BD. Edmund Blunden

185. Reminiscences and appreciations. In A Tribute from Japan (165), 1974.


Reprints Sone’s ‘Edmund Blunden, Teacher’ (179d).

a. Saitô, Takeshi. ‘Edmund Blunden’. A biographical sketch that includes notes about Blunden’s relation with Japan. Saitô (Ap) recalls his first meeting with Blunden, 28 November 1923, at Hodgson’s home (Ap) near Victoria Station in London, and details occasions from Blunden’s lecture tour after the war, the two thousand crammed into Osaka City Hall in April 1948 to hear him describe ‘The Growth of English Literature’, the lecture on Hamlet held at a temple hall because it was the largest building in the city, Blunden surrounded by sculptures of Buddhas and the audience spilling out into the courtyard. Closes with lines that summarise the response to Blunden of many of his Japanese friends: he was ‘revered by Japanese intellectuals as a genuine poet, a broad-minded critic, a devoted professor, and above all, a modest, gentle and warm friend of Japan’.

b. Hiramatsu, Mikio. ‘Reminiscence’. Hiramatsu (b. 1903) was a graduate and long-time Professor of English Literature at Keio University, where he had studied under Sherard Vines (Ap). He met Blunden in 1948, and his recollections here, upon hearing of Blunden’s death, are eulogistic: In Hiramatsu’s seventy years he has never known a man of ‘such . . . perfect character’; the greatest lesson Blunden taught was that ‘generosity and sincerity are the best international language among men of true heart’, and surely ‘no one could surpass [his] generosity and genuineness’. Includes details of several Blunden trips to Japan. Hiramatsu recalls as well that Blunden told him he had accepted his post in Hong Kong in 1953 to be ‘in the place nearest to Japan’, since in the aftermath of war ‘none of our universities could yet afford to invite him’.

c. Bush, Lewis. ‘Edmund Blunden—Man and Friend’. Bush recalls that even as ‘war clouds were gathering in Asia’ Blunden’s former students were reading Undertones of War (19) as they underwent military training, endured long lectures on patriotism, and anti-war sentiments were regarded as traitorous. Bush himself spent years as a prisoner of the Japanese army, and met Blunden for the first time in London after the war. His recollection here focuses largely on that meeting, and Blunden’s ‘obvious sadness’ and ‘bewilderment’ at the fate of Japan, and eagerness to learn of friends and to return to the country. Concludes with description of that return, and notes about Blunden’s love of Japan and the love of the Japanese for him. Includes reference to Ichikawa Sanki (Ap), Saitô, and Doi Kôchi (Ap).

d. Abe, Tomoji. ‘Imaginative Sympathy’. Eulogistic recollections of Blunden by another of his students at Tokyo Imperial University in the twenties. Abe (1903-73) went on to author important political novels and to translate into Japanese Byron, Shakespeare, Melville, the Brontës, and Austen.

e. Sakai, Yoshitaka. ‘Some Poems of Edmund Blunden, Especially in and on Japan’. Sakai comments on Blunden manuscripts in his possession, in some cases detailing revisions and dates of composition.

f. Saitô, Takeshi. ‘A Blunden Bibliography’. The last of several Blunden bibliographies published by Saitô is incorporated in Kirkpatrick (187) and Mizunoe (189). Lists six ‘poems [on Japan] not yet collected in a book’. Of these, the early version of To the Citizens of ItÔ appears in 189, but The Sky-Lark (Kyoto, May 20 1948), An Offering (‘probably written on the same occasion’), ‘Hachinoki’s my castle’ (Osaka, 29 March 1955), These times are all time (Osaka, March 1955), and ‘By Sone [see 179d] bidden, here with him once more’ (September 18, 1968) have not seen print.





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