Kawada Ryōkichi - Jeanie Eadie's Samurai: The Life and Times of a Meiji Entrepreneur and Agricultural Pioneer

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Global Oriental, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages
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In the early 1880s, Kawada Ryokichi, a young samurai training at a shipyard on Clydeside, near Glasgow, met and fell in love with a Glaswegian girl – a bookshop assistant – by the name of Jeanie Eadie, and took the many letters she wrote to him (together with a lock of her hair) back to Japan in 1884, where they remained undiscovered for almost a hundred years. Subsequently, Kawada was to have an extraordinary career at the heart of the building of the new Meiji Japan, but it was his period in Scotland which informed everything he later accomplished – from shipbuilding to agriculture, and, at the end of a long life, his conversion to Christianity. It may even have influenced his decision to become the first Japanese owner of a motor car in 1901. Through a detailed reconstruction of Kawada’s life and career, the book provides a remarkable case study of a single life impacting on developments in the Meiji period.- from the building of the new docks at Yokohama to the planting of seed potatoes in Yokohama. The biography also takes us through different epochs – from the roots of rebellion in the last years of the Tosa domain, to the early days of Mitsubishi, the world of shipbuilding in Glasgow, Yokohama docklands and, finally, the first decades of modern farming in Japan. Not least, of course, it contains the rare account of an East-West love story which unfolds through the eighty-nine letters Jeanie wrote to Ryokichi, all of which are transcribed and republished here.

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The Secret in the Casket
The Years of Rebellion
Mitsubishi Rising

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About the author (2006)

Andrew Cobbing graduated in History from Bristol University, received his Masters degree in Japanese History from Kyushu University in 1993 and completed his PhD at SOAS (University of London) in 1997. After several years as Professor at Kyushu University he took up his current appointment as lecturer in history at the University of Nottingham. He is the author of The Japanese Discovery of Victorian Britain and The Satsuma Students in Britain; more recently, he translated one of the volumes of the official record of the Iwakura Embassy's Travels in the West.
Masataro Itami worked for many years as a producer for NHK, the largest television network in Japan. His documentaries on themes from education to gardening took him far afield on location work to countries including Britain, Ireland and China. He recently retired from NHK and he now lives in the coastal town of Zushi not far from Tokyo.

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