It would have earned him Siberian exile had he not already been in Siberia.
In 1808 a Japanese cartographer named Mamiya Rinzō traveled to Sakhalin Island to map the land and document its inhabitants and natural features. In spirited ethnographic fashion, he became well known for his ability to assimilate into alien environments, often disguising himself as a beggar or journeyman. The ocean was agitated during earthquakes, producing waves of translation, often of great size and power. Every time the sky lit up, a tornado seemed to jump closer.
There was evidence of a thin atmosphere and even ice volcanoes on this strange world —lakes of molten sulphur and vast fields of sulphur dioxide snow. Great sculpture reached out like invisible gravitational folds and changed the space around it, making it alive with its presence.
Rinzō struggled to make out beyond plants the first stumbling steps of the Invisible in the mud. We are informed that fireflies placed inside a glass or transparent tube were used as lamps. He was unafraid and eating a mushroom when he lifted his gaze to the towering fortress that loomed before him.
Bright moon was shining on the Rainbow Skirt Palace.
The castle kept changing colors as it spun around to investigate its new foe. It was smooth, grayish, and partly membranous, with a prominent vascular pattern.* In it were present the torturers, the martyrs and the beasts all together, all at the same time—Terrors enough to have daunted the stoutest Hearts that ever were placed in Cases of Flesh and Blood. Drawn by admiration and wonder, he approached the building.
The gates were open, but he stopped short of entering them and began to sob.
"Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the LORD. Through long years I have not ceased to experiment, neither have I spared any labor of mind. I am the surgeon of old authors and heal the wounds of dust and ignorance. I demand that you open the gates at once!”
The gates were open he did not enter. Picture him raving wildly at the wall as he writes his questions to heaven.
My thought is clinging as to a lost learning slipped down out of the minds of men.
After a while, even the will to distinguish between what is happening and what seems to be happening fades!
Do I not deserve to accomplish some great purpose?
Alone, man has less than half himself for company.
In brief, he is told he is like anyone else and that he isn't!
On the other hand, most evidence suggests a very different conclusion!
Lost is the lost, I know'st it, and the past is past.
If you do not open to me, I will kill myself before this door.
The castle kept turning around to look, and look again. Now heat poured out on a terrifying scale. Suddenly, the castle wall became a prison wall, as if its stomach had come out of its body and digested Rinzō before going back in. Rules and meanings became dislodged from those of society’s unconfined counterpart. Pushing and pulling on the rock he yelled, “Help me. Let me out.”
The mythic land contrasted to the inescapable empire within which he remains, his reign or his captivity, which you please. Time after time birds were heard, but before one got within range the calling would cease and no amount of watching would locate them.
Although they have never been printed in any atlas or map collection, his tapestries ought to be considered as maps based on first-hand observation. He saw fantastically sculpted limestone caves and stalactites, a stupendous waterfall, volcanic springs of boiling mud, and sulphurous blowholes. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor survives it.
Pirates were about, plundering and killing at sea.
Maimyo Rinzō is still standing at the gate.
*Two philosophers, one in Italy and one in Germany, maintain that its surface consisted of transparent crystal.
1. Brett Walker, “Mamiya Rinzō and the Japanese exploration of Sakhalin Island: cartography and empire” Journal of Historical Geography, V. 33 # 2, p. 283
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1. Brett Walker, “Mamiya Rinzō and the Japanese exploration of Sakhalin Island: cartography and empire” Journal of Historical Geography, V. 33 # 2
2. Gavan Daws and Marty Fujita, Archipelago, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1999, p 80
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1. Gavan Daws and Marty Fujita, Archipelago, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1999 p 135
Stillman Drake, Essays on Galileo and the History and Philosophy of Science. Ch. 3
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