- A most comprehensive bibliography of books in English published before 1800 and includes descriptions of Japan or any related subjects.
- The value of bibliographic data of approx. 4,520 titles are added by the number of pages where Japan is depicted.
From the Preface by Takaku Shimada:---
Since I published Chronological Bibliography of Anglo-Japanese Relations 1497–1800 (Eureka Press) in 2005, a flood of materials on the topics which it covers have been discovered in English writings published before 1801. During the past six years, I have continued to collect primary sources and have added approximately 3,000 publications that describe Japan to those in the Chronological Bibliography, and the publications total about 4,520. In order to alleviate the great burden of checking where descriptions of Japan are found, I have shown in this new Bibliography the pages on which the country is depicted.
It is common knowledge that William Adams from Kent was the first Englishman to set foot in Japan. He arrived at Usuki, Bungo in 1600. It is to be noted, however, that he was not the first Englishman that introduced Japan to Britain. The earliest publication that referred to the country is Richard Eden’s Decades,which appeared in 1555.
Regrettably, bibliographies of English works on Japan that have so far appeared deal only with some important works such as Francis Caron’s A True Description of Kingdoms of Japan and Siam (1663), Arnoldus Montanus’s Atlas Japannensis (1670) and Engelbert Kaempfer’s The History of Japan (1727). Even Henri Cordier’s Bibliotheca Japonica includes only a small number of English books on Japan, and lists of relevant books have not got longer. All this has hampered enrichment of knowledge of Anglo-Japanese relations before 1801 and has given the impression that Japan was little known in Britain before the year.
As a historical fact, Japan was quite well known in Britain before 1801. The materials included in this Bibliography illustrate that myriad aspects of Japan were dealt with in English publications that came out before the year. Jonathan Swift, for example, describes the religious ceremony of trampling on the crucifix in Gulliver’s Travels (1726).
I am not bold enough to claim that I have collected all the English materials that carry descriptions of Japan and expect that many people who have an interest in relations between Britain and Japan will discover other materials on the country that closed its doors to the outside world in the Edo period.