On The 150th Anniversary of the Meiji Restoration (14): The more I know, the more I need to know

The more I know, the more I need to know: That has been my mantra for most of my adult life, including the more than three decades that I’ve been researching and writing about Bakumatsu history (1853 -68)—“the dawn of modern Japan.” Much of my research has included historical texts, journals, letters, and memoirs written by samurai in archaic Japanese. I’ve learned a lot—a real lot—about those crazed, tumultuous, fascinating times. I hope my readers feel my experience and share my fascination.

[I took the above photo in the library at the famed Teradaya inn in Fushimi, Kyoto, in October 2016.]

Think big! Create! Persevere!

On The 150th Anniversary of the Meiji Restoration (12)

Ryoma: Life of a Renaissance Samurai and the Sakamoto Ryoma Film Project

Meiji Restoration hero Sakamoto Ryoma is a national icon in Japan. My first encounter with Ryoma was through Shiba Ryotaro’s popular biographical novel, Ryoma ga Yuku. So fascinated was I by Ryoma’s life story, particularly his indispensible role in the “samurai revolution at the dawn of modern Japan,” that I thought that people all over the world should know about him. Which was why I wrote Ryoma: Life of a Renaissance Samurai (Ridgeback Press, 1999), the only biographical novel about Ryoma in English. “It is a cultural loss that an historical figure of such magnificent stature has failed to gain the full attention of the Western world,” I wrote in the Preface. Since then, for many years, I have hoped that, through my book, Ryoma would become a household name around the world.

I think that things are moving in that direction. But a film about Ryoma, produced and/or directed by a major Hollywood name, would “seal the deal.” Which is why for these past few years I have reached out to “Ryoma fans” around the world for their ideas to make this dream a reality. Please keep your ideas coming – through my website or my Facebook page.

Think big! Create! Persevere!


On The 150th Anniversary of the Meiji Restoration (11)

About “Samurai Revolution”: In My Own Words

Samurai Revolution is a comprehensive history of the Meiji Restoration from the perspective of one of its most important men, Katsu Kaishū, “the shogun’s last samurai.” The only full-length biography of Kaishū in English, it is also, to the best of my knowledge, the only English-language study of the personalities of the other key figures in the “samurai revolution at the dawn of modern Japan.”