Ekaterina Simonova-Gudzenko
Moscow State University, Institute of Asian and African Studies. Head of the Department of Japanese History and Culture

The Case of Maps of Japan by Daikokuya Kōdayū (1751 – 1828): history of creation, similarities and differences

In the proposed paper we investigate the set of maps by Daikokuya Kōdayū. The maps are studied in their historical context, but it will not be a new study of the history of Daikokuya Kōdayū and the Russian-Japanese relation in the end of the 18th century, illustrated by maps. Instead, we propose a systematic quantitative analysis of the set of maps. 

The interest of historians of cartography in these maps, even in Japan, has been, rather modest. Five maps by Daikokuya Kōdayū were thoroughly studied by IWAI Noriyuki 岩井 憲幸, but mostly from the point of view of a philologist and historian.  Two of these maps were brought to light by KAWAKAMI Jun 川上 淳.  HASEGAWA Koji 長谷川 孝治, brought to light one further copy, and then made an attempt at a comparative study of the six copies know to him, but published only two short summaries of his investigation.

The manuscript maps of Japan drawn by Daikokuya Kōdayū (1751 – 1828), of which seven copies are known so far, were initially created as a cartographic image of Japan for “foreign” usage, intended to be translated to serve the needs of the Russian state. They were drawn during the author’s detention in Russia. All the maps are large format coloured manuscripts (ca. 60-73 x 117-147 cm). They resemble each other, but are not identical.  Rooted in the Japanese cartographical tradition, the cartographic image of Japan drawn by Daikokuya Kōdayū does not copy any of the known maps of Japan, and is distinguished by unique configuration and content.

The afterlife of these maps – the context of their final whereabouts in libraries and archives – provides supplementary information that contributes to a better understanding of the place of these maps in the history of cartography.

大黒屋光太夫(1751-1828)の日本地図: 創造の歴史、類似点と相違点