see chapter 36 in Hillier. Shiba Kokan was the outstandiing adventurous spirit in the period of discipline and restriction. He lived from 1738 to 1818 and had a fearlessly inquiring mind. As artist he was the pioneer of copper engraving in Japan, and much influenced by European printing. As a cartographer he produced Japan's first engraved map of the world, on two sheets [a copy of this exists at Culham]. As a scientist he was fascinated by Copernicus and explained his discoveries with text and woodcut. As traveler he disobeyed the rules and made long journeys of inquiry and investigation in Japan. On the present work in five volumes it is simplest to quote from David Chibbett, History of Japanese Printing and Illustration: 'His one major book was Seiyu ryodan, a collection of sketches from his travels, which he published, apparently at his own expense in five volumes in 1790. Revised and enlarged editions of this same work were subsequently published under the titles Gazu seiyu ryodan (1803) and Seiyu nikki (6 vols. 1815). All three works were substantially the same with interesting studies not only of Japanese landscapes (where the use of Western perspective is noticeable) but also various activities of the Dutch, with special emphasis on Dutch sea vessels and whale-hunting'. Here is a fine copy of the 1803 publication, the 'western journey' of Shiba Kokan - his long trek through Japan to Nagasaki. It is an account of his travels with many woodcut illustrations. In the third volume his adventures include the sharing of a whaling expedition, shown in some detail in the woodcuts. We see the shape of the harpoons as well as the closing-in of the small boats, the exceedingly dangerous operation, the beached whale, the carving-up of his carcass, the lugging-away and processing in a factory of the chunks of whale for making oil. Volume four is mostly topographical but also shows a few games, dances and the festival procession with carnival floats in the street. In the last volume we reach the author's climax in the recording of Dutch armament, shipping and merchant life at Nagasaki, and a panoramic view of the enclosed Dutch settlement. We see the strange dress of these western visitors, and an often-reproduced double-page woodcut of the merchant's house with his Dutch chairs and his paintings and chandelier; and a Dutch tombstone in the final pages. This was all heady stuff at the time, forbidden, secret and adventurous. Original blue covers and title labels.