エンゲルベルト・ケンペル (1651-1716) はドイツ生れの医者・博物学者である｡ 東洋に関心を持ち､ オランダ東インド会社に入り､ 1690年 (元禄3) に日本の土を踏んだ｡ 1692年に日本を離れるまでの間､ 我が国の歴史・言語・物産などの資料を集め､ 帰国後､ 医者として活躍する傍ら東洋研究にいそしんだ｡ 本書は彼の死後､ J.G.ショイッヒツアーによって､ 原文のドイツ語版が出版される前に英訳され､ 全5篇に付録をつけて刊行された｡ 他にオランダ語版､ フランス語版などがある｡ |
Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1716), the German physician, assumed the post of medical officer to the Dutch factory on Dejima in the year 1690. During his three-year term of duty he twice made the journey to Edo in the company of the head of the factory. The present work was written after his return to Europe, where he went into medical practice in his native town.
The History of Japan was written in German, but it was the English translation which appeared first in print some ten or more years after the author's death. The volumes here illustrated are of this first edition. It was not until 1777 that the first volume of the original German text was published.
The work is divided into five sections with appendices. The first of these describes a journey from Batavia to Siam, while the second, third and fourth treat of the government of Japan, its religions and the town of Nagasaki respectively. The last section deals with the author's observations and reflections on the state of the land as seen on his two journeys to Edo. The English translation is the work of J. G. Scheuchzer.