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Map collections and resources: Gaihozu: Japanese imperial

This library guide will introduce you to Stanford Libraries map collections, services, and related resources.

Gaihozu: Japanese Imperial maps


Stanford University Libraries holds a large collection of Japanese military and imperial maps, referred to as gaihozu, or "maps of outer lands." These maps were produced starting in the early Meiji (1868-1912) era and the end of World War II by the Land Survey Department of the General Staff Headquarters, the former Japanese Army.  The first charge was to map specific territories beyond Japan's borders.  Over time the mapping efforts grew to including "mapping of interimperial boundaries, cadastral surveys of the colonies, and detailed drawings of strategic cities and fortifications."  Geographically the Stanford maps cover a broad area including Japan, China, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, the Philippines, and beyond.  


The Library is in the process of scanning and making available all of the maps in the collection.  In order to quickly assess what we hold for each region, we have created an ArcGIS online interface to access each set.  This portal allows you to search for the maps geographically through an index and then download the images at multiple resolutions.  This guide provides access to the indexes, details the history of how the maps came to Stanford, and provides resources for further information about this corpus of material.

Thanks to Christopher Thiry at the Colorado School of Mines for his initial work on the shared index map project.

You can browse the entire cataloged collection in SearchWorks. The collection holds over 120 different sets, which will be released through the index viewer as the indexes are created.  

Digital Index

The maps in the collection are best found by using our digital index to locate the region and specific map of interest.  Indices have been created for each map set in the corpus.

Distribution of the Maps

Maps were distributed to libraries in the United States through the Army Map Service and the Library of Congress's Map Depository Program.  Maps also came to Stanford directly from the Hoover Institute Tokyo Office in 1947 as part of the Wright Project.  Dr. Shigeru Kobayashi has written a detailed text in Japanese about these maps entitled, Gaihozu: Teikoku Nihon no Ajia chizu. Dr. Kobayashi paper presented at the Stanford Symposium gives a detailed history of the maps in English entitled, Japanese Mapping of Asia-Pacific Areas, 1873-1945: An Overview.

List of known libraries that hold Japanese military and colonial maps produced up to the end of World War II:

Academia Sinica, Taiwan San Diego Public Library
California Academy of Sciences Southern Methodist University
Carleton College Stanford University
Claremont College Tohoku University, Japan
Clark University University of Arkansas
Cleveland Public Library University of California, Berkeley
Gifu Prefectural Library, Japan University of Chicago
Harvard University University of Colorado
Kyoto University, Japan University of Georgia
Library of Congress University of Hawaii, Manoa
Louisiana State University University of Illinois
National Geographic Society University of Iowa
National Library of Australia University of Michigan
New York Public Library University of New Mexico
Northwestern University University of Oklahoma
Oberlin College University of Pittsburgh
Ochanomizu University, Japan University of Texas
Oklahoma State Library University of Washington
Oregon State University University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, American Geographical Society Library
Osaka University, Japan Washington State University
Princeton University

Yale University


Numerous resources have been created in both print and electronic form to aid researchers in the use of the maps.  Many of them are in Japanese.  Below you'll find books, web resources, and conference proceedings related to the collection: