Item description for Siebold and Japan (Japanese Version): His Life and Work by Arlette Kouwenhoven & Matthi Forrer...
Philipp Franz von Siebold (1796-1866) played a major role in the development of Western scientific disciplines in Japan, in particular medicine. Equally important were his contributions to Western knowledge about Japan. Siebold and Japan depicts the life of this impassioned man, whose love for Japan and its people resulted in the creation of several definitive ethnographic, zoological and botanical collections. These are now part of the collections of the world-renowned National Museum of Ethnology and the Naturalis (National Museum of Natural History) in Leiden, The Netherlands.
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A worthy introduction to an important and heroic figure Jan 11, 2010
Von Siebold was a polymath -- adventurer, ethnographer, physician, botanist, zoologist, businessman, family man, geographer, diplomat, writer, artist, calligrapher, linguist and lover, all rolled into one. As such he was well-suited for his historical role in the opening of Japan, and his sometimes tempestuous career provided a wealth of intriguing episodes. These are well-depicted by his biographer Arlette Kouwenhoven in this book, which she has liberally sprinkled with illustrations of some of the most revealing artifacts from the life of this fascinating figure.
Von Siebold was far ahead of his time in transcending white racism. He married a Japanese woman, and strove mightily for a peaceful opening of Japan that would respect that country's unique culture. It is no exaggeration to say that had his life work succeeded against the forces arrayed against him, particularly those of Anglo-american imperialism, world history would have been very different. Japan would never have succumbed to the incitements to make war on Russia, China and the USA, and would not now be a vassal of imperialism. Of course, von Siebold has been neglected by the dominant cultural bias of media and history, but a study of his life is well worthwhile to our age, and this volume is a most worthy introduction.