1886 Sakai Map of Tokyo with Illustrated Vignettes

新選東亰全圖 / [Newly Compiled Complete Map of Tokyo]. - Main View

1886 Sakai Map of Tokyo with Illustrated Vignettes


Vividly-colored Map of Meiji-era Tokyo.


新選東亰全圖 / [Newly Compiled Complete Map of Tokyo].
  1886 (dated)     19.75 x 28 in (50.165 x 71.12 cm)     1 : 26000


A stunning 1886 map of Tokyo with illustrated vignettes published by Sakai Kinzaburō. It presents the imperial capital during a period of breakneck change, brought about by the Meiji Restoration in 1868.
A Closer Look
Oriented with north at right and west at top, the map presents the municipality of Tokyo, divided into wards (區) reflected by color shading, and its immediate surroundings. The imperial palace (皇居) stands out prominently at center, shaded a deep crimson. The palace walls along with government offices, temples, shrines, schools, and other landmarks (partially listed in a legend at bottom-left) are illustrated on the map, while more elaborate illustrations surround the map in the margins. At bottom-left is a large table of wards and neighborhoods (町) throughout the city, as well as counties (郡) and villages (村) in the city's hinterland. Brief statistics are given on Tokyo's population, with nearly 800,000 people living in the municipality and some 260,000 in the surrounding towns and villages. To the left of the large ward and neighborhood table, below the legend, is a table of train fares between Tokyo and Yokohama.

In the margins are 32 illustrated vignettes of sites and neighborhoods throughout the imperial capital, including famous bridges, imperial residences, temples, and shrines, as well as recently-constructed buildings belonging to the military, banks, and government bureaucracies. A band of yellow between the map and the margin illustrations is an extensive four-day itinerary for visitors to Tokyo, with suggestions on sites to visit in each neighborhood.
Meiji Era Tokyo
With the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the Tokugawa Shogunate was displaced from Edo and the Emperor Meiji moved the imperial capital from Kyoto to Edo (renamed Tokyo, 'eastern capital'). The Meiji Era was a period of tremendous change in Japan, particularly in cities, and in Tokyo more than any other. New ideas, technologies, and fashions from abroad were sought out and adopted with incredible rapidity, and in the process were localized to suit Japanese tastes.

Building on the foundations of Tokugawa Edo, Meiji-era Tokyo intermingled traditional architecture with styles reminiscent of Victorian London. Even the layout of the city was hybrid; here we can see Nihonbashi (日本橋區) and Kyobashi (京橋區), historically the most densely populated areas of Edo, as well as recent additions like Shimbashi Station, Tokyo's first railway station at left, and the industrialization of Fukagawa (深川區) and Honjo (本所區) Wards at bottom. Much of Tokyo as it exists here was destroyed in the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake.
A Bustling Imperial Capital
Tokyo and several other Japanese cities went through a dizzying period of administrative reforms during the Meiji era, due to the pace of their growth as well as changing bureaucratic practices and conceptions of governance. Initially, elements of the Tokugawa system of wards were maintained to appease elites who feared more rapid reforms. Then, in 1871 - 1872, Tokyo Prefecture was expanded and a system of 'large and small wards' (大區小區制) was put into place. Further adjustments were made in the following years and a wholesale reorganization was launched in 1888 - 1889, when many of the wards shown here ceased to exist.
The Height of Meiji Cartographic Art
Stylistically, this map represents the height of the 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 begins with the Meiji Restoration and continued through about 1895, defined by vivid color achieved in part by using imported German-made inks. Such maps began to fall out of fashion near the turn of the century, when they were supplanted by more reserved printed color.
Publication History and Census
This map was edited and published by Sakai Kinzaburō (阪井金三郎) in Tokyo in 1886 (Meiji 19). The present edition of the map is only known to be held by the University of California Berkeley and the National Diet Library, while editions from 1883, 1884, and 1885 are equally scarce.


Sakai Kinzaburō (阪井金三郎; fl. c. 1883 - 1886) was publisher of the Meiji period based in the Nihonbashi neighborhood of Tokyo. His surviving output consists of a single map of Tokyo published in several editions in the mid-1880s. More by this mapmaker...


Fair. Light wear along original folds. Worming damage along several folds.


OCLC 21805196.