Legend holds it that political refugee from Ming China and mentor of Lord Mitsukuni, Sui Shûshun, upon his visit of Matsuoka (Ibaraki City) said: “This place has something strange to it. It will bring forward a great man remembered by future generations”. One such great man is Sekisui Nagakubo, which is why the curriculum of Matsuoka elementary school once included a study trip to Sekisui’s grave. However, after the war this study trip was excluded from the curriculum and forgotten for a very long time. Only in recent years the importance of studying history is recognized and so there is a growing tendency among people interested in history to shine light on Sekisui once more.
On April 8th 1992 several people gathered at the residence of artist Yûichi Ôsaki to hold the first of many planning meetings, headed by the director of a dental clinic, Kenichi Wakamatsu.
On November 6th “The Memorial Society of Sekisui Nagakubo” was inaugurated at the Takamatsu Central Community Center. The calligraphy on the opening ceremony’s sign was handwritten by Sadayuki Kaminaga.
As expected 60 to 70 people attended. Currently the society counts 121 members.
Among the guests where Mayor Kiyoshi Ôkubo, city council chairman Shinichirô Shinohara and city school superintendent Mitsuru Ishii. Gengobee Nagakubo held a moving thank-you speech. In his opening speech organizer of the event and president, Yûki Ôsaki said: “Let’s move forward with a forward-looking attitude”.
Director Mitsuaki Ejiri told the audience: “Nothing will come out of this, if we simply lock all the materials away without presenting it to the public”. There was also talk about the relief for the poor by Sekisui’s family.
Biography of Sekisui NAGAKUBO
|Born into a farm household in Akabama village
|Death of his father. His younger brother and mother already died. Sekisui is brought up by his loving stepmother.
|Attends the school of Genjun Suzuki in the neighboring village at the age of 14 and befriends Heizô Shibata. At the age of 17-18 he studies under Nankaku Hattori in Edo for a short time.
|Studies under Nankei Nagoya of the Mito Domain. Taking the position of shôya of Kurinomura. Gets married to his second cousin the next year at the age of 23.
|Lectures of the Analects of Confucius at temple in Iwaki.
|Is commended by the Mito domain for his classical Chinese poems.
|Begins a journey to Tôhoku in July.
|Travels to Nagasaki in September. Exchanges classical Chinese poems with Chinese scholars.
|Is awarded the position of gôshi of the Mito domain for his academic work. Finishes his work on the first map of Japan.
|Travels to Kyôto and Oosaka to visit famous monks and scholars (Kenjô Daiten, Ritsuzan Shibano, Kien Minagawa and others). Writes tenshôkankishô in November of the same year.
|Rutsuzan Shibano’s foreword is added to the new map of the whole of Japan and the final version of it is published.
|Becomes the teacher of the feudal lord of the Mito domain. Begins to live in Mito domain’s estate in Edo-Koishigawa.
|Risks his life by pleading to his lord on behalf of poor peasants (nômin shikku). Abolition of saiatarame. First step towards agrarian reforms.
|Revised map of the whole of Japan gets published. According to Akira Baba it is estimated that this map was smuggled to the outside of Japan between 1780 and 1784.
|Daishinkôyozu (map of China) gets finished.
|kaisei chikyû bankoku zenzu (map of the whole world) gets finished.
|Retirement. Assignment of the Geographic Compilation for the Great History of Japan.
|Ôno farm is closed down due to Sekisui’s advise.
|Tôdo rekidai shûgun enkaku zu gets finished. It’s the first foldable historical map made in Japan.
|Starts to work on the Ezo no zu.
|Mito lord Harumori visits Sekisui at his old home in Akabama and is presented a classical Chinese poem. 2nd Edition of the Revised map of the whole of Japan gets finished.
|New Year 1792
|Finishes his work on raiki ôsei chirisetsuzu. Writes onmitsu heisaku sekisui rôheihô
|tôoku kikô tsuketari tan hokuetsu shichikiki and shinsa shôwashû gets published. His favorite student Mataichirô Takahashi writes shôdôkun (an introduction to the works of Sekisui). Also there is Jubutsunoben (year of origin unknown).
|Leaves Edo-Koishigawa and returns to the Mito domain. Gets his portrait drawn by Kyôsho Tachihara at the Suiken Tachihara residence. The caption is being written by Kenji Kimura.
|(Solar calendar 31.08) Sekisui dies. His funeral is held at the 25th.
Hopes and an earnest wish
Let’s build a national map museum!
Head of the The Memorial Society of Sekisui Nagakubo, Yuuichi Oosaki
In a recent wake of a historical map boom, many conferences are held and modern society rediscovers the importance of maps. Also, thanks to new satellite technology buried ruins are getting discovered.
Abroad there are many places with map museums (e.g. in the Vatican Museums, with its map gallery), but unfortunately none in Japan.
For 20 years now scholars from all over Japan are moving towards the establishment of a national map museum and voices inside the Science Council of Japan also call it. Many cities are coming forward that want to build such a museum.
Our society and scholars specializing in maps have taken Sekisui Nagakubo’s birthday as a chance to petition the city council to establish a committee to promote the construction of a national map museum and a Nagakubo Sekisui memorial museum.
Fortunately plans for land development between Akabama and Minaminakagou. We want to build a museum in the very center of that land which includes a Nagakubo Suiseki memorial museum. (Excerpt from the Societies’ newsletter “Hijichômoku” Nr. 9/1995)