Introduction to reading Japanese maps and marketing practices 1


“A self-guide from Sendai’s kokubunchō to Shiogama, Matshushima, Ichi-no-maki and Kinkasan” (Sendai Kokubunchō yori Shiogama Matsushima Ichi-no-maki Kinkasan made Hitori Annai 仙台国分町より鹽竈松島石巻金華山まで独案内), woodcut, black and white, printed by Fukuya, early 19th century, Author’s collection.

Note: This section has been developed alongside the introduction of kuzushiji reading and requires a certain degree of familiarity with it. For those without experience in kuzushiji they can start here.

This undated local map from the early 19th century takes the reader on a trip from Kokubunchō, the commercial district of the city of Sendai in present-day Miyagi prefecture, to some of the most scenic places of the region: Matsushima (松島), considered one of the three most beautiful landscapes of Japan, Shiogama (塩釜), an influential temple under the patronage of the local daimyō, the port town of Ishi-no-maki (石巻), and Kinkasan (金華山) an island of Japan’s north-eastern coast. They dominate the left side of the map, bordering the bay of Senga-no-ura (千賀の浦), known today as Ichi-no-maki Bay.