Two hand-drawn copies of maps made by Ino Tadataka, the first modern cartographer to create precise maps of Japan during the Edo Period, have been discovered in the archives of the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Library, officials said Friday.
One precisely depicts central Honshu from Aomori to Osaka in color; the other shows southwest Japan from Osaka to Kyushu.
No copies of the former were believed extant in Japan; the previously only-known copy is being kept at a British museum. “I was so excited because I never thought (any of these were) in Japan,” said Ichiro Watanabe, an expert on Ino maps who made the discovery. “And (it was) in Tokyo’s own back yard.”
The two belong to a set of three maps known as “shozu (small map).” Worldwide, only six copies of the shozu were known to exist.
Ino (1745-1818) drew his maps as he wandered across Japan, focusing in particular on areas along coasts and main roads. All of the original maps are believed to have been destroyed in fires, but some hand-drawn copies survived.
It is thought that the two recently discovered maps were drawn by the order of Abe Masahiro, the chief shogunate councilor who signed the Japan-U.S. friendship treaty in 1854 to end the nation’s seclusion under the Tokugawa Shogunate.
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