This is a playful cartoon world map published in the Asahi Shimbun
in September 1979, based on a map published in the early Meiji period a century earlier. It shows portraits of important figures in the history of Japan's relations with the outside world, mostly from the Meiji period.
Charting Japan's Interactions with the World
This is a pictorial take on an 1878 map with contemporary empires and territories, such as Austria-Hungary, though the original map was a bit out of date, as it marks Alaska as 'Russian America.' A brief explanatory note at bottom-right talks about Japan's development of knowledge about the world and the role of important figures, like those drawn along the top and bottom, in Japan's exchange with the outside world.
The cartoon portraits are, in order from top-left:
- Ono no Imoko (小野妹子), a 7th-century diplomat to China during the Sui Dynasty.
- Kūkai (空海), an 8th - 9th-century Buddhist monk who traveled to China and brought Vajrayana Buddhism to Japan.
- Yamada Nagamasa (山田長政), a 17th-century trader and adventurer who spent considerable time in Ayutthaya (present-day Thailand) and achieved noble status there.
- Hasekura Tsunenaga (支倉常長), a Christian samurai who traveled extensively in Europe and the Americas, leading what is often considered the first Japanese diplomatic mission to the West.
- Mamiya Rinzō (間宮林藏), an early 19th-century cartographer and explorer who made the first complete Japanese map of Sakhalin (Karafuto).
- Katsu Kaishū (勝海舟), a Japanese official and naval officer who commanded the ship Kanrin Maru in 1860, carrying the first Japanese delegation to the United States. He later negotiated the mostly peaceful surrender of Edo in 1868, setting the stage for the completion of the Meiji Restoration.
- Fukuzawa Yukichi (福沢論吉), an intellectual and reform advocate in the early Meiji who also founded Keio University.
- Maejima Hisoka (前島密), a Meiji statesman and entrepreneur who founded the Japanese Postal Service.
- Shibusawa Eiichi (渋沢栄一), a Japanese businessman who introduced many Western business practices to Japan in the late 19th century, such as joint-stock ownership and double-entry accounting.
- Itō Hirobumi (伊藤博文) was the single most important political figure of the Meiji period, serving as Japan's first prime minister, leading the effort to draft the Meiji Constitution, and overseeing Japan's development into an imperial power with control over Taiwan and Korea. He was assassinated in 1909 by a Korean nationalist at the railway station in Harbin, China.
- Niijima Jō (新島襄), also known by his English name Joseph Hardy Neesima, was a Protestant missionary, teacher of English, and founder of Doshisha University in Kyoto. His wife, Yamamoto Yae, was a decorated soldier during the Boshin War who founded an all-girls sister school, which became Doshisha Women's College.
- Kitasato Shibasaburō (北里柴三郎) was a Japanese bacteriologist who discovered the agent behind the bubonic plague in tandem with Alexandre Yersin. He founded an institute for studying infectious disease which became the Kitasato Institute, similar to the Pasteur Institute in France, and eventually Kitasato University.
- Mori Ōgai (森鷗外) was a physician, translator, and writer whose work helped to introduce Western concepts of art and aesthetics to Japan in the latter Meiji and Taisho eras. His daughter, Mori Mari (森茉莉) was also a famous writer.
- Shirase Nobu (白瀨矗) was an explorer who led the first Japanese Antarctic Expedition.
- Natsume Sōseki (夏目瀨石) was perhaps the most famous novelist of the Meiji era, as well as a scholar of English literature. His work primarily deals with the interaction between Japanese and Western culture and the difficulties in reconciling the two.
- Noguchi Hideyo (野口英世), a bacteriologist who spent much of his career in the United States.
- Léonard Fujita Tsuguharu (藤田嗣治), a Japanese painter and printer who moved to France, befriended Picasso and Matisse, and introduced Japanese printing techniques to the West.
Publication History and Census
This map was published in the September 23, 1979 (Showa 54) edition of the Asahi Shimbun
. No other publication information is available. The map is not cataloged in the holdings of any institution and has no known history on the market. Asahi published an atlas of world history with a similar title as this map in the same year, but the atlas appears to be a translation of the The Times Atlas of World History
from the British publisher Times Books Ltd., and it is unlikely there is any relationship between this map and the translated atlas.
The Asahi Shimbun (朝日新聞; January 25, 1879 – Present), translated Morning Sun Newspaper, is one of Japan's oldest and most venerable daily newspapers. The Asahi Shimbun began publication in Osaka on January 25, 1879 as a small-print, four-page illustrated paper. The paper was founded by Kimura Noboru (company president), Murayama Ryōhei (owner), and Tsuda Tei (managing editor). In 1888 the newspaper expanded with a branch in Tokyo and began issuing the Tokyo Asahi Shimbun. The the Osaka and Tokyo papers formally merged under a single imprint in 1940. Almost from its inception the newspaper was known for its liberal views. The Asahi Shimbun continues to publish from Osaka today. More by this mapmaker...