Book Break: Hiromi T. Rogers, author of “Anjin - The Life & Times of Samurai William Adams, 1564-1620 : As Seen Through Japanese Eyes”
A Japanese scholar has combined her study of Western accounts with years of research in Japan to tell the full story
Hiromi T. Rogers
Author and an Exeter Ph.D.
Much has been written about William Adams or (Miura) ANJIN as he is known in Japan. However, to date, very few of the Japanese accounts have been incorporated into the Western narrative, largely because they have been inaccessible to Western scholars, for reasons of language and location.
Now for the first time, a Japanese scholar, trained in the West, has combined her study of Western accounts with years of research in Japan to tell the full story in English "as seen through Japanese eyes". The result is a fuller picture of Adams the man, his private life and his remarkable relationship with Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa. The book was published in August 2016 by Renaissance Books.
We learn more about how this pilot navigated through a storm of Portuguese opposition to secure trade deals for the Dutch and the English and how the English failed and the Dutch prospered. We see how this Englishman managed to operate at the highest reaches of samurai society and his wide-ranging contributions, from shipbuilding to silver extraction and ito-wappu [central control of the silk trade], from the controversial use of cannon in the Sekigahara War to the development of the sweet potato! Above all, this extraordinary story acquires a new richness through the author's detailed knowledge of Japanese culture and customs at that time - everything from the clothes people would wear to the way they would behave, a lord to his servants, a samurai to the Shogun.
At FCCJ, the author will make the case for the extra dimension to the Adams story that Japanese accounts and records provide. She will discuss the nature of historical truth and the value of "likely scenarios" that are informed by native knowledge of culture and context. She will hope to spark a discussion about whether there are lessons for those seeking trade deals today, from the events of 400 years ago.
Hiromi Rogers was born in Shiba, central Tokyo, to a steel-making family. She left Japan for England in 1989, where she obtained a PhD from Exeter University, British citizenship and then a husband. She now lives in Devon with her husband, a former diplomat.
The library committee is offering a cocktail party – "Meet the Author" – starting at 6:15 pm, followed by dinner at 6:45 pm (Menu: Salad/ Pork and Clams in Tomato Sauce/ Orange Pudding and Chocolate Ice Cream/ Coffee or Tea). Drinks can be ordered on a cash basis from the bar in the room. Book Break charges are 2,100yen/3,500yen (members/non-members) per person. The member price is applicable to members' guests.
To FCCJ members: Sign up now at the reception desk (03-3211-3161) or on the FCCJ website. To help us plan proper seating and food preparation, please reserve in advance, preferably by noon of the day of the event. Those without reservations will be turned away once available seats are filled. Reservations canceled less than 24 hours in advance will be charged in full.
(The Talk will be in English)