05 May 2015

About a New Book

Your writer recently established a publishing house called "Flying Crane Press" to serve as a vehicle for information on the history and culture of Nagasaki studies, mainly but not exclusively in English.

This follows two earlier endeavors, one a monthly magazine entitled Nagasaki Harbor Light (36 issues, 1985-87) and the other a yearly journal entitled Crossroads (six issues, 1993-98).  Both of the above were published in collaboration with Lane Earns and devoted to studies on Nagasaki's remarkable past and present -- everything from atomic bomb survivor testimonies to scholarly articles on topics related to the former Nagasaki Foreign Settlement. The Crossroads articles are available at Lane's website: (http://www.uwosh.edu/home_pages/faculty_staff/earns/)

The first publication of Flying Crane Press saw daylight on April 25.  Entitled The Glover House of Nagasaki: An Illustrated History, the 59-page book is the first concise description of the former residence of Scottish entrepreneur Thomas B. Glover (1838-1911), including information on the life and work of Glover and his British/Japanese son Kuraba Tomisaburo and on the history and architectural features of the building. It also takes up the controversial postwar career of the building as a tourist attraction, particularly its provocative but groundless connection with the opera Madama Butterfly.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), UNESCO's advisory body, recently recommended that the “Sites of Japan Meiji Industrial Revolution" be added to the UNESCO World Heritage list.  The former Glover House is one of the 23 sites in the recommended group, along with the former coal mining island of Hashima (taken up in an earlier installment of this blog).  The final decision of the UNESCO committee will be announced in July.

The World Heritage recommendation should serve as an opportunity to review the presentation of the building and to correct the misinformation of the past, a large part of which originates in the exploitation of the building as a tourist attraction and the failure of local authorities to conduct systematic research on the building and its former inhabitants.

Hopefully, the new book will contribute to the discussion.  It is available in Nagasaki bookshops and online at http://flyingcranepress.co