Manuscript on paper entitled on upper wrapper “Ukiodaiba onuttae no ichijo utsushi” [“Copy of an application to construct a floating defensive island”], with two fine double-page brush and colors illus. of the floating odaiba.

Seven folding leaves. 8vo (248 x 171 mm.), orig. self-wrappers (minor worming), stitched as issued. “January 1858 in Sugamo onkagocho [Edo] by Naojiro.”

Odaiba are defensive artificial or floating islands constructed for defensive purposes. Following Perry’s first arrival in Edo Bay, the Tokugawa shogunate was thrown into great confusion. Not having a navy, the shogunate decided to build a series of odaiba (artificial islands with cannon batteries) to defend the bay. Engineers also conceived of floating odaiba that could be maneuvered.

This manuscript is an application addressed to the bugyo (senior government commissioners) requesting to construct such floating odaiba. In the beginning of the manuscript, the author states that because of the fear of further visits by foreigners, there was a need to construct these floating odaiba as an economical and effective defensive measure.

The two finely rendered double-page illustrations in black, gray, and blue offer several views of the floating odaiba, which have large rolls of reeds on each side serving as stabilizers. The odaiba itself is constructed with metal and wood and could hold two cannons and fifteen people. There are descriptions in red ink providing dimensions and descriptions of each part of the odaiba.

These floating odaiba were designed to quietly approach enemy ships for nighttime attacks. This application is signed by several local leaders of Sugamo onkagocho.

Apart from the worming, which touches a bit of each image, with trivial loss, in fine condition.

Price: $2,750.00

Item ID: 6521

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