(circa1800). Stock ID #157925
Large coloured manuscript map of Ezo, modern day Hokkaido, showing the northeastern tip of Honshu, Manchuria as a large landmass along the lower border, and the island of Sakhalin. The Russian territory of Kamchatska is also shown. 50.5 x 83.5cm. Folds into plain paper covers measuring 25.5 x 17cm, card folder worn and insect damaged. Some scattered insect damage but overall a good copy. This map is an "underground" manuscript copy of one of the five maps published to accompany the highly controversial Japanese book 'Sangoku tsüran zusetsu' by Hayashi Shihei. Published in 1785 this work described the geography and customs of three countries - Kankoku (Korea), Yezo or Ezo (present day Hokkaido), and Ryükyü (present day Okinawa). At the time of its publication Ha Yezo was only partially occupied by the Tokugawa government and although from 1609 Ryükyü was in reality under the control of the Shimazu clan in Satsuma (present Kagoshima Prefecture), the Shimazu clan allowed it to be an independent country superficially.
In his notes on this map of Ezo or Hokkaido, Hayashi discusses the sea lanes indicated by dotted lines and notes "Since, in recent years, men of Orosha [Russians] have taken possession of the territory east of Tartary, this land is called Orosha, or Kamusasuka.... Also since the Russians all wear red coats, the residents of Ezo call it Red Ezo in their dialect."
Following the publication of 'Sangoku tsüran zusetsu' the authorities ordered the banning of the publication and the destruction of the woodblocks used to print the book and maps. Hayashi Shihei was imprisoned as his work was regarded as an offence against Japan's seclusion policies of the time. He died the following year. However Japanese interest in the outside world, and Hayashi Shihei's work continued throughout the Edo period and although very few copies of the published work were in existence "underground" manuscript copies were made and passed around among trusted friends. (When referring to this item please quote stockid 157925).