On Saitō Chikudō’s Ban shi and Other Writings

  • Masuda Wataru


The preface by Sakaya appears at the very beginning of the Ban shi. It indicates what provided the motive for Chikudō to write this work in the first place:

Scholars at present are discussing the skill of Westerners in military tactics and the relative strengths of their materiel. On this basis they are establishing national defense policies as the most important task. Often, however, they are ignorant of the reasons for victories or defeats, successes or failures, and they express their opinions on the basis of thin air. However skillful they may elaborate such a point of view, however brilliant their argumentation, they are, figuratively speaking, searching about in a dark room, with no necessity that they will gain their objective. Indeed, it is dangerous. We have no recorded histories for foreign lands, because Japanese translators have not written general accounts of the major events [in the West]. This made Saitō Chikudō angry, do extensive reading in history, and gather together [information concerning] these major events. On that basis he wrote a historical chronicle tracing the history from past to present of the ups and downs which would be clear at a glance.


Peace Negotiation Foreign Land Extensive Reading Western History Japanese Translator 
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© Joshua A. Fogel 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masuda Wataru

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