Osaka Mainichi Shimbun. 1926.
Color pictorial map, sheet size 42 1/4 x 30 1/2 x inches (107x78cm), folding as issued to 15 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches. Two tears at upper and lower edges, minor splits at fold ends, splits at six fold intersections (up to one inch), but no paper loss. Overall clean and bright condition. A sugoroku game (a Japanese game which might be compared to backgammon) published in 1926, of graphically striking design. The most unusual perspective of the map bears a striking similarity in its unusual orientation to Richard Edes Harrison's World War II era "air age" maps of the world. The Americas appear at the top of the map (with the Statue of Liberty pictured), North America to the left and the northern part of South America to the right. Asia is at centre, above Europe at the lower edge. Little pictographs are used to indicate special features of the various countries. Two Japanese flags (including the Rising Sun) decorate the upper border with flags of other nations in the three other borders of the map. This scarce map reflects the outward looking ambitions of Japanese society at a time when nationalism was on the rise both in Japan and abroad. The map is featured on the Princeton University Cotsen Children's Library blog: "A popular theme found in the game boards is voyages around the world. Much like ukiyo-e art, sugoroku from the Meiji Period feature domestic travel scenes and landscapes of Japan as a common subject. The addition of international travel games was both a continuation of that tradition and a new fascination engendered by the success of the Meiji Restoration and technological advancement. These games reflect people’s interest in new transportation tools, Japan’s admiration of Western civilization, the nation’s aspiration to expand its colony and territory, and a growing awareness and (mis)understandings of a culturally and racially diverse global world. Players need to rotate the game board 90 degrees clockwise to better discern a pictorial world map, which highlights animals, people, and famous scenery. The Rising Sun flags mark the Japanese explorations and marine/naval activities in many parts of the world. Dark-skinned aboriginals were a frequent subject of sugoroku, ranging from a curious presence to be approached to a weak population to be conquered by the Japanese to cannibals to be feared and disparaged (as in this game)." Item #54599