IMAMURA Gen'emon Eisei

(Copyright Hideaki IMAMURA , Tokyo)

Kaempfer's Description of Imamura Gen'emon Eisei:

These private informations I procured from those who came to visit me, were of great use to me in collecting materials for my intended history of this Country, but yet they fell far short of being altogether satisfactory, and I should not perhaps have been able to compass that design, if I had not, by good luck, met with other opportunities, and in particular the assistance of a discreet young man, by whose means I was richly supplied with whatever notice I wanted, concerning the affairs of Japan. He was about twentyfour years of age, well vers'd in the Chinese and Japanese languages, and very desirous of improving himself. Upon my arrival, he was appointed to wait on me, as my servant, and at the same time to be by me instructed in Physick and Surgery. The Ottona, who is the chief officer of our island, having been by him, though under my inspection, taken care of in a distemper of his, suffer'd him to continue in my service during the whole time of my abode in the Country, which was two years, and to attend me in our two journeys to Court, consequently four times almost from one end of the Empire to the other, a favour which is seldom granted to young men of his age, but was never done for so long a time. As I could not well have obtain'd my end without givin him a competent knowledge of the Dutch language, I instructed him therein with so much success, that in a year's time he could write and read it better than any of our interpreters: I also gave him all the information I could in Anatomy and Physick, and farther allow'd him a handsome yearly salary, to the best of my abilities. In return, I employ'd him to procure me as ample accounts, as possible, of the then state and condition of the Country, its Government, the Imperial Court, the Religions established ln the Empire, the History of former ages, and remarkable daily Occurrences. There was not a Book I desired to see, on these and other subjects, which he did [xxxiii] not bring to me, and explain to me, out of it, whatever I wanted to know. And because he was obliged, in several things, to enquire, to borrow, or to buy of other people, I never dismiss'd him without providing him with money for such purposes) besides his yearly allowance. So expensive, so difficult a thing is it to foreigners, ever since the shutting up of the Japanese Empire, to procure any information about it: What I have been able to do, I freely communicate to the Publick in this present History.
(History of Japan, trsl. Scheuchzer, 1727)

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