Finding Japan: Early Canadian Encounters with Asia by Anne Shannon

By Anne Shannon

In distinction to the commonly recognized stories of Asian immigrants who got here to Canada, this e-book appears to be like at move within the wrong way. utilizing textual content and pictures, it's a choice of tales approximately how Canadians chanced on Japan, the 1st position they reached while vacationing westward around the Pacific.

These connections all started as early as 1848, whilst the adventurous son of a Hudsons Bay corporation dealer tempted destiny via smuggling himself, disguised as a shipwrecked sailor, into the closed and unique land of the shoguns. He used to be by means of an fascinating solid of characters—missionaries, educators, businessmen, social activists, political figures, diplomats, squaddies and low misfits—who skilled a swiftly altering Japan because it underwent its notable transformation from a principally feudal society to a latest kingdom.

Now, whilst the area is turning into extra Asia-centric, Finding Japan presents glimpses into an prior period that challenged traditional perceptions approximately Canadian connections around the Pacific.

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Sir Harry not being there, sent in my card. While I am waiting the great little man comes in and flies into a passion and says he “won’t present me in that dress—I ought to be in uniform” . . I was properly dressed all in clean white, like everybody else, and I explained this to him, or tried to do so, but he was in such a rage that I could not get him to listen to me. The Foreign Minister then appeared and I see him, but when he sees me Parkes jumps out of the room. ” Douglas went. ●●● Japan and Canada in the last quarter of the 19th century could hardly have been more different—but they both attracted a similar kind of foreigner.

At times he railed against foreign missionaries, claiming they were spies. At others he advocated the adoption of Christianity, if only for the sake of appearances. A candid editorial in his newspaper in 1885 may come closest to reflecting his perspective. We cannot persuade Shintoists to change their views, but we can tell them that they should look at the ascendancy of Christianity in our country as an event in the natural order of things, and that for the sake of the country they should refrain from disturbances.

Yokohama, as it turned out, was a place for some—but not for them. Once a quiet fishing village separated by a swamp from Japan’s main north–south artery, the Tokaido, it had been a convenient place to stash prying foreigners when the treaty ports opened. Now it was a wild, anything-goes, get-rich-quick boomtown of a thousand people, its streets swarming with pencil-sharp businessmen in search of a deal, rowdy sailors carousing tipsily from grog shop to grog shop, gaily dressed young women in kimonos and young ex-samurai looking for their first contact with a foreigner and some English lessons.

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