This first full length critical biography of one of the most significant figures in Japanese Studies in the last hundred years is based on an earlier work published in Japanese (Iwanami Shoten, 1990). Ota sees Chamberlain as a giant of his period, both academically and intellectually. His achievements include the first publication of a translation of the Kojiki, his pioneering work as the 'father' of Japanese linguistics, and the acclaimed Things Japanese which served generations as an everyman encyclopaedia. However, Ota also acknowledges Chamberlain's vision in recognising the distinctive merits and strengths of Japanese society and culture at a time of xenophobic Europeanism, made possible by the fact that Chamberlain was ahead of his times as a multi-lingual and multi-cultural personality.
'It is well researched and the material has been put together coherently and clearly. This book is one in which the student of Meiji Japan will find much of interest. It should also be read by all Hearnites.' - Hugh Cortazzi, Asian Affairs