Landscapes of the Unfamiliar: Tani Motokatsu and His Journey to Ezo in 1799

Wednesday, March 9 2016 3:00 pm

American Geographical Society Library
UWM Library, 3rd Floor
2311 E Hartford Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53211

Nobuko Toyosawa, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of East Asian Languages and Literature, University of Chicago.

Tani Motokatsu was employed as a sketch artist along with some eight hundred fellow expeditioners on a shogunate-sponsored trip to Ezo (present day Hokkaido, Japan) in 1799. Motokatsu’s detailed record of the 200-day journey included hundreds of illustrations ranging from Ezo’s magnificent scenery to its local furnishings. This paper explores how a commissioned artist of the Tokugawa shogunate turned to conventional frames of reference when dealing with unfamiliar spaces both figurative and literal.