Anjin—the Life and Times of Samurai William Adams,1564–1620: A Japanese Perspective
240pp. October 2015
Anjin—the Life and Times of Samurai William Adams,1564–1620: A Japanese Perspective
Author: Rogers, Hiromi;
The year is 1600. A battered ship drifts on the tide into Usuki Bay in southern Japan. On board, barely able to stand, are twenty-three Dutchmen and one Englishman, the remnants of a fleet of five ships and 500 men that had set out from Rotterdam in 1598. The Englishman was William Adams, later to be known as Anjin Miura by the Japanese, whose subsequent transformation from wretched prisoner to one of the Shogun’s closest advisers is the centrepiece of this book.

As a native of Japan, and a scholar of seventeenth-century Japanese history, the author delves deep into the cultural context facing Adams in what is one of the great examples of assimilation into the highest reaches of a foreign culture. Her access to Japanese sources, including contemporary accounts not previously seen by Western scholars researching the subject, takes us closer to a definitive record of Adams’ life as a high-ranking samurai and his grandstand view of the collision of cultures that led to Japan’s self-imposed isolation, lasting over two centuries.

This is a highly readable account that is supported by detailed observations of Japanese culture and society at this time. New light is shed on Adams’ relations with the Dutch and his countrymen, including the disastrous relationship with Captain John Saris. Adams’ key role in the refining of Japan’s gold and silver is also revealed, as are aspects of his everyday life thanks to the discovery of a diary of a young Japanese friend, like Adams the son of a mariner, who also rose to the rank of samurai.

12 black & white plates
For sale only in the U.S., its dependencies, Canada, and Mexico

Distributed for Renaissance Books
Author: Rogers, Hiromi;
Hiromi T. Rogers was born in the Shiba district of central Tokyo into a family of steel manufacturers, headed, unusually in those days, by her redoubtable grandmother. Her ancestors were samurai and from an early age she immersed herself in samurai films and literature. Graduating from Hosei University in 1983, she left Japan for the UK in 1989, initially to improve her English but ultimately obtaining a PhD at the University of Exeter.Hiromi lives in Devon, with her husband a former diplomat. She is also a prize-winning calligrapher and botanical artist.