My Younger Days
Joseph Hardy Neesima
1973 Edition


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Neesima, Joseph Hardy
My Younger Days, 1976, ©1934, Kyoto, Eibundo Printing Co, Ltd, 57 pages (stated to be the 11th edition) and copyrighted in 1934 by the Doshisha Alumni Association, Kyoto, 12mo (5 x 7 in), 57 pp, cover is attached at the spine. The front cover has the title and a drawing of the sails ship "Wild Rover." The title page has a sketch of Neesima. A frontispiece has a picture of Neesima and a facsimile of his signature. The text is in English and contains pictures of Mr. and Mrs. Alpheus Hardy, his American sponsors. This is a narrative of Neesima's early life in Japan and how at some risk he left Japan and came to Boston. The account covers the period from his birth in 1843 through August of 1865 at the culmination of his journey to the United States aboard The Wild Rover. A fascinating first hand English language account, from the Japanese perspective, of a person who was present in Japan when the American squadron under Commodore Perry shook the very core of Japanese society and politics.

Neesima wrote this account of events in 1885. It was first published in the US by the Joseph S. Hardy in 1890. A review of the Hardy book published in the New Englander and Yale Review in 1891 can be found on-line here. This was followed in 1934 by this publication. While this is stated to be the 11th edition, I have only seen reference to the 1st edition in 1934 and this edition.

Joseph Neesima as born in 1843 in the Tokyo area. As a youth he witnessed the events surrounding the Perry Expedition to Japan. He developed a strong desire to travel and this led him to leave Japan in 1865. He is sometimes referred to as the "Japanese Robinson Crusuo." This apparently is based upon the fact that as a youth he read Robinson Cursuo and that inspired in him a desire to travel outside of his own country. In the United States he graduated from Amherst College in 1870 and Andover Theological Seminary in 1874. He returned to Japan at the end of 1874. In 1875 he established the Doshisha English School in Kyoto and that ultimately became what is now known as Doshisha University. Joseph Neesima died in 1890 leaving a rich legacy of accomplishments both in his native land and the United States.

For an excellent chronology of Neesima's life, I recommend you visit the one on the Doshisha University web site.

Collation. Full Title: My Younger Days. Paper covers, Short Title Page, Frontispiece with picture of Neesima, Title Page with drawing of Nessima, Nessima's Dedication with pictures of Mr. & Mrs. Hardy, Forward, Contents, Text (starts at numbered page 13 and runs to 57).

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