BD. Edmund Blunden


71. A Wanderer in Japan: Sketches and Reflections in Prose and Verse. Tokyo: Asahi shimbunsha, 1950. Reprint, 1951.

A collection of brief occasional pieces written during Blunden’s second stay in Japan. See also 70.

a. ‘Arrival’. Describes Blunden’s second arrival in Japan, aboard a troop ship repatriating Japanese prisoners of war from Hong Kong.

b. ‘Agricultural Japan’. Notes about the beauty of the landscape seen from the window of a train on a journey from Kure to Tokyo.

c. ‘English Studies: A Paradox’. Paraphrases a lecture Blunden gave to the Asiatic Society of Tokyo soon after arriving in the city. The ‘paradox’ is that English studies ‘have not implanted [English] literature in the Japanese mind so deeply as [Blunden] once thought’. Includes reference to Hearn (D9) and Saitô Takeshi (Ap).

d. ‘Among the Ruins’. Blunden notes that his first arrival in Tokyo followed shortly upon the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, and that now, once again, he ‘is coming to a desolated and incinerated city’, which he describes in the most striking prose of the collection. Includes mention of the loss of Sone Tamotsu’s great Browning library in the bombing (see 179d).

e. ‘Points of Progress’. Reflections on ‘the present and future of Japan’, with focus on hope for the revitalising energy of ‘the farm and the factory’.

f. ‘Landscape and Temperament’. Blunden finds a relation between the beauty of the Japanese landscape and the nature of the Japanese character. The ‘comparative dearth of a clear philosophy and natural history’ in Japan, Blunden believes, might be accounted for by the fact that the charm of the landscape has been ‘too great’ and too much appreciated to allow time for their development.

g. Summer Storm. Blunden wrote several poems in description of violent storms in England and Japan (compare 14a). Here travellers are caught on a journey by ‘the rage / Of nature’ in ‘the wan-hued tempest world’. Reprinted as Summer Storm in Japanese Hills in 144, 157, 163, and 168.

h. ‘In Passing: Tokyo in 1948’. Hopeful words about the re-emergence of the city in the aftermath of war.

i. ‘Culture: A Little Dialogue’. Inconclusive comments about Japanese music and painting set in the form of a series of questions and answers.

j. ‘The Sea Speaking’. Well-wrought prose description of a Japanese seascape.

k. Among the Hills. Twelve lines about a cottage, with no connection to Japan beyond the context.

l. ‘Stranger in Asahigawa’. Description of Blunden’s reception in Asahigawa when he arrived for a lecture, dated 18 July 1949.

m. ‘Sounkyo’. Pastoral description of a Japanese landscape, dated 20 July 1949.

n. ‘Far Away and Long Ago’. In description of the natural beauty of Hokkaido.

o. ‘Daydream in Hokkaido’. More pastoral description of Hokkaido, with comparisons to landscapes in England. See 105 for Blunden’s more remarkable account, in verse, of these similarities and differences.

p. Ainu Child. Describes a Hokkaido scene and the children whose eyes catch and hold the attention of the woman travelling with the speaker.

q. ‘Treaty Port’. Blunden records his favourable first impressions of Nagasaki.

r. ‘John Saris’s Journal’. Brief notes about Saris (see 63).

s. ‘The Japanese Student, 1949’. Blunden notes the ‘many thousands’ of students he has met in his recent lecture tour, and offers them well-meaning advice about hard work and enterprise.

t. The Temple. The speaker admires the art of Japanese temples, and notes that though such ‘wonder is a great thing, and in these temples thrives’, the ‘other wonder’ of the ‘the troops of children hurrying on the adventure of their lives’ is what most ‘seize[s his] heart’.

u. ‘Pictures in the Wind’. Blunden muses about solitude in a Tokyo setting, dated 10 February 1950.

v. ‘Tokyo Seclusion’. Blunden’s description of the premises around the lodgings he shares with his family at the British Embassy in central Tokyo.

w. ‘A Party at the Palace’. Describes the Showa Emperor’s ‘New Year’s Poetry Party’ of 1950, at which Blunden was a guest.

x. ‘Art Gallery’. In praise of the Museum of Modern Art at Kurashiki.

y. ‘Some of the Wonders’. Notes about the ‘strangest or most curious sights’ Blunden has encountered in Japan, the warm-water fish pools at Itô, the shopping streets of Beppu, and others, including Sakurajima (see 67).

z. ‘Japanese Food’. In praise of Japanese cuisine.

aa. ‘“Judgements”’. Musings about Japan in the form of a letter, to ‘Z’. Includes reference to Hiroshige (Ap) and Utamaro.





Home | Top | Previous | Next

Previous | Next


Creative Commons License