French Made

My publishers have alerted me to an even-handed and largely complimentary review of my Admiral Togo book in the May 2011 issue of Choice, a magazine for academic libraries. Masahiro Yamamoto of the University of Wyoming pronounces it “fun reading”, and says: “Clements… recounts the life of a Japanese admiral famous for his victory at the Battle of Tsushima during the Russo-Japanese War. Through his extensive reading of multiple-language sources, Clements points out deficiencies in some of the… sources he quotes, and presents so far little-known episodes like the important roles French advisers played in the Battle of Miyako Bay in 1869 during Japan’s civil war in the early Meiji period.”

Maybe I should write more about those Frenchmen. I have been meaning to translate Eugene Collache’s “Une Aventure au Japon” for some time now. I might do that when I get a moment, as I have been thinking about making it the basis of a book about the Republic of Ezo and the involvement of foreigners in Japan’s civil war. A noren curtain, bearing the image of Goryokaku, the five-pointed star-shaped fortress in Hakodate, serves as a constant reminder to me over my office door. One the many book projects that are simmering while I work on others, but I’ll get there in the end.

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