During his 1893 journey across the world, Czech traveler, pedagogue, and writer Josef Korensky spent only two months traveling around Japan, yet his power of observation yielded a travelogue that remains popular to this day. Originally published in Czech, In Japan
portrays the epic grandeur of the country’s landscapes, the elegance of its gardens, and the hustle and bustle of its cities with incisive prose. Beyond his own immediate impressions of people and places, Korensky set out to create an ethnography of the Japanese people for a private collector whose belongings would later become an essential part of the Czech National Museum. Korensky draws on his extensive expertise in the natural sciences to provide meticulous descriptions of geological phenomena, including accounts of volcanic activity, as well as Japan’s flora and fauna. Korensky supplements descriptions of his own experiences with extensive accounts of Japanese history, agriculture, and education.
This unabridged English translation of Korensky’s report on his first trip to Japan offers an authentic account of the rapidly changing social mores of Japan during the 1890s, only several decades after it had opened itself to the West. An unusual and important resource for scholars of Japanese or Eastern European history, Korensky’s enthusiasm for his subject and sharp sense of irony make this travelogue informative and lively.