日英博覽會見物 世界一周双六 / [Japan-Britain Exhibition Showpiece – 'Around the World' Sugoroku].
Nakamura Fusetso / 中村不折
Published 1910, Tokyo
Size: 21" X 31"
Condition: Very good. Some minor wear along the old fold lines.
A rare and fascinating Japanese sugoroku board game where players travel from their starting point in Tokyo and progress to different points of interest around the world and ultimately back to Japan. The game was printed by Toppan Printing Co. and published as an addendum to the January 1st, 1910, edition of the Tokyo Asahi Shimbun.
The game is of interest because it was issued to celebrate the Japan-British Exhibition in London that was held between May to October in 1910. The Japan-British Exhibition predates, by less than a year, the expansion of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance that was originally signed in 1902 and then expanded again in 1905 and ultimately in 1911.
It was in Japan’s interest to garner public support for this Alliance, and avoid Britain reverting back to its “splendid isolation” policy in regards to peace-time military alliances. Both Japan and Britain originally entered this Alliance in opposition to Russian expansion in the far east. Although the Alliance was military in nature, it is also argued that it “formed the basis for positive trading and cultural exchanges between Britain and Japan.”
Yet, it was with the series of multiple global alliance structures that eventually led to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. As such, because of the the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, Japan entered the fray on the Allied side. The Anglo-Japanese Alliance would eventually be abandoned in 1921 and terminated in 1923 as it was considered incompatible with the objectives of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919-1920.
The present board game is thus a great reminder of the types of cultural efforts that countries will use to underpin their military alliances.