A Malleable Map: Geographies of Restoration in Central by Kären Wigen

By Kären Wigen

K?ren Wigen probes neighborhood cartography, choerography, and statecraft to redefine recovery (ishin) in glossy eastern heritage. As built the following, that time period designates now not the short coup d'?tat of 1868 yet a three-centuries-long venture of rehabilitating an historical map for contemporary reasons. Drawing on a variety of geographical records from Shinano (present-day Nagano Prefecture), Wigen argues that either the founding father of the Tokugawa Shogunate (1600-1868) and the reformers of the Meiji period (1868-1912) recruited the classical map to serve the reason for administrative reform. Nor have been they on my own; provincial males of letters performed an both serious function in bringing imperial geography again to existence within the nation-state. to verify those claims, Wigen strains the ongoing profession of the classical court's most crucial unit of governance--the province--in critical Honshu.

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Additional info for A Malleable Map: Geographies of Restoration in Central Japan, 1600-1912 (Asia: Local Studies Global Themes)

Example text

For a movement whose slogan was “Imperial Restoration” (Osei fukko or ishin),25 anything associated with the ancient imperium was to be revered; for a fledgling state facing resistance in the countryside, restoring an established geo-template might be the quickest way to secure compliance with central rule. 26 On the other hand, a simpleminded revival carried undeniable risks. One problem was the sheer multiplicity of meanings in popular use that had accreted around the RitsuryO terminology. 27 Given this ambiguity, relying on the ancient terminology might not be wise.

Owing partly to their classical pedigree and partly to the organic logic of their boundaries (which generally followed watershed contours), provinces long outlived the RitsuryO state, acquiring over time a life of their own. To the extent that the Meiji pioneers sought to restore an imperial regime, that geographical legacy had to be reckoned with one way or another. But what precisely did a kuni connote at the end of that millennium? ” By the sixteenth century civil governors had lost the power to raise revenue; under the Tokugawa shogunate (1603–1868), a kuni had no administrative staª at all.

Ancient precedent similarly inspired the local and regional reforms of the early Meiji years. In 1868 Japanese farmers inhabited some seventy thousand legally recognized settlements; within a decade and a half, that number had been slashed to twelve thousand. These newly merged villages and towns were herded into a spate of special-purpose districts, hastily concocted to carry out schooling, oversee road improvements, manage water, conduct censuses, collect taxes, regulate commerce, deliver mail, train soldiers, and police a restive populace.

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