The "Fake Map" Part of the Story
And, of course, there is a map story that figures into the history of the Ogasawara Islands. Even more interestingly, it is a “fake” map story. The Japanese did not “discover” the Ogasawaras until 1670, when a merchant ship was blown off-course and drifted there. Five years later the islands were officially explored and declared as a Japanese territory, although they were more or less abandoned by the Japanese for the next 180 years. In 1727, a masterless samurai named Ogasawara Kunai Sadatou made a petition to the feudal government for passage to the islands on the claim that he had an ancestor called Ogasawara Sadayori, who supposedly had discovered the deserted islands in 1593. Sadatou recorded some baseless fantasies in his Tatsumi Bunin Tou Sojou narabi ni Koujou Tomegaki (“Dictated Petition for the Deserted Islands to the Southeast”), which he submitted to the magistrate’s office, in addition to some fake maps and other falsified documents. His description of the islands’ dimensions is particularly fanciful, making it appear as though Chichi-jima was as large as Taiwan. The island’s shapes were also drawn wrong, and he located them incorrectly, placing the position of Chichi Jima “at a point where the North Star is somewhat greater than 32 and one half degrees up from the ground,” which is the wrong latitude altogether. Additionally, he claimed there was gold dust for the taking, and fur seals swimming in the warm seas around the islands, neither of which is true.
- Takashi Ohbayashi, Isamu Okochi, Hiroki Sato; Tsuyoshi Ono; Satoshi Chiba: Rapid decline of endemic snails in the Ogasawara Islands, Western Pacific Ocean. Restoring the Oceanic Island Ecosystem, Part 2: 27-33. 2010
But the real problem for me, vis-á-vis this post title, started when I looked at the geography of the two sets of islands from the perspective of the Pacific Ocean. The Galapagos, not the Ogasawara Islands, were in the east! And the Ogasawaras were decidedly in the western part of the ocean. But “the Galapagos of the Western Pacific” seemed too confusing (and uninteresting), so I stuck with “the Galapagos of the East.” Please excuse the geographical inaccuracy of the post title. I guess we can think of it as the geographical equivalent of poetic license.
Oh, and as a coda to my interest in where my blog viewers hail from, today I "captured" viewers from THREE new countries! This is rare, to get three new countries in one day, especially since there are only a handful of countries remaining "uncaptured." (c'mon, Vatican City, Antarctica, Chad, Tajikistan, and East Timor!) Three new viewers have appeared, one from Barrigada, GUAM; one from Longdenville, ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES; and one from Ouagadougou, BURKINA FASO. Wonderful! Have to update my map now!