Frederik L. Schodt | フレデリック・L・ショット

Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese Troupe

An unlikely history of early cross-cultural encounters between the West and Japan, featuring acrobats, jugglers, and a colorful American impresario.

Winner, in 2013, of the Circus Historical Society's Stuart Thayer Prize, designed to encourage "the highest quality of research, scholarship and writing about American circus history."

Stuart Thayer Prize

"Frederik L. Schodt has at long last unveiled the fascinating story of ‘Professor Risley.’ Circus scholars, history buffs, and anyone with an ounce of curiosity should be grateful to him. Dominique Jando,

"Fascinating book."Steven Mansfield, Kyoto Journal 81, Winter, 2014.

"Pick up Schodt's latest book and move well beyond a study of Japanese culture. Schodt takes us all around the world of 19th-century entertainment: the competition, the disdain, the copycats and the triumphs. It's a captivating story about a pioneer in international entertainment. Japan Times

"An intriguing look at international relations, culture, the circus, and its effects on the modern day, Professor Risley is a must for anyone seeking an original and offbeat take on history, highly recommended." Midwest Book Review

"Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese Troupe is the best book I have read on Japanese history. Period. In fact... this is perhaps the best book I have ever read about Japan. Andrew Joseph, Japan-It's a Wonderful Rife blogsite.

"[A] fascinating narrative . . . In chronicling Risley's checkered and colorful career, Schodt illuminates the rivalries and precariousness of the circus business and portrays vividly this early encounter between Japan and the West." (Recommended for all readers). ALA Choice, April 2013

"If you have any interest in Japanese history — whatsoever — pick up this book. Schodt knocked this title out of the park. It's a real page-turner, and that's saying a lot when dealing with a history book. Japanator blog (Brad Rice)

"Schodt has put together an astounding collection of 19th century primary source material on this fascinating and hitherto unrecorded facet of circus life to create a book of immense interest… I strongly recommend it to all serious circus scholars.UK's King Pole Magazine

"Schodt’s book is based on meticulous research and his account of Risley’s life and of Japanese acrobats and entertainers in the US and Europe in the late 1860s will fascinate readers interested in the spread of Japanese popular culture abroad. Sir Hugh Cortazzi (Japan Society of the U.K. review).

Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese is published by the intrepid Stone Bridge Press, Berkeley, California, 2012. It is available for order through finer bookstores (please also ask them to stock it), as well as on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other on-line retailers. It is also available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle platforms for PC, Macs, and tablets.