ORIGINAL TITLE Title: Amerika Kogakusho
TYPE: Manuscript
DIMENSIONS: 7 x 10.5 inches
COMPONENTS: One book cover is marked "land (or geography)" and the other one "people."
REFERENCE EXTERNAL LINKS: Nakahama Manjiro

Reference

ITEM ID: 5064
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Navigation in the Americas

DATE
Decade: 1850s
Century: 19th (1801-1900)

Two manuscript volumes by Nakahama Manjirō.

According to Natsue Hayward, “Could that be John Majiro’s translation of ‘Bowditch’s American Practical Navigator’? He was an interpreter when Perry’s Black Ship arrived in 1853?”

According to scholar Edward Lipsett, “I would provisionally translate the title as something like ‘American Navigation’ or ‘Navigation in the Americas.’ The book cover on the left is marked ‘land (or geography)’ and the one on the right ‘people.’ It looks to be related to item in the reference link below, but I haven’t found anything useful in English yet. Japanese citations, and some of the scans you show, suggest this is an early collection of tables for sea navigation, which doesn’t appear to have much to do with the titles on the covers.”

According to scholar Alexander Vesey, “The title is something like ‘A study of American Navigation’ and there are a number of pages dedicated to longitude and latitude. The tables are perhaps charts for calculating them. (This is way beyond my field, so these comments are based on what little I gather from the text.) The first page shows some tools for dead reckoning, but I would have assumed there would be a sextant image as well. Interesting to see these ratios being determined with Kanji numerals rather than Arabic ones.”

ARTISTS
Name: Nakahama Manjirō
Type: Author
Artists Dates: (中濱 万次郎, January 27, 1827 – November 12, 1898)
Artist Information: Nakahama Manjirō (中濱 万次郎 Nakahama Manjirō) (1827 - 1898), also known as John Manjiro or John Mung, was one of the first Japanese people to visit the United States and an important translator and adviser to the Japanese government during the late Tokugawa and the early Meiji periods, when Japan opened its ports to American trade and expanded its commerce with European traders. During this period, Japan began an intensive program of modernization. When he was 14 years old, he was shipwrecked along with four other fishermen from Tosa Province, Japan, and rescued by the American whaler USS John Howland, commanded by Captain William H. Whitfield. Whitfield befriended the boy and took him home to Fairhaven, Massachusetts, where Manjiro spent three years studying English, mathematics, history, geography, navigation, and shipbuilding. After working on another whaling ship and in the California Gold Rush, Manjiro risked execution to return to Japan, by Japanese law at that time, where he became a teacher. In 1853, when the United States Navy fleet led by Commodore Matthew C. Perry anchored in Edo harbor, Manjiro was summoned to Edo and given the rank of samurai. He was installed as an interpreter and translator for the Tokugawa shogunate and was instrumental in negotiating the Convention of Kanagawa. In 1860, Nakahama Manjiro participated in the Japanese Embassy to the United States. Later, during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, he studied military science in Europe. When the new Meiji government established Kaisei College in 1877, the forerunner of the University of Tokyo, Manjiro joined the faculty and helped educate Japan's future leaders.