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Drifting Toward the Southeast


Drifting Toward the Southeast reveals Manjiro’s accurate memory in depicting the castaways’ adventures. Largely ignored in America, but legendary in Japan, Manjiro was the first known Japanese visitor to the United States who was allowed to return to Japan without facing harsh punishment for breaking the isolation law. This original account was completed just nine months before Commodore Matthew Perry’s "Black Ships" armada strong-armed Japan into a peace treaty, and became coveted reading of daimyos and samurai leaders. As a result, numerous hand-written copies of Hyoson Kiryaku circulated, and the castaways’ story spread by word of mouth. It caught the imagination of common people who were eager to know about the outside world, and it shaped their perceptions of mid-nineteenth century America. It also deeply influenced the pioneers of modernization in Japan: men like Sakamoto Ryoma, Katsu Kaishu, and Fukuzawa Yukichi. This unique translation will create valuable source material for the study of this critical period, giving readers, educators, and historians a larger framework for understanding the history of United States–Japanese relations. Only nine copies of the Hyoson Kiryaku are known to be in existence today. Spinner Publications has drawn from several of these copies for this translation. One is in the collection of the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia, another was donated to the Millicent Library in Fairhaven, a third is at the Sumiyoshi Shrine in Osaka, Japan, and a fourth is kept by the Kochi Prefectural Museum of History.