Japan in 37 historical maps
The official name of Japan is Nippon (or Nihon) meaning the "Land of the Rising Sun". This name comes from Imperial correspondence with the Chinese Sui Dynasty and refers to Japan's eastward position relative to China. The old Malay word for Japan, Jepang (modern spelling Jepun), was borrowed from a Chinese language. On the first separately printed map of Japan (Teixeira/Ortelius, 1595) the Latinized name Iaponia appeared. Various other names for Japan were used on earlier maps. On some 16th century (world) maps, based on Ptolemy’s ideas, the name Zipangri was used. The famous large wall map of Waldseemuller (1507) is one of the first world maps on which the island of Japan is clearly depicted. It appears at the upper right corner of the map. The history of the city Tokyo goes back to a settlement and fortress called (J)edo in 1456. In 1868 the name was changed in Tokyo, which became the capital of the country. NOTE: Until the midst of the 19th century the island of Hokkaido was mostly only partly depicted - or even absent - on maps of Japan.