Tuesday, May 13, 2008

what does this look like to you?

detail from a satirical map of the world, published in japan around 1911. it's supposed to depict the philippines but i can't make out exactly what it is.

anyone read kanji?

here's the whole map:

russia'a a big lazy bear, china's a pig, and so on... but what is the philippines?

it's driving me crazy.

via bibliodyssey


peacay said...

My own view is that the top red section is in 2 parts. The top bit - I have no clue: a shell perhaps? Underneath it is a seal with it's head facing down to the right. (I guess the top red bit could be the back left flipper of a very deformed seal. Heh.) Otherwise I thought the islands were bird skulls and bones.
*I spent about an hour pouring over the map just trying to work out the various creatures. I don't think it would help if the map was in front of me or if it had been digitised at 1200dpi. It's just not so precisely detailed in my view. So some things will never be known.*
Oh, by the way...I don't know kanji at all but my advisor said that all the place names were accurate, although not all of the transcriptions into english had been printed. So I presume it just says The Philippines.

kawso said...

Mukhang ibon yung Luzon at saka pugad yung Visayas and Mindanao islands. Tilt mo sideways, yung Cagayan area yung buntot ng ibon.

Pangalan ng dagat yung nasa left side (南支那海) Di ko alam yung basa (siguro Minami shinakai hehehe) But it roughly means East Territorial Sea.

Yung nasa right side (フィリピン諸島) ang basa ay Firipin Shouto (Philippine Archipelago).

kawso said...

Ay sorry!! Minami shinakai nga pala means South China Sea in Chinese and Japanese!!! (South not East, ang engot ko talaga sa japanese hahaha)

mcoy said...


"It's just not so precisely detailed in my view"

i agree. i think some of those images may have been included more for completeness' sake rather than satire, the philippines bit included. either that or the gap in mindset is just so great it's hard to get the joke.

that said, my best guess is it's a pile of fish bones with the head at the bottom, scattered pieces in the middle and a partially whole tail at the top.

though i doubt that such a competent artist would make such a vague fish skull.

mcoy said...


kaya pala mukhang instik yung sulat sa kaliwa habang hapon yung sa kanan... interesante. parang ngayon lang ako nakarinig na pareho ang tawag ng dalawang wika sa iisang geographic area.

Robby Villabona said...

My best guess: It's a bird (roadrunner, young turkey, osprey, pigeon) looking southeast. Its tail is northern Luzon and its head is Sorsogon.

The other bits and pieces are probably broken egg shells with spots. Apparently spotted bird eggs are very common (I used to think only quail eggs were).

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