In a previous post, we introduced some maps from the Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era Collection. UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections holds one of the world’s largest collections of maps and guidebooks of the Japanese Tokugawa period, ca. 1600-1868. This collection does not consist simply of maps of Japan. It also has maps and books about various peoples and countries of the world.

In this post, we will explore a few guidebooks in the collection that depict the outside world. Despite the isolationist foreign policy during the Edo period, the Japanese people were fascinated by different peoples and cultures and were keen to know more.

Amerika shinwa 亜墨新話 [New story of America]

This work is about a Japanese sailor’s adventure. Hatsutarō was working on Eiju Maru, a Japanese shipping vessel. In 1841, he and twelve other members of the crew were blown out to sea. After months of drifting, they were rescued by a Spanish ship and brought to Lower California. Hatsutarō lived and worked there for seven months, and went back to Japan in 1843. As soon as he arrived, the local lord ordered two scholars and a painter to write down his journey in America.

The book is a four-volume manuscript with numerous coloured drawings, covering American people’s appearances, social customs, clothing, houses, and so on, from a Japanese sailor’s perspective.

[Spanish vessel rescuing shipwreck survivors], vol. 1, p. 78.

[Women’s outwear], vol. 2, p. 20

[Wedding ceremony], vol. 2, p.44

Notice that the drawings were done by Tsurana Morizumi (守住 貫魚), a painter who never traveled abroad. Like many other images about foreigners in the Edo period, these drawings are a mix of imagination, creativity, hearsay, and observation.

Gaiban yōbō zuga 外蕃容貌圖画 [Pictures of foreigners’ features]

This is a book of drawings, edited by Tagawa Harumichi (田川 春道) and illustrated by Kurata Tōgaku (倉田 東岳). There are two volumes, consisting of illustrations and brief explanations of people from 42 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, and North and South America. It reveals a Japanese view of foreign people of that period. It was published in 1855, two years after the American Black Ships forced the opening of Japan to America and the end of National Isolation policy in 1853.

Below are two leaves from the second volume of the book. Can you tell they are people from Nova Scotia and Italy?

[People from Nova Scotia, North America], vol. 2, p. 48

[People from Italy, Europe], vol. 2, p. 8

Meriken shinshi 米利幹新誌 [New account of America]  

This may be the first printed Japanese book exclusively about the geography and history of North and South America and consists of five volumes. In volume 1, there are four maps showing the Eastern and Western hemispheres and North and South America. In volume 2, there is a map of the then-existing 31 states of the United States. There are also illustrations through the five volumes. This book was also published in 1855.

南北亜墨利加全圖 Nanboku Amerika zenzu [Map of South and North America]. Vol. 1, p. 8.

Left: [Portrait of George Washington]. Right: [Portrait of Amerigo Vespucci]. Vol. 1, p.12.

The author, Shigenobu Tsurumine(鶴峯 戊申, 1788-1859), was a well-known scholar of Japanese classics who was also interested in western technology. His work Gogaku shinsho  語学新書 [New Book on the Study of Language ] was the first book of Japanese grammar based on western grammatical rules and conceptions.


To learn more about the Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era Collection, please check out our previous post, and the website of ASIA453, a course on Japanese Travel Literature held by UBC’s Asian Studies Department.

The Digitization Centre has digitized several collections of maps, as well as several collections that contain maps among other materials. This post provides a summary of those collections, showcasing some of our favourite maps from Open Collections!


Greater Vancouver Regional District Planning Department Land Use Maps

This collection contains more than 1,800 maps of the greater Vancouver area from 1965, 1980, and 1983. There are two index maps that help to navigate the collection:

Index – Land Use Series: The numbers on this map correspond to the “Identifier” field for each map. For example, you can search within the collection for Identifier:(V92) to find maps showing the north side of UBC campus.

Greater Vancouver Regional District Planning Department. Index – Land Use Series.

 

Greater Vancouver Regional District Planning Department. Land Use : U.E.L., 1979.

 

Index Map: Subdivision and Land Use Maps: This index map includes the Lower Mainland outside of Vancouver. Similarly, you can search by “Identifier” to locate the maps referenced by this index.

For more information on this collection, check out our previous blog post about it!


Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era

This collection contains Japanese maps from the Edo period, or Tokugawa period (1603-1868). The majority of the maps are rare or even unique.

Many of the maps show all or part of Japan:

Okamoto, Chikusō, active 19th century. Shinkoku Dai Nihon zenzu [Newly engraved map of Great Japan], 1865.

Utagawa, Sadahide, 1807-1873. Dai Nihon Fujisan zetchō no zu [Panoramic view of the summit of Mt. Fuji], 1857.

There are also some Japanese world maps included in the collection:

Bankoku enzu [Round map of all nations], 1675.

For a more detailed overview of this collection, see our previous blog post: Explore Open Collections: Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era.


Andrew McCormick Maps and Prints

This collection contains world maps dating from 1503 to 1910, with a focus on European maps and maritime exploration. Here is a selection of maps from the collection:

Moll, Herman, -1732. A map of the North Pole with all the territories that lye near it, known to us &c. according to the latest discoveries, and most exact observations, Agreeable to modern history, [1732].

Pond, Peter, 1740-1807. A map shewing the communication of the lakes and the rivers between Lake Superior and Slave Lake in North America, 1790.

 

You can read more about the collection and view other highlights in this previous blog post: Explore Open Collections: Andrew McCormick Maps and Prints.


Maps in other collections

In addition to the above three collections, there are many digital collections that contain maps along with other items.

The Chung Collection contains several maps of Canada released by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. This “sportsman’s map” of Canada shows the terrain and wildlife for different regions:

Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Sportsman’s map of the Dominion of Canada, 1898.

 

This map from 1943 shows the air routes serviced by Canadian Pacific Air Lines at the time:

Canadian Pacific Air Lines. Map of Canada showing air routes, 1943.

 

In the UBC Library Digitization Centre Special Projects collection, there are over 60 maps that do not belong to other collections, including this map of southeastern Vancouver Island from 1860:

D’Heureuse, Rudolph. Map of the south-eastern districts of Vancouver Island, 1860.

 

The BC Historical Books collection is an excellent source of early British Columbia maps, like this map of the Lower Mainland:

Hill, Albert James, 1836-1918. Map of the municipalities of New Westminster city and district, British Columbia, 1889.

 

Finally, the Western Manuscripts and Early Printed Books collection contains several 16th century maps, like this beautiful map of the Americas from 1588:

Ortelius, Abraham, 1527-1598. Americae sive novi orbis, nova descriptio, [1588].

You can find more maps by searching for the keyword “map” in a given collection, or by perusing the Maps genre in Open Collections.

References

Our digital collections cover a wide range of topics and disciplines that you can explore through Open Collections. Among our thousands of digital items, you can find materials to support your research, your teaching, and even your imagination. Below, we’ve selected a few of our collections that may be helpful when researching topics related to Asian Studies.

 

Rikuchū no kuni yōsan no zu. 6

 

There are many collections that can be used as a resource for historical Asian Studies, including:

  • Chinese Rare Books Collection: this collection is mainly composed of works from the Puban and Pang Jingtang. You can find census information, literature, as well as historical, political, and military documents from China covering the years 1368 to 1959.
  • Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era: this is the world’s largest collection of maps and guidebooks of the Tokugawa Era. It contains travel maps, guides and stunning woodblock prints. The collection is used as a resource at the ASIA 453: Japanese Travel Literature class. If you are curious to know more, check out our blog post Explore Open Collections: Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era.
  • Meiji at 150: the collection is part of the Meiji at 150 project, which was created to celebrate the 150 years since the start of the Meiji Era in Japan. The collection consists of materials produced during the period, including: woodblock prints, photographs, books, albums, and booklets. Visit the Meiji at 150 website to learn more about planned special events, lecture series, workshop series, podcast, and digital teaching resources.
  • One Hundred Poets: the collection consists of 74 books and 20 sets of cards of the Japanese poetry anthology “Hyakunin Isshu” (One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each). This anthology, edited by Fujiwara no Teika, became the most famous poetry anthology in Japan. Get to know about this collection, more specifically about the card sets, by checking out our blog post Utagaruta: a poetry game.

 

Family wedding portrait, Vancouver, B.C.

 

If you are interested in studying Japanese and Chinese life in Canada, then the following collections will be helpful:

  • Chinese Canadian Stories: composed of several sub-collections and fonds, this collection covers a wide range of topics, including Chinese Canadian military service, businesses, and social life in Canada.
  • The Chung Collection: the collection contains materials that can be comprised into three themes: British Columbia History; Immigration and Settlement; and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. The collection has several materials relating to the Chinese community in British Columbia.
  • Yip Sang Collection: the collection contains Yip Sang’s personal and business-related materials. Yip Sang was an important businessman in the Chinese community in Vancouver and was often referred to as the “major of Chinatown”. Get to know more about him and his collection in our blog post Explore Open Collections: Yip Sang Collection.
  • Japanese Canadian Photograph Collection: this collection contains materials that registered the life of Japanese Canadians in British Columbia. The collection is a great resource for anyone researching about how Japanese Canadians were treated during the World War II.
  • Tairiku Nippo (Continental Daily News): this publication was an important information source for Japanese Canadians in British Columbia. It was published between 1907 and 1941, and is a valuable resource for studying the history of the Japanese Canadians before the World War II.

Maps are not just for marking land. Through maps, you can travel back in time to understand how society was structured, how a region was recognized, the power structures of that time, and other cultural and societal aspects of the place being represented.

The Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era Collection is a treasure trove for such information. The maps colorfully display information about social hierarchies, the production of villages, land claims and important figures, among other things.

The Tokugawa Era is such an important time for maps because, up until the 17th century, maps were meant for the use of the privileged ruling elite only, and mapmaking was rare. When Tokugawa reunified the archipelago in 1600, Japanese cartography began to develop at a much faster rate as people had increased access to information and could more easily move around the archipelago and the world. The result was a wide range of map options for consumers who were interested in getting to know about their neighborhood, city, country and the world at large.

Principally, three types of maps were produced during the Tokugawa Era:

  • Pocket-version: small maps that could be held in both hands, folded and slipped into the kimono sleeve. Perfect for travel.
  • Medium size: these maps with up to one meter on a side, designed to be viewed on a tatami floor.
  • Large size: maps that often exceeded three meters in length. Scholars surmise that users would stand on top of these maps to view them in large ceremonial rooms.

If you want to explore the maps more deeply, with all the background information about Japanese society and history, we encourage you to check out the book Cartographic Japan: A History in Maps. The book analyzes several Japanese maps, including some that are in our collection. If you have your UBC Library card, go check it out. If not, you can check out part of the content in Google Books.

 

Some maps from our collection

This map is a Mount Fuji 3-D bird’s eye view, published around 1848. Mount Fuji attracted many pilgrims during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, who visited the temples along the way. This map might have been created for the people who were not able to go on such pilgrimages. The map then functioned as a way for people to imagine the sacred places that they would never see in reality.

Find out more about this item by checking the article “A 19th-century 3-D bird’s eye map of Mt. Fuji, with all the bells and whistles”.

[Fujisan no zu], 1848

Different types of ships are represented in this map, probably meaning that Yokohama port was a place for trade with people from different parts of the world.

Yokohama onkaichi meisai no zu, 1859

 

The following image is only an excerpt of the complete scroll map. It was created by Yoshitora Utagawa, an ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) designer and illustrator of books and newspapers. Can you see the amazing details of this map that represents a procession?

Tokaido meisho zue, 1864

 

The collection

The Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era Collection has over 500 items, making it one of the world’s largest collection of maps and guidebooks of the Tokugawa period (1600-1867).

There are many rare and unique items, varying from pocket-sized maps to large scroll format maps. The collection is focused on privately published and travel-related maps and guides published in Japan during the Tokugawa period. There is world coverage, although the majority of maps are of the whole or parts of Japan.

Kaisei chiri shoho ansha no zu, 1876

 

Check out some of our previous posts about this collection:

Access and explore the Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era Collection. You might be fascinated with the details of the maps and find out something new about Japan or maps in general.

 

Sources:

ASIA 453 001 (UBC)

ASIA 453: Japanese travel literature – maps projects (UBC)

Cartographic Japan: a history in maps

Review by Morgan Pitelka: Cartographic Japan: a history in maps (Project Muse)

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library

Info:

604.822.6375

Renewals: 

604.822.3115
604.822.2883
250.807.9107

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia

Spam prevention powered by Akismet