JAPAN, Perry Expedition
[An important manuscript map of Edo, drawn up before the arrival of Commodore Perry to assess coastal defenses against the American intrusion, along with a list of Warlords sworn to help defend the Capital]
[Edo: June, 1853]. Two folio rice paper sheets, joined vertically, 17 3/4 x 24 1/2 inches, plus 12pp. manuscript list of warlords, sewn.
The Japanese prepare to defend themselves against Perry's black ships.
An historically important, stylized map of the coastlines of the provinces around Edo, from the Izu peninsula through and around Edo Bay, and up around Awa province, with provincial borders marked in green, and the principal warlords plotted out on the coasts with their forces, i.e. cannons, ships and guns, available for the defense of the capital of Edo. The map is titled, "Onkonozu Izunanashima," translating to "Honourable map of each bay from Iszu," and is dated June 1853, anticipating the arrival of Commodore Perry's naval forces, which would appear the next month. The map is accompanied by a 12pp. manuscript, a scribal copy titled, "Amerikajin totori ontehai shodaimyo hikae," or "List of Warlords who could fight America" in defense of Edo Bay. Perry set off from Hampton Roads, Va. in November,1852, sailing via the Cape of Good Hope, through Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai, where he arrived on May 4th. On the May 17, he arrived on the Ryukyu Islands, where he demanded to establish a coal station, and met with the Ryukyu King. Knowing that reports would soon be getting back to Edo, he proceeded slowly up to the Ogasawara Islands where he bought some land and stayed until mid-June. His sudden appearance at Ugara Bay in July, 1853, although a surprise, was not unexpected. This manuscript map suggests that strategies for the defense of Edo Bay were well advanced, which is why perhaps Perry stopped his squadron at the entrance to the bay. Certainly once he was at anchor multitudes of warlord-led barges rowed up to surround Perry's ships, presumably part of the plan to contain the American forces despite their superior fire power. A unique manuscript record from a vital moment in U.S.-Japan relations.