Mamiya’s Maps

General Information:

Released 14th December, 2022.

By Sean Michael Wilson and Akiko Shimojima.

Format: Paperback – 6.000″ x 9.000″ (229mm x 152mm).
ISBN: 978-9916-4130-8-1
Pages: 112.

Format: PDF.
ISBN: 978-9916-4130-9-8 (Front-to-Back Reading Order)
ISBN: 978-9916-4143-3-0 (Back-to-Front Reading Order)
Pages: 108.

A Samurai Explores Sakhalin.

Award winning team of Sean Michael Wilson and Akiko Shimojima have ventured into new territory in this, their ninth book together, on the explorer Mamiya Rinzo (間宮 林蔵) who mapped Sakhalin Island in the early years of the 19th century.

“Mamiya’s Maps” is about exploration, culture clash, the making of maps and how they are related to politics. It’s also anthropological in its look at the Ainu and Nivkh people of Sakhalin island. The animals and the landscape of the island and its surrounding waters are beautifully illustrated, making this a visually appealing manga that explores a little known aspect of Japanese history and culture. The issues the book covers are still relevant now, since the ownership of the island has been in dispute since the end of World War 2, but also the treatment of the Ainu and other indigenous peoples of the area has been called into question.



Author’s View

Mamiya’s Maps is rather different from the other Japan themed books I have worked on with various Japanese artists. It’s not primarily about samurai or a conflict or martial arts; it’s about exploration, culture clash, the making of maps and how they are related to politics. It is a somewhat anthropological book in that it looks at the Ainu and Nivkh people of Sakhalin island. I studied sociology and anthropology in university in Scotland, so it’s good to have the chance to use some of that in my books. And its also about the animals and the landscape of the island and its surrounding waters. We have tried to make this a beautiful book by giving over quite a few pages to the fish and animals there, and to the beauty of the hills, the inlets, the beaches.

Sean Michael Wilson



This book provides a much-needed addition to north Pacific history that heretofore is known primarily to readers of academic monographs, conference papers, and rare books on the shelves of cartographers and maritime historians. It is wonderfully illustrated as a manga to reach a wider audience that will appreciate an introduction to a rarely visited region of northeast Asia and informative on the indigenous peoples in the story.

This reviewer, the “American Visitor” to the Mamiyo Rinzo birthplace museum in 2003 (see page 96) and to the explorer’s monument at Cape Soya in 2012, has long wanted to visit Sakhalin Island but terminated trip planning due to pandemic and political complexities that restricted travel to this area in recent years.

Currently snowed in by the fireplace at home I enjoyed a vicarious expedition to the region by reading this very interesting and out of the ordinary historical manga. Mamiya’s Maps became my guidebook to follow into a history accurately told by the author and presented with the artist’s captivating illustrations of the wildlife, landscapes, and the Ainu and Nivkh peoples where our Samurai hero Mamiya Rinzo met them and mapped their homeland.

The reading experience and my perusal of every page was most enjoyable, and I celebrated the expedition’s arrival at the Qing Chinese trading settlement of Deren on the Amur River with a cup of Chinese tea. Reflecting on the return journey and after-expedition impact of Mamiya Rinzo, the story continues to this day with the narrative and images from this manga that bring attention to indigenous people of the region and the story of intercultural contact to be shared after centuries of omission.

Jim Mockford