Morikosu Shotō Wage Daiichi ["Translated Explanation of the Moluccas, First Part"]
[Valentyn, François (original text by)]; Yoshio, Kōsaku, Nishi, Kichibē [translated by].
[Japan, ca. mid to late Edo period (1780-1830s)?]. Manuscript.
An abridged translation of the first chapter of the Uitvoerige Beschryving Der Vyf Moluccos volume of Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën (1724-6), a history of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) by the Dutch author François Valentyn (1666-1727). While a search of Japanese library databases uncovers two manuscripts with the same title as this work - one held by the Imperial Household Agency library and the other by the Yokohama City University library - neither provides a date or statement of responsibility. A startling feature of this copy is the attribution in a manuscript note at the end of the volume to Yoshio Kōsaku (1724-1800) and Nishi Kichibē (1747?–1818), two prominent interpreters of the Edo period. In addition, the postscript provides a sexagenary cycle symbol indicating the manuscript was composed or copied in a "monkey" year. The outer title of the manuscript reads Morikosu Shotō no Uchi Terunata-shi ("A Record of Ternate, in the Islands of the Moluccas").
Yoshio Kōsaku (also Kōgyū), an interpreter, translator, physician, and 'Dutch studies' scholar, studied Dutch from a young age and served as Nagasaki's senior translator numerous times in his career. He is known to have interacted with notable historical figures such as Hiraga Gennai, Ōtsuki Gentaku, Sugita Genpaku, Shiba Kōkan (who stayed at Kōsaku's house briefly in 1788), Aoki Konyō, Hayashi Shihei, and Miura Baien, and was friends with Isaac Titsingh, G.R. Bauer and Carl Thunberg (who taught Kōsaku for a time). A keen collector and translator of medical and scientific books in Dutch, Kōsaku provided the preface for the famed Kaitai Shinsho (1774) an anatomical text based on the Dutch edition (1734) of Johann Adam Kulmus's Anatomische Tabellen. The name Nishi Kichibē in the postscript probably refers to the seventh-generation head of the Nishi family line of interpreters in Nagasaki, Nishi Kichibē (also Kichirōbē?), who is known to have worked with Kōsaku.
The manuscript's text provides katakana renderings of Dutch names, from which the potential sources may be narrowed down. The names Meindert de Roy, Matthys Dogen, Reynhold Dagsteyn, and Jacob Adamse, for example, are mentioned in katakana in an account of a 1686 climb up Gamalama Volcano, and several references to Cornelis Matelieff and Robbert Padbrugge also appear. Together with the text's order and the placement of Japanese 'dot-points' (most of which represent new paragraphs in the original text), the work can be identified as an abridged translation of the first chapter (pages 1 to 24) of Uitvoerige Beschryving Der Vyf Moluccos. While the title suggests that other "parts" exist, none are recorded in OCLC or major library databases, and it seems likely that the mention of the "first part" in the title refers to the "Eerste Hoofdstuk" covered in the translation. This chapter describes the culture, leaders, geography, weather, history, clothing, rituals, and natural disasters encountered by Europeans on the island of Ternate in the Maluku Islands, Indonesia. As Kōsaku was regularly in contact with VOC officials, it is unsurprising that he had access to Valentyn's history of the Dutch East India Company, and it seems other Japanese interpreters working in Nagasaki may have had access to the same copy. Shizuki Tadao (1760-1806), a Nagasaki-based translator who at one time studied under Kōsaku, for example, is known to have authored an abridged translation of the third chapter (on Russia and Siberia) from the second book of the first volume of Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën. It may be the case that the group of translators were hoping to complete a Japanese translation of the whole work or at least the first book (see Oshima Akihide's 2013 article Shizuki Tadao-yaku "Oroshia Raireki" no Itten Shahon for more details on Shizuki's translation).
Neither of the known copies has been attributed to Yoshio Kōsaku and Nishi Kichibē or identified as a translation of a foreign work. While it is unclear whether this copy was handwritten by Kōsaku or Kichibē or was copied later by an unknown scribe, it is nevertheless the first known copy to attribute the text to the Nagasaki-based translators. A scarce work, identified for the first time as a translation of a section of Valentyn's Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën.
One volume, presumed complete, on double leaves, fukurotoji style. Original stab-binding with koyori paper twists, original wrappers lightly soiled, some creases and wormholes, manuscript title in Japanese, pencil note in Roman characters. Stain to fore-edge and gutter head of leaves, not affecting text. Occasional wormholes to leaves.  leaves. 23.5 x 17.2 cm.