|The Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum|
|A copy of Manjiro's Hyosen Kiryaku made after the Rosenbach's manuscript. They were displayed in adjacent cases, which allowed for comparison of the two versions of the same manuscript. The first volume is open to a map of Japan.|
|The stern of the John Howland, with its American eagle and "E Pluribus Unum" motto. Nakahama Manjiro, [Hyosen kiryaku] illustrated manuscript. 1852. AMs 1296/14. The Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia.|
|Sailor's log book from the John Howland, open to June 1841. Courtesy of the Manjiro-Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange.|
The museum's namesake, Sakamoto Ryoma, played an indirect role in Manjiro's story, though many artifacts from his life were also on display. A minor samurai at the time Manjiro returned to Japan, Ryoma was determined to modernize his country's government. Influenced by ideas of modern navigation and commerce such as those Manjiro brought back from the United States, and which he partly learned from contact with Kawada Shoryo and Katsu Kaishu (who sailed to the U.S. with Manjiro in 1860 for the first Japanese delegation to Washington), Ryoma forged alliances, helped develop a navy, and eventually negotiated the end of the shogunate and the restoration of the Meiji Emperor. The exhibition also introduces his wife Oryo, who aided Ryoma during their honeymoon in Kyoto when he was attacked by his rivals and wounded. Ryoma's portrait can be found all over Kochi (his hometown), but our favorite was the cocoa dusting in his likeness on the cappuccino at a cafe next to the museum.
All of these remarkable stories--Manjiro's, Shoryo's, Ryoma's, and that of Captain Whitfield and the crew of the Howland--were meticulously researched and beautifully presented at the museum. The books, manuscripts, and artwork that witnessed Manjiro's adventures form a remarkable collection of artifacts from around the world and represent collaborations with many public and private collections. Such collaborations would not be possible without the hard work of the staff at the Sakamoto Ryoma Museum and the current torchbearers of Manjiro's legacy in Japan and around the world, most especially Junji Kitadai. We especially want to thank Natsuki Miura, who curated the exhibition at the Ryoma Museum along with his colleagues Yukie Maeda, Mika Kameo, and Masayo Nakamura. They did a tremendous job bringing Manjiro's world into focus for visitors to the exhibition.