Haiguo tuzhi

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  • Author: Wei Yuan
  • Published: 1844-1852
  • Chinese/Japanese: 海国図志 (Hǎiguó túzhì / kaikoku zushi)

Hǎiguó túzhì was a book on maritime countries of the world by Wei Yuan, published originally in 1844 and later expanded. Though the Nagasaki authorities attempted to prevent the book from getting into Japan, it came to be widely distributed among both officials and commoners.

Based on the writings of Lin Zexu, it was originally published in fifty volumes (or fascicles) in 1844, then republished in sixty fascicles in 1849, and expanded to a hundred-fascicle version in 1852.

Three sets of the work entered Nagasaki on a Chinese ship in 1851, and were caught by the chief censor, Mukai Geki. Sensing the book might be a "dangerous" text worthy of censorship, he informed his superiors and awaited their reply; however, in the meantime, at least one of the sets came into the hands of the rôjû Makino Tadamasa, and before long, two other rôjû had copies as well. Another fifteen sets made their way into the country two years later, with seven being bought up by high-ranking shogunate officials, and eight going onto the open market. Some sections, including those discussing the United States, were soon (in 1854)[1] popularly republished and widely distributed, amidst the excitement and concerns surrounding the arrival of Commodore Perry's "black ships."


  • Marius Jansen, China in the Tokugawa World, Harvard University Press (1992), 74-75.
  1. William Steele, "Goemon's New World View: Popular Representations of the Opening of Japan," Ajia bunka kenkyû 17 (1989), 75.