OSAKA-KOBE. [A Great Map of the Osaka-Kobe Region.] Osaka: Kawachia Yoshisuke and Kawachia Kahe'i, tempo 7 .
18 unevenly sized sheets, joined (46 x 52 inches). MAGNIFICENT FOLDING WOODCUT WALL MAP OF THE OSAKA-KOBE REGION OF JAPAN, printed on rice paper, on 18 sheets of varying sizes, showing the coastlines between Kobe and Osaka to the south, and north into the interior mountains bounded to the east by the Yodogawa River, depicting a detailed road system, rivers and other forms of communication, all surrounded by explanatory text, publishers information and date at lower left corner (one or two small neat old repairs, some repaired wormholes to folds); folding into original blue/green front paper cover, lettered on recto
A SUPERB, IMPORTANT, and detailed Edo period Administrative wall map of the Osaka-Kobe region just to the south west of Kyoto. The clearly defined system of roads and rivers, was an important part of the trading communication structure of the internal economy of Japan.
Japanese cartographers are known to have acquired knowledge of surveying and map engraving through their cultural links with Korea and China as early as the 7th century AD. The earliest surviving map made in Japan dates from the 14th century. European map-makers first attempted to show Japan in their maps in the mid 15th-century (Fra Mauro, 1459), but even in 1540 Muenster's map of the New World still showed Japan as "zipangu", and it is completely absent from his "Die Lander Asie nach irer Gelegenheit bisz in India werden in diser Tafel Verzeichnet".
The earliest western view of Japan was heavily influenced by the discoveries of the Jesuits. In 1640 Japan closed its borders to foreigners: the "barbarians" from the West, and two centuries, Japanese ports were closed to all but a few Dutch and Chinese traders. During this period very little new knowledge was gleaned, and it wasn't until the 18th century when maps by Valck, de Vaugondy and others started to show a better outline of the country, even incorporating Japanese characters into the images. In 1690 Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1716) was appointed a member of a Dutch trade mission bound for Japan. His resulting "History of Japan..." is an encyclopaedic and profusely illustrated description of the Japanese flora and fauna, government and industries, and it remained the chief source of Western knowledge of Japan for over a century. Not until the mid-19th-century, when this map was printed did the West regain any significant contact with Japan. Early in 1852, American President Millard Fillmore ordered Matthew Perry (1794-1858) to take command of the East Asia Squadron for the purpose of establishing official relations with the government of Japan. "Perry's naval and diplomatic experience and his personality - a combination of sternness, tact, and integrity - were ideally suited for this delicate assignment. He devised an effective, two-step strategy. He arrived with four warships at the mouth of Edo (Tokyo) Bay in July 1853 demanding that a high-ranking nobleman accept a letter for the emperor from the president requesting that American vessels be allowed access to Japanese harbors. If the letter were refused, Perry's ships would proceed by force to the capital. After the Japanese reluctantly received the letter, Perry immediately departed. He returned with twice the number of ships in February 1854 for the answer. Aware of the humiliation China had suffered in the Opium War with Britain and impressed by Perry's combination of firmness and restraint, the internally divided Japanese leadership agreed to the Treaty of Kanagawa on 31 March 1854. This convention gave U.S. vessels access to the ports of Hakodate and Shimoda for provisions and refuge, and it provided for the stationing of a U.S. consul at Shimoda. There was no agreement to allow trade, but Perry anticipated correctly that the creation of a consulate would lead to commerce. Perry's mission was a turning point for Japan on the road to economic and political change and to world prominence. For the United States, Perry's mission was an early expression of American commercial and strategic advance into the Pacific and East Asia. The arrival of his "black ships," as the Japanese called them, began an enduring and ambivalent relationship of friendship and friction between the two nations. (Ref: M&B; Tooley).