Map of Kyushu, Large scale, No. 7


Map of Kyushu, Large scale, No. 7

History / Edo

By Ino Tadataka (1745-1818)

Edo period, 19th century

Color on paper



Important Cultural Property

At the start of the 19th century, Ino Tadataka surveyed the whole of Japan and created a detailed map of the country. This was a significant moment in Japanese history. This is a map of the coastline of Kyushu that consists of 21 illustrations. Tadataka produced maps to three scales – large-scale maps with a scale of one to 36,000, medium-scale maps with a scale of one to 216,000, and small-scale maps with a scale of one to 432,000. This one on exhibit is a large-scale map. It accurately displays coastlines, land elevation, and orientation. It also details the names of mountains, rivers, roads, harbors, castles, and temples, for instance. This meticulousness is a match for any modern-day map. The lines and colors are also skillfully drawn to lend the map a picturesque quality.

Tadataka was already 56 when he embarked on his epic journey to survey Japan in 1800. He divided the country up into different areas and he embarked upon ten survey expeditions over a period of 17 years. Tadataka and his team walked around Japan with specialist instruments before preparing maps for each region based on the results of their investigations. These maps were then presented to the Edo shogunate. After Tadataka's death in 1818, his pupils continued his work in accordance with his last wishes. In 1821, the team submitted a batch of 225 maps to the shogunal government, including 214 large-scale maps, 8 medium-scale maps, and 3 small-scale maps. Unfortunately, all of these were lost in a fire in 1873. All that remains are copies based on the original data and maps that were submitted on separate occasions. This example from the Tokyo National Museum's collection is thought to be one of these maps submitted separately to the shogunal government. It is the best example of how those original maps must have appeared.

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