Yosha Bunko scan
Kokon meifu kagami
1888 (1859 story)

Adachi Ginkō captures Kosome, who drifted on a storm-crippled ship to Hawaii in 1859, then went on to the United States, where she studied and became a teacher.

Transcription and translation

In the following transcription, I have reproduced the text as well as I can using only forms of kanji and kana available in JIS or Unicode. Most of the kanji in the text have furigana readings, but I have omitted these readings in the transcription. I have, however, shown the readings when parenthetically glossing some of the words of interest in the translation.

Note that, graphically, (1) the text includes both fuller and abbreviated forms of some of the kanji, (2) there is no punctuation, (3) voicing is somewhat inconsistently marked, and (4) in one line the scribe has squeezed in one more graph than in the other lines.

The translation is structural.






Kosome was the daughter of Tsunokuniya Sōhewe (> Sōbee) of Imagawabashi in Kanda. At one time she became the concubine (しやう shiau > shō) of a certain lord. And [then] she became a geigi [geisha]. Later she boarded an available ship to see Yamato, but due to a difficult [strong, violent] wind [gale, tempest, windstorm] [the ship] drifted on the sea. Fortunately [after] many days passed [the ship] drifted to and arrived at the country of Hawaii (ふあいこく Fuaikoku), an affiliated [tributary] country of America (あめりかぞくこく Amerika zokukoku). Receiving help from Americans [an American] (あめりかしん Amerikashin > Amerikajin) she crossed [the sea] to the same country [America] (とうごく tougoku > dōkoku), aspired to cultivation [civilization, enlightenment] (くわいくわ kwaikwa > kaika), diligently studied in various subjects, and in time she was able to become a woman teacher (ちよきやうし chiyo kiyaushi > jokyōshi). [The date] Kosome boarded the ship is said to have been the third month of the sixth year of Ansei [April 1859].


I made the above transcription on 30 October 2004 from a scan of a copy offered for sale by Petrie Rogers Gallery in Tuscon, Arizona. The following month I shared a somewhat simpler (less structural) version of the translation with one of the proprietors, who posted it on her website. Four years later I bought the print from the same dealer, then a year after that I picked up another copy -- somewhat more faded and wrinkled, but untrimmed -- in Japan.

Print information

Size oban
Drawn by Shōsai Ginkō [Adachi Ginkō] [Adachi Heishichi]
Written by [unsigned]
Carved by [unsigned]
Printed Meiji 21-9-20 (20 September 1888)
Published same year (month and day blank)
Printed and published by Sasaki Toyokichi