Ryoma: Life of a Renaissance Samurai
Romulus Hillsborough; Ridgeback Press, 1999
pb $21.95

The founder of Japan's first modern corporation was a swaggering swordsman who packed a Smith and Wesson, an outlaw who led a band of samurai to overthrow the shogun, and one of the most colorful figures in Japanese history. His name was Ryoma, which is the title of this first biographical novel of this truly Renaissance man to appear in the English language.

Mid-19th-century Japan was a caldron of political upheaval and intrigue, bloody inner-fighting among samurai, and the end of three centuries of rule under the shogun. This most enthralling age in the annals of Japan brought forth some of the most fascinating men in that nation's history. These men modernized Japan and laid the foundation for the militarism of WWII and the economic powerhouse of today. This close look into the hearts and minds of these two-sworded men provides a deep insight into the political, cultural, and psychological roots of modern Japan.

“A magnificent book and painstaking achievement.”
Former Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi

“A masterful job at bringing a chaotic period to life.”

“With his easily readable and entertaining style, Hillsborough does a great job of elucidating the complex customs that ruled Edo Period life and politics.”
The Japan Times

“Hillsborough deserves high praise for successfully combining high drama . . . with meticulous scholarship.”
Daily Yomiura

“Hillsborough has painted a clear and thorough picture of the times and overlaid it with a compelling story of ingenuity and bravery, supported by 16 years of historical research in Japan. This is definitely one not to be missed by anyone interested in Japanese history, the Meiji restoration or the spirit and determination of the warrior classes of feudal Japan.”
British Kendo Association Newsletter

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