BD. Edmund Blunden


165. Edmund Blunden: A Tribute From Japan. Edited by Masao Hirai and Peter Milward. Tokyo: Kenkyusha, 1974.

An ‘Edmund Blunden on Japan’ section includes the new work noted below and reprints The Daimyo’s Pond (1b), Building the Library, Tokyo University (15), The Author’s Last Words to his Students (18d), LOOKING EASTWARD (formerly A SONG, 45), In the Margin (48), To the Citizens of ItÔ (formerly William Adams at ItÔ, 55d), Matsushima (58), To the New Japan (59a), For Tokyo Joshi Daigaku (formerly College Song, 72), ‘Fourth Visit’ (137), Japan Beautiful (143), The Stone Garden (144a), Voice of KyOto (144b), and Nearing Yokohama (144d). See also 185.

a. Fragments from lectures at Jiyû gakuen (see 94). In ‘“Abeunt Studia in Mores”’, by Keiko Hani. Hani’s fond remembrance of Blunden’s visits to Jiyû gakuen includes long passages quoted from his lectures there, including ‘Mrs Hani was Prometheus’ (134 ) and others that either were not printed or are not traceable. Of particular interest is a 1963 lecture quoted at length in which Blunden recalls his first meeting with Saitô Takeshi (Ap) , noting that it was Saitô who was responsible both for his appointment at Tokyo and Hodgson’s (Ap) at Sendai. During Blunden’s first stay in what was to become his ‘second country’ he ‘found loyalty of a particular kind, kindness that never stopped, and knew neither difficulty nor disappointment’ (though see 166 for evidence to the contrary). Following are notes about his second stay in Japan, which in spite of the devastation of the war was full of ‘extraordinary good fortune’.

b. ‘The last of the Fancy!’ In Sendai! Quoted in Bush (185c). Lines Blunden inscribed in a book presented to Bush ‘after a session of Guinness and Ralph Hodgson’ before Bush departed England for Japan in 1946. The lines are obscure without knowledge of the particular details of Hodgson’s life noted in Bush’s recollection.

c. ‘A Fifth Visit to Japan’. An account written approaching Kobe by ship in the summer of 1960. Blunden is pleased that he will once again see the country of his ‘devotion’, and once again is ‘ready to look at people and things with the wish to learn’. Includes recollections of his first sojourns to Japan, of Saitô and Ichikawa Sanki (Ap), and of days when ukiyoe by Hiroshige (Ap) and Tsunoda Kunisada (1786-1864) were more affordable. The ‘cheerful little hotel’ at which Blunden stayed in the twenties would be a reference to the Kikufuji (see, and compare, 166j). The essay closes with Blunden’s happy expectations of rejoining old friends.

d. ‘Seeing More of Japan’. Recollections of places visited on Blunden’s sixth Japanese sojourn, in the autumn of 1963, including Tokyo University, where he was ‘enchanted to find the stately Akamon [Red Gate] and the Daimyo’s Pond [see 1b] still awaiting posterity’. First publication of the essay was in Japanese translation by Hiramatsu (see 185b) in the Yomiuri shimbun, 17 and 18 September 1963.





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