The Ordeal Of The Kanrin Maru

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In his journal, however, Brooke was even more lavish in his praise of the man who had been the first from his country to see America. “Manjiro,” Brooke wrote, “is certainly one of the most remarkable men I ever saw. He has translated Bowditch [Nathaniel Bowditch’s New American Practical Navigator ] into the Japanese language … He is very communicative and I am satisfied that he has had more to do with the opening of Japan than any man living …”

Thus, in the journals and letters of a contemporary, a veteran of some twenty-five years in the United States Navy, Manjiro’s importance in the history of nineteenth-century Japan is revealed. As one leading Japanese scholar, Professor Eiichi Kiyooka of Keio University in Tokyo, has written, “Brooke was perhaps the only man who really knew Manjiro’s worth at that time.”