Shin Tôto Saijiki - The Annual Shrine and Festival Visits of Saitô Gesshin
A Digital Project by Koray Birenheide (B.A.), 2021
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Michael Kinski, Goethe University Frankfurt
As part of a MA course hosted by Prof. Dr. Michael Kinski during the winter term 2017/18, students conducted research on old picture maps (ezu
) of Edo and Kyôto. Using the experience gained during this course, I completed a term paper called "Shin Tôto Saijiki - Creating a digitally augmented Edo ezu showing the annual events and shrine visits of Saitô Gesshin during the Edo Period" in 2020, which was accompanied by this digitally enhanced map utilizing DemiScript software.
This digital project incorporates both that digitally enhanced map and findings from my term paper to provide the viewer with rich, visual insights into the annual travels across the city of Edo by Kanda ward representitive Saitô Gesshin (1804-1878).
The Bunken Edo oezu : kan / Fusai Mori. Ansei 5
map was published in 1858 by Suwaraya Mohê and created by Mori Fusai and Suwaraya Mohê . The digital version shown here is hosted by the East Asian Library - University of California, Berkely, and presented by utilizing the corresponding IIIF-Manifest from their Japanese Historical Maps collection.
Digital Bunken Edo ezu
|White Overlay Slider:
|Map Rotation Slider:
|Guided Tour (月 = "Month")
How to Use
Welcome to DemiScript!
You have the following options available when browsing the interactive Bunken Edo oezu:
- The center left area is the interactive map.
- The center right area is the article and image document area.
- Located above the map are the overlay and rotation sliders. As well as the guided tour.
- Located below the map is the map key.
- When hovering over the map, a navigation bar appears on the top left.
- When hovering over the map, a small full view appears on the top right.
- Selecting a month in the top right guided tour bar and clicking on the right arrow starts the tour. This feature will jump from location to location on the map, loading the corresponding articles, showing the annual vists of Saitô Gesshin during a given month.
- Clicking on the map, pressing the "+" key, or clicking on the plus sign on the navigation bar will zoom into an area.
- Pressing the "-" key, or clicking the minus sign on the navigation bar will zoom out again.
- The "+" and "-" keys can be held down to continually zoom in or out.
- The mouse wheel can also be used to zoom in or out.
- Clicking and holding the left mouse button down allows the dragging around of the map.
- Using the arrow keys likewise moves the map around.
- Clicking on the rotation buttons in the navigation bar will rotate the map 90°.
- Clicking the home icon in the navigation bar will return the zoom level to default.
- Clicking the full-screen icon in the navigation bar will open the map in full-screen mode.
- Moving the overlay slider above the map to the left will make the overlay between map and map objects more transparent and hide all objects when set to 0. Note: turning opacity up will make it easier to spot marked locations.
- Moving the rotation slider above the map will rotate the map freely.
- Famous locations have been marked on the map with colored polygons.
- Clicking on a polygon will replace this view with zoomable woodblock print images of the location as well as descriptive articles.
- Zoomable images in the article and image document area use the same controls as the map.
- Horizontal viewing is recommended but not strictly necessary.
- Gestures can be used to navigate the map and zoomable images.
- Touching locations will open articles and image documents.
- Touching the map or zoomable images with two fingers and then pinching them together or moving them apart will change the zoom level
- Label: Bunken Edo oezu.
- Attribution: Japanese Historical Maps
- Author: Mori, Fusai; Subaraya, Mohe
- Date: 1858
- Publisher: Edo : Suharaya Mohe
- Type: Case Map
- Object Height in cm: 179
- Object Width in cm: 198
- Full Title: Bunken Edo oezu : kan / Fusai Mori. Ansei 5 
- Note: Mounted cover title. Wood block print. In Japanese. Oriented with north to the right. Shows land tenures of daimyo and hatamoto, with some crests. Shows main temples and shrines pictorially. Includes distance chart, lists of tides, flower calendar and legend. Based on maps by Ochikochi Doin and Kanamaru Hikogoro. In color. Folded in cover 32 x 22 cm. East Asian Library call number: Ea173.
- IIIF Manifest: https://japanmaps.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/iiif/m/RUMSEY~9~1~22878~90030192/manifest
The following color key applies to overlay objects, not the map colors themselves.
- █ Residence, castle, or mansion
- █ Shrine, temple, or other religious site
- █ Bridge, crossing, or ferry
- █ Entertainment district or shopping street
- █ City ward or neighborhood
Edo at this time  covered 44 square kilometers (17 square miles), making it more than twice the size of Japan’s second-biggest city, Kyoto. By 1725, it had become half as big again, while its population, at more than a million, was the largest of any city in the world. By the mid-19th century, when the One Hundred Famous Views of Edo appeared, it had an area of almost 80 square kilometers (30 square miles) and an estimated population of two million. (Trede 2010:12)
The aim of this project was the creation of a digitally enhanced picture map (ezu
絵図) of Edo, utilizing DemiScript software, the Bunken Edo oezu
(Mori Fusai and Suwaraya Mohê 1858), and woodblock prints of famous locations in Edo.
During the data collection for an Edo period map of Edo city over the course of the winter term 2017/18, I have had the privilege of being afforded a closer look at the many institutions, social strata, and contemporary circumstances that come together to form the culture of a city with the specific example of Edo during the Edo period.
In trying to pinpoint the aspects of city life during the Edo period, the course was tasked to discover how the availability and location of resources, water ways, city structure and design, religion, leisure activities, and tourism deeply affected and defined the life of contemporary citizens.
This paper will utilize methods of historical research and digital humanities to augment insights provided into the daily lives of Edo citizens through the works of Saitô Gesshin by documenting an accompanying map augmentation project. Specifically, it will focus on the annual events attended by Gesshin.
The festivals, days of worship, and pilgrimages covered will be limited to those highlighted by Nishiyama Matsunosuke in Life in Edo Period Japan
(Nishiyama 1997), whose research relies heavily on Saitô Gesshin’s Edo meisho zue
, his journal, and the Tôto saijiki
. The bulk of this project consists of the localization of these places on the Bunken Edo oezu
utilizing DemiScript software. The locations on the interactive map have been paired with corresponding woodblock prints and short descriptions and have been sequenced in a guided tour to allow viewers a more seamless, in-depth, and, above all, spatially oriented, glimpse into the religious rites of an Edo citizen in the 19th century.
The paper itself will focus on documenting the aforementioned project and describe the methods used for localizing these places on a map, present the results of the project via screenshots and commentary, and provide additional background information on the subject-matter.
About Saitô Gesshin
Saitô Gesshin’s residence was located in Saegi-chô, today’s Kanda Tsukasa machi 2-chôme
The neighborhood of Saegi-chô was consolidated into Kanda Tsukasa machi 2-chôme
in 1935 after the Kanto earthquake in 1933 together with five other neighborhoods. Marked on the linked map sectionis only the Saegi-chô area of the modern Kanda Tsukasa machi 2-chôme.
The localization of Saitô Gesshin’s residence was made possible thanks to a memorial stone placed at its former location, which could be found on Google Maps. To provide a brief summary of Gesshin's character and history, the following will be a translation of the engraved plaque of that memorial (see Ill. 1b).
Illustration 1b, Saitô Residence Memorial Plaque
The more extensive Japanese engraving on the plaque reads, regarding Saitô Gesshin:
Saitô Gesshin was born in this town (Kanda Tsukasa machi 2-chôme) during the Bunka era (in 1804). For generations, the Saitô family [passed down the title of] village head, ruling the six Kanda neighborhoods of Kiji-chô, Mikawa-chô 2-chôme and its back-alleys, Mikawa-chô 4-chôme and its back-alleys, and Shiken-chô. At the age of 15, he became the 9th heir and took on the name Ichizaemon, his former name being Yukishige. In addition to completing the “Edo meishô zue” handed down by his grandfather Yukio and his father Yukitaka, he left behind the “Tôto saijiki”, the “Bukônenpyô”, and countless other books that are essential works in the study of Edo citizenry even today. He was a cultured representative of Edo and the pride of Kanda. He slipped into eternal slumber on the 6th of March, 1878 (Meiji 11) at the age of 75. For generations, [the Saitô family] have been entombed at the Hôzenji in Higashiueno.
The Lunisolar Calendar
The dates of annual events and trips outlined by Saitô Gesshin in his various works are presented according to the at his time current luni-solar calendar, improved versions of which were imported from China until Japan switched to using its own calculations beginning in 1755 during the Edo period. It was replaced by the Julian calendar in 1872 and the Gregorian calendar in 1898. This luni-solar calendar followed the twelve lunar cycles, beginning with the new moon each month, and the solar year, following one orbit of the earth around the sun. The resulting discrepancies led to the introduction of long and short months and other buffers centered around the winter solstice, and regular recalculations had to be undertaken to keep the calendar in line with seasonal cycles. In general, the winter solstice was supposed to occur during the eleventh month and the new year would fall on the second or third month after the winter solstice, depending on whether a leap month occurred after the eleventh or twelfth month. (Zöllner 2003:7-9)
The winter solstice, then, should be taken as a reference point for understanding the presented dates. It usually occurs on the 21st or 22nd of December on the northern hemisphere.
In Japanische Zeitrechnung, ein Handbuch, Reinhard Zöllner also notes that the Chinese twelve-fold cycle of animals, (jûnishi 十二支), comes into play when counting days and years, a fact, which is relevant for the presented dates. Certain annual celebrations and events Saitô Gesshin describes are linked to certain animal days. Zöllner explains that these day cycles followed a combination of the twelve animals and the five elements, the latter of which were doubled into a total of ten, a yin- and yang-version for each. Each combination of animal and element was passed through once every sixty days, regardless of the progression of the months. This means that dates such as “the first day of the rabbit of the first month” can fluctuate year by year by a margin of twelve days. (Zöllner 2003:7-9)
Development on the DemiScript software began in early 2017 and its planned and implemented features as a IIIF-viewer and transcription/annotation tool were outlined in the Bachelor thesis The Digital Edo Bunko (Birenheide 2018). Since then, its development as a DH tool for transcribing and annotating Japanese woodblock prints has continued and the software was further enhanced for the digital augmentation of pictures and maps for the Ritsumeikan University Arts Research Center funded Edo Period Map goes Digital
The following DemiScript features came into play for this project:
- Viewing the Bunken Edo oezu utilizing a IIIF-viewer for deep, seamless zooming and rotation.
- Creating polygon objects to demarcate locations on the map.
- Creating pin and label objects to further demarcate and describe said locations.
- Creating HTML-articles for said locations.
- Linking said articles to said locations.
- Creating guided tours that allow viewers to go from location to location in chronological order with the click of a button.
The integration of internal and external IIIF-documents via DemiScript allows for the attachment of woodblock prints showing the location, which have been, for the most part, taken from the digital archives of the Tokyo National Diet Library. Combining the on-document pins placed on the Bunken Edo oezu
with corresponding ukiyo-e
paintings and descriptions create a new, augmented experience for the viewer, allowing them to gain a better spatial understanding of the city of Edo and the various famous locations Saitô Gesshin visited over the course of the year.
Methods of Localizing Places
The main difficulty in this project was finding the locations listed by Nishiyama on the Bunken Edo oezu
. The task required a combination of multiple approaches, which will be outlined in the following section.
A) Searching Modern Maps
The first step in locating a location on the Bunken Edo oezu
was, for the most part, typing the location name into Google Maps. Since many of the locations visited by Gesshin were shrines and temples, the chances were generally good that they still stand in Tokyo to this day. Once a location or its neighborhood have been located on a modern map, method B), Localizing by Vicinity, comes into play. The three most recognizable landmarks initially utilized were Chiyoda Castle in the center of the Bunken Edo oezu
, The Sumida River to the east and to the north, and the coast to the south.
Additionally, a mixed approach of method A) and B) yielded promising results, using modern maps to delimit likely location areas or neighborhoods, then locating modern shrines, temples, bridges, and other landmarks, searching for their counter-parts on the Bunken Edo oezu
to triangulate the desired locations.
B) Localizing by Vicinity
While, on the blank map, the main reference points for locating places were the aforementioned Chiyoda Castle, Sumida River, and the coast, the discovery of key locations made the subsequent localizing of places easier and more accurate with each step.
Key landmarks and areas were, initially, the Sensô-ji, the surrounding neighborhood of Asakusa, the Kanda Myôjin Shrine, Atagoyama, and the Kan’ei-ji. Throughout the process, comparing modern map locations to their relative positions to these key locations and then translating those relative positions onto the Bunken Edo oezu
made it possible to find many of the described places with great accuracy.
To further enhance the search for various locations, additional landmarks discovered using method A) were demarcated on the Bunken Edo oezu
. These points are still on the finished map as there is no demerit to keeping them. Further research utilizing the project may benefit from already located landmarks even if they were not mentioned in Nishiyama’s chapter on annual events attended by Saitô Gesshin.
Illustration 2.2a shows how a combination of modern map localization and vicinity localization was applied to discover the approximate location of the Saitô Residence on the Bunken Edo oezu
Illustration 2.2a, Locating the Saitô Residence
As seen in this illustration, the localization of the Saitô Residence on a modern map of Tokyo was made possible thanks to the memorial marker mentioned in About Saitô Gesshin
. From there, a route to the Kanda Myôjin Shrine via the Shôhei Bridge was established and used as an approximation of the location on the Bunken Edo oezu
. Confirming the general area of Kanda Ward presented additional difficulties and required the arbitrary pinpointing of various Kanda neighborhoods, in this case Kanda Aioi-chô and Kanda Suda-chô. Using these, the Kanda Myôjin Shrine, and the Shôhei Bridge as reference points as well as the approximate location based on their relative positions on the modern map, it was possible to significantly limit the likely locations of Kanda Tsukasamachi 2-Chôme, within which the Saitô Residence was located. By researching the neighborhood names of the likely areas on the map, it became apparent that these were consolidated into various Kanda neighborhoods in 1933 after the great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, making Saegi-chô on the Bunken Edo oezu
the most likely location of the Saitô Residence. Even if this localization should be off by a neighborhood or two, the general area is almost certainly correct based on the aforementioned factors, meaning it is sufficient to fulfill the criteria of providing the viewer with a general insight into the streets, neighborhoods, and bridges Saitô Gesshin must have traversed to attend annual events across the city of Edo.
C) Utilizing Existing Localizations
A third method of finding places on the Bunken Edo oezu
was to use the existing localizations of the Tokyo National Diet Library project “The Landmarks of Edo in Color Woodblock Prints” (see Sources
). Utilizing sectioned maps, pins, and digitized woodblock prints of famous locations, this NDL project was a key resource in adding such prints and descriptions to the location articles. Likewise, the map of the Asakusa ward on the NDL-hosted Edo kiri ezu
(see Illustration 2.2b) was a key piece of information involved in demarcating the ward on the Bunken Edo oezu
Illustration 2.2a, Locating the Saitô Residence
Results and Conclusions
Using the described methods and the excerpts from the Tôto Seijiki, presented in Groemer’s translation, a total of 78 places were located on the Bunken Edo oezu, 37 of which were locations visited by Saitô Gesshin over the course of a year (the remaining 41 locations were marked on the map as pointers during the localizing process). To these 37 distinct locations, Gesshin undertook at least 62 separate visits.
Their corresponding polygon objects on the map have been fitted with a corresponding descriptive article, utilizing excerpts from the NDL “The Landmarks of Edo in Color Woodblock Prints” project, descriptions taken from Nishiyama’s Edo Culture, and the information presented on various shrine and travel websites where appropriate, though some locations share an article if it made sense to lump them together.
In addition, twelve guided tours have been created using the DemiScript tour feature, one for each month of the year, allowing viewers to be guided across the digital map from location to location in, where applicable, chronological order. This comprehensive, digitally augmented interactive map allows potential viewers to better understand the annual events attended by the Edo citizenry and provides an insight into the movements of Saitô Gesshin across the city of Edo that goes beyond Nishiyama’s descriptions, adding a spatial component to the information.
For example, the annual visits presented can quickly lend themselves to insights such as Gesshin’s propensity to visit locations in Asakusa, both for spiritual and entertainment purposes, providing potential hints about the significance of Asakusa as one of the central locations in Edo culture. Likewise, the detailed stations of Gesshin’s daytrip on the 8th day of the 10th month beginning in Kagurazaka, allow the viewer to trace, with some accuracy, the path he must have traveled from his home and across the neighborhoods to the west to conduct this family outing.
This evidence shows that the aim of this project to create a basis for such spatially oriented historical research has yielded some positive results.
Mori, Fusai and Suwaraya Mohê (1858): Bunken Edo oezu
. Edo: Suwaraya Mohê
Kageyama Muneyasu, [et al.]: Edo kiriezu.
(Edo : Owariya Seishichi, [1849-1862]) 28maps ;
Jansen, Marius B. (2000): The Making of Modern Japan.
Harvard University Press.
Kawata, Hisashi (1993): Edo Fûzoku. Tôtosaijiki wo yomu.
The City of Kyôto (1942): Kyôto kobijutsu nyûmon.
Nishiyama, Matsunosuke and Gerald Groemer (tr. and ed.) (1997): Edo Culture. Daily Life and Diversions in Urban Japan, 1600-1868.
University of Hawai’I Press.
[Not specified] (1800): Jishakeidai meibutsushô.
Unknown Publisher. (Note: From the NDL Digital Collection
Trede, Melanie and Lorenz Bichler (2010): Hiroshige. One Hundred Famous Views of Edo.
Zöllner, Reinhard (2003): Japanische Zeitrechnung, ein Handbuch.
(en.: Japanese Time Reckoning, a Handbook.) Iudicium Verlag GmbH München.
Chioda City Tourism Association Homepage.
(Last accessed: 07.12.20)
Chioda Heritage Homepage.
(Last accessed: 07.12.20)
(Last accessed: 07.12.20)
Hello Japan – Japan Travelguide.
(Last accessed: 07.12.20)
(Last accessed 25.01.21)
Tokyo National Diet Library: The Landmarks of Edo in Color Woodblock Prints.
(Last accessed: 07.12.20)
Tokyo National Diet Library: National Diet Library Digital Collections: Edo Kiriezu.
(Last accessed: 07.12.20)
Nippon Communications Foundation: Tokyo’s Little Mt. Fujis.
(Last accessed: 13.12.20)
Illustration 1b: 江戸村のとくぞう
(2018): Saitô Gesshin kyotaku ato.
(Last accessed 15.02.21)
Illustration 2.2a: Project and Google Maps Screenshots.
Illustration 2.2b: Project Screenshot.
This project was completed in 2021 and is entirely digital, meaning it can be edited or ammended at a later date. If you have questions, suggestions, or would like to point out a mistake in the paper or map project, you are welcome to contact the author at Kentai92[at]gmail.com.
©Koray Birenheide 2021