Colton's Japan: Nippon, Kiusiu, Sikok, Yesso and the Japanese Kuriles


J.H. Colton & Company was founded in New York City, most likely in 1831, by Joseph Hutchins Colton, a Massachusetts native who had only a basic education and little or no formal training in geography or cartography. Colton built the firm into a major publisher of maps and atlases by purchasing the copyrights to other maps and re-publishing them. Most of the Colton maps were of individual states or groups of states in the United States, but some were of other countries. This 1855 map of Japan is attributed to George Woolworth Colton, Colton’s eldest son who also was active in the firm. As seen in this example, virtually all Colton maps were framed in decorative borders of intertwining vines, flowers, or geometric shapes. The map was published in the year following the conclusion of the 1854 Treaty of Kanagawa between Japan and the United States, Japan’s first treaty with a Western nation.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

J.H. Colton & Company, New York


Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map : color ; 29 x 36 centimeters

Last updated: January 7, 2014