Writer on Manga Wins Recognition for Recent Book


January 3, 2005 (Berkeley, CA) Well-known translator and writer on manga Frederik L. Schodt's recent biography of Ranald MacDonald has been named in Choice's annual Outstanding Academic Titles list, which appears in the January 2005 issue of Choice Magazine.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries reviews significant current books and electronic media of interest to those in higher education. It is a publication from the American Library Association, recognized as an essential tool for collection development in academic libraries.

Ranald MacDonald, not to be confused with a certain fast-food restaurant mascot, has monuments erected in his honor in Astoria, Oregon and Rishiri Island, Japan. In 1988 the Friends of MacDonald society was formed and today it has over 200 members worldwide. There even exists a six-page manga called, "Ranald MacDonald, Japan's First English Teacher," an excerpt of which is found in Schodt's book.

"Writing about Ranald MacDonald, the young adventurer, gave me a chance to explore the North America - Japan relationship in a new way, and help shed new light on a truly extraordinary individual," Mr. Schodt said of his latest title.

Native American in the Land of the Shogun: Ranald MacDonald and the Opening of Japan is the true story of a half-Chinook, half-Scot adventurer who entered feudal Japan in 1848 and helped pave the way for its modernization. In a time when Japan was mostly shut off to foreigners, MacDonald, age 24, faked being marooned and was promptly arrested, but his charm led to better treatment than most prisoners as he soon instructed Japanese interpreters in English. He later gave both Japanese and American officials useful tips on how to understand and communicate with each other, a great service when Commodore Perry made his historic arrival on the American "Black Ships" in 1853.

This book documents MacDonald's early years in the Pacific Northwest, his education in central Canada, and his employment in Ontario. It then follows him to sea working for a New England whaling fleet and his time in Hawaii where he prepared for his adventure to Japan.

Frederik L. Schodt is a writer, translator, and professional interpreter who lives in San Francisco. He has written extensively on Japanese comics, and on technology and history. His first book, Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics (Kodansha International, 1983), helped trigger the current popularity of Japanese comics in the United States and along with its sequel, Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga (Stone Bridge Press, 1996) is regarded as something of a classic. Dreamland Japan has also been translated into Japanese (Nippon Mangaron, Maaru-sha, 1998), as well as Korean (Daseossure, 1999), and a German edition is planned.

In 2000, Schodt was awarded the special category of the Asahi Shimbun's Osamu Tezuka Culture Award for his work in popularizing manga overseas. In addition to his own writings, he has been a pioneer in the translation of manga and is responsible for the English versions of well-known works such as Astro Boy, The Phoenix, Ghost in the Shell, Man Machine Interface, and many others.

Mr. Schodt will be lecturing on Ranald MacDonald as well as on anime and manga in Tokyo later this month.

Native American in the Land of the Shogun: Ranald MacDonald and the Opening of Japan is 432 pages with 60 b/w photographs and maps. It is available in hardcover for $39.95 and in paperback for $19.95.

See the book at www.stonebridge.com/RANALD/ranald.html

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