EARLY JAPANESE TRADE VOLUME, 1708
NISHIKAWA, Joken. Zouho Kai Tsuushoukou [Commerce with China and with Barbarian Countries, Revised and Expanded]. No place, no publisher, . Five volumes bound as one. Octavo, 19th century three-quarter red morocco, original paper wrappers bound in. $9800.
First edition of this early description of Japanese knowledge of the West, illustrated with some of the earliest Japanese images of Indians, the Dutch, Western ships, a map of the known world including the Americas (with California labeled as both an island and part of the continent), and a detailed map of China.
Geographer, astronomer, and interpreter Nishikawa was a prolific writer in late 17th and early 18th century Japan, specializing in works about non-Japanese countries, and was very popular amongst traders and merchants. At the time this book was written, Japan was closed to foreigners by order of the Shogun, with the exception of two islands in Nagasaki harbor. Being from Nagasaki, Nishikawa had access to information about the non-Japanese world, and it was from his texts that many in Japan gained their chief knowledge of other countries. His works feature, for example, the earliest Japanese depictions of Westerners and Native Americans. This particular text is notable for containing the first Japanese account of Arabs, Islam, and the Ottoman Empire. It has early Japanese maps of both the world and Asia, each map measuring 10x8-1/2 inches. Volumes I and II deal with China, Volume III with Korea, the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Taiwan, and other islands in the vicinity, and Volumes IV and V deal with Europe and the rest of the world, and include lists of products traded with each nation. In 1695, Nishikawa came out with a two volume text, Joken. Kai Tsuushoukou, which proved so popular that in 1708 he came out with this, a greatly expanded text, to which he added the word “Zouho” [“Revised and Expanded”]. OCLC lists only a few copies in the United States [Yale, Brigham Young, U. Minnesota]. Text in Japanese, with okurigana.
Some wormholes to margins, not affecting text or pictures. English descriptions in pencil for several illustrations. A near-fine copy of a rare Japanese work.