1869. Item #88578
[MEDICINE] SUGITA Gempaku. RANGAKU KOTO HAJIME. Tôkyô, Tenshinro, Meiji 2 . 22.5 x 15.1 cm. 2 vols., srting-bound, Japanese-style, fukuro-toji. Original covers and printed paper title labels. This memoir, by the scientist behind the ground-breaking KAITAI SHINSHO, was originally completed in Gempaku's old age, in 1815. It was transmitted via manuscript until the fall of the ancien regime, when Fukuzawa Yukichi and Gempaku's grandson arranged to have it published in a woodblock edition. The book was written in a very clear and simple style and reveals the great lengths of ingenuity the KAITAI SHINSHO author/translators went to to uncover the secrets and understand the esoteric Dutch vocabulary of Kulmas' anatomy that they translated therein. The RANGAKU KOTOHAJIME is often cited as perhaps the earliest Japanese text to explain techniques of cryptoanalysis from a practical and logically rigorous point of view. It is also a compelling story of scientific investigation in isolated traditional Japan. Finally, despite its relatively late publication date, the RANGAKU KOTOHAJIME is vanishingly rare. Our copy is in very good condition, enclosed in a custom-fitted clasped chitsu case.