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The Largest Printed Japanese World Map Produced Before the End of World War II.

Colossal Japanese map of the world near the conclusion of World War II.

The map was published in January of 1945, four months before Nazi Germany would be defeated by the Allies, and eight months before Japan would concede defeat. The map shows territories that were firmly part of the Great Japanese Empire (Dai Nippon Teikoku), such as Korea, Taiwan, and southern Sakhalin, Port Arthur, Okinawa, etc. as colored red. Puppet states, protectorates, and other conquered territories are outlined in red. In this map, Inner Mongolia is not discernably shaded, possibly suggesting that this territory was no longer under Japanese control (the only other example of this map that we have seen shows that territory more aggressively colored in red.)

The map was published by the Japan Publishing and Distribution Company, Ltd., which also produced the famous War-era Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere series that consisted of 20 maps. Because these maps were produced by the same publisher around the same time, they share much of the same design language, colors, fonts, etc.

Provenance and Rarity

This map was part of a deaccession of material from a military library in New York. By repute, it was part of a Japanese General Staff collection when it was taken by American soldiers at the end of World War II.

Language on the map suggests that it was published in an edition of 2,000. With such a large scale and a relatively limited print run, it is likely that the map was largely reserved for official government and military offices, lending some credence to the story with which it was sold to us.

Condition Description
Folding map. Edged with blue linen. A few tears at fold intersections, but without discernable loss. Please note the map is extremely large.