Japan Extolled and Decried : Carl Peter Thunberg's Travels in Japan 1775-1776 book cover
1st Edition

Japan Extolled and Decried
Carl Peter Thunberg's Travels in Japan 1775-1776

ISBN 9780415515368
Published June 21, 2012 by Routledge
330 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This edition makes available once again Thunberg’s extraordinary writings on Japan, complete with illustrations, a full introduction and annotations. Carl Peter Thunberg, pupil and successor of Linnaeus – of the great fathers of modern science – spent eighteen fascinating months in the notoriously inaccessible Japan in 1775-1776, and this is his story.

Thunberg studied at Uppsala University in Sweden where he was a favourite student of the great Linnaeus, father of modern scientific classification. He determined to travel the world and enlisted as a physician with the Dutch East India Company. He arrived in Japan in the summer of 1775 and stayed for eighteen months. He observed Japan widely, and travelled to Edo (modern Tokyo) where he became friends with the shogun’s private physician, Katsuragawa Hoshû, a fine Scholar and a notorious rake. They maintained a correspondence even after Thunberg had returned to his homeland. Thunberg’s ‘Travels’ appeared in English in 1795 and until now has never been reprinted.

Fully annotated and introduced by Timon Screech.

Table of Contents

1.Political and Social Introduction to the period (c. 1775-1800)
2. Specific Background of Thunberg's period in Japan (1775-1776)
3. Life and Intellectual Biography of Thunberg

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Timon Screech is reader in the History of Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, where he has taught since 1991. He is the author of numerous books on the culture of the Edo period in both Japanese and English.


'Carefully researched and with copious rare illustrations, Screech's edited version of Titsigh's original writings offers plenty of interesting snap-shots of life in the Edo Period - as seen through Dutch eyes.' - Kansai Time Out

'Screech has done a great service...this is a facinating and richly rewarding account of the Japan that impinged upon the senses and intellect of a well-educated European with the curiosity to take an informed interest in his surroundings.' - Asian Affairs

'Screech's meticulous introductions and endnotes clarify many obscure points and fill in the background as well as providing details of the lives of Thunberg and Titsingh.'

- Japan Book Review