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Creating Ezo: The Role of Politics and Trade in the Mapping of Japan’s Northern Frontier
Dicken, Evan R.

2009, Master of Arts, Ohio State University, History.

This thesis explores the various factors leading to the adaptation of western style scientific cartography by Japanese mapmakers in the employ of the Tokugawa government in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It situates Japan not as a passive recipient of European cartographic techniques, but rather an active producer of geographic information in an exchange that began in the late 16th century. It focuses on the conflict over Ezo (modern day Hokkaido, Sakhalin, and the Kuril islands) between Russia and Japan as a catalyst for the Tokugawa Shogunate’s early 19th century mapping programs.

Beginning with an analysis of the development of mapmaking in Europe, I examine the political, military, and economic character of the broader exchange as well as its effect on the mapping of Ezo itself. I conclude that the Tokugawa government actively employed both native and foreign cartographic techniques to solidify its hold over both Ezo and represent Japan as a unified whole. Through continuing cartographic exchange western-style Japanese maps were transmitted to Europe, helping to formalize European representations of Japan.


Philip Brown, PhD (Committee Chair)
James Bartholomew, PhD (Committee Member)
Alan Beyerchen, PhD (Committee Member)
140 p.

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Dicken, E. (2009). Creating Ezo: The Role of Politics and Trade in the Mapping of Japan’s Northern Frontier. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Dicken, Evan. "Creating Ezo: The Role of Politics and Trade in the Mapping of Japan’s Northern Frontier." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2009. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 18 Dec 2017.

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Dicken, Evan "Creating Ezo: The Role of Politics and Trade in the Mapping of Japan’s Northern Frontier." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2009. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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