Samurai William : The Adventurer Who Unlocked Japan Paperback
by Giles Milton
In 1611 an astonishing letter arrived at the East India Trading Company in London after a tortuous seven-year journey.
Englishman William Adams was one of only twenty-four survivors of a fleet of ships bound for Asia, and he had washed up in the forbidden land of Japan. The traders were even more amazed to learn that, rather than be horrified by this strange country, Adams had fallen in love with the barbaric splendour of Japan - and decided to settle.
He had forged a close friendship with the ruthless Shogun, taken a Japanese wife and sired a new, mixed-race family. Adams' letter fired up the London merchants to plan a new expedition to the Far East, with designs to trade with the Japanese and use Adams' contacts there to forge new commercial links. SAMURAI WILLIAM brilliantly illuminates a world whose horizons were rapidly expanding eastwards.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 416 pages, line drawings throughout
- Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
- Publication Date: 03/02/2003
- Category: Biography: historical, political & military
- ISBN: 9780340794685
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Review by Cecrow
An excellent non-fiction companion to James Clavell's fiction epic "Shogun", describing the real-life facts surrounding Anjin-sama, aka William Adams, an English pilot who barely survived a sea voyage to Japan from England at the beginning of the 17th century and who became a close confidant of Ieyasu Tokugawa (portrayed as Toronaga in "Shogun"). But that is only a third of what this book has to offer: it also describes the history of European contact with Japan up to that point, and the plight of England's attempt to establish lasting trade relations. Minor annoyances I had with the author's style and presentation did not significantly detract from this wonderful historical. I will read other works by him if the subject matter interests me.