Reading Japanese maps and marketing practices - conclusions 2


"Self-guide to famous places and prefectures of Great-Japan” (Dai Nihon fuken meisho hitori annai 大日本府県名所独案内), by Sagano Hikotarō, published in Tokyo by Ōkawa Jōkichi, 1890, copper-plate, color, , 26x89 cm, C. V. Starr East Asian Library, University of California, Berkeley.
You can see the full map here:

Local promotion of the area through platforms like these maps took advantage of the status of Matsushima as one of the three best landscapes of Japan. Partially as a consequence of this local promotion combined with the development of a nation-wide tourist activity starting in the Edo period, the area around Matsushima would become one of the most popular places of the prefecture throughout the 19th century. For example, in the following map entitled Dai Nihon Fuken Meisho Hitori Annai printed in 1890, Matsushima appears marked in aniline red along with Sendai, the capital of the region.

Furthermore, on the right side of the map, you can also see Matsushima connected by a developing train network. The place became, along with Fukushima, one of the first coastal cities of northeastern Japan to be associated with the routes of the new systems of transportation. The contrast with other places that had higher status during the Edo period is remarkable. Such is the case of Ichi-no-seki, the aforementioned next stop on the main route to the north in the Edo period. Ichi-no-seki appears on this map represented by a smaller tag, almost eclipsed between the mountains. The place would become part of the so-called ura-Nihon or “backwater Japan”, i.e. places and areas that, with the development of train and steamship networks, would lose economic power and influence during Japan's modernization in Meiji period. As the last exercise, you could compare the neglect of Ichi-no-seki on this map with its prominence in the Dai Nihon Dōchū Kōtei Saikenki printed in the 18th century used in previous exercises.