Rare ethnographic map promoting “ Pan-Turanism ”

Author, S. Kitagawa / Drawer [sic], R. Kato, TSURAN MINZOKU BUNPU CHIZU : ETHNOGRAPHIAL CARD OF TURANIANS (URALO-ALTANIANS). Budapest: Royal Hungarian Military Cartographic Institute, 1943.
Lithograph printed in colors, printed area 19”h x 29 ¼”w at greatest extent plus generous margins. Bit of spotting in margins, but excellent.

A provocative and very rare persuasive map of Eurasia promoting the concept of Pan-Turanism by asserting ancestral connections between the Hungarian and Japanese peoples.

This remarkable map colorfully showcases the then-current theory that the Japanese, Hungarian and other “Turanian” peoples are ancestrally related. Pan-Turanism flourished between the World Wars and sought to forge connections between European Finno-Urgic peoples (i.e., Finns and Hungarians) and Japan, then Asia’s most economically and technologically advanced society. Beyond being an interesting ethnographic project, in Japan Pan-Turanism had strong, controversial political undertones, as it was seen as providing historical and moral justification for the country’s expansion into Continental Asia and its membership in the Axis alliance, which included Hungary and, informally, Finland.

The map was developed in 1933 by Kitagawa Shikazo, a leading Japanese Turanian activist, where it seems to have been published by the Japan Turanian Association. At some point, Kitagawa must have sent his compatriots in Hungary a copy, for it was re-printed there in Budapest in 1943, on the order of the Hungarian Turanian Society. As a mark of the government’s support for the project, it was printed by the Royal Hungarian Military Cartographic Institute (“M. Kir. Honvéd Térképészeti Intézet”), whose imprint is located in the lower-left corner, and whose seal is featured in the lower-right corner.  The map was apparently issued in a print run of 500 examples but is today extremely rare, for reasons to be explained below.

The map encompasses all of Eurasia and gives place names and other labels in both English and Japanese. Color-coding is used to delineate the territories of five ethnic groups and their various subdivisions, all of which the Turanian movement claimed were ancestrally related.  These five groups were the “Finno-Ugrians” (encompassing among others the Magyars, or Hungarians), “Samoyeds,” “Turko-Tatars,” “Mongolians,” and “Tunguses” (including the Japanese). While the ethic divisions presented are predicated upon relatively advanced accurate ethnographic mapping, the conclusions the Turanians drew from the depiction were often creative, if not wildly fanciful. That said, the Turanian movement enjoyed very strong high-level support in both Japan and Hungary from the 1920s until the end of World War II.

While the map must have been received with great fascination in Budapest, its heyday was short lived. In the wake of the Second World War, the new Hungarian Communist regime suppressed the Turanian movement and its publications. Meanwhile in Japan the America-backed post-war regime discouraged Turanism and it publications. Beyond that, much of Turanian ethnology has been definitively disproven by more recent researchers.

The survival rate of large separately-issued maps is not very high in the best of circumstances; however, war and the fact that this map was banned would have ensured that the extreme majority of the original examples were destroyed, either by accident or intent.

Rumsey #13409. As of May 2020, OCLC records either 5 or 6 institutional holdings (with Harvard holding 1 or 2). Background from Sinan Levent, “Common Asianist Intellectual History in Turkey and Japan: Turanism,” Central Asian Survey, vol. 35, no. 1 (2016), pp. 121–135. Not in Persuasive Cartography: The PJ Mode Collection.