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Shipwrecked!: The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy Library Binding – February 28, 2001


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Library Binding, February 28, 2001
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Library Binding: 80 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (February 28, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060293659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060293659
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,911,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From 14-year-old castaway to honored samurai, Manjiro Nakahama (1827-1898), the first Japanese person to come to the United States, had more adventures than the hero of many a swashbuckler. With insight and flair, Rhoda Blumberg relays Manjiro's life story in Shipwrecked!: The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy. Handsomely illustrated with period drawings, sketches and woodblock prints, the text also explains such historical elements as 19th-century Japan's carefully enforced isolation from the Western world, the importance of the American whaling industry and the enormous cultural gaps between Japanese and American societies. ( Feb.)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-8-The true tale of a 14-year-old Japanese boy who, after being shipwrecked while fishing in 1841, was marooned for six months, rescued by an American whaling ship, educated in New England, and returned home to become an honored samurai. Blumberg was inspired to rescue this incredible story about Manjiro, also known as John Mung, when she realized that although it was well known in Japan, it enjoys only a small awareness in the West. The author's presentation illuminates what Japan's isolationist policies meant to individuals living there at that time and the immediate cultural differences that Manjiro experiences such as eating bread and sitting in chairs as the "first Japanese person to set foot in the United States." Her book packs a lot of excitement and drama into a few pages, and has lots of large, well-chosen illustrations. The title doesn't begin to hint at the incredibly varied adventures that are compacted here, deserving of a longer and more thorough treatment, but the text does convey the author's enthusiasm and awe of her subject. This is a good addition to libraries, as not only is it a fluid story about a fascinating person not yet on the shelves, but it also sheds light on many topics such as Japanese history, whaling practices, and 19th-century America.-Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
This is a slender book written for young readers.
Thomas Capers Jones
Although I already knew about this story in Japanese language, i studied a lot about Manjirou from this book.
Amazon Customer
This is one of the greatest true adventure stories of all time.
Charles Hooper

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Anne G. Williams on August 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Rhoda Blumberg does a fantastic job of telling the story of fourteen-year-old Manjiro's life. He was rescued with a bunch of shipwrecked fishermen. In those days Japan did not allow foreigners into Japan. Japanese who had left Japan were not allowed back in.
Manjiro was rescued by an American whaling ship, taken to Hawaii, and then to New England by the ship owner. What happened to him then sounds so fantastic, it is hard to believe it is all true.
The author uses Manjiro's drawings and authentic photographs of the time. It is amazing to think how much difference Commodore Perry's visit to Japan made in the lives of the people.
This book is sure to catch the fancy of the young biography readers.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a GREAT story--it would be edge-of-the-seat exciting if it were just that--but being based in fact makes it doubly compelling. Also, a great book for boys who otherwise might not be avid readers. Tell them it's quite an adventure story. That they will learn some history and of differing cultures can remain your own little secret.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
Shipwrecked (Book Review)

A boy's manhood is at stake. Manjiro gets marooned on an island by a deadly storm. He is saved but by completely different people, Knowing he can never return to his home. He travels to America and learns English. Then one day Manjiro decides to go back and is thrown in prison. Later he gets promoted to samurai and lives happily. Shipwrecked is a fun to read nonfictional book. I would recommend this book for people who like reading stories about the sea and Japan.

Manjiro was always independent and had to be or his family would face the consequences. He started being even more independent when he looked out for his friends on the island by looking for food and scanning the terrain. Manjiro also decided by himself what to do on his own was when he decided to go to school and learn even though he was sixteen. He was the first one to ever think about going back to Japan even when he knew the consequences. So he went to get gold in California To raise money to go back.

Manjiro was unique in many ways. He thought differently than anybody else. He somehow beat the odds when he came back to Japan when he didn't get executed by his government. In that time Japan was an isolated country that killed anyone who entered the country. If you left you would never be able to come back, but in Manjiro's case he was able to. Instead he got promoted to samurai. Manjiro beat the odds in education also. He learned English in a matter of months when he never even went to school before in his own country! If you don't think that's unique you're crazy! He also took care of older people when he was only a young boy. When he took care of his family and took care of his older friends on the island 300 miles away from the Japanese shore are two examples.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "barkeep49" on January 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Presenting both historical context and insight into Japanesse society as well as the actual story of Manjiro this is a gripping and short page turner. Acompanied by some beautiful illistrations and pictures, some of which are Manjiro's, the story of Manjiro's abandonment and eventual emmigration to the US is succent and entertaining. While too superficial to be recomended for adults this is an excellent book and deals with pressing themes, such as multiculturalism, isolationism, and the past role of America in foreign affairs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By CJ-MO VINE VOICE on January 4, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The illustrations and story are good. However, I was expecting a short novel or at least a "chapter book". This was aimed at young children.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Capers Jones on November 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a slender book written for young readers. But it is a fascinating story of a real-life adventure by a plucky and intelligent boy.

Manjiro's father died when he was nine. To support his mother and an invalid brother he became a fisherman. A storm blew their boat to an uninhabited island about 300 miles from Japan and left the shipwrecked. After more than a year an American whaling ship rescued them.

Two of the cast aways stayed in Hawaii for some years. Manjiro continued to America and became a foster child of the captain. He learned to speak English, to read it and write it, and he was also a talented artist.

He eventually decided to return to Japan, even though Japanese law forbid the return of any Japanese who left. Manjiro was arrested upon his return and interrogated many times. Fortunately the Daimyo who had custody was quite intelligent and recommended sparing Manjiro.

Soon after this Commodore Matthew Perry arrived. Because Manjiro spoke English and had visited America, he became an adviser to the Shogunate. Since a peasant fisherman was too low caste for this role, Manjiro was promoted to Samurai status, which was highly unusual.

Manjiro aided Japan in building modern ships and recommended adopting western technology. His final career was a professor of nautical engineering - the first in Japan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fun Loving Mama on September 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
I came across this book while teaching 4th grade history to my son. We borrowed this from the library to help bring our history lesson alive. We loved this book. I wanted my son to finish the book, but not without me. We read the book together and learned a lot as well as stand in awe of what a remarkable man Manjiro was. The story of his life would make a fascinating movie. I highly recommend this book and would love to read it again.
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