Japan As They Saw It

Sources

Most of the following books were found by doing at search at the Internet Archive for texts published between 1855 and 1912 that contain the word “Japan” in their titles or descriptions. The remainder were identified from references in bibliographies and online library catalogs and then found at the Internet Archive.

The selection of books for this list emphasizes first-person narratives, though some general historical and topical accounts are also included. The list includes some works by or about Christian missionaries, but many missionary works that were published during that period have been omitted. Books focused on natural history, international relations, etc. have also largely been excluded, as have creative works—novels, short stories, poetry—set in Japan. Translations from languages other than English have been mostly excluded as well.

The list might exclude some first-person narratives about Japan that do not happen to include “Japan” in the title or description; such books can probably found by doing subject searches in the catalog of the Library of Congress, the British Library, or similar large online libraries. It might also have missed books that were published during the targeted period but whose publication dates are missing from the bibliographic information at the Internet Archive. Any suggestions for additions or corrections would be most welcome. Please contact Tom Gally at the address shown on the home page.

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1855

A Visit to India, China, and Japan in the Year 1853
Bayard Taylor
Main page
Japan section

Hildreth’s Japan As It Was and Is
Alternate title: Japan and the Japanese
Richard Hildreth
Volume 1
Volume 2
Alternate edition

Japan and Around the World
J. W. Spalding
Main page

1856

Japan: An Account, Geographical and Historical, from the Earliest Period at Which the Islands Composing This Empire Were Known to Europeans, Down to the Present Time, and the Expedition Fitted Out in the United States, etc.
Charles MacFarlane
Main page

Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan: Performed in the Years 1852, 1853 and 1854, under the Command of Commodore M.C. Perry
Matthew C. Perry, Francis L. Hawks
Main page
Arrival in Japan

Notes on the Late Expedition Against the Russian Settlements in Eastern Siberia, and of a Visit to Japan and to the Shores of Tartary, and of the Sea of Okhostk
Paul Bernard Whittingham
Main page

1857

My Last Cruise
A. W. Habersham
Main page
Japan section

The Americans in Japan: An Abridgement of the Government Narrative of the U.S. Expedition to Japan, under Commodore Perry
Robert Tomes
Main page

1858

Japan Opened
Religious Tract Society
Main page

1859

Japan and Her People
Andrew Steinmetz
Main page

Personal Narrative of a Voyage to Japan, Kamtschatka, Siberia, Tartary, and Various Parts of Coast of China
J. M. Tronson
Main page

Two Journeys to Japan, 1856-7
Kinahan Cornwallis
Volume 1
Volume 2

Narrative of the Earl of Elgin’s Mission to China and Japan in the Years 1857, ’58, ’59 (British edition)
Laurence Oliphant
Main page (vol 1)
Main page (vol 2, Japan section)

1860

A Cruise in the U.S. Steam Frigate Mississippi, Wm. C. Nicholson, Captain, to China and Japan, from July, 1857, to February, 1860
William F. Gragg
Main page
Japan section

Japan and the Japanese
“An Oriental Traveller”
Main page

Narrative of the Earl of Elgin’s Mission to China and Japan in the Years 1857, ’58, ’59 (American edition)
Laurence Oliphant
Main page
Japan section

1861

Nagasaki and Hakodate
C. Pemberton Hodgson
Main page

Japan, the Amoor, and the Pacific
Henry Arthur Tilley
Main page
Japan section

Ten Weeks in Japan
George Smith
Main page

1863

A Lady’s Visit to Manilla and Japan
Anna D’Almeida
Main page
Japan section

The Capital of the Tycoon: A Narrative of Three Years’ Residence in Japan
Rutherford Alcock
Volume 1
Volume 2

Niphon and Pe-che-li or, Two Years in Japan and Northern China
Edward Barrington De Fonblanque
Main page

Yedo and Peking: A Narrative of a Journey to the Capitals of Japan and China
Robert Fortune
Main page
Japan section

1867

The Treaty Ports of China and Japan. A Complete Guide to the Open Ports of Those Countries, Together with Peking, Yedo, Hongkong and Macao
N. B. Dennys, ed.
Main page
Japan section

1868

Greater Britain: A Record of Travel in English Speaking Countries
Charles Wentworth Dilke
Main page
Japan section
Chapter on Japan originally published in “The Fortnightly Review”, October 1, 1876.

1869

Japan, Being a Sketch of the History, Government and Officers of the Empire
Walter Dickson
Main page

Our Life in Japan
R. Mounteney Jephson, Edward Pennell Elmhirst
Main page
(This book seems to be intended as semifictional humor, in the style of “Life in London” by Pierce Egan.)

1870

Across America and Asia
Raphael Pumpelly
Main page
Japan section

China and Japan and a Voyage Thither
James B. Lawrence
Main page
Japan section

The Antipodes and Round the World, or, Travels in Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon, China, Japan, and California
Alice M. Frere
Main page
Japan section

Travels of a Naturalist in Japan and Manchuria
Arthur Adams
Main page
Japan section

1872

Round the World: Letters from Japan, China, India, and Egypt
W.M. Perry Fogg
Main page

Round the World in 1870
A. D. Carlisle
Main page
Japan section

1873

New Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun
Samuel Mossman
Main page

1874

Letters Which Have Appeared in the “Japan Daily Herald”
C. J. Pfoundes
Main page

Meeting the Sun: A Journey All Round the World
William Simpson
Main page
Japan section

"Our Neighbourhood"; or, Sketches in the Suburbs of Yedo
Theobald A. Purcell
Main page

1875

Letters from China & Japan
Lilias Dunlop Findlay Swainson
Main page
Japan section

Rough Notes of Journeys Made in the Years 1868, ’69, ’70, ’71, ’72, & ’73, in Syria, Down the Tigris, India, Kashmir, Ceylon, Japan, Mongolia, Siberia, the United States, the Sandwich Islands, and Australasia
(No author indicated)
Main page
Japan section

The Eastern Seas: Being a Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. "Dwarf" in China, Japan and Formosa
Bonham Ward Bax
Main page
Japan section

The Rambles of a Globe Trotter in Australasia, Japan, China, Java, India, and Cashmere
Egerton K. Laird
Main page
Japan section

1876

English Influence in Japan
Charles Wentworth Dilke
Main page
Original publication in the Fortnightly Review of the Japan chapter of Greater Britain: A Record of Travel in English Speaking Countries (1868, above).

1877

A Visit to Japan, China, and India
Robert Nicholas Fowler
Main page

Women of the Orient: An Account of the Religious, Intellectual, and Social Condition of Women in Japan, China, India, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey
Ross C. Houghton
Main page

Grandmamma’s Letters from Japan
Mary Pruyn
Main page

Japan: Historical and Descriptive
Charles H. Eden
Main page

1878

Life and Adventure in Japan
E. Warren Clark
Main page

1879

Child-Life in Japan
M. Chaplin Ayrton
Main page

China and Japan: A Record of Observations
I. W. Wiley
Main page
Japan section

The Sunrise Kingdom, or Life and Scenes in Japan, and Woman’s Work for Woman There
Julia D. Carrothers
Main page

1880

Japan
Samuel Mossman
Main page

Japan: Its History, Traditions, and Religions, with the Narrative of a Visit in 1879
Edward J. Reed

Volume 1
Volume 2

The Boy Travellers in the Far East: Adventures of Two Youths in a Journey to Japan and China
Thomas W. Knox
Main page
Japan section

Young Japan: Yokohama and Yedo
John R. Black
Volume 1
Volume 2

1881

Unbeaten Tracks in Japan
Isabella Bird
Volume 1
Volume 2
Popular edition
Project Gutenberg edition

A Handbook for Travellers in Central & Northern Japan
Ernest Mason Satow
Main page

The Empire of Japan
Imperial Japanese Household Department
Main page
Prepared for Centenntial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876

Japanese Episodes
Edward Howard House
Main page

1882

Japan: Its Architecture, Art, and Art Manufactures
Christopher Dresser
Main page

Points of Etiquette Which We Should Know and Observe in Our Social Relations with the Japanese
John C. Berry
Main page

The Land of the Morning: An Account of Japan and Its People, Based on a Four Years’ Residence in That Country, Including Travels into the Remotest Parts of the Interior
William Gray Dixon
Main page

1883

Journal of a Lady’s Travels Round the World
F. D. Bridges
Main page

Highways and Byeways in Japan: Experiences of Two Pedestrian Tourists
Arthur H. Crow
Main page

Japan in Yezo
Thomas Wright Blakiston
Main page

Sunny Lands and Seas: A Voyage in the SS. Ceylon
Hugh Wilkinson
Main page
Japan section

1884

Round the World
Andrew Carnegie
Main page
Japan section

1885

History of Japan
Percy Thorpe
Main page

Japanese Homes and Their Surroundings
Edward S. Morse
Main page

East by West: A Journey in the Recess
Henry W. Lucy
Volume 1
Volume 2
Japan section

1886

Gleanings from Japan
Walter G. Dickson
Main page

1887

Letters from the Far East
De Lancey Floyd-Jones
Main page
Japan section

Sketches of Life in Japan
Henry Knollys
Main page

1888

Jottings of Travel in China and Japan
Simon Adler Stern
Main page
Japan section

The Soul of the Far East
Percival Lowell
Main page

1889

Eight Years in Japan, 1873–1881
E. G. Hotham
Main page

A Budget of Letters from Japan
Arthur Collins Maclay
Main page

Echoes from Japan
M. McLean
Main page

From Japan to Granada
James Henry Chapin
Main page

Impressions of a First Tour Round the World in 1883 and 1884
Jehangir H. Kothari
Main page
Japan section

Japan and Its Art
Marcus B. Huish
Main page

1890

Keeling’s Guide to Japan (fourth edition)
A. Farsari
Main page

1891

Around the World in the Yacht ‘Sunbeam’
Annie Brassey
Main page
Japan section

Japan: A Sailor’s Visit to the Island Empire
M. B. Cook
Main page

Things Japanese: Being Notes on Various Subjects Connected with Japan, for the Use of Travelers and Others
Basil Hall Chamberlain
Main page

1892

Japan in Our Day
Bayard Taylor
Main page

Rambles Through Japan Without a Guide
Albert Tracy
Main page

The Great Earthquake in Japan, October 28th, 1891
H. Tennant
Main page
Alternate edition

The Real Japan: Studies of Contemporary Japanese Manners, Morals, Administration, and Politics
Henry Norman
Main page

Wanderings & Wonderings
J. J. Aubertin
Main page
Japan section

Japonica
Edwin Arnold
Main page

Japan As We Saw It
Robert S. Gardiner
Main page

1893

General View of Commerce & Industry in the Empire of Japan
Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce
Main page

An Itinerary of Hokkaido, Japan
John Batchelor
Main page

Japan As We Saw It
Mary Bickersteth
Main page

A Japanese Interior
Alice Mabel Bacon
Main page

Tales of Old Japan
A. B. Mitford
Main page

An American Missionary in Japan
M. L. Gordon
Main page

1894

On Short Leave to Japan
G. J. Younghusband
Main page
Japan section

The Flowery Kingdom and the Land of the Mikado, or, China, Japan, and Corea
Henry Davenport Northrup
Main page
Japan section

The Mikado’s Empire (seventh edition)
William Elliot Griffis
Main page

The Nightless City, or, the “History of the Yoshiwara Yukwaku”
J. E. De Becker
Main page

The Story of Japan
David Murray
Main page

The Wee Ones of Japan
Mae St. John Bramhall
Main page

Seas and Lands
Edwin Arnold
Main page

Wandering Words
Edwin Arnold
Main page

Occult Japan, or, The way of the Gods: An Esoteric Study of Japanese Personality and Possession
Percival Lowell
Main page

1895

Out of the East
Lafcadio Hearn
Main page

In Bamboo Lands
Katharine Schuyler Baxter
Main page

Japan: The Land of the Morning
Rev. John W. Saunby
Main page

Lotos-Time in Japan
Henry T. Finck
Main page

Noto: An Unexplored Corner of Japan
Percival Lowell
Main page

Our Journey Around the World
Francis E. Clark
Harriet E. Clark
Main page
Japan section 1
Japan section 2

Pain’s Pyrotechnic Spectacle, War between Japan and China
(No author listed)
Main page
Program for fireworks display held in New York. Related website.

The Japs at Home
Douglas Sladen
Main page

Rambles in Japan
H. B. Tristram
Main page

The Peoples and Politics of the Far East: Travels and Studies in the British, French, Spanish and Portuguese Colonies, Siberia, China, Japan, Korea, Siam and Malaya
Henry Norman
Main page
Japan section

The Religions of Japan: From the Dawn of History to the Era of Méiji
William Elliot Griffis
Main page

This Goodly Frame the Earth: Stray Impressions of Scenes, Incidents and Persons in a Journey Touching Japan, China, Egypt, Palestine and Greece
Francis Tiffany
Main page
Japan section

1896

Advance Japan: A Nation Thoroughly in Earnest
J. Morris
Main page

Japan: Its People and Missions
Jesse Page
Main page

Notes in Japan
Alfred Parsons
Main page

Problems of the Far East: Japan, Korea, China
George Nathaniel Curzon
Main page
Japan section

The Yankees of the East: Sketches of Modern Japan
William Eleroy Curtis
Volume 1
Volume 2

Kokoro: Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner Life
Lafcadio Hearn
Main page

1897

A Circuit of the Globe
A. McLean
Main page
Japan section

Impressions of a Journey Round the World Including India, Burmah and Japan
George Henry Peters
Main page
Japan section

Japan
John L. Stoddard
Main page

Japan: Described and Illustrated by the Japanese
Captain F. Brinkley (editor)
Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 9
Section 10
(Translations from Japanese)

Japan and Korea: Questions and Answers for Mission Circles and Bands
Women’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Presbyterian Church
Main page

Journeys Among the Gentle Japs in the Summer of 1895
Rev. J. LL. Thomas
Main page

The Story of Japan
R. Van Bergen
Main page

Gleanings in Buddha-fields: Studies of Hand and Soul in the Far East
Lafcadio Hearn
Main page

A World-Pilgrimage
John Henry Barrows
Main page
Japan section

1898

Glimpses of the Orient
Trumbull White
Main page
Japan section

Guide Book for Tourists in Japan
Main page

Japan
Walter Dickson
Main page

Reading List on Japan
Helen Kilduff Gay
Main page

The Gist of Japan: The Islands, Their People and Missions
Rufus Benton Peery
Main page

What Will Japan Do? A Forecast
J. Morris
Main page

Exotics and Retrospectives
Lafcadio Hearn
Main page
(1914 reprint)

Travels through Asia with the Children
Frank G. Carpenter
Main page

1899

A Jaunt in Japan, or Ninety Days’ Leave in the Far East
S. C. F. Jackson
Main page

Japan in Transition
Stafford Ransome
Main page

1900

Annual Events in Japan
Tourist Bureau, Ministry of Transport
Main page

Guide Book for Tourists in Japan
Genjiro Watanabe
Main page

Half-Hours in Japan
Herbert Moore
Main page

Japan: Country, Court, and People
J. C. Calhoun Newton
Main page

Japan and Its Regeneration
Otis Cary
Main page

Letters Written by the English Residents in Japan, 1611-1623
Naojiro Murakami
Main page

Life in Japan, As Seen Through a Missionary’s Spectacles in the Twilight of the 19th Century
Ella Gardner
Main page

Westward to the Far East: A Guide to the Principal Cities of China and Japan with a Note on Korea
Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore
Main page
Japan section

1901

A Handbook for Travellers in Japan
Basil Hall Chamberlain and W. B. Mason
Main page

Japan: A Record in Colour
Mortimer Menpes, transcribed by Dorothy Menpes
Main page (scan 1)
Main page (scan 2)

Japan: Its History, Arts, and Literature
Captain F. Brinkley
Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4
Volume 5
Volume 6
Volume 7
Volume 8
Volume 9
Volume 10
Volume 11
Volume 12

Japanese Plays and Playfellows
Osman Edwards
Main page

1902

Jinrikisha Days in Japan
Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore
Main page

Japan and Her People
Anna C. Hartshorne
Volume 1
Volume 2

Japan and Its Trade
J. Morris
Main page

Japan, Our New Ally
Alfred Stead
Main page
Also published in U.S. as Japan To-Day

Sea-girt Yezo: Glimpses of Missionary Work in North Japan
John Batchelor
Main page

Japanese Girls & Women
Alice Mabel Bacon
Main page

Around the World Via Siberia
Nicholas Senn
Main page
Japan section

1903

The Heart of Japan
Clarence Ludlow Brownell
Main page

A Handbook of Modern Japan
Ernest W. Clement
Main page

An Artist’s Letters from Japan
John La Farge
Main page
Project Gutenberg edition

Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan
Lafcadio Hearn
Volume 1
Volume 2
Alternate edition:
Volume 1
Volume 2

Progress of India, Japan and China in the Century
Richard Temple
Main page
Japan section

Kottō, Being Japanese Curios, with Sundry Cobwebs
Lafcadio Hearn
Main page

1904

Around the World Through Japan
Walter Del Mar
Main page
Japan section

Handbook of Japan and Japanese Exhibits at World’s Fair, St. Louis, 1904
Hajime Hoshi
Main page

Impressions of Japan
George H. Rittner
Main page

Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation
Lafcadio Hearn
Main page

Japan: The Place and the People
G. Waldo Browne
Main page

Japan and the Japanese As Seen by Foreigners Prior to the Beginning of the Russo-Japanese War
Karl Kiyoshi Kawakami (editor)
Main page

Japan: Aspects and Destinies
W. Petrie Watson
Main page

Japan in Pictures
Douglas Sladen
Main page

Japan in the Beginning of the Twentieth Century
Department of Agriculture and Commerce
Main page

Japan To-Day
James A. B. Scherer
Main page

Present-Day Japan
August M. Campbell Davidson
Main page

Queer Things About Japan
Douglas Sladen
Main page

To the Golden East: Being a Résumé of the Author’s Experiences in India, China, Japan, &c.
Hubert Holliday
Main page
Japan section

Wonders of Japan: A Portfolio of Views in the Enchanted Bamboo-land
(No author listed)
Main page

The New Far East (fourth edition)
Arthur Diósy
Main page

Two Years in Three Continents: Experiences, Impressions and Observations of Two Americans Abroad
Edgar M. Condit
Main page
Japan section

1905

Letters from Japan
Mrs. Hugh Fraser
Main page

An American Cruiser in the East
John D. Ford
Main page
Japan section

From Egypt to Japan
Henry M. Field
Main page
Japan section

Imperial Japan: The Country and Its People
George William Knox
Main page

Japan: From the Old to the New
Robert Grant Webster
Main page

Japan As Seen and Described by Famous Writers
Esther Singleton (editor and translator)
Main page

Japan, the Eastern Wonderland
D. C. Angus
Main page

More Queer Things About Japan
Douglas Sladen and Norma Lorimer
Main page

My Travels in China, Japan, and Java, 1903
The Raja-I Rajgan Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala
Main page
Japan section

Religion in Japan: Shintoism, Buddhism, Christianity
George A. Cobbold
Main page

The Japan-Russia War: An Illustrated History of the War in the Far East, the Greatest Conflict of Modern Times
Sydney Tyler
Main page

Young Japan: The Story of the Japanese People and Especially of Their Educational Development
James A. B. Scherer
Main page

1906

A Woman Alone in the Heart of Japan
Gertrude Adams Fisher
Main page

A Guide-Book for Tourists in Japan
The Welcome Society
Main page

An English Girl in Japan
Ella M. Hart Bennett
Main page

Great Japan: A Study of National Efficiency
Alfred Stead
Main page

The Garter Mission to Japan
Lord Redesdale
Main page

Japan
David Murray
Main page

Makers of Japan
J. Morris
Main page

The Land of the Tatami: Travels in Japan
George T. Murray
Main page

Vacation Days in Hawaii and Japan
Charles M. Taylor
Main page
Japan section

1907

Life of Japan
Masuji Miyakawa
Main page

Old and New Japan
Clive Holland
Main page

Our Journey to Japan
Jacob Schiff
Main page

Shinto: The Ancient Religion of Japan
W. G. Aston
Main page

The Future of Japan, With a Survey of Present Conditions
W. Petrie Watson
Main page

Wanderings East of Suez, in Ceylon, India, China and Japan
Frederic Courtland Penfield
Main page
Japan section

1908

In Togo’s Country: Some Studies in Satsuma and Other Little Known Parts of Japan
Henry R. Schwartz
Main page

Summer Greetings from Japan
Walter L. Sheldon
Main page

The Far East Revisited; Essays on Political, Commercial, Social, and General Conditions in Malaya, China, Korea and Japan
A. Gorton Angier
Main page
Japan section

The Social Evil in Japan and Allied Subjects: With Statistics, Social Evil Test Cases, and Progress of the Antibrothel Movement
U. G. Murphy
Main page

Japanese Life in Town and Country
George William Knox
Main page

The Newest Way Round the World
Celeste J. Miller
Main page
Japan section

1909

Every-day Japan: Written After Twenty-Five Years’ Residence and Work in the Country
Arthur Lloyd
Main page

The Arts of Japan
Edward Dillon
Main page

The Empire of the East, A Simple Account of Japan as It Was, Is, and Will Be
H. B. Montgomery
Main page

1910

Behind the Screens: An English Woman’s Impressions of Japan
Evelyn Adam
Main page

A Journal from Japan
Mary C. Stopes
Main page
Project Gutenberg edition

Rare Days in Japan
George Trumbull Ladd
Main page

A Journal of the Perry Expedition to Japan (1853–1854)
S. Wells Williams
Main page

Highways and Homes of Japan
Kate Lawson
Main page

Historical and Geographical Dictionary of Japan
E. Papinot
Volume 1 (A to N)
Volume 2 (O to Z)
(1964 reprint)

In Lotus-Land Japan
Herbert G. Ponting
Main page

Japan & the Japanese
Walter Tyndale
Main page

Japan To-Day: A Souvenir of the Anglo-Japanese Exhibition Held in London 1910
Kotaro Mochizuki
Main page

A Vagabond Journey Around the World
Harry A. Franck
Main page
Japan section
Project Gutenberg edition

Picturesque Japan
Chester R. Stratton
Main page

Sights and Scenes in Fair Japan
Imperial Government Railways
Main page

The Shinto Cult: A Christian Study of the Ancient Religion of Japan
Milton Spenser Terry
Main page

The Story of Old Japan
Joseph H. Longford
Main page

Winter Wanderings; Being an Account of Travels in Abyssinia, Samoa, Java, Japan, the Philippines, Australia, South America and Other Interesting Countries
Abraham Per Lee Pease
Main page
Japan section

1911

An Army Officer on Leave in Japan
L. Mervin Maus
Main page
Japan section

From Japan to Jerusalem
E. Graham Ingham
Main page

Japan for a Week (Britain For Ever)
A. M. Thompson
Main page

Surface Japan: Short Notes of a Swift Survey
Don Carlos Seitz
Main page

The Far East, China, Korea, & Japan
Frank Elias
Main page
Japan section

Things Seen in Japan
Clive Holland
Main page

Where Half the World Is Waking Up: The Old and the New in Japan, China, the Philippines, and India
Clarence Hamilton Poe
Main page
Japan section

1912

Fourteen Years of Diplomatic Life in Japan
Baroness Albert d’Anethan
Main page

A Gentle Jehu in Japan
Ethel L. McLean
Main page

Japan and Japanese-American Relations
George H. Blakeslee (editor)
Main page

Japan As I Saw It
A. H. Exner
Main page

Japan of the Japanese
Joseph H. Longford
Main page