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Voyager Press Rare Books & Manuscripts

We sell Archives, Manuscripts and Historical Documents

Japanese Manuscript: First British Ship in Japan


Manuscript record of the unexpected arrival of the British HMS Mariner led by Commander Charles Mitchell Mathison in Japan, in 1849, with interest in making surveys around Edo (Tokyo), four years prior to Commodore Perry's arrival, and during Japan's period of isolation (Sakoku) during which most foreigners were prohibited entry in to the country and locals prohibited exit; containing also a description of Japanese castaway Otokichi who was on the British vessel, disguised as a Chinese to evade capital punishment, who later assisted Admiral James Stirling in establishing the 1854 Anglo-Japanese Friendship Treaty. Text is in Japanese. 8vo. 44 pages in manuscript, plus title page, on 23 unpaginated double leaves. Traditional karitoji binding ("semi-bound" meaning title page and contents without a book cover) string-stitched at spine, fukurotoji style ("bound-pocket" with folded leafs bound into spine), and opening from left to right. Complete in a single volume, measuring approximately 24 x 17 cm.