This academic work is a translation from a Japanese original which is available from amazon.co.jp (ISBN 406258168X). I was delighted when the author Mr. Noboru Koyama kindly agreed to my producing this English version. While the central character is Kikuchi Dairoku (1855-1917), who later became President of Tokyo Imperial University, Minister of Education and the first President of the Science Research Institute of Japan, there are many others who appear, including the statesman and historian Suematsu Kencho (1855-1920), the scholar-diplomat Inagaki Manjiro (1861-1908) and the Japanophile Scottish Professor Donald MacAlister (1854-1934), Senior Wrangler (i.e. top mathematician at Cambridge) and later Principal of Glasgow University.
Most of the Japanese students were wealthy and many were from aristocratic families, but a few were dirt poor. Some participated in team sports at the university such as rugby and rowing, others enjoyed more exotic and individual pursuits, such as motor racing. Indeed the first Japanese motor racer was Okura Kishichiro of Cambridge, and rugby was introduced to Keio University in Japan by two Cambridge men (Professor E.B. Clarke and Tanaka Ginnosuke). Almost all of the Japanese students were quietly but fiercely patriotic, and determined to study and learn not only for themselves but for the future of Japan. For those who wish to know more about how Japan achieved a startlingly rapid and unprecedented modernization in the Meiji era, this book is both informative and instructive, a must-have in fact!
This carefully crafted English edition includes nine black & white images, and seven appendices which were not in the original Japanese book, together with an expanded bibliogaphy and index. There is a brief introduction by Sir John Boyd KCMG who is a former British ambassador to Japan (1992-96) and now (2004) the Master of Churchill College, Cambridge. Mr. Koyama is head of the Japanese department of Cambridge University Library, and was perfectly placed to research and write this book. He also gave me a great deal of assistance when I was translating it into English. The result is a very satisfying reward for two years of intense effort. Buy this book, which qualifies for free shipping within the United States. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.