This map of Japan was first
published in the 1595 edition of Abraham Orteliusí Theatrum Orbis
Terrarum. Ortelius had received it along with a map of China in a
letter of 20 February 1592 from the Portuguese Jesuit and
mathematician Luis (Lodovico) Teixeira, who was the cartographer to
the court of the Spanish king. Teixeira had not been to Japan or Asia
himself. He informed Ortelius in the letter which accompanied the map
that he had received the map and copied it without alteration. The
actual author clearly had knowledge of Japanese sources.
The map rapidly became the
model for other European cartographers. Although it does not show in
the portion of the map on the stamp Teixeira omitted the island of Ezo
(called Hokkaido now), and drew Korea as an island.
The stamp was issued to celebrate the Import Fair held
in Nagoya in 1985. The use of a Portuguese map recalls the fact that
the Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach Japan and begin
trading with her. Most of the physical and cultural detail of the
original has been omitted, but the map is a gem, nevertheless.