2 manuscript notebooks from a Japanese student during the Meiji Restoration

Tokyo: c. 1894. 2 manuscript notebooks written in English by a Japanese student studying in Tokyo, who identifies himself as R. Tanabe. References to current events suggest that these essays were written during the first Sino-Japanese war of 1894-1895. The first notebook is titled "In a Train," 8.25" x 6.5", pp. [20], [4] (blank); fine save for light worming; covering a train ride from the countryside to Tokyo, via Zenkoji. Tanabe talks about the awe in which country people regard the new technology, the death of a young boy on the tracks, and ruminates on the nature of immortality and scientific progress. The second is titled "Tokyo Streets," 13" x 8.25", pp. [11], [5] (blank); first leaf nearly loose; a series of essays on the virtues and dangers of Tokyo, including fire and earthquakes, with an expression of sympathy for the poor who struggle to survive there. Both notebooks are written entirely in English in a legible hand, with references to Tennyson, Biblical scripture, and Moses Mendelssohn's Phaedon. After writing about the death of the boy on the train, he laments, "Wretched are we who study in the new era of Meiji and are forced to disbelieve Immortality in its old form, by its new advanced sciences, professors of physics and psychology and of philosophy have given us knowledge at the expense of the eternal peace of mind." The years of the Meiji Restoration were a time of rapid modernization and westernization for Japan, and in his essays here Tanabe captures the pride and anxiety of a people coming into their own on the global stage. Item #50216

Price: $450.00

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