Authors: Anthony Grey
Tags: #Politics and government, #United States Naval Expedition to Japan; 1852-1854, #Historical, #Tokyo Bay (Japan), #(1852-1854), #1600-1868, #Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), #Fiction, #Historical fiction, #English fiction, #Japan, #United States Naval Expedition to Japan, #Historical & Mythological Fiction
Pearl Harbor, Nagasaki, Hiroshima
the greatest East-West conflagrations in history. But where did the terrible mistrust which sparked these cataclysms spring from?
Vital clues emerge from the dramatic events of July 1853 when steam- driven US Navy warships loomed shockingly out of the haze cloaking Tokyo Bay.
that foreign monsters had arrived on smoking volcanoes engulfed the civilian population in hysteria
and hordes of feudal warriors rushed to defend the coastline of the world’s most
With these two nations teetering on the brink of war, Robert Eden, an idealistic young New England officer, swims secretly ashore on his own unauthorised peace mission, inspired by the haunting moonlit beacon of Mount Fuji.
On land he clashes with fearsome sword-wielding samurai led by the formidable Prince Tanaka Yoshio
and encounters Tokiwa, a beautiful and courageous geisha fleeing amidst the general panic. The intense emotional entanglements that follow will ensnare Eden and
his descendants in Japan’s destiny for generations to come.
With this enthralling first novel of a new Asian trilogy, the author of worldwide bestsellers SAIGON and PEKING illuminates as never before a little-known historical episode which helped shape the modern world.
With his novels
The Bangkok Secret,
Anthony Grey memorably chronicled the crucial impact of the West on Vietnam, China and Thailand.
is the first volume of a new fictional trilogy that will broaden the focus across East Asia and illuminate 150 years of tortured rivalry between Japan and the West
a rivalry of great significance for the w
rld that still remains to be resolved.
Anthony Grey’s books and short stories have been translated into some fifteen languages worldwide. His enduring epics
are critically ac1aimed best
sellers in Europe, the Far East, South Africa, Australasia and the Americas. A former foreign correspondent with Reuters in Eastern Europe and China, he has written eight novels to date. His first book was an autobiographical account of the two years that he was held hostage by Red Guards during China’s Cultural Revolutio
. He makes documentary films for British television, broadcasts internationally on the BBC World Service, and lives at present in London.
Also by Anthony Grey
HOSTAGE IN PEKING
THE PRIME MINISTER WAS A SPY
THE GERMAN STRATAGEM
THE BULGARIAN EXCLUSIVE
THE CHINESE ASSASSIN
THE BANGKOK SECP.ET
THE NAKED ANGELS
A novel of Japan
irst published 1996 by Macmillan
This corrected edition published 1997 by Pan Books
an imprint of Macmillan Publishers Ltd
25 Eccleston Place, London SWIW 9NF
Associated companies throughout the world
330 34918 X
Copyright © La Fun Ltd 1996
The right of Anthony Grey to be identified as the
author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance
with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in or i
troduced into a retrieval system, or
transmitted, in any form, or by any means (
photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written
he publisher. Any person who does any unauthorized
act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal
prosecution and civil claims for damages.
A UP catalogue record for this book is available from
the British Library
typeset by Intype London Ltd
Printed by McPherson’s Printing Group
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired nut,
or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
dicated to the cherished memory
of dearest Shirley, who contributed as generously to this book as she did to all others before it; and to Clarissa and Lucy for their youthful courage, resilience and love during a time of trial; and to my dear late mother, Agnes, for her fighting spirit.
Dedicated also to Angela
with much loving gratitude.
In future as long as the sun shines on the earth, let no one sail towards Japan, not even an ambassador. This declaration will never be revoked and will be maintained on pain of death.
Japanese edict issued after execution of foreign missionaries, 1640.
Anchorages of the American Warships in the
of Tokyo July 1853
The Black Ships Arrive
The Black Ships At Anchor
The Black Ships Close In
The Black Ships Land
WHITE LATHER FLEW
from the heaving flanks of a dying courier horse as its helmeted samurai rider spurred the exhausted animal fiercely across the arched bridge spanning the last of three concentric moats in front of the Shogun’s massive castle at Yedo.
yelled the rider to
pike- men who stood guard beside the inner bastion’s tall iron-and-wood gates.
‘Kinkyu chokurei da!’
He drew a small scroll, bound with golden thread, from the sleeve of his dark blue fighting kimono and flourished it pointedly above his head.
The scowling sentinels, who wore broad helmets and ribbed body armour of leather and bamboo, had begun to lift their pikes menacingly in his direction. But the commanding shout of the obviously young samurai stopped them in their tracks. His words constituted a secret password indicating that he carried a rare ‘urgent message’ from the Emperor, who lived in seclusion in Kyoto, three hundred miles to the south-west. Also, close up, they
see the heraldic six-pointed star of his clan emblazoned on his sleeveless
coat in gold filigree, denoting that he was a nobleman of the very highest rank.
yelled the rider impatiently, wheeling the unsteady horse as the startled sentinels swung open the ponderous gates.
As soon as the gap between the gates was wide enough, he sent the horse surging into the castle’s inner courtyard. He rode hard through a succession of further guard-points, ye
ing and brandishing the scroll each time, until he reached the
of stone steps that led up to the main entrance of the stronghold. The moment he flung himself out of the saddle, the horse collapsed, blood reddening the foam at its mouth. It shuddered and squealed pitifully before expiring. But the young samurai nobleman did not stop or glance back as he bounded up the steps, his twin swords jutting from the sash belt of his kimono. On showing the scroll and its imperial seal to a chief sentry officer, he was granted immediate entry.
Running and walking by turns, he raced along successive high-vaulted passageways, where the walls shimmered with gold leaf. Ascending staircases three steps at a time, he passed beneath painted wall panels depicting mythical birds in groves of bamboo and mountain pines. Overhead, wooden beams lacquered in black and gilt supported ornately decorated ceilings, but the young samurai scarcely spared them a glance. Pausing only to ask directions from spear
bearing sentries dressed in formal uniforms of bright brocade, he rushed on.
Approaching the gilded doors of the Shogunate council chamber, he removed his helmet and again plucked the scroll from the wide sleeve of his kimono. His expression was ablaze with urgency as he addressed the senior officer of the council’s guard. A moment later he removed his thonged
to be ushered inside barefoot.
A hundred pairs of eyes swung silently to focus on him as he stepped, panting, into the chamber. They belonged to gaudily dressed
the feudal overlords of Japan’s provincial regions, who were assembled in kneeling ranks around a low central dais on which the Shogun himself was seated. Garbed in court dress of stiff-shouldered jackets, loose trailing trousers of silk, and shiny black
lacquered bonnets, the
stared in astonishment at the dishevelled, travel-stained young nobleman. ‘When he sank to his knees and bowed his head to the floor, they could see that his shaven crown and its coiled topknot of hair were covered with sweat and dust. Before prostrating himself he had pulled his twin swords from the sash at his waist, to place them reverently beside his helmet on the tatami
mat floor; like his garments, their scabbards and embossed hilts were also damp and mud-stained.
From the centre of his raised and cushioned dais, the Shogun watched impassively. Under flowing robes of grey silk his legs were invisible, giving him a Buddha-like appearance, but although he was sitting stiffly upright his thin face was unnaturally pallid, and the sheen of perspiration visible on his brow suggested he might be suffering from some serious illness. The dramatic entry of the breathless messenger had produced a momentary flicker of alarm in the Shogun’s eyes, but he recovered his composure quickly and made a slight movement of his head. This prompted one high official of the council below the dais to rise to his feet and bow very low in his superior’s direction. Moving forward, he bowed once more, then gestured for the young messenger to assume a kneeling position and explain himself.
‘Sire, I am Tanaka Yoshio, a prince of the Kago clan from Kumatore said the samurai in a ringing voice. ‘I have been entrusted to bring you a message of the gravest urgency from His Divine Majesty the Emperor in Kyoto.’ He extracted the scroll from his sleeve, bowed very low again in the direction of the Shogun, then handed the message
the grey-haired official, who also bowed low in accepting it.
‘It is not usual,
Tanaka-san, for a nobleman of such high rank to act as a common courier,’ said the official quietly. ‘Why have you chosen this role?’
‘I volunteered for this sacred duty because of the vital nature of the message,’ replied Tanaka breathlessly. ‘I started out with other couriers, who either fell exhausted or sacrificed their horses to me so that I might arrive as speedily as possible!’
‘It is clear now’ The older man nodded, but as he turned and began to move back towards the dais with tantalizing slowness, the young samurai found he could not contain his impatience.
‘Sire, a fleet of smoking black ships is bringing many foreign barbarians from the outside world to Yedo!’ he burst out, remembering just in time to lower his head once more in a formal gesture of respect. ‘There is grave danger. . . The vessels carry many mighty cannon and hundreds of soldiers... They are driven by great wheels which churn the water into white waves... They can even sail strongly against the wind!’
He paused once more, struggling to catch his breath. He had just used the pejorative expression
meaning ‘outside country barbarians’, and his eyes flashed as he repeated it. ‘The
are all Americans. Some are black giants! They forced their way ashore in the Satsuma tributary islands of Lew Chew, to the south-west. They appear to be intent on conquest! Travelling fast, they will arrive very soon in the bay before Yedo!’
An audible gasp rose from the assembled
but they fell silent again as the high official reached the Shogun’s dais. When he opened the scroll and bowed very low, a hush of tense expectancy fell over the chamber.
‘Powerful ships bringing armed beasts from the outside world are approaching Yedo began the official, reading the imperial
essage aloud with alarm in his voice. ‘Their clear intent is to violate by force the sacred soil of Nippon. The barbarians falsely believe that the Emperor resides in Yedo castle, and it is hoped nothing will be said to enlighten them. The task of treating with the outside country beasts will therefore rest entirely in
hands. At this time of great national danger we hope and pray fervently that the sanctity of our land and its people will be protected and preserved.’
Pale-faced and visibly shaken, the high official closed the scroll and bowed low towards the Shogun once more, before adding: ‘The message, sire, as anticipated, bears the personal seal of His Divine Majesty; Emperor Komei.’
For several seconds a tense silence reigned among the
and none of them moved or spoke. Then the Shogun made another small movement of his head towards the messenger and, without rising fully, the young samurai picked up his swords and his branched helmet and backed respectfully out of the chamber, bowing low at every step. As the giant gilded doors swung closed on his exit, he heard a single angry voice break the stillness.
‘Jo-i gai-jin! Jo-i ga
Expel the barbarians!’
Quickly other voices took up the cry, and soon the council chamber was filled with an angry chorus:
. . .
. . .
After pausing to listen for a moment, Prince Tanaka thrust his twin swords securely into the sash of his kimono and put on his helmet. Slipping his feet into the thonged
he had discarded a few minutes earlier, he turned and raced back swiftly towards the castle entrance, by the way he had come.