Kankai Ibun-ki [Strange Tales of a Circumnavigation]

Scope and Content

Account of four sailor's round-the-world travels from Ishinomaki to Nagasaki, (1793-1804). These hand-copied volumes comprise an illustrated account of 16 Japanese sailors who were shipwrecked on the Russian coast in the winter of 1793. They ended up travelling from Russia, where they stayed almost ten years, to Great Britain, the Canary Islands, Brazil, the Marquesas, and back to Kamchatka. The text was compiled by Otsuki Gentaku and Shimura Kokyo, who interviewed four members of the crew after they were handed over by the Russian Mission to the Nagasaki magistrate's office in 1804.

15 volumes with a preface copied into 10 volumes. No calligrapher's name. The original version was created in 1807 [Bunka 2], but no printed versions appeared until the late nineteenth century. Original account transcribed by Otsuki Gentaku and Shimura Kokyo.

Chinese ink and water-colour paint. Many colour illustrations. Binding: Fukurotoji. Buff covers.

Administrative / Biographical History

Otsuki Gentaku (1756-1827). He was also called Shigetada and Bansui. Rangakusha (scholar of western learning) and physician to the Sendai Clan. He revised and enlarged Sugita Genpaku's translation of "Kaitai shinso" (Tabulae Anatomicae) and published it under the title of "Jutei kaitai shinsho". Kankai Ibun-ki was transcribed and edited after he questioned the four sailors who were handed to the Nagasaki magistrate's office by a Russian mission in 1804.

Conditions Governing Access

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Acquisition Information

Gift from Sir Harold Parlett, 22 July 1949

Other Finding Aids

Yoshiko Yasumura, 'Catalogue of Japanese Manuscripts in the Library of the School of Oriental and African Studies: Together with a Short History of Manuscripts in Japan', SOAS Library, 1979

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, please contact Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library in the first instance

Copyright held by SOAS, University of London

Geographical Names