Author: Oyabe, Jenichiro
Title: A Japanese Robinson Crusoe
Place Published: Boston
Date Published: 1898
Illustrated, lacking one plate ("My Friend, The schoolmaster") which is found in some other copies. (12mo), original dark red cloth, gilt titles on spine and front cover. First Edition.
Though preceded by the memoirs of Tel Sono, Kenzo Uchimura and Joseph Heco, Oyabe's book is considered the first full-length English-language memoir by a Japanese, entirely about his life in the United States.
While living in America as student and missionary for more than ten years, Oyabe called himself a "Japanese Yankee", though he, like the other three writers (as well as poet Yone Noguchi) all eventually returned to Japan for the remainder of their lives.
The son of a Japanese judge, Oyabe converted to Christianity, came to the US as a cabin boy in 1888 and worked in New York as a hospital orderly before surprisingly becoming a student at two African-American schools - the Hampton Institute and Howard University. He completed theological studies at Yale, was awarded a doctorate in divinity, and then spent two years as a missionary in Hawaii. Back at Yale, he wrote this memoir before returning to Japan, where lhe ived out his life as a somewhat eccentric nationalist scholar and historian.