For Immediate Release \ Jaime Starling, Stone Bridge Press \ PO Box 8208, Berkeley, CA 94707 \ 510-558-7826 tel / 510-524-8711 fax \ \ Images Available \ Author Available for Interviews




January 3, 2005 \ (Berkeley, CA) Frederik L. Schodtfs biography of the young Native American who ventured into a restricted Japan in 1848 has been named in Choice Magazinefs annual Outstanding Academic Titles list, which appears in the January 2005 issue.


Nearly one year earlier Choice described Native American in the Land of the Shogun: Ranald MacDonald and the Opening of Japan, as gA remarkable tour de force, so rich as to defy easy categorization.h


Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries reviews significant current books and electronic media of interest to those in higher education. It is a publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, recognized as an essential tool for collection development in academic libraries.


In 2004 Choice reviewed 7,539 titles, and only 644 of these were named Outstanding Academic Titles.


gThese outstanding titles have been selected for their excellence in scholarship and presentation, the significance of their contribution to the field, and their value as important \ often the first \ treatment of their subject,h writes Choice Editor & Publisher Irving E. Rockwood.


gComprising less than 10 percent of the titles reviewed by Choice during the past year, and less than 3 percent of the 23,000+ titles submitted to Choice during the same period, Outstanding Academic Titles are truly ethe best of the best.fh


Native American in the Land of the Shogun: Ranald MacDonald and the Opening of Japan is the true story of a half-Chinook, half-Scot adventurer who entered feudal Japan in 1848 and helped pave the way for its modernization. In a time when Japan was mostly shut off to foreigners, MacDonald faked being marooned and was promptly arrested, but his charm led to better treatment than most prisoners as he soon instructed Japanese interpreters in English. He later gave both Japanese and American officials useful tips on how to understand and communicate with each other, a great service when Commodore Perry made his historic arrival on the American gBlack Shipsh in 1853.


Frederik L. Schodtfs book documents MacDonaldfs early years in the Pacific Northwest, his education in central Canada, and his employment in Ontario. It then follows him to sea working for a New England whaling fleet and his time in Hawaii where he prepared for his adventure to Japan.


Fluent in spoken and written Japanese, Frederik L. Schodt is an author, interpreter, and translator who has written extensively on Japanese culture and Japan-U.S. relations. His other books include The Four Immigrants Manga, America and the Four Japans, Inside the Robot Kingdom, Dreamland Japan, and Manga! Manga! He lives in San Francisco.


gBy entering Japan in 1848, young Ranald MacDonald did something extraordinary, but his accomplishment was never properly recognized,h said Mr. Schodt. gI feel deeply honored by the Choice selection of my book, and I suspect MacDonald would, too.h


Mr. Schodt will be lecturing on Ranald MacDonald as well as on anime and manga in Tokyo later this month.


Native American in the Land of the Shogun: Ranald MacDonald and the Opening of Japan is 432 pages with 60 b/w photographs and maps. It is available in hardcover for $39.95 and in paperback for $19.95.


See the book at


The Choice Review:


Choice Magazine, Current Reviews for Academic Libraries
February 2004, Vol. 41 No. 06
Schodt, Frederik L.
Native American in the Land of the Shogun: Ranald MacDonald and the opening of Japan.
Stone Bridge Press, 2003
418p bibl index ISBN 1880656787, $39.95, ISBN 1880656779 pbk, $19.95
Schodt is already respected by Japanologists for five previous books, two definitively explaining the Japanese comic-book manga. His newest book is a remarkable tour de force, so rich as to defy easy categorization. MacDonald played an interesting if minor role in opening up Japan. He voluntarily penetrated the closed Shogunate in 1848, and taught English to those who would later interpret between Americans and Japanese during Commodore Perryfs 1853 show of force. Schodt takes MacDonaldfs fairly simple story and delves into every aspect with an authority based on deep research and outstanding language skills. MacDonald is rescued from obscurity, legends, prejudice, and misrepresentations of every imaginable kind. Along the way, readers learn about mixed-blood culture of the Northwest, the Hudson Bay Company, and the many false starts in relations between Japan and the outside world before 1853. Most of all, Schodt reveals the randomness of historical fame and the importance of revisiting the past as successive generations bring new values and insights to bear. Schodt is a graceful writer, and his book has the flavor more of a novel than a scholarly study. It deserves a very wide audience. Summing Up: Highly recommended, all libraries/levels.
-- R.B. Lyman Jr., Brandeis University