichi (赤志忠七). It was published jointly by Akakokorozashi Tadashi Miyabido Bookstore of Osaka (赤志忠雅堂書店) and Kishida Ginko's Kishida Rakuzendo Bookstore (岸田樂善堂書店). It is of note that our example of this map is dated April 10, 1895, earlier by several days than the similar April 15 examplee owned by the National Museum of Taiwan History is April 14, 1895.

The Kishida Rakuzendo Bookstore is of some interest. The address on the map is a Tokyo location, but internet resources suggest this shop was based in Shanghai's former British Concession (the Bund), on what is not Henan Road in modern day Shanghai. It maintained branch stores in other Chinese and Japanese cities. The shop started as a traditional pharmacy but by 1878 had transformed into a popular bookstore. One source describes it as a 'notorious ... half patent-medicine shop, half army intelligence center.' (Peattie, M.R., 'Japanese Treaty Port Settlements in China, 1895-1937,' The Japanese Informal Empire in China, 1895-1937, (Eds. Duus, P. Myers, R., and Peattie, M. R.) p. 183).


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.


Very good. A couple of minor fold reinforcements. Original fold lines as issued. Blank on verso.


National Museum of Taiwan History, Accession Number, 2003.014.0047.
Looking for a high-resolution scan of this?