(Apologies for cross-listing). I would like to announce the creation of a new website “Thatch Roofer and Mayor in Meiji Japan,” https://komonjo.princeton.edu/thatchroofer/index.html, which provides images, transcriptions and translations of five Meiji era documents dating from 1872 through 1889. These records reveal how Suzuki Gentoku, a roof thatcher from Shimogamo shrine later became the mayor of Shimogamo and Matsugasaki “villages” in Kyoto. While mayor of these regions, he had copies of the Lotus Sutra removed from shrine precincts. For his troubles, and seven years of service, Gentoku received 30 gold yen, which approximates one thousand USD today.
I also would like to draw your attention to “Translating Perry,” where we provide images and transcriptions of a letter written by Sydney Smith Lee, captain of one of the ships in Commodore Perry’s squadron, requesting ballast and coal. In addition to the English letter there is a Japanese translation, and a map of Shimoda. These records belong to Kyoto University. https://komonjo.princeton.edu/translating-perry/
I hope that these resources will be useful for those teaching courses in Modern Japan.
Professor in East Asian Studies and Professor of History
Director, Program in East Asian Studies
207 Jones Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1008