Wonderful news!

Today I cycled to work under another glorious day of sunshine, through the grounds of Shokokuji (相国寺) temple, where the Japanophile Sir Ernest Satow himself once stayed on a visit to Kyoto. The autumnal red and yellow leaves were truly a sight to behold!

Whilst attempting to complete my thesis on Nakai Hiromu at Kyoto, I am also currently working part-time at Doshisha University established by the great pioneer of education Niijima Joe  (新島襄、1843-1890), which now sits upon ground that once was the spot of the Satsuma domain estate. I am helping out with the creation of the new Global MBA programme website, translating documents from English to Japanese and so on.  I was fortunate enough today to meet and interview a former sensei of mine from Sheffield University who will be teaching on the new programme of which many classes will be given in English. It is a very impressive programme of study that the Business School is preparing and I believe it will help Japan to become all the more prominent on the international stage. Niijima sensei would no doubt be very happy to see that his university is growing ever more into an international establishment.

Then, upon arriving home this evening I read great news that Nakai Hiromu has received mention in the Autumn edition of the JR West publication called Kyoto Sansaku (京都散策). Nakamura Takeo sensei wrote the article entitled, Sakamoto Ryoma to Bakumatsu Shuyo Jinbutsu no Sumai, (Sakamoto Ryoma and the Residences of Key Bakumatsu Figures [this author’s translation]), on pages 14~15. Nakamura sensei is a specialist of the geographical history of Kyoto and I am much indebted to his excellent work. You can find his blog listed in my blogroll on the right.

In the article, aside from informing us about the residences of the various prominent clans such as Choshu and Tosa, he also guides the reader to the private residences of such famous characters as Nakaoka Shintaro (1838-1867), Sakuma Shozan (1811-1864), Takechi Zuizan (Hanpeita, 1829-1865). In addition to these characters however, the map included in the article also tells us the spot where Nakai Hiromu temporarily resided on Kiyamachi Street. Nakai is also known to have had his residence to the west side of the Kamo river near Kojin-guchi (荒神口) Bridge not far from the Imperial Palace, but for a time he also lived in the more central area of Kiyamachi, which is now a famous nightspot in Kyoto. Indeed, one excellent bar I can recommend along there is the bar “Ryoma”, which is of course dedicated to the samurai hero Sakamoto Ryoma. So again, whenever you’re in town…

Anyway, it’s good news that gradually Nakai Hiromu is beginning to be recognised in Japan. Niijima Joe’s residence near the Imperial Palace is also not so far from Nakai’s residence at Kojin-guchi. I have discovered that Doshisha University also maintains a copy of Nakai Hiromu’s publication Man’yu Kitei (1878) in its library. I have yet to go and see their copy, but I do wonder if it was a copy that Nakai personally gave to Niijima, and were the pair well acquainted with each other? I still have some investigating to do. I am unsure of whether the dates of their residency match and here, do excuse me, I am just thinking allowed. When I find out the facts, I’ll let you know…


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