Bequest of Diaries and Letters from a Journey to Holland


Akamatsu Noriyoshi (1841‒1920) was born in Edo (present-day Tokyo), the son of Yoshizawa Yunoshin, a vassal of the shogun, and adopted into the Akamatsu family. One of the first Japanese students sent to Europe to learn Western ways, he studied shipbuilding and science in the Netherlands for six years in the 1860s. Presented here is a collection of documents written by Akamatsu during his stay in Holland. The first part of the collection consists of copies of letters written between 1862 and 1868 by Akamatsu. The names of the recipients are not recorded on the copies themselves. One of the letters, dated June 5, 1863, contains a simple copy of a letter to Akamatsu’s brother Yoshizawa Genjiro, so it is assumed to be a copy of a letter to a relative. The archive also includes diary entries from November 27, 1862, to December 3 of the same year. The latter half of the collection contains illustrations of gifts (thermometers, glass bottles, and so forth) that Akamatsu purchased in Holland and brought back to Japan. Akamatsu had studied at the Navy Officer Training School in Nagasaki established in 1855 by the Edo bakufu (shogunate) for the purpose of introducing a European-style navy to Japan. During the Meiji era he rose to the rank of vice admiral in the Japanese navy. He became a member of the House of Peers in 1904.

Last updated: January 9, 2018