Help me find where this fragment of map is showing? (Japan, somewhere)

I found this bit of map in a set of encyclopedias I bought used (not a part of the books, more like a piece of paper someone put to mark a place).

It’s a contour map. The east-west grid lines are marked (top-to-bottom) 84, 83, 82, 81

It shows:

Otaki-yama at the very bottom.
Just above that ‘Yokokawa Imperial For’ (cut-off)


Crossing from NE to SW is a ridge line marking, with peaks marked at 1725, 1782 and 1862.

In the NW corner, a river, road and railroad cross, also from NE to SW, and all in the same narrow valley. In the middle of this valley is a town marked Hirosawa

I’ve googled for Hirosawa, Yokakawa, and Kawashima, but haven’t turned up anything definitive.

“Yama” means Mountain, so it’s Otaki Mountain. I’m also guessing that Yokokawa is a variant of the spelling “Yokogawa”. “Mura” means (I believe) village or town.

There are a few towns named Otaki in Japan, but the closest mountain I could find is Ontaki.

You might try some of that and see where it gets you.

There IS an Otakiyama (Mt. Otaki) near Akita, in Akita Prefecture.

Mt. Otaki is located NE of Akita city. It is part of Otakiyama Natural Park.

Is it a period map?

ETA: I am too slow.

If it’s old enough, could it be in Japanese-colonized Korea, Manchuria, or (I think) Taiwan?


I don’t think it’s that old. I decided to go ahead and scan it, in case anyone else can see clues I can’t

Mystery Map

Pretty sure it’s here (Google Maps link).

Yep. That’s it. If you drill down another magnification and look at the bit to the northwest of Otakiyama, you can see things like “Hirasawa PO”. I don’t see a Buddhist temple (which is what the reverse swastika on the old map would have designated) in Hirasawa, but I see several Shinto shrines (if that’s what the torii marks on the Google map indicate).

Concur with the previous responses. Lines match up with the mountain contours. Narai matches with the ~arai at the far left.

One of the problems with maps in Japan is that it’s not uncommon for place names to change. Hirasawa marked on that map probably became Kisohirasawa.

According to the note on this Wikipedia page, Kawashima-mura was folded into Tatsuno-mura in 1956, so the map is probably from the early 50s. Here’s the English page for Tatsuno.

I’m going to guess that the map is a little older than the 50s.

The Yokokawa Imperial Fo(rest) would have been part of the Imperial Forest Agency (my translation of Teishitsurinyakyoku) which was abolished in 1947. It looks like it became part of the Nanshin area of the CHUBU Regional Forest Office.

The Kisohirasawa station was completed in 1930, so the map would be made between then and 1947.

Any idea of the history of the map? Could it have been made for GHQ of the American occupying forces? They were involved in reducing the power of the Imperial Household.

TokyoPlayer - I have almost no history on the map. It was in a volume of a 1965 Encyclopedia Brittanica that I bought at a church garage sale.

At auction, a conservative estimate for what this map would bring is about $5. With the encyclopedia in which it was found… $10. :smiley:

I’m pretty sure this is a fragment from the 1:250,000 series called Joint Operations Graphics, which went by other names at various times over the last few decades and can still be purchased. These were compiled by the Army Map Service, which in the last two decades has also changed names a couple of times. My impression is that they were compiled with the coöperation of our allies around the world. To my eye, the typography and printing seem to be 1970s-80s, though I hesitate to overrule the clues offered by TokyoPlayer.

Also, isn’t that a UTM grid? (Or is it some other, more local kilometer-based grid? I don’t think so.) Would that help to date it?

I agree that the typography looks post-1950, but I suppose it could be from the postwar US occupation period.

Yes, it appears to be a modern UTM grid, but I don’t know when that was introduced for military use. I’m tempted to say Vietnam-era. The typography looks like phototypesetting, which I don’t think would have been used before 1970.

I believe that the name of the station started off as Kisohirasawa. From the history of the Chuo line,

The same page lists names of stations which have had their name changed.

I’m found a reference to the Kisohirasawa station in1962, and have not found any references to a Hirasawa station.

Maybe it’s sloppy work on the part of the map makers?

You can get additional fragments if you kill more pirates or woo some governor’s wife.

I hope you find your long lost sister:)
Classic video game reference.

Pirates? The map is in the middle of Japan. I think we’re talking Ninjas here. :smiley:

Think! Who’s more likely to need a strategic map of Ninja country?