1943 Serizawa World Map with Insets of Southeast Asia, Japan's Wartime Empire

改新世界全圖 / [Updated World Map]. - Main View

1943 Serizawa World Map with Insets of Southeast Asia, Japan's Wartime Empire


The Height of Japan's Wartime Empire.


改新世界全圖 / [Updated World Map].
  1943 (dated)     29 x 40 in (73.66 x 101.6 cm)     1 : 11000000


A scarce, large-format 1943 Japanese Serizawa Keigo World War II map of the world, with insets focusing on Southeast Asia. The map implicitly celebrates Japan's wartime empire, near its furthest extent at this time, in particular the 'East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere' that was meant to replace Western colonialism in Asia.
A Closer Look
The main world map at top is centered on Japan and the Pacific Ocean. Reflecting Japan's increasing familiarity with and orientation towards the sea, which predated but was strengthened by the Pacific War, bathymetric shading is included, as are other maritime features such as coral reefs and shoals. On land, a variety of features, including railways, major flight routes (dashed red lines), oil deposits, mines, hot springs, the Great Wall of China, and famous historical and cultural sites are indicated. Areas occupied by the Japanese military are outlined in red, though not the occupied parts of mainland China, as the country was nominally ruled by a pro-Japanese 'reformed' government in Nanjing. The Japanese puppet states of Manchukuo and Mengjiang (蒙古聯合自治政府) are similarly not marked as occupied, despite the strong Japanese military presence there.

The map is also notable for including not only the constituent republics of the Soviet Union, but also regions and autonomous republics of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, such as the Yakutskaya Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ヤクーツク自治共和國) in Siberia. In a hypothetical conflict with the Soviet Union, a very real possibility at the time given the mini-war fought between the two countries in 1939 at Nomonhan / Khalkhin Gol, these regions could be the main theater of war and Japan would likely attempt to appeal to the autonomous aspirations of ethnic minorities in the Soviet Union to weaken their enemy, as was attempted in China.

At bottom, two inset maps focus on Southeast Asia, most of which was occupied by Japan at this time and enlisted in its 'East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere' (東亞共榮圈). Meant as an alternative to Western colonialism, the notion initially gained some adherents in South and Southeast Asia, including anti-colonial activists such as Sukarno in Indonesia and Subhas Chandra Bose in India, but over time proved to be an empty promise. Given its desperate wartime shortages of resources and manpower, Japan proved to be even more exploitative than the colonizers they shunted off in 1941 and 1942.
The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was an imperial concept created and promulgated for occupied Asian populations from 1940 through 1945 by the Empire of Japan. Announced by Japanese Foreign Minister Hachirō Arita on June 29, 1940, the Co-Prosperity Sphere was intended as a self-sufficient 'bloc of Asian nations led by the Japanese and free of Western powers.' It covered Southeast Asia, Eastern China, Manchuria, Japan, the East Indies, and parts of Oceania. The idea promoted the cultural and economic unity of East Asians, Southeast Asians, and Oceanians with the underpinning assumption that Japan, which had never been conquered and was the only Asian nation to fully modernize, was the 'Light of Asia.'

Though the concept was regularly incorporated into propaganda distributed in occupied territories, it ultimately rang hollow as Japan forcefully requisitioned materials and workers as the war turned in favor of the Allies. Nevertheless, the Co-Prosperity sphere marked a high point of pan-Asianism, arguably helped strengthen anti-colonial movements going into the postwar period, and laid the groundwork for future relations between Japan and other Asian nations when a demilitarized Japan returned with investments instead of guns in the following decades.
Publication History and Census
This map was drawn by Serizawa Keigo (芹澤謦吾) and published by Sakurai Hitoshi (櫻井均) of Daidō Shuppansha (大同出版社) in April 1943 (Showa 18), with printing handled by the Shūbidō Printing Co. (秀美堂印刷株式會社). The only known example of this map in institutional collections is held by the National Diet Library.


Serizawa Keigo (芹澤謦吾; fl. c. 1942-1943) was a Japanese cartographer who made maps of East Asia and the Pacific. More by this mapmaker...


Very good. Minor splits at fold intersections and fold lines, closed and professionally repaired on verso.


OCLC 676024516.