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6 A biography of Napoleon translated from Dutch into Japanese

箕作省吾 著

『坤輿図識補(Konyo zushiki ho)』

全四巻 弘化三(1846)年から弘化四(1847)年

 Born into a samurai household in the Mizusawa domain of present-day Iwate Prefecture, Mitsukuri Shōgo (1821-1847) studied Rangaku (“Dutch learning”) in Edo under Banno Chōan and Mitsukuri Genpo (1799-1863). The latter recognized his ability and adopted him. Shōgo produced several translations of Dutch works, and he translated this particular four-volume work with additional notes while suffering from lung disease in order to supplement the geography of the world (Kon’yo zushiki) that he completed in 1845. The first volume provides a general introduction to natural geography;the second volume is a supplement on Asia and the Americas, and covers topics including the Opium War, developments in India, the independence of Colombia and Chile, and the establishment of Washington as the capital of the United States; the third volume concerns itself with Europe and each country's military strength; and the fourth volume provides biographies of Alexander the Great, Aristotle, Peter the Great, and the Emperor Napoleon of France. Mitsukuri writes that these biographies were translated by his adoptive father Genpo.
 Only the first volume was published in 1846, with the remainder appearing in 1847. This period saw an increasing number of foreign vessels visit Japanese waters. Commodore Biddle of the United States, for example,anchored in Uraga in 1846 to demand the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Shogunate. The need for knowledge of other countries was thus growing.
 Shōgo died shortly before completing these supplementary volumes.
                            (27×19cm×4 vols.)

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