Drifting Toward the Southeast: The Story of Five Japanese Castaways : a Complete Translation of Hyoson Kiryaku (a Brief Account of Drifting Toward the Southeast) as Told to the Court of Lord Yamauchi of Tosa in 1852 by John Manjiro
Manjiro was a fourteen-year old fisherman when he and four companions were shipwrecked and rescued by an American whaling ship in 1841. Captain William Whitfield of the ship John Howland admired the boy's intelligence and resourcefulness and invited him to his home in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, where Manjiro was given a formal education in English, mathematics and navigation. He later signed on as crew aboard a whaling ship and circumnavigated the globe. Longing for Japan, he joined the California Gold Rush and earned passage home. Manjiro risked execution under the strict isolation policies of Japan's ruling Shogunate, but his timing was good. Commodore Matthew Perry and his "Black Ships" arrived demanding that Japan open her ports, and Manjiro proved useful to the government with his knowledge of Western ways. He deeply influenced the pioneers of modernization in Japan, bridging two cultures, and playing a role on a world stage. An extraordinary life for a poor, uneducated boy from a small Japanese fishing village and a wonderful adventure for the reader. Book jacket.
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