GAIHOZU Map Digital Archive

About Gaihozu *

1) The origin of Gaihozu

Gaihozu are the maps,mostly general topographic maps, of areas outside the former Japanese territories by the end of the Pacific War in 1945 (namely, Gaiho) which the Land Survey Department of the General Staff Headquarters, the former Japanese Army, produced and reproduced, and are predominantly of scales ranging from 1:25,000 to 1:500,000. Their production dates back to 1888 before the Sino Japanese War outbreak, and their geographical coverage stretches to Alaska northward, areas of U.S. mainland eastward, Australia southward, and westward to parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, including an isolated case of Madagascar. Small-scale compiled maps by continent were also produced. Gaihozu include those maps which were overtly surveyed and drawn by Japanese surveying squads (as was the case in militarily occupied territories), those which were produced by surveyors and intelligence officers of the Japanese army, who were dispatched by sealed order, in a secret manner (for instance, in disputed areas), and those which were reproduced from topographic maps drawn by land survey departments of other countries; most of Gaihozu were of the high degree of secrecy based on military concern, and very few official records exist as for the production processes. Moreover, most maps created in this way were strictly controlled with classification such as a “secret”, a “military secret”, and a “military top secret”. The strictness of the control over the total number of map sheets was such that it is said that it was not the situation of using these maps for actual campaign in front lines, although a considerable number of sheets were used for military exercises.
     Such a manner of usage left a huge number of Gaihozu intact at the time of Japan’s military defeat in 1945. These maps were doomed to requisition by the allied forces, and it was expected that they should be disposed on a large scale beyond the reach of the occupation forces. However, most Gaihozu, produced in the above mentioned circumstances, have high values in terms of scientific research and education, as well as other non-military purposes, being as straightforward records of the land surface and landscape in the end of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century. Therefore, some scholars, who feared scatter and loss of Gaihozu, tried their emergency evacuation. As long as the writer acknowledges, they were scholars such as Tanakadate Shuzo, who held a professorship of geography, founded de facto in April, 1945, at the Faculty of Science, Tohoku University, and Tada Fumio, who was an assistant professor of the Institute of Geography at the University of Tokyo and served as a researcher at the Research Institute for Natural Resources, Tokyo. In addition, it appears that a considerable amount of maps were carried out from the spot of incineration disposal.
     Tanakadate and others visited the General Staff Headquarters at Ichigaya, Tokyo, in September, 1945, immediately before the stationing of the allied forces, and, with their permission, carried out emergency arrangement of a large number of Gaihozu and domestic topographic maps, and removed them from the General Staff Headquarters and their detached office which existed at the Meiji University basement at Kanda, Tokyo. Emeritus Professors of the Tokyo Metropolitan University, Nakano Tadamasa, and of Hosei University, Mitsui Kazuo, both of whom were then researchers at the Research Institute for Natural Resources, were engaged in conveyance of the maps to the institute which was near the Shin-okubo railway station. From around 1960, the maps moved there were arranged mainly by the former Professor of the Ochanomizu University, Asai Tatsuro, who was a researcher at this research institute at that time, and were distributed to about 80 places, such as the Kyoto University, the Rikkyo University, the Hiroshima University, the University of Tokyo, the University of Ruhr, the University of Tsukuba, the Kumamoto University, and the Ochanomizu University.
     The emergency arrangement and conveyance preparation to the Tohoku University were led by Doi Kikukazu (Professor at the Shizuoka University, deceased), the then informally designated assistant lecturer at the Tohoku University, with the then students including Okamoto Jiro (Emeritus Professor at the Hokkaido University of Education), and Fukui Hideo (the then future professor of the Tohoku University, deceased), and Mita Ryoichi (an officer at Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, the Japan Coast Guard, who met with the fatal eruption of the Myojin-sho submarine volcano in 1952) among others, and Gaihozu were carried to Tohoku University in Sendai by a railroad freight car. The allied forces also carried out a lot of materials including Gaihozu immediately after requisition of the General Staff Headquarters, and it is said that the maps are now stored at the U.S. National Diet Library, Clark University, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and so forth.

2) The Tohoku University’s possession of the Gaihozu

Among the about 10,000 maps (approximately 100,000 sheets) carried into the Faculty of Science, the Tohoku University, situated at Katahira-cho at that time, a part of domestic topographic maps were put in order immediately after their transfer, and they were used for education and research in geography. However, it is said that a hesitant atmosphere prevailed where Gaihozu were treated in a rather covert manner probably in coincidence with the occupation by the allied forces, and the maps went from one store to another within the university campus following relocation of the Institute of Geography, which made it difficult to give sufficient room for arrangement and cataloguing. The persons who were then related to the Institute and those concerned in academic societies based at adjuscent institutions recall that a part of Gaihozu were used as wrapping paper, which was scarce at that time, for dispatch of society periodicals, if the number of available sheets for the same map was many.
     Following the 1994 decision to construct the Museum of Natural History at the Faculty of Science, a pending question for years, Gaihozu were arranged and classified on a full scale by the whole staff and students of the Institute of Geography. It turned out that the Tohoku University collection includes no maps of the U.S. mainland areas, which are thought to be part of the geographical coverage of Gaihozu, and that many maps are of China, India, Burma, and Indonesia with some missing maps. The Museum, opened at the Faculty site in Aobayama in October, 1995, systematically accommodates the inventoried Gaihozu, and 15 sheets were selected for open permanent exhibition, which were of Mount Agung in Bali, Imphal, Kwangtung, and Pearl Harbor in Honolulu among others. Fifty years have passed since the maps were carried out of the General Staff Headquarters. The Institute of Geography then donated approximately 10,000 and 8,000 sheets of the original maps (if relatively many sheets were available for one map) and their photocopied versions (if only a few original remained) to the Geographical Survey Institute under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, and the Gifu Prefectural Library respectively at their request, on condition of wide opening of the collection to the general public. Gaihozu transfered to the Gifu Prefectural Library are exhibited at its World Distribution Map Center, and the writer learns that the institution attracts many users. The Institute of Geography also exchanged maps of China with the Department of Geography, Graduate School of Letters, Kyoto University, which accommodates a huge collection of Gaihozu, and the two institutions supplemented each other the original and photocopied versions which one institution missed.
     These donation and exchange resulted in the increase in the number of maps to about 12,000 and the decrease in the total number of map sheets to approximately 72,000. Although small part of this collection consist of topographic maps of the former Japanese territories (South Saghalien, Korea, Taiwan and others) as well as domestic ones (with illustration of fortified zones), hydrographic charts and small-scale compiled maps, and are therefore excluded from the category of Gaihozu, these maps are also among those which were transfered from the General Staff Headquarters in September, 1945.


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* The information on this website is an extracted and translated version of the article in Japanese by Tamura Toshikazu, Emeritus Professor at the Institute of Geography, Graduate School of Science, Tohoku University (2000: Gaihozu in the possession of the Museum of Natural History, the Faculty of Science, the Tohoku University. Chizu Jyoho, Vol. 20, No.3, 7-10). The literature referenced in the original article are all in Japanese.

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