UCHIDA, Masao (1838 - 1876)
Yochi shiryaku [Outlines of World Geography or a Short Description of the World]
輿地誌略内田正雄著 初編/二編・明治3 年刊 三編・明治8 年刊 四編・明治13 年刊 銅板絵図入 4 篇13 冊.
Tokyo : Uchida Masayoshi zoban, 1870 – 1880. Four books, totalling thirteen volumes (complete), Vol.1 & 2 : Meiji 3 (1870); Vol. 3 : Meiji 8 (1875); Vol. 4 : Meiji 13 (1880). Octavo (253 x 178 mm), thirteen volumes, paper wrappers with title labels stringbound in the Japanese manner, printed woodblock with copperplate and lithograph illustrations, on folded rice-paper, a few waterstains, a good, complete set of this important encyclopaedia.
Uchida Masao (1838-1876) graduated from the Nagasaki naval school and was sent to Europe by the Tokugawa shogunate, where he studied Western culture and technology in The Netherlands from 1862 – 1867. Uchida was part of a Bakufu “student” group that visited America on his way back from Europe, returning to Japan with oil paintings, photographic albums, and hundreds of pictorial natural history images. Based upon the sources he collected on his travels, “Uchida began to compile the Yochi Shiryaku in 1870, a thirteen-volume of encyclopedia of world geography. Its success was primarily due to the huge number of illustrations that Uchida called “shashin (photography),” the images copied from the Western photographic albums and traveling magazines.” (Paper delivered to the “Association of Asian Studies,” Chicago, March 26-29, 2009). Uchida died during production of the encyclopedia and the final volumes were completed by his colleague in the Ministry of Education Shigeki Nishimura, based on the manuscripts left in Uchida’s will.
The volume on Australia and the Pacific region includes a folding map of Oceania, and numerous illustrations including a view of Melbourne’s Sandridge Pier; a view of Sydney from the North Shore; an Aboriginal corroboree; portraits of Murray River Aborigines; a kangaroo hunt, smaller depictions of a platypus and a kangaroo, and a Maori war canoe.
The only complete set of Uchida’s encyclopaedia in Australian collections is held in the National Library of Australia; AIATSIS Research Library also holds a copy of the twelfth volume (with Australian content).