Foreign Legacies

              FOREIGN LEGACIES  Publisher: Sanshusha. 2006

This is another reading text for use by Japanese English teachers.  Like the MacArthur text, it is historical.  However, it is much shorter (68 pages vs. 104 for MacArthur) and offers short stories on fifteen foreigners who contributed to Japan’s modern development in a variety of different ways. There has been a lot written about these fifteen people, so no original research was required. As with MacArthur, my wife, Mitsuko, did the Japanese sections in the book. Like any reading comprehension text, it has follow-up exercises including: Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary Development, Listening Comprehension, Grammar and Usage Practice, and Translation Exercises. Some of the better known of the fifteen are: MacArthur (again), Matthew Perry, Lafcadio Hearn, and Edwin O. Reischauer.  I had the honor of meeting Mr. Reischauer in 1976 in Honolulu at a symposium, and Lafcadio Hearn’s grandson, who is an English teacher in the city of Matsue, sent me a letter of thanks for including Hearn in the textbook. Sanshusha is one of the leading publishers of English texts for Japanese teachers of English.  
Here is the book on Sanshusha’s website:

Read a comment on the text in the Daily Yomiuri, which is Japan’s number one English newspaper in home delivery: (Note: the article is no longer available online, so I will reproduce it here.


    Books on Language, The Daily Yomiuri, April 25, 2006


           Foreign Legacies,  Sanshusha, 68 pages, 1,785 yen

This is an English textbook for Japanese university students about foreigners who came to Japan and helped the country catch up with the West.  The author, who has a keen interest in Japanese history and wrote MacArthur: General Douglas MacArthur & the Occupation That Changed Japan last year, selected 15 foreigners who contributed to modernizing Japan in various fields.  Many of those introduced in the textbook were recruited during the Meiji era (1868-1912) by the government to learn about Western arts, technology, etc.  They include Philipp Franz von Siebold, who introduced Western medicine; Townsend Harris, the first U.S. diplomat in Japan; Josiah Conder, the father of Western architecture in Japan; and Lafcadio Hearn, who researched Japanese folk tales and culture.  Each story has exercises in reading comprehension, vocabulary, grammar and translation.
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