In contrast to the widely known experiences of Asian immigrants who came to Canada, this book looks at movement in the opposite direction. Using text and images, it is a collection of stories about how Canadians "found Japan," the first place they reached when travelling westward across the Pacific.
These connections began as early as 1848, when the adventurous son of a Hudson's Bay Company trader tempted fate by smuggling himself, disguised as a shipwrecked sailor, into the closed and exotic land of the shoguns. He was followed by an intriguing cast of characters—missionaries, educators, businessmen, social activists, political figures, diplomats, soldiers and occasional misfits—who experienced a rapidly changing Japan as it underwent its remarkable transformation from a largely feudal society to a modern state.
Now, when the world is becoming more Asia-centric, Finding Japan provides glimpses into an earlier era that challenged conventional perceptions about Canadian connections across the Pacific.close this panel
"Shannon's stories range across centuries and the inclinations of the subjects: from exploration and teaching to commerce, diplomacy, politics, religion and beyond. . . . Others who love offbeat tales of historical connections will be delighted she followed her curious mind to the penning of this wonderful book." —Moira Dann, Times Colonist
"MacDonald's experience is unique, but he is not the only Canadian to have left a mark in Japan in those early days. Many others did and it is their lives that Shannon chronicles in Finding Japan, a well-illustrated and fascinating new history of Canada's relations with its closest Pacific neighbour. . . . A fascinating aspect of Shannon's book is how she revisits the life and career of well-known Canadian figures to show their connections with Japan." —Martin Laflamme, Vancouver Sunclose this panel