著者はオランダ海軍の士官で幕末期の1845年と同51年に日本に渡航した｡ その際見聞した日本の印象等について､ はじめ雑誌に連載し､ のちに単行本としてまとめて刊行したのが本書である｡ 内容はスラバヤより長崎までの航海記にはじまり､ 長崎港での入港手続・出島の様子・オランダ通詞・日本人の性格等々についてふれている｡ また江戸参府についての記述もあるが､ 彼自身の経験によるものではない｡|
Cornelis Theodoor van Assendelft de Coningh (1824-1890) had been in Japan in 1845 while serving as a junior officer on board a ship of the Dutch East India Company. Although on that occasion scarcely even setting foot on shore, he nevertheless seems to have gained a most favourable impression of the land. It was thus, he writes, with great pleasure that in May of 1851, now captain of the Joa¨n and based in Surabaya, he received orders from the Dutch government to sail once more for Japan. He arrived in Nagasaki in August and stayed for three months, during which time he not only made the notes which form the basis of the present work, but did a small amount of research into records concerning the strange and elusive figure of Count Benyowsky. He is also author of two volumes of memoirs.