Foundation and Empire

Lovely evening yesterday at the Japan Foundation for the book launch of Admiral Togo: Nelson of the East, where I discussed Togo’s odd relationship with the British, from his teen years when he stood in samurai armour, wielding a sword and facing up to a warship, through his student days in Kent aboard the training ship Worcester, up to his run-ins with British vessels on the China Seas. Most notoriously, his sinking of the British registered transport Kowshing in 1894, which was captained by a fellow graduate of the Worcester and was hotly debated in the letters page of the Times for many months.

Everybody had a good time and there were lots of laughs at the expense of British MPs, confusions in signal flags, and the misfortunes of the Russian Baltic Fleet. It’s been 99 years since Togo was feted by the British on his triumphant world tour of 1911, and it was nice that he got to be celebrated again.

Thanks to everyone who came along.

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