Interesting Finds on Old Japanese Maps

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UnusualBean

UnusualBean

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What about this 1602 one? Anything interesting on there? Looks suspiciously similar.

"Kunyu Wanguo Quantu" by Matteo Ricci (1602)
Kunyu Wanguo Quantu (Chinese: 坤輿萬國全圖; literally: "A Map of the Myriad Countries of the World"; Italian: Carta Geografica Completa di tutti i Regni del Mondo, "Complete Geographical Map of all the Kingdoms of the World"), printed by Italian Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci at the request by Wanli Emperor in 1602, is the first known European-styled Chinese world map (and the first Chinese map to show the Americas). The map is in Classical Chinese, with detailed annotations and descriptions of various regions of the world, a brief account of the discovery of the Americas, polar projections, scientific explanation of parallels and meridians, and proof that the sun is bigger than the moon. Following Chinese cartographical convention, Ricci placed China ("the Middle Kingdom") at the centre of the world. This map is a significant mark of the expansion Chinese knowledge of the world, and an important example of cultural syncretism directly between Europe and China. It was also exported to Korea and Japan as well.

They are suspiciously similar. It's also weird that there's a ton of katakana on it, but no hangeul (the Korean writing system).

What I'm also noticing is that on this one, China is not called "Middle Kingdom", it's called "Unified Great Ming". On the 1785 one though China doesn't even have a discernible name. At least not that I can find.

Sorry, I couldn't help but immediately think of this


Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but is that map implying that what we think of as Austrailia is actually attached to Antartica?
:LOL::LOL: same

But yeah, no, that square you're seeing is New Guinea. Australia mysteriously doesn't exist on older maps.
 

wild heretic

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What about this 1602 one? Anything interesting on there? Looks suspiciously similar.

"Kunyu Wanguo Quantu" by Matteo Ricci (1602)
Kunyu Wanguo Quantu (Chinese: 坤輿萬國全圖; literally: "A Map of the Myriad Countries of the World"; Italian: Carta Geografica Completa di tutti i Regni del Mondo, "Complete Geographical Map of all the Kingdoms of the World"), printed by Italian Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci at the request by Wanli Emperor in 1602, is the first known European-styled Chinese world map (and the first Chinese map to show the Americas). The map is in Classical Chinese, with detailed annotations and descriptions of various regions of the world, a brief account of the discovery of the Americas, polar projections, scientific explanation of parallels and meridians, and proof that the sun is bigger than the moon. Following Chinese cartographical convention, Ricci placed China ("the Middle Kingdom") at the centre of the world. This map is a significant mark of the expansion Chinese knowledge of the world, and an important example of cultural syncretism directly between Europe and China. It was also exported to Korea and Japan as well.

Was just about to post that the 1785 Jap map is way out-of-date. It denotes a 16th century world mostly.

The 1853 is better but still not that up-to-date in parts. Alaska (my speciallity right now) on that map is really from the period 1788 to 1821 approx. Not bad though.

Japs were very isolationists and supposedly it was just the jesuits that helped them. Maybe that's why their maps are so woefully out of date.
 
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UnusualBean

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Was just about to post that the 1785 Jap map is way out-of-date. It denotes a 16th century world mostly.

The 1853 is better but still not that up-to-date in parts. Alaska (my speciallity right now) on that map is really from the period 1788 to 1821 approx. Not bad though.

Japs were very isolationists and supposedly it was just the jesuits that helped them. Maybe that's why their maps are so woefully out of date.
For the record, "Jap" is widely considered a slur.

Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised if parts of it were more up to date than others. It's hard to say how many information streams they really had during Sakoku.
 

wild heretic

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For the record, "Jap" is widely considered a slur.

Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised if parts of it were more up to date than others. It's hard to say how many information streams they really had during Sakoku.

Oh right. I always thought "Japs" was a slight term of endearment like "Brits" is for British.

A UK colloquial and more negative, but now old-fashioned term for the Japanese would be "nips", I assume from their own name of their own country "Nippon".
 
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LordAverage

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The first known landing in Australia by Europeans was by Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon in 1606. Twenty-nine other Dutch navigators explored the western and southern coasts in the 17th century, and dubbed the continent New Holland. Macassan trepangers visited Australia's northern coasts after 1720, possibly earlier. Other European explorers followed until, in 1770,

That's the mainstream approach for what people knew of Australia from times before this Japanese map was made, it excludes other probable encounters like the portugese and possible others (idk exactly what china and japan were doing between say 1400-1700 but i don't think going south is out of the question for them). Either way it depends on what sources they had for making this map. If the dutch had any influence theres no excuse as to why Australia should look like that on the map since they were out here as early as 1600.

ALSO, I know this map is not meant to be exactly to scale or anything but papua new guinea has an area of 500k square kilometers or so, it's shape and size see quite off based on that map anyway. But I know even less about the mapping/discovery of papua new guinea.

Google says The written history began when European navigators first sighted New Guinea in the early part of the 16th century. So I imagine it should be similiar to Australia in that it should exist more accurately by the time this map was made. I'm definitely going to look into more maps from 1500-1800 to see how Australia stocks up in each.
 

wild heretic

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The first known landing in Australia by Europeans was by Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon in 1606. Twenty-nine other Dutch navigators explored the western and southern coasts in the 17th century, and dubbed the continent New Holland. Macassan trepangers visited Australia's northern coasts after 1720, possibly earlier. Other European explorers followed until, in 1770,

That's the mainstream approach for what people knew of Australia from times before this Japanese map was made, it excludes other probable encounters like the portugese and possible others (idk exactly what china and japan were doing between say 1400-1700 but i don't think going south is out of the question for them). Either way it depends on what sources they had for making this map. If the dutch had any influence theres no excuse as to why Australia should look like that on the map since they were out here as early as 1600.

ALSO, I know this map is not meant to be exactly to scale or anything but papua new guinea has an area of 500k square kilometers or so, it's shape and size see quite off based on that map anyway. But I know even less about the mapping/discovery of papua new guinea.

Google says The written history began when European navigators first sighted New Guinea in the early part of the 16th century. So I imagine it should be similiar to Australia in that it should exist more accurately by the time this map was made. I'm definitely going to look into more maps from 1500-1800 to see how Australia stocks up in each.

Yeah. You'll see "modern" Australia on up-to-date maps in the 1600 and 1700s. The coastlines aren't modern at all, but the general shape is.

Let me know the earliest map you find which depicts real modern Australia. I'm guessing its Captain Cook's voyage of the late 1700s.

Also check out Abel's discovery of New Zealand in 1642. It really looks like NZ was one island! Although he didn't sail all the way around it. (East side only).
 

LordAverage

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Soon Juan Fernandez set sail from Valparaíso. After heading west for one month along the 40th parallel south, in the spring of 1576 they arrived in an island described as "mountainous, fertile, with strong-flowing rivers, inhabited by white peoples, and with all the fruits necessary to live".[1]

Or how about the new zealand that had native white people in 1576 @wild heretic ALtho i see you posted in that australia thread anyway. Anyway nice thread here i look forward to anything else from the high resolution scans etc.
 

whitewave

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What I'm also noticing is that on this one, China is not called "Middle Kingdom", it's called "Unified Great Ming". On the 1785 one though China doesn't even have a discernible name. At least not that I can find.
Names of China (wiki)
Celestial Empire or Tianchao Referring to Chinese as "Celestials" was generally used as a racial slur against the Chinese immigrants in this country in the 19th century. "The phrase 'celestial empire,' meaning more or less 'empire ruled in accord with Heaven,' goes back a long way in China."
But it wasn't until the early 19th century that English and French translations began to appear in foreign publications and Chinese diplomatic correspondence.

"The plural 'celestials,' referring to citizens of the celestial empire, seems to be American in origin [and]the usage quickly became pejorative when readers interpreted it as meaning that Chinese, absurdly in view of their obviously inferior economic and legal status, considered themselves to be superior to ordinary humans. "Calling a mere laundryman 'celestial' was an irony that even the least educated anti-Chinese white hoodlum could understand. So it rapidly became an insult for some, while others, especially journalists, continued to use it with less prejudicial intent as a synonym for 'Chinese' or 'Chinaman.' "

According to wiki the Chinese are reclaiming the alleged epithet and starting to refer to themselves as celestials. That seems a bit odd to me and the equivalent of blacks, jews, or any other denigrated group referring to themselves by their racial/religious slurs. What I wonder with all these names for China is why so many different designations? If they were an ancient culture then surely they had a name for themselves before the white guys showed up to give them one. For example: Macedonia, Babylonia, etc. are (alleged) ancient cultures/places and their names remained the same on the maps throughout the centuries. Why would China have different names for their country? That usually only happens if a country is conquered. Ottoman Empire/Persia/Iran. Countless examples, really. One could argue that the various white guys did the naming but some of those names for China are definitely not European-type names. Considering the economic importance to the ancient world of the Silk Road, you'd think the name would remain constant. Just wondering out loud here.
 

asatiger1966

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The Japanese are bound by customs that are unbreakable, this may have had an influence on how they related with other countries, including their names.

Example: December 23rd, 1933. The one hundred twenty-fifth Divine Sovereign of the empire in unchanged line from Jimmu Tennos.
Tsuguno-miya Akihito, The meaning "Enlightened Benevolent Divine Person" The new Crown Prince.

"Imperial messengers were dispatched to the shrine of the Sun Goddess, progenitress of the line. Also to the sanctuaries where are enshrined the spirits of the 123 dead Tennos and the eighty deities of the Shinto pantheon, to apprise these spirits of the name of the Heir to the Divine Seat."

"Two events during this birth caught my notice. One, when the Crown Prince is fifteen years old, he will take up residence in a replica of the palace of Versailles that stands a distance from the Forbidden Precincts."
Two, The Japanese national anthem played for weeks , on every venue. The national anthem which express the sentiment that the Divine House shall reign until every pebble on Japan's shores grows into a great rock with hoary moss.

In 1933 the Japaneses were one of the top three nations in the world, and the richest nation ,possibly in history.

Excerpts from " Challenge Behind the Face of Japan" author Upton Close. I happily have a signed copy Feb, 1934, Dallas Texas
 

Onijunbei

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Oh! You know, it probably is Babylonia!
In Japanese, H can become B by adding little quote marks called dakuten to the character, but for some reason these weren't consistently used in the past. Even though they wrote ハヒロウニア (Hahirounia), they could've totally meant バビロウニア (Babirounia).
I don't know why I didn't think of that :eek:

Also, on second thought the Japanese pronunciation for those characters for Africa probably would've been "Rimaa", making it much more similar to the Chinese "Limoya".
Unfortunately we can't discount travellers giving the names of those places to the Japanese and then they did the best they could to write the names in their native language.
 
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UnusualBean

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Unfortunately we can't discount travellers giving the names of those places to the Japanese and then they did the best they could to write the names in their native language.
Pretty much anything outside Japan with a kanji name can be assumed to have been gotten from China, which adds an extra step of garbling.

Oh, speaking of garbling, apparently I misread the name of Africa. It wasn't 利末亜, it was 利未亜! How could I be so blind?? :whistle:
So the continent was called Libya in the past, or Liweiya in Mandarin and Ribia in Japanese.
 

whitewave

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"It wasn't 利末亜, it was 利未亜".
What am I missing? These look exactly the same to me. I'd have to take your word for it either way since I don't recognize any Chinese symbols and don't speak the language. Thanks for your help in translating.
 

Ishtar

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"It wasn't 利末亜, it was 利未亜".
What am I missing? These look exactly the same to me. I'd have to take your word for it either way since I don't recognize any Chinese symbols and don't speak the language. Thanks for your help in translating.
the lines on the middle character are different in length... the top line is longer on the first one, but for the second one the bottom line is longer
 
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UnusualBean

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"It wasn't 利末亜, it was 利未亜".
What am I missing? These look exactly the same to me. I'd have to take your word for it either way since I don't recognize any Chinese symbols and don't speak the language. Thanks for your help in translating.
They're stupidly similar, but that happens sometimes when you have thousands of different characters all meant to represent different things o_O:LOL:

If you look closely at 末 you'll see that the top line is wider than the one below it, while in 未 the bottom line is the wider one. Thanks, China (y)


...Beaten by a matter of seconds :eek:
 

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