Book Announcement: Cartographic Japan

Kären Wigen, Sugimoto Fumiko, and Cary Karacas (eds.), Cartographic Japan: A History in Maps, University of Chicago Press, 2016.

From the publisher:

Miles of shelf space in contemporary Japanese bookstores and libraries are devoted to travel guides, walking maps, and topical atlases. Young Japanese children are taught how to properly map their classrooms and schoolgrounds. Elderly retirees pore over old castle plans and village cadasters. Pioneering surveyors are featured in popular television shows, and avid collectors covet exquisite scrolls depicting sea and land routes. Today, Japanese people are zealous producers and consumers of cartography, and maps are an integral part of daily life.

But this was not always the case: a thousand years ago, maps were solely a privilege of the ruling elite in Japan. Only in the past four hundred years has Japanese cartography truly taken off, and between the dawn of Japan’s cartographic explosion and today, the nation’s society and landscape have undergone major transformations. At every point, maps have documented those monumental changes. Cartographic Japan offers a rich introduction to the resulting treasure trove, with close analysis of one hundred maps from the late 1500s to the present day, each one treated as a distinctive window onto Japan’s tumultuous history.

Forty-seven distinguished contributors—hailing from Japan, North America, Europe, and Australia—uncover the meanings behind a key selection of these maps, situating them in historical context and explaining how they were made, read, and used at the time. With more than one hundred gorgeous full-color illustrations, Cartographic Japan offers an enlightening tour of Japan’s magnificent cartographic archive.


Introduction – Kären Wigen

I. Visualizing the Realm: Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries

Introduction to Part I – Sugimoto Fumiko

Japan in the World
1. Japan in a New-Found World – Joseph Loh
2. The World from the Waterline – Peter D. Shapinsky
3. Elusive Islands of Silver: Japan in the Early European Geographic Imagination – Oka Mihoko
4. Mapping the Margins of Japan – Ronald P. Toby
5. The Creators and Historical Context of the Oldest Maps of the Ryukyu Kingdom – Watanabe Miki
6. The Introduction of Dutch Surveying Instruments in Japan – Satoh Ken’ichi
7. The European Career of Ishikawa Ryusen’s Map of Japan – Marcia Yonemoto
8. A New Map of Japan and Its Acceptance in Europe – Matsui Yoko

Domestic Space
9. The Arms and Legs of the Realm – Constantine N. Vaporis
10. Visualizing the Political World through Provincial Maps – Sugimoto Fumiko
11. Fixing Sacred Borders: Villagers, Monks, and Their Two Sovereign Masters – Sugimoto Fumiko
12. Self-Portrait of a Village – Komeie Taisaku

II. Mapping for the Market

Introduction to Part II – Kären Wigen

Mapping the City
13. Characteristics of Premodern Urban Space – Tamai Tetsuo
14. Evolving Cartography of an Ancient Capital – Uesugi Kazuhiro
15. Historical Landscapes of Osaka – Uesugi Kazuhiro
16. The Urban Landscape of Early Edo in an East Asian Context – Tamai Tetsuo
17. Spatial Visions of Status – Ronald P. Toby
18. The Social Landscape of Edo – Paul Waley
19. What Is a Street? – Mary Elizabeth Berry

Sacred Sites and Cosmic Visions
20. Locating Japan in a Buddhist World – D. Max Moerman
21. Picturing Maps: The “Rare and Wondrous” Bird’s-Eye Views of Kuwagata Keisai – Henry D. Smith II
22. An Artist’s Rendering of the Divine Mount Fuji – Miyazaki Fumiko
23. Rock of Ages: Traces of the Gods in Akita – Anne Walthall
24. Cosmology and Science in Japan’s Last Buddhist World Map – Sayoko Sakakibara

25. Fun with Moral Mapping in the Mid-Nineteenth Century – Robert Goree
26. A Travel Map Adjusted to Urgent Circumstances – Kären Wigen and Sayoko Sakakibara
27. Legendary Landscape at the Kitayama Palace – Nicolas Fiévé
28. New Routes through Old Japan – Roderick Wilson

III. Modern Maps for Imperial Japan

Introduction to Part III – Cary Karacas

Defining the Borders
29. Seeking Accuracy: The First Modern Survey of Japan’s Coast – Suzuki Junko
30. No Foreigners Allowed: The Shogunate’s Hydrographic Chart of the “Holy” Ise Bay – Suzuki Junko
31. Indigenous Knowledge in the Mapping of the Northern Frontier Regions – Tessa Morris-Suzuki
32. Mamiya Rinzo and the Cartography of Empire – Brett L. Walker
33. Outcastes and Peasants on the Edge of Modernity – Daniel Botsman

Transforming the Cityscape
34. Converging Lines: Yamakawa Kenjiro’s Fire Map of Tokyo – Steven Wills
35. Mapping Death and Destruction in 1923 – J. Charles Schencking
36. Rebuilding Tokyo after the Great Kanto Earthquake – André Sorensen
37. Shinjuku 1931: A New Type of Urban Space – Henry D. Smith II

Managing an Empire
38. Mapping the Hojo Colliery Explosion of 1914 – Brett L. Walker
39. Cultivating Progress in Colonial Taiwan – Philip C. Brown
40. Showcase Thoroughfares, Wretched Alleys: The Uneven Development of Colonial Seoul (Keijo) – Todd A. Henry
41. Imperial Expansion and City Planning: Visions for Datong in the 1930s – Carola Hein
42. A Two-Timing Map – Catherine L. Phipps
43. Visions of a New Order in the Asia-Pacific – David Fedman

IV. Still under Construction: Cartography and Technology since 1945

Introduction to Part IV – Kären Wigen

Up from the Ashes
44. Blackened Cities, Blackened Maps – Cary Karacas and David Fedman
45. The Occupied City – Cary Karacas
46. Sacred Space on Postwar Fuji – Andrew Bernstein
47. Tange Kenzo’s Proposal for Rebuilding Hiroshima – Carola Hein
48. Visions of the Good City in the Rapid Growth Period – André Sorensen

Growing Pains in a Global Metropolis
49. On the Road in Olympic-Era Tokyo – Bruce Suttmeier
50. Traversing Tokyo by Subway – Alisa Freedman
51. The Uses of a Free Paper Map in the Internet Age – Susan Paige Taylor
52. Tsukiji at the End of an Era – Theodore C. Bestor

New Directions in the Digital Age
53. Probabilistic Earthquake Hazard Maps – Gregory Smits
54. Citizens’ Radiation Maps after the Tsunami – Jilly Traganou
55. Run and Escape! – Satoh Ken’ichi
56. Postmortem Cartography: “Stillbirths” and the Meiji State – Fabian Drixler
57. Reconstructing Provincial Maps – Nakamura Yusuke
58. The Art of Making Oversize Graphic Maps – Arai Kei

Epilogue – Sugimoto Fumiko

See More at UChicago Press

About Travis

I am a scholar of Japanese & Okinawan history with a particular interest in the history of arts and culture, and inter-Asia interactions, in the early modern period. I have been fortunate to enjoy the opportunity to live in Okinawa for six months in 2016-17, and in mainland Japan on multiple occasions, including from Sept 2019 to now.
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