Three Japanese sunspot drawings associated with Iwahashi Zenbei (1756 – 1811) are shown here from contemporary manuscripts and woodprint documents with the relevant texts. We reveal the observational date of one of the drawings to be 26 August 1793, and the overall observations lasted for over a year. Moreover, we identify the observational site for the dated drawing as Fushimi in Japan. We then compare Zenbei’s observations with the group sunspot number and the raw group count from the Sunspot Index and Long-term Solar Observations (SILSO) to reveal the context of the data, and we conclude that these drawings fill gaps in our understanding that are due to the fragmental sunspot observations around 1793. These drawings are important as a clue to evaluate astronomical knowledge of contemporary Japan in the late eighteenth century and are valuable as a non-European observation, considering that most sunspot observations up to the middle of the nineteenth century are from Europe.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.