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The Satsuma Students in Britain

 
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 8:02 am    Post subject: The Satsuma Students in Britain Reply with quote
It seems I can't get away from the Kagoshima Crowd these days...

The most recent book I looked over is the English edition of The Satsuma students in Britain : Japan's early search for the "essence of the West"; written by Andrew Cobbing* and based on Inuzuka Takaaki's 1974 work on the same topic.

Interestingly, it's noted that the original author was, at the time of this work's publication back in 2000, working on a revised and expanded edition of the Japanese book, in order to accommodate much of the more recent scholarly work on the topic over the last few decades; and that some of this new material had already been worked into the English version:

Quote:
As such, this book is perhaps not so much a faithful representation of the 1974 production as a sneak preview of the upcoming updated edition.


I wonder; as of 2012, has such a revised edition been forthcoming in Japan; and is there any word on whether or not an English translation of that file would be on the horizon?


Anyway, the book itself covers the group of students, mostly from Satsuma (but with a few extras from other domains), who defied the Shogunate's foreign travel ban to study in the United Kingdom. Many of these students would go on to have important roles in the wake of the Meiji Restoration, and the group as a whole is currently honoured by a monument erected in Kagoshima in 1985. (Well, when I say the group as a whole, it should be noted that only the Satsuma group is present; there are no statues featuring the members who did not hail from this domain, a point which has reportedly been a point of contention about the memorial.)

It's a very interesting work; with an insight into the various mindsets of those who were selected to go (not all of whom were well-disposed to foreign contact, initially at least), the dramatic and eye-opening sights along the many stops on their way to Britain, as well as the later excursions to other parts of Europe and North America during the course of their studies; all of which affected those involved in different ways, and which filtered back to the homeland even before they themselves started their own journeys home.

Although, there is one thing I noticed on the map of the domain included in the book; it shows the current land bridge connecting Sakurajima to the Osumi peninsula, which didn't exist at the time of the expedition, being formed by the lava flows of the 1914 eruption. (This seems to pop up in other maps of pre-modern Kyushu I've seen lately; is this a common mistake found elsewhere?)


*For some reason, the preface is credted to "Kasuga Park", which may or may not be a separate person in their own right, or perhaps a pseudonym for Mr. Cobbing himself.
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Bethetsu
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Inuzuka 犬塚 孝明 has written a number of books, especilly on Mori Arinori.

The 1974 book is "Satsuma-han Eikoku Ryûgakusei"
薩摩藩英国留学生 / 犬塚孝明/著 / 中央公論社 , 1974 ( 中公新書 )

Also on Inoue Kaouru and the students who left secretly (2001)
密航留学生たちの明治維新 : 井上馨と幕末藩士 / 犬塚 孝明/著 / 日本放送出版協会 , 2001.8 ( NHKブックス ; 921 )

Another in 2006 is specifically on "Satsuma and the foreign students."
新薩摩学 : 薩摩と留学生 / 鹿児島純心女子大学国際文化研究センター/編 / 南方新社 , 2006.3 ( 新薩摩学シリーズ ; 4 )

I have no idea about any translations.
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heron
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Kasuga Park must be where the book or the preface was written as that is the literary convention. In Andrew Cobbing's earlier book, The Japanese Discovery of Victorian Britain the preface was written in Woodside Park April 1998. I don't know which Kasuga Park this would be, maybe in Fukuoka.

I have both of Cobbing's book and Inuzaka's book on Inoue Kaoru which Bethetsu mentions but I haven't come across any further translations either.

It's funny, when I went to Kagoshima having just spent three months in Yamaguchi Prefecture, I was surprised to find the Restoration took place thanks entirely to the efforts of Satsuma samurai, with no mention of anyone else Very Happy Of course in Choshu it's the opposite story.

The map in my book is too small to see details, but I'm pretty sure old maps in Kagoshima museums etc showed the island without the land bridge. Will have to check this out.
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yeah, I definitely missed the mark there; I saw the Woodside Park entry in the other book, which I took out when returning this one.

(I was picturing "Kasuga Park" as perhaps being the name of a zainichi Korean-Japanese who was involved in the translation project...)
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Kasuga Park is quite a cool name Laughing
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Funnily enough, I was recently watching Persona 4: The Animation, and while later reading through The Japanese Discovery of Victorian Britain, I had a double-take when I saw the name "Naoto" on page 166; since one of the characters in that show is called Shirogane Naoto. Turned out the guy in the book was called Nabeshima Naoto instead.

And who is the Naoto fron P4 voiced by in Japan? A certain zainichi Japanese-Korean named Romi Park...
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