As the preface to this new edition points out, Mitford (Algernon Bertram, the first Lord Redesdale) was a gifted writer whose descriptions of Japan, during the critical time of transition from a feudal to a modern state in the late nineteenth century, are a testimony to his narrative skills, accuracy and objective reporting - qualities which are sometimes overshadowed by the higher profile given to his contemporary Ernest Satow. Accordingly, this new paperback edition, which makes the Mitford memoirs available to a much wider audience, includes a wide selection of extracts from Mitford's bestselling Tales of Old Japan (1871) - what Mitford, according to Carmen Blacker, perceived as the essence of the Japanese spirit: 'heroic, ruthless, devotedly loyal, bloody and chivalrous'.
Table of Contents
Sources Preface to new edition Introduction Historical note 'Old and new Japan' From Memories: 1866-7 The Shogun or Tycoon An adventurous journey Civil war 'Mukashi' The Mikado Sensation diplomacy Betwixt old and new The 'Gijiin' or Parliament The reception of the Duke of Edinburgh 'A holiday in Japan' The Garter Mission, 1906 Gardens in Japan Tales of Old Japan Notes Editor's notes Index
'His detailed descriptions succeed in bringing the past to life. ... If you want to visit 19th century Japan - to witness civil war erupt in the streets of Kyoto, to accompany the first westerners to meet the Emperor or to simply stroll among the emerald green fields of Meguro village - you would be hard pressed to find a better travel companion than Algernon Mitford.' - The Japan Times
'He wrote well, with verve and polish ... the selections included are well-chosen.' - Asian Affairs