Art & Design

Book Launch:Isabella Bird and Japan: A Reassessment

6 June 2017, London

By Professor Kiyonori Kanasaka, translated by Nicholas Pertwee; Published by Renaissance Books


Isabella Bird sits at the top of the pantheon of female women travel writers in the Victorian era; her most successful work was Unbeaten Tracks in Japan: An Account of Travels in the Interior, Including Visits to the Aborigines of Yezo and the Shrines of Nikkô and Isé. It was reprinted several times, followed by an abridged edition as well as other later editions and reprints by different publishers. In the post-war years, the prevalence of these abridged (single volume) versions led a number of scholars to mistakenly assume that the abridged version was the original version, since there is practically no difference in their titles. The anomalies in the subsequent published research is one of the factors that led Professor Kiyonori Kanasaka to embrace Isabella Bird’s life and travels as his principal preoccupation, which, in turn, has led to him becoming one of the world’s leading experts in this field.


In this talk, Professor Kanasaka will speak about the different aspects of his Isabella Bird studies and activities. In particular, he will consider how he came to understand Isabella Bird the person – her actions, decisions and motivations – and how and why her travels in Japan have been so widely misinterpreted and misunderstood. Professor Kanasaka will also show a number of pictures taken from his award-winning bilingual book In the Footsteps of Isabella Bird: Adventures in Twin Time Travel and Nicholas Pertwee will discuss his experiences of translating this seminal work into English.


Isabella Bird and Japan: A Reassessment will be available at the special price of £25 (RRP £45) at this event.

6 June 2017, 6:00pm
Daiwa Foundation Japan House, 13/14 Cornwall Terrace, Outer Circle, London NW1 4QP

Tel:020 7486 4348

The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation