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Copy of Ino Tadataka's map of Japan found in U.S.

TOKYO, July 4 Kyodo

A copy of the most detailed map of Japan made by Ino Tadataka, the first Japanese geographical surveyor who used Western scientific methods in his surveys in the early 1800s, has been discovered at the U.S. Library of Congress, a group conducting research on Ino said Wednesday.

The group said it found copies of 206 pages of the 214-page large-scale map covering the Japanese archipelago from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the southwest. Each page is the size of a Japanese tatami mat, about 1.6 square meters.

The map -- created on a scale of 1 to 36,000 -- was completed in 1821, but the original was completely destroyed in a fire in the latter half of the century, with only about 60 pages of a copy centering on eastern Japan surviving.

With the discovery of the 206 pages, Ino's map of the Japanese archipelago, which became the basis of modern maps of Japan, has almost been recovered, with only six pages still missing.

The map depicts the situation of Japan 200 years ago in detail, including coastline, settlements and construction, as well as temples.

''We only knew about Ino's travels from his diaries, but with this map we will be able to find out more. The map will become a valuable asset in teaching us about the situation at that time,'' Ichiro Watanabe, head of the research group, said.

On the portion depicting Hokkaido is the description ''Seventh military district.'' Watanabe said, ''We believe the map was used by the (Imperial Japanese) Army before it was somehow transported to the United States.''

Other maps of Japan drawn by Ino include a medium-sized map comprising eight pages and a small map consisting of three pages. The originals of these were also destroyed in the fire, but complete copies of both maps survive.

Watanabe said he found part of the large-scale map when visiting the U.S. Library of Congress in late March, and when he returned in mid-June with members of the Japan Cartographers Association found all 206 pages of the map's copy.

''It is a great discovery,'' said Osamu Nishikawa, professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo. ''It is epochal in terms of enabling historical researchers to compare the situation in various locations in Japan 200 years ago and today, with this extremely detailed large-scale map.''

Ino was born in 1745 in what is now Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, and mainly worked for his family's businesses, such as brewing. After turning 50, however, he went to study under the Tokugawa shogunate astronomer Takahashi Yoshitoki in Edo, modern-day Tokyo.

Ino began surveying all of Japan in 1800, using precision instruments for his astronomical observations. His survey team covered a distance of about 44,000 kilometers in 16 years. Ino died in 1818 at the age of 73, but Takahashi Kageyasu succeeded him and completed Ino's map in 1821.
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Publication:Japan Science Scan
Date:Jul 9, 2001
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