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Manuscript on paper entitled "Kaibo igi" [trans.: "Self Defense Against the Foreign Enemy"]. 60 full-page or folding illus., ranging from black & white with grey wash to brilliant colors. Three parts in 38 vols. Large 8vo, orig. patterned wrappers, orig. manuscript title labels on upper covers, stitched as issued
N.p.: ca. 1853-55. Prior to the arrival of Admiral Perry's squadron of ships in Tokyo Bay in 1853, there were numerous earlier attempts by Russian, British, and American ships to open relations with Japan. They all failed. As a result of these foreign attempts to establish trade relations, there was a growing and passionate national debate within Japan in the first half of the 19th century about whether the country should remain closed or should be opened up. Within the two opposing camps which developed, there were many factions with their own separate ideas about how to deal with this serious problem. Some policy makers claimed that it was necessary to use the foreigners' techniques in order to repel them. Others argued that only traditional Japanese methods should be employed. Following the British victory over the Chinese in the First Opium War, many Japanese realized that traditional ways would not be sufficient to repel future Western advances. The author of the text of this manuscript, Shioda (1805-71), was a member of a prominent family of physicians and practiced medicine in Tokyo. Because of his schooling and the fame of his family, he had a wide circle of influential and opinionated friends in and out of government. With the debate raging over Japan's future, Shioda began to collect texts on the subject of how to successfully avoid foreign domination. Shioda gathered the texts impartially, from writers within the government and from the independent intelligentsia and strategists. A corpus of nearly seventy texts - some previously in circulation and some not - was ultimately collected and Shioda prepared a master manuscript of them. To many of them he added his own comments. Some of the contributors were Gentaku Otsuki, his son Bankei Otsuki, Kando Hakura, Genzo Akai, Heibei Kashiwagi, Kunpei Gamo, Sosui Yamaga, and Nobuhiro Sato. This manuscript is also particularly well-illustrated, with many of the depictions in rich colors. There are maps; representations of foreign ships (steam-powered ships and the Columbus, an American ship which visited in 1846); portrayals of sailors and soldiers from various foreign countries; many representations of American sailors (captains, officers, and deck hands), American coins; cannons; a depiction of a Western navigating instrument with a moving part; flags of many countries; illustrations of Japanese military ships and weapons; defensive installations on beaches including cannon placements, explosives, chains, etc., etc. The themes of the articles include military strategies to repulse the foreigners both on land and sea, concerns about the weakness of the "North Front" (Hokkaido), internal discussions about the increasing visits of foreign ships to Japan, the weakness of the Chinese in combating the English during the Opium War (including the strategic failures of the Chinese both diplomatically and militarily), gossip gleaned from conversations with the Dutch at Dejima in Nagasaki, the availability of rifles and cannons, details of the weaponry available aboard foreign ships, an account of the negotiations during the attempt in 1792-93 by the Russian Laxman to initiate relations with the Japanese, and histories of other negotiations between the Japanese and foreigners. There is also a section on the detailed vocabulary used by Americans and English sailors during military engagements. Because of the controversial (some texts were absolutely forbidden) nature of the texts, manuscript copies were prepared and circulated. The manuscripts vary in contents and illustration. The collection of texts were finally published only in the 20th century. Our copy is one of the most complete in existence with numerous and very fine illustrations; it is written in a very fine hand. The entire manuscript, in 38 volumes, is in fine and fresh condition. This manuscript offers important insights into one of the most interesting and complicated periods in Japanese history.
      [Bookseller: Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2017-06-09           Check availability:      Biblio    

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