ABOUT THIS BOOK
For generations, children’s books provided American readers with their first impressions of Japan. Seemingly authoritative, and full of fascinating details about daily life in a distant land, these publications often presented a mixture of facts, stereotypes, and complete fabrications.
This volume takes readers on a journey through nearly 200 years of American children’s books depicting Japanese culture, starting with the illustrated journal of a boy who accompanied Commodore Matthew Perry on his historic voyage in the 1850s. Along the way, it traces the important role that representations of Japan played in the evolution of children’s literature, including the early works of Edward Stratemeyer, who went on to create such iconic characters as Nancy Drew. It also considers how American children’s books about Japan have gradually become more realistic with more Japanese-American authors entering the field, and with texts grappling with such serious subjects as internment camps and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Drawing from the Library of Congress’s massive collection, Sybille A. Jagusch presents long passages from many different types of Japanese-themed children’s books and periodicals—including travelogues, histories, rare picture books, folktale collections, and boys’ adventure stories—to give readers a fascinating look at these striking texts.
Published by Rutgers University Press, in association with the Library of Congress.