.5 (title printed on yellow paper), 38 folding leaves. 8vo, orig. blue wrappers (some discoloration), orig. block-printed title label on upper cover, new stitching. Kagoshima: Satsuma fu, 1854.
First edition of the first work published in Japan to discuss the daguerreotype, the telegraph, and the steam engine, amongst other inventions; a sequel appeared in 1859, but for some reason the two very rarely appear together (the 1859 volume seems to be a rather “shadowy” book, acknowledged to exist but never really described).
Kawamoto (1810-71), Rangaku scholar and medical doctor, is known as the “father of chemistry” in Japan. He made many translations of and writings on Western science and technology and also was the first to brew beer in Japan. He was the technical adviser to Shimazu Nariakira, the lord of the forward-thinking Satsuma Domain and in 1859 became professor at what later became Tokyo University. The present work was printed under the auspices of the Satsuma fiefdom. Because of Kawamoto and this book, the Satsuma fiefdom, one year later, developed its own steam engine.
According to Kerlen 380 (describing the 1854 volume only), Kawamoto’s book is based on the Dutch work, by P. van der Burg, Eerste grondbeginselen der Natuurkunde (Gouda: 1854).
Very good copy. The plates all have some worming touching the images. One of the plates has a long split along the fold.
Item ID: 8027