TOYO Reference Series

A Japanese Jorunal

By Marie Stopes

 

Marie Stopes (1880–1958), the controversial but brilliant British palaeobotanist, arrived in Japan in 1907 to stay for almost three years on a scholarship from the Royal Society to do research into fossils. Drawn to the country by her passion for a Japanese scholar she had met in Germany, she soon found their relationship had cooled, yet her love for the country only deepens.

In the course of her works she met some of the foremost Japanese men an women of her time: Makino Tomitarō, 'Father of Japanese Botany;' Sakurai Jōji, president of the Japanese Academy of science; Naruse Jinzō, founder of Japan's first woman's university; and Hirooka Asako, Japan's first true female industrial entrepreneur.

When not in Tokyo mingling with intellectuals or doing research, she ventured out into the countryside, to look for a special species of cycad, to visit a famous temple, or to simply enjoy a quiet spot along the as yet unspoiled coast of the Bōsō or Miura Peninsulas.

Invariably inquisitive in her pursuit of science, (almost) always positive in her outlook on Japanese customs and culture, and always eager to share her most personal yet informed opinions, Marie Stopes still captivates the modern reader with her wit, curiosity, and sheer intelligence. Next to Lafcadio Hearn and Lucy Bird, early-modern Japan could not have wished for a more forceful an persuasive Western advocate.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things

that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.

So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor.

Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover.”

 — Mark Twain

 TOYO PRess

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